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CIVL 1100

Discovering Civil and Environmental Engineering

Unit 10. Foundations for High-rise Buildings


Professor Limin Zhang, PhD, FASCE

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
• Types of foundations
• Design requirements
• Layout of foundations for high-rise buildings
• Geotechnical lab session

Hong Kong ranks first in the world in both skyscraper and

high-rise count, with at least 52 skyscrapers over the height
of 200 m, and more than 7,687 highrise buildings. A high-
rise is defined as a structure at least 35 m or 12 stories tall.
• Types of foundations
• Design requirements
• Layout of foundations for high-rise buildings
• Geotechnical lab session

Hong Kong ranks first in the world in both skyscraper and

high-rise count, with at least 52 skyscrapers over the height
of 200 m, and more than 7,687 highrise buildings. A high-
rise is defined as a structure at least 35 m or 12 stories tall.
Amazing Buildings Around the World
Chicago Spiral CCTV Beijing

The Nest, Beijing

Shanghai World
DubaiOlympic Stadium
Rotating Tower Financial Center
828 m (2,716 ft)

Every single building must be supported on a solid founda

Types of foundations? Design requirements?
Common layout of foundations for high-rise buildings?
Types of Foundations

• Foundation
 – As a structural member that connects the superstructure
with the ground
 – As a system member transferring loads to soils/rocks

• Foundation types
 – Shallow foundations
 – Deep foundations
 – Offshore foundations
Shallow Foundations

• Square

• Rectangular

• Circular

• Continuous

• Combined

• Ring
Shallow Foundations

Shallow foundations,
where applicable, are
often the most economic.

HKUST Enterprise Center

Shallow Foundations

Eiffel Tower
Each of the four legs of
Eiffel Tower is supported
by a footing. Once the
tallest structure in the
world (1889), its
foundation has not
experienced any
HKUST Enterprise Center excessive settlement.

HKUST 10-story student hostel

Deep Foundations

friction f s

Toe resistance qb

towers (due
to wind and
broken cable)
Deep Foundations – Driven Piles
• Prefabricated members driven into ground
Deep Foundations - Jacked Piles
Deep Foundations – Bored Piles/Drilled Shafts
• Drill cylindrical hole, install reinforcement cage, and pour concrete
Bored Pile Construction: Flight Auger
Bored Pile Construction: Grab and Chisel

2.3 m diameter casing and grab

Bored Pile Construction: Drilling in Rocks

 A 2.3 m diameter drill bit

Bored Piles in Rocks: Bellout of Pile Toe

f s Soil


< 30
The shaft resistance in soil layers
is often ignored in Hong Kong,
but is the primary resistance for
qb = 5 –10 MPa < 1.5D piles when bedrock cannot be
Without bellout With bellout, 1.5D
Bored Piles: Reinforcement Cage
Offshore Foundations vs. Water Depth




Subsea wellhead
Offshore Piles for Wind Turbines

Gravity Monopile, water Jacket Floating

base, water depth < 35 m structure platform
depth < 25m

Foundations used to support offshore wind turbines. The

cost of foundations can represent up to 50% of the
development cost for an offshore wind farm.
• Types of foundations
• Design requirements
• Layout of foundations for high-rise buildings
Performance Requirements

• Strength requirements
• Geotechnical strength: the ability of the soil or rock to accept the
loads imparted by the foundation without failing (bearing failure)
• Structural strength: the foundation’s structural integrity and its
ability to safely carry the applied loads
• Serviceability requirements
• Both total settlement and differential settlement must be smaller
than their allowable values
• Constructability requirements
• The foundation must be designed such that a contractor can build
it without having to use extraordinary methods or equipment
• Economic requirements
• Economic, but more conservative than superstructures
Consequences of failure
(to future engineers like you?)

If a builder builds a house for a man and does not make its
construction firm, and the house he has built collapses and
causes the death of the owner of the house, that builder shall be
put to death.

From The Code of Hammurabi, Babylon, CIRCA 2000 B.C.

Building collapse in
Shanghai due to
foundation failure,
5:30 am, 27 June
Photocredit: Pei Xing
Short Pile Scandal at Shatin, 1999
• 21 of the 36 large diameter bored
piles were 2-15 m shorter than
• 11 were founded in soil instead of
• The two buildings were demolished
in 2000 when constructed up to 33rd
and 34th floors.
• Total loss: HK$605 million
Short Pile Scandal at Tin Shui Wai, 1999
• Short piles found in 1999
• Foundation retrofitted
• Over HK$100 million for maintenance
• Vacant for 13 years, sold in 2013
• Loss of over HK$500 million +
二千多萬元,但房署早前只獲保險公司賠償 5 Feb. 2013
The Sun, 25 Jan. 2007

東方電視, 5 Feb. 2013
Limit States

A limit state is a condition beyond which a structural component

ceases to fulfill the function for which it is designed.

• Strength limit states (ultimate limit states)

 Geotechnical resistance
 Structural resistance
• Service limit states (function of structure under expected
service loads)
 Deformations, vibration, cracking, local damage, deterioration
Some Ultimate Limit States for Foundations
Modes of Building Settlement

(a) Uniform

(b) Tilting without distortion

(c) Distortion
Global Factor of Safety

Geotechnical resistance   Qi

Deformation di  dn

Rn = Ultimate bearing capacity

FS = Factor of safety
Qi = Nominal load effect
di = Estimated displacement under the nominal service load effect
dn = Tolerable displacement
Recommended Factor of Safety
Allowable toe
resistance of piles
on rock (Code of
Practice for
Foundations 2004)
Greater design values
acceptable if verified by load

Piles can be founded in soils if

with proper justifications.
Example: Capacity of Bored Piles on Rock


≤ 1.5D

Without bellout With bellout, 1.5D

qult = 10 MPa qult = 10 MPa
Which of the following is NOT one of the basic requirements for
designing a proper foundation?

A. Strength
B. Founding on bedrock
C. Constructability
D. Serviceability

In the Shatin short pile scandal, what was the major reason that
threatened the safety of the buildings concerned?

A. The pile diameter was too small to take the load

B. The pile material was too weak to provide adequate strength
C. The piles had not reached the bedrock to provide enough bearing capacity
D. The design requirements were too high to achieve
Damage due to Differential Settlement
Tolerable Foundation Settlement for Structures on
Sand (Eurocode 1, 1993)

Total settlement
Isolated foundation 25 mm
Raft foundation 50 mm
Differential settlement between adjacent columns
Open frames 20 mm
Frames with flexible cladding or finishes 10 mm
Frame with rigid cladding or finishes 5 mm
Relative rotation (angular distortion)  1 / 500
Allowable Post-construction Settlement for High-speed
Railways (Chinese Ministry of Railways 2007)

New passenger train, General roadbed Bridge approach

design speed (km/h) (mm) (mm)

200-250 100 50

250-300 50 20

300-350 15 5

Subbase I

Subbase II

The Leaning
Tower of Pisa
 1173-1178: 19.6 m diameter
ring-shape footing & 3.5-story
tower. Tilting started.
 1360-1370: constructed to the
belfry, about 56 m tall, tilting
3  toward south

 1838: 2.5 m settlement.

Construction of the trench (to
see the beautiful carvings)
added 0.5 m settlement.
 End of 20th century: 5.5 °

tilting, top 5.2 m off plumb.

 1997-2001: soil extraction,
back to 5 .

Correcting the Tower Using Soil Extraction

Soil extraction (1997-2001): Back to 5.0 .

There was no intention to correct the tower to perfectly vertical.
• Types of foundations
• Design requirements
• Layout of foundations for high-rise buildings
International Commerce Center
• 118 floors, 484 m above ground
• 241 closely spaced shaft-grouted friction
• Founding level: – 60 mPD to -96 mPD
Foundation for International Commerce Center
Bank of China Tower 1985-1990

Main column



Grouting Caisson

Caisson Load (MN) Bell-out

D D+L +/- W Diameter (m)

 AA 327 380 131 10.5

BB 277 322 93 9.5
DD 180 209 98 8.2
EE 142 164 79 7.2
The Centre 1995-1998

The Center used four 24 m diameter caissons of an average depth of 45 m

as the principal foundation.
Shanghai Jinmao Tower

• 88 story /360 (420) m high

• Clay /silt
• 429 driven steel tube piles, d=914 mm, t =20
mm, L=83 m The Shanghai World Financial Center (left)
Taipei 101
508 m high
Taipei 101: Evenly Distributed Bored Piles

• Tower
 A B C D E F G H H.5 J K L M N P Q R S T


 – 380 bored piles
4  – 1.5 m diameter
 – 62 – 81 m length

7  – Socket into bedrock


Podium  – 15 – 33 m (Avg. 23 m)


10 • Podium
 – 167 bored piles


13  – 2.0 m diameter

 – 57 – 81 m length

 – Socket into bedrock
 – 5 -29 m (Avg. 15 m)


Burj Khalifa, Dubai 2004-2010
Height: 828 m

Tower area
• 196 bored piles
• D = 1.5 m, L = 47.45 m
• Raft at -7.55 m, thickness = 3.7 m

Podium Area
• D = 0.9 m, L = 30 m
• Raft at -4.85 m, thickness = 3.7 m
Introduction to the Geotechnical Engineering
Laboratory Session
Building collapse due to liquefaction in
1964 Niigata earthquake

In 1971, the upstream of  the lower San

Fernando dam in California failed about
a minute after the end of an
earthquake, an interesting punctuation
mark to the liquefaction debate at that
Soil Liquefaction

• A phenomenon where a saturated soil substantially loses

its strength and stiffness in response to an applied shear
stress, usually earthquake shaking, causing it to behave like
a liquid.
• The phenomenon is most often observed in saturated,
loose sandy soils.

Sand boils in liquefaction

Your Geotechnical Laboratory:
Laboratory Soil Liquefaction Tests

Water table

• Prepare saturated sand beds of different densities

• Shake the sand beds at different intensities
• Observe soil liquefaction
Test Objectives

• To gain insight into soil liquefaction and to identify the key

factors that influence soil liquefaction

Shaking intensity

Frequency Duration

Water content

Soil density
Geotechnical Lab Session

Week Date Time Session Group

13:00-14:50 LA 3 C1-C4
17 Nov 2015
17:00-18:50 LA 2 B1-B4
9:00-10:50 LA 4 D1-D4
19 Nov 2015
13:00-14:50 LA 1 A1-A4
13:00-14:50 LA 3 C5-C8
24 Nov 2015
17:00-18:50 LA 2 B5-B8
9:00-10:50 LA 4 D5-D8
26 Nov 2015
13:00-14:50 LA 1 A5-A8

Refer to “Lab Groups and Name Lists for Geotechnical

Engineering Experiments”