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Allowable Foundation Settlement for Different Structures

Allowable Foundation Settlement for Different Structures

The allowable settlement is defined as the acceptable amount of settlement of the structure and it usually includes a factor of safety.
Allowable below shows the allowable foundation displacement into three categories: total settlement, tilting, and differential settlement.It indicates that those structures that are more flexible (such as simple steel frame buildings) or have more rigid foundations (such as mat foundations) can sustain larger values of total settlement and differential movement.

Total Settlement

Limiting factorMaximum Settlement
Drainage15 – 30 cm
Access30 – 60 cm
1. Masonry walled structures2.5 – 5 cm
2. Framed structures5 – 10 cm
3. Chimneys, silos, mats8 – 30 cm

Tilting

Stability against overturningDepends on H and L
Tilting of chimneys, towers0.004L
Rolling of trucks etc.0.01L
Stacking of goods0.01L
Crane rails0.003L
Drainage of floors0.01 – 0.02 L

Differential settlement

High continuous brick walls0.0005 – 0.001 L
One-storey brick mill building, wall cracking0.001 – 0.002 L
Plaster cracking0.001 L
Reinforced concrete building frame0.0025 – 0.004 L
Reinforced concrete building curtain walls0.003 L
Steel frame, continuous0.002 L
Simple steel frame0.005 L

Where, L = distance between adjacent columns that settle to different amounts, or between two points that settle differently. Higher values are for regular settlements and more tolerant structures. Lower values are for irregular settlement and critical structures. H = Height and W = width of structure.

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