Adequate foundation

Clauses The choice of suitable foundation conditions is of paramount importance to ensure the good, seismic response of a building structure. In fact, it should be stressed that a prerequisite for, the survival of a structure of an earthquake event is that the bearing capacity of the main elements sustaining the gravity forces, among which the foundations are of prime importance, is retained throughout the duration of and after the event. Furthermore, even if the foundations do not collapse but instead suffer damage, their repair is extremely difficult and normally leads to a decision to demolish after the earthquake - i.e. total economic loss.

Accordingly, EN 1998-1 recommends that at the conceptual design stage the foundations and their connections to the superstructure should be developed in such a way as to ensure that the whole building is subjected to a uniform seismic excitation. Additionally, all foundation elements should be tied together and their stiffness should be appropriate to the stiffness of the vertical elements that they support (e.g. structural walls).

The conceptual design of foundation systems is dealt with in more detail in Section 5 of EN 1998-5, where rules for the verification of tying elements are also provided (these rules should be taken into account in combination with the general rules set forth in clause of EN 1998-1).

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