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Foundation Underpinning

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Underpinning thread (responses to Kate O'Brien's inquiry) is fascinating.  I
notice no one has mentioned soil amendment.  Just a thought, but if Kate
really does have a significant increase in soil pressure there are
relatively inexpensive techniques involving grout injection which can
locally improve bearing capacity of weak soils.  The costs and risks of
underpinning (including Bill Allen's comments about loss of
confinement/compaction, which is quite thought provoking, as well as the
danger of settlement during implementation) are not insignificant.

I think we (structural designers) sometimes forget to think about (or are
reluctant to pursue) solutions to structural problems that are in part
"non-structural" and therefore require us to coordinate with other members
of the design team.  The soils engineer coming up with an amendment scheme
and overseeing its implementation would probably command a bigger fee than
Kate got for her whole structural design, but it seems to me at least
possible that this might be the most cost effective way of protecting the
owner's investment.

Drew A. Norman, S.E.