A building is only as good as its foundation, especially since you cannot build anything on land that is not strong enough to support a heavy structure. This is essentially the first real step you will take in converting raw land into buildable land, and this involves the following basic steps:
Assessing the strength of the soil
Some structures can be built with minimal foundation changes, while others might require you to dig up a few meters into the ground to provide a solid-enough foundation.
This is a task best left to a geotechnical engineer. Such engineers are trained to identify the properties of the soil, from its bulk density to its porosity, and they will be able to come up with a plan for you to work with the land your property is sitting on.
Just make sure, however, to listen carefully to the engineers. The last thing you want to do is spend a million dollars on a home only to see it collapse because of your stubbornness.
Breaking and digging up the land
The next step in the foundation-laying process preliminary site investigation is to break and dig up the land itself, which involves a lot of manual labor and power tools to get the job done.
Though the concept is simple enough, it is the execution of the digging that complicates matters. Soil composition, rocks, roots and even water can pose technical and practical problems in the construction process, requiring more time and specialized equipment to deal with.
This is especially true if you plan to build a heavy structure upon loose or rocky land. Such terrain might support a light building, but heavier structures need to have deeper foundations if they are to last for a long time to come.
Adding reinforced steel
This process is also known as rebarring, and will serve to hold the concrete in place while adding to the overall strength of the established foundation.
Concrete can handle a very large amount of vertical stress as it compresses down on the stuff. The problem with concrete, however, is that it does not fare too well if it is pulled in an outward direction. Reinforced steel is then shaped into square forms, welded unto vertical bars and then placed before the concrete is poured in.
This ‘holds’ the concrete together, allowing it to bear a heavy load without cracking due to the horizontal pressure exerted by ‘squeezing’ or other external forces. This is especially important for deep foundations, where a slight change in the direction of forces can tear down an entire building.
Pumping in the concrete
The last step in the process is the actual pouring of the concrete, which will then be left to dry and harden.
The tough, malleable properties of concrete make it an ideal choice for foundations, with the reinforced steel addressing the tensile weakness of concrete. Crushed rocks and stones can even be added to the concrete to give it even more tensile strength, making the mixture ideal for lighter structures like houses and cottages.
Keep all this in mind when you are looking at a piece of land, and you will be able to give a quick assessment of its ability to hold a structure in place.