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Tech Showcase | Foundations

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Specialist contractors are pioneering modern foundations solutions for new homes.

It is generally agreed that the governments’ target of building over 300,000 new homes per year will only be achieved by building on brownfield sites, second-use sites, or those with difficult access, geotechnical challenges or which are prone to flooding.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England published “State of Brownfield 2018” which identified that there were over 1M brownfield housing plots across England that could be developed.

Arguably, that’s three years supply of land.

So why are developers reticent to build on and develop these sites?

CPRE research reveals three main factors which influence this decision.

  • Fiscal
  • Planning
  • Site conditions

The current fiscal conditions are better than they have been for a considerable period; planning decisions are, arguably, being made quicker, with more care and consideration than previously; which leaves site conditions.

The foundations industry has for a long time had methods for dealing with so-called “bad” sites, however it is only relatively recently that the cost-effectiveness of these methods has started to emerge.

And it does have to be said that unless ideas, methods and systems are cost effective they will not be attractive.

Engineered foundations, once the preserve of the very bad ground site, will, the industry argues, become the norm. The days of traditional “dig-and-dump” foundations are numbered and may be that standard strip foundations are superseded by more modern methods.

Decades ago concrete strips and trenchfill foundations replaced shallow spread footings, usually stone or corbelled brickwork. This was a revolution and the foundations industry faces another revolution of equal or greater magnitude.

Building Control and warranty-provider demands are increasing and the call for improved competency levels throughout the construction industry at large will also have an effect.

The fallout from the Grenfell tower fire will not just affect the processes associated with high-rise construction and refurbishment and will not just be a factor in ensuring fire safety, it will affect everything we do, particularly in homes creation.

The foundations industry is ready for the challenge ahead and recognises that things must be done differently, but to do this clients and housebuilders must be provided with knowledge and cost-effective solutions.

Foundation construction must not lag behind other facets of modern methods of construction but must be at the forefront. Quality, speed of construction, and dealing with the skills shortage can all be remedied by adopting modern methods of foundation design and construction.

Abbey Pynford is at the forefront of this campaign and has an enviable range of systems for the construction of safe, cost effective and environmentally-friendly foundations and sub-structures for all kinds and types of building. Systems such as Housedeck and Comdeck provide design and construct foundations for Residential, Commercial and Industrial Buildings. Hybrid variations, Treesafe and Floodsafe, accommodate the specific requirements of building near trees and in flood susceptible areas.

Engineered foundations will become the norm and it is the industry’s responsibility to ensure that the necessary levels of information are available to assist developers, of speculative and social housing to be able to understand the benefits of these methods.

  • Produced in association with Abbey Pynford

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