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Sect. I.
1881. In the
previous chapter, the principal materials used in building haxB been
this cliapter will explain how those materials may be most advantageously
employed ; but we shall net, in tlie various branches of practical building, agHin touch
on the materi lis themselves, which have been already sufficiently desi?ribed. The most
important of a.l considerationsa due regard to the foundations on which a biiihlitg
is to standwill be first entered upon. The advice of Vitruvius may still be followed.
In England, the recent introJuction of concrete has superscnled the use of wood under
walls in the earth
and piles are now quite exploded, except f-ometimes for the piers
of bridges and other sittiations in which they can constantly be kept wet.
1882. The best soils fur receiving th^ foundations of a building are rock, gravel, or
close-pressed strong sandy earth; "but," says L. B. Alberti, "we must never trust too
h.asiily to any ground, though it may resist the pick-axe, for it may be in a plain, and be
infirm, the consequence of which miiiht be the ruin of the whole work. I have seen a
tower at Mestre, a place belonging to the Venetians, which, in a few years after it was
built, made its w;iy through the ground it stood upon
this, as the fact evinced, was a
loose weak soil, and buried itself in etrth up to the very battlements. Fur this reason,
they are very much to be blamed who, not being proviiled by nature with a soil fit to
support the weight of an edifice, and lighting upon the ruins or remains of some old
structure, do not take the pains to examine the goodness of the foundation, but incon-
siderately raise groat piles of building upon it, and out of the avarice of saving a little
expense, throw away all the money they lay out in the work. It is, therefore, excellent
advice, the first thing you do, to dig wells, for several reasons, and especially in order to pet
acquainted with the strata of the earth, whether sound enough to bear the superstructure,
or likely to give way.'' It is impor'AJt, previous to laying the foundations, to drain them
completely, if possible, not only from tho rain and other water that would lie about, but
from the land water which is, as it were, pent up in tlae surrounding soil. In soft, loose,
and boggy ground, the use of concrete wilt be found very great ; and in these soils, more-
over, the wi 1th and depth it should be thrown in should, as well as the lower courses of the
foundation, be proporiioned inversely to the badness of the soil. Clay of the plastic kind is
a I'ad foundation, on account of the continual clianges, from heat and moisture, to which it is
subject, and which often cause it so to expand and cot. tract as to produce very a'arming
settlements in a building. The best remedy against this inconvenience is to tie the Malls
together by means of chain plates, buried in the centre of the footings, and on the top of
the landings that rest on the concrete
these plates to be, of course, connectedat the return-
ing angles, so as to encompass the whole building. In these cases, the clay must be
vated to make room for the concrete. This will be found an eflectual remedy in clay soils.
1883. By the Metropolitan Building Act, no building can be erscted upon any site
which shall have been filled up or covered with impure matter enumerat d in the Act ; it
must be removed first, and any holes, if not used for basements, must be filled in with hard
br;ck or dry ru'ljish. Gene;ally, if the soil be a souiyl gravel, it will want little more
than ramming with heavy rammers
aud if the building be not v^ry heavy, not even that.
1884. Where vaults and cellars are practised, the whole of the soil must, of course, he
excavated; but where they are not required, trenches are dug to receive the walls, which,
in both cases, must be proportioned in strength to the weight of the intended super-
structure and its height. In general terms, we may direct the depth of foundations to
a sixth part of the height of the building, and the thickness of the walls twice that of
those that are raised upon them. Care must be taken that that which is to receive the
footings of the walls be equable ; otherwise, where external and internal walls are connected
together, the former, being the heaviest, may settle more than the latter, thereby causing
fractures, which, though not. perhaps, dangerous, are extremely disagreeahle in appearance.
The lower courses, which are called the footings of the wall, are often laid dry
and, per-
hnps, at all events, a sparing useof mortar in a spot loafed with the greatest pressure should
be preferred. If the footings be of stone, very parlicular attention should be bestowed on
placing the stone in the courses in the same direction or bed as it l,iy in the quarry, to
prevent it splitting. The above mentioned Act requires that the foundaiions of the
walls of every house or building shall be formed of a bed of concrete not less than