The purpose of this document is to give guidance for the design and construction of
foundations in Hong Kong. It is aimed at professionals and supervisory personnel involved
in the design and construction of foundations. The document has been prepared on the
assumption that the reader has some general knowledge of foundations.
Foundations can be classified as shallow and deep foundations, depending on the
depth of load-transfer from the structure to the ground. The definition of shallow foundations
varies in different publications. BS 8004 (BSI, 1986) adopts an arbitrary embedment depth
of 3 m as a way to define shallow foundations. In the context of this document, a shallow
foundation is taken as one in which the depth to the bottom of the foundation is less than or
equal to its least dimension (Terzaghi et al, 1996). Deep foundations usually refer to piles
installed at depths and are :

(a) pre-manufactured and inserted into the ground by driving,
jacking or other methods, or
(b) cast-in-place in a shaft formed in the ground by boring or

A thorough understanding on the ground conditions of a site is a pre-requisite to the
success of a foundation project. The overall objective of a site investigation for foundation
design is to determine the site constraints, geological profile and the properties of the various
strata. The geological sequence can be established by sinking boreholes from which soil and
rock samples are retrieved for identification and testing. Insitu tests may also be carried out
to determine the mass properties of the ground. These investigation methods may be
supplemented by regional geological studies and geophysical tests where justified by the
scale and importance of the project, or the complexity of the ground conditions.


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