Date of Graduation


Document Type

Problem/Project Report

Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair

Radhey Sharma

Committee Member

Omar Abdul Aziz

Committee Member

P. V. Vijay



Investigation of Foundation Failures

Ali Buabbas

Foundations form a very critical component of any structure. The integrity and lifespan of the structure are dependent on the strength and durability of the foundation. Under ideal conditions, immediately after the structure is constructed, the foundation meets all the requirements of the structure. However, after a while, due to the action of many other factors, the structure’s foundation may no longer satisfy the needs of the structure.

Some of the factors contributing to the failure of the foundation can be due to natural events. Construction engineers should anticipate these factors to minimize their effects. Deep and shallow foundations exhibit different characteristics, making them experience slightly varying mechanisms of foundation failures.

The characteristics of soil into which a foundation is constructed dictate the durability of the foundation. Soil which shows a higher bearing capacity, tends to offer a robust support to the foundation and makes it last longer. However, soil with undesirable characteristics such as low bearing capacity and a high-water level constantly jeopardizes a foundation's integrity, triggering its failure. In this study, several foundation failures were studied, failures were identified, and remediation measures were reviewed wherever applicable. The case study of the Lake View Tower in Sudbury, Canada highlights how the poor soil bearing capacity contributed to the eventual demolition of the building.

Natural calamities such as earthquakes and tornadoes also lead to foundation failure. Frost action on the Family Life Center (FLC) in North Dakota, United States affected the integrity of its foundation leading to cracks in the wall. Remediation of the foundation is one of the ways to mitigate the effects of vulnerable foundations. The success of any type of remediation is dependent on its ability to restore the needs of the structure whose foundation has weakened. Use of push piles in the FLC building shows how the remediation was beneficial in this case of shallow foundation.

Embargo Reason

Publication Pending