"Building on ground which isn’t compacted properly will result in settlement of the structure"
The ground under foundations, ground floor slabs, paving and driveways and in trenches should be compacted. Levelling an area for your house Failure to adequately compact the ground will result in the ground settling or sagging. If your house is built on ground that settles it will result in your house cracking. Cracks are unsightly, and in severe cases could result in your house collapsing. Usually an engineer will prescribe the degree of compaction and the number of layers that should be compacted.
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Obviously when compacting trenches care must be taken not to damage the pipes in the trenches as they can often be easily crushed or cracked. What you should know when excavating for your new home and to lay pipes
When compacting ground it should be done in layers 100 to 150 millimetres (four to six inches) thick. Thicker layers don’t get compacted. Usually ground needs some moisture for compaction, normally referred to as the optimal moisture content. If there’s too much water, or too little, you won’t achieve the required compaction density no matter how hard it’s hit. The amount of compaction also depends on the type of machine and how many times the ground is compacted. Again there’s usually an optimum effort and too little will mean the ground isn’t compacted properly, while too much won’t make any difference to the degree of compaction after a while.
Some soils, such as clean sand, can compact very easily. Topsoil and clay ground is unsuitable for using under structures.
Geotechnical companies provide advice on what materials to use and undertake tests of the ground on the property and of the compacted area to check that the ground has been adequately compacted.
Building on ground which isn’t compacted properly will result in settlement of the structure, paving or driveway, which will look unsightly and be costly to repair.
This is an extract from the author's book 'An Introduction to Building and Renovating Houses: Volume 1 Hiring Contractors, Managing Construction and Finishing Your Home'.
© 2022 This article is not to be reproduced for commercial purposes without written permission from the author.
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