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Underpinning vs Bench Footing

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Both of these solutions depending on the soil conditions, footing and foundation of adjacent buildings, budget, timing and sewage system height, so highly recommended to have it done under the supervision of structural engineer.

These days, one of the common questions is how to raise/increase the height of basement floor (in new or old houses); The most popular and high-demand solution is to do Underpinning.

A very simple explanation about it is: A solid concrete foundation to be poured below the existing building to support and strengthen the building in order to raise the existing ceiling height of basement.

This method involves the following stages:

  1. Remove the existing concrete slab floor of the specified area that the ceiling height need to be raised;
  2. Partially (section by section) excavating (hand digging) that specified area NOT ALL TOGETHER, in this stage, the dimensions of each section that need to excavated, will be calculated and designed by Professional Engineer).
  3. Forming and pouring new concrete in excavated sections and allow the new concrete to be cured before next stage excavated;
  4. It is highly recommended to leave a gap (dimension of to be calculated and designed by Professional Engineer) and fill it with non-shrinkable grout, since the new poured concrete will be shrinked after a while.



On the other hand, the Bench-Footing, also the same as Underpinning will strength the existing foundation wall; It makes less living space area but it is time saving and economical option in renovation projects.

In this technique, do not need to excavate below the existing footing to achieve more ceiling height.

Here is the process of Bench-Footing (Benching):

  • Remove the existing concrete slab floor of the specified area which ceiling height need to be raised;
  • Dig down in order to have bench-type structure beside the existing footing/foundation wall;
  • Form, install adequate rebars (which were calculated by structural engineer) and pour concrete;
  • Now you have bench-type footing around your area that you want to have height to be raised, you can cover this surrounded concrete step by covering them with book cases, closets, shelves and etc.
  • Excavating for the above work should not undermine the foundations of adjacent buildings.

After these steps, you can start preparing and pouring the new concrete slab floor and then start wood/steel framing.



Please note where the foundation of building that going to be constructed is below level of the adjacent building footing and within the Angle of Repose (also known as critical angle of repose of a granular material which is the sharpest and the most vertiginous angle of dip that material can be piled without slumping, so at this angle, the material on the slope-face is on the border of sliding), so, do not disturb ground around this area.     


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