A building is generally composed of a superstructure above the ground and a substructure which forms the foundations below ground. The foundations transfer and spread the loads from a structure’s columns and walls into the ground. The safe bearing capacity of the soil must not be exceeded otherwise excessive settlement may occur, resulting in damage to the building and its service facilities, such as the water or gas mains. Foundation failure can also affect the overall stability of a structure so that it is liable to slide, to lift vertically or even overturn.
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