How to Approach the High Rise Building… From the Ground

When we all sit and stare at those brand new skyscrapers, which seem to try and outdo each other for height on an annual basis, few of us consider what’s actually beneath them. Unsurprisingly, the works below the buildings are on a significantly bigger scale than what they are to your standard domestic house, and that’s why this post has been put together.

We’re now going to take a look at some of the foundation types that the major commercial developers rely on. This isn’t the time for your basic strip foundation, any firm that has experience in high-rise buildings will only deal in the following:


Out of all of the types we will mull over, piles are probably the most popular type of deep foundation. As the name suggests, they are long and thin and their aim is to transmit the entire load of the building to depths where its integrity will remain unaffected. While the bulk of this article is related to commercial construction, we should add that it’s still not uncommon for piles to be used domestically when the soil type makes for a difficult environment.


In some regards, pier foundations are similar to piles. They are again long and thing and the principle difference relates to the installation. Piles are driven into the ground via specialist machinery, whereas piers are usually formed of poured concrete.


The caisson is probably the most advanced type of foundation and can be described as a hollow box, which is manoeuvred into position before being filled with concrete. Unsurprisingly, the uses for such foundations are few and far between, with one possible example being in rivers as the caissons are floated to their desired location before being sunk into place.

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