|Self-Help Construction of 1-Story Building (Peace Corps, 1977, 235 p.)|
|Detailed planning for construction|
If the walls of a building are built directly on the ground surface, the weight of the building will soon press them into the earth. This causes the building to sag, crack, or leak.
Foundations are strong platforms built below ground level, where they won't sink. A building with a foundation can "stand" securely.
The foundation of a well-constructed building does several things:
· it provides a level platform
for the building to stand on;
· it helps protect the building if earth tremors, strong winds or rains shake the structure;
· it keeps out water and dampness.
Here's a list of things the foundation must NOT do;
· dissolve (or rot) by water erosion;
· crack from stress at a certain point;
· slip on uneven ground
· buckle under pressure of water in the ground (this is called "scouring");
· collapse from the weight of the building.
Foundations for 1-story structures generally consist of two parts: a footing, and a foundation wall.
The footing should be a pad of concrete resting in a level trench dug under the position of all walls that will support the roof.
The foundation wall is a solid wall attached to the footing and rising to ground level at the point where the ground is highest under the building. The foundation wall can be made of many different materials. Each material must be planned for in a different way.
Note: There are other foundation designs such as pier and beam, or post and beam that communities with access to heavy wood beams might wish to use. See Appendix 7 for reference materials that discuss these designs.