SME 's Geotechnical engineers have extensive experience with multiple types of shallow and deep foundations. The primary considerations for foundation support are bearing capacity and settlement. Our recommendations and designs are based on the load characteristics of the structure or project and the properties of the soils and bedrock at the site. 

SME performs a range of Geotechnical services to provide information to clients on all aspects of structural soil mechanics in the testing, analysis, and design of foundations. When a site is selected for a building, bridge or other structure, a site evaluation is performed before any construction begins. SME’s Geotechnical engineers plan and execute a geotechnical investigation tailored to the needs of the project and the geology of the site. Soil borings and laboratory testing are preformed to characterize the soil conditions. These soil conditions are then evaluated by the geotechnical engineer to determine the types and thickness of soil layers, the location of groundwater, and define any environmental concerns of the area. This information is used to develop a soil profile to determine the appropriate foundation type, design parameters, and recommended materials. Our Geotechnical engineers also analyze the potential risks of ground movement that can occur due to shrinkage or swelling of expansive soils due to climatic changes, frost expansion of soil, melting of permafrost, slope instability or other causes. 

Shallow Foundations

Shallow foundations are the most common and economical type of foundation. They typically consist of a footing supported on soils just below the surface. The structural loads are distributed by the footing over an area which is suitably large enough for the underlying soils. The design is based on an allowable bearing pressure along with maximum settlement criteria depending on the type and sensitivity of the structure. SME’s experience with shallow foundations includes:

  • Spread footing foundations
  • Continuous strip footings
  • Mat foundations
  • Combined footings

Deep Foundations

When shallow foundations are not suitable due to excessively large footings or unacceptable settlements, deep foundation are used to extend the foundation support to more suitable soils. Deep foundations are structural elements that are driven or drilled to or into stronger soil layers or rock. SME’s experience with deep foundations includes: 

Drilled Shafts: Large diameter shafts which are drilled from ground surface and filled with concrete.
  • Straight shafts
  • Belled (or under-reamed) shafts

Driven Piles: Pre-manufactured shafts which are driven into the ground with a pile hammer.

  • Timber
  • Steel (H-Piles or Pipe)
  • Precast and prestressed concrete shafts 
  • Composite (combination of timber, steel and/or concrete)

Augured Cast-in-Place (ACIP) Piles: Installed with continuous hollow stem auger and filled with concrete.

Specialty Piles:

  • Micropiles
  • Helical piers 
  • Controlled modulus columns 
  • Rammed aggregate pies
  • Stone columns

Related Services

Service Experts

Matthew C. Desjardins, PE

Senior Project Engineer
Geotechnical-Design Services

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Andrew T. Bolton, PE

Senior Project Engineer
Geotechnical-Design Services

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Joel W. Rinkel, PE

Senior Consultant
Geotechnical-Design Services

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Laurel M. Johnson, PE

Senior Consultant
Geotechnical Services

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