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Design and Rehabilitation of Foundations on Expansive Soils

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Instructor Information: Alexander Newman, P.E., F.ASCE

Course Length: 1.5 Hours

This webinar was co-sponsored by ASCE's Structural Engineering Institute and ASCE Continuing Education

Purpose and Background 

Expansive soils can be found in many areas of the United States. These soils tend to swell when moistened and shrink when dried out. The cycles of swelling and shrinking often lead to damage of the supported structures – and sometimes to claims and litigation. There are many proven design and construction techniques that can be helpful in overcoming the problems of building on expansive soils, but not all of them are familiar to the design engineers. Many still wonder: Which soils are expansive? Are there cost effective ways of building on them at all? How effective are all those soil treatments that promise to improve expansive clays? And what to do about the buildings that are already bearing on these soils – and undergoing noticeable damage?

This webinar gives answers to the questions raised above and helps navigate other difficult situations presented by these soils. Its purpose is to provide a concise primer on the challenges and available solutions for building on expansive soils. The presentation starts with the topics of soil investigation to determine the expansive potential of the soil. The instructor explains how to determine expansiveness of the soil and how to predict volume changes and movements. A discussion of proven construction techniques for the building foundations bearing on shallow, medium, and deep layers of expansive soils follows.

Next on the agenda are the typical signs of damage caused by expansive soils, followed by rehabilitation alternatives. The instructor provides a clear-eyed view of the challenges involved in remediation of the building damage caused by these soils and the chances of achieving a successful outcome. A real-life case study illustrates the challenges.

Seminar Benefits

- Find out which soils are considered expansive 
- Learn how to estimate the expansive potential of soil 
- Discover cost-effective methods of foundation construction on expansive soils 
- Explore typical problems of buildings and other structures caused by expansive soils 
- Study practical construction details that help minimize foundation movement 
- Determine which foundation strengthening methods are effective in repairing damage caused by soil heave and lateral pressures 

Intended Audience

Structural and civil engineers, architects, contractors, and building officials seeking to broaden their knowledge of design and rehabilitation of foundations on expansive soils will benefit from this webinar.

Seminar Outline

- Which soils are expansive? 
- Field investigation and testing of expansive soils 
- Predicting volume changes and movements 
- Design of foundations on expansive soils 
- Typical signs of damage caused by expansive soils 
- Remediation techniques 
- Case study 
- Conclusion