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Expansive Soil

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    I am designing a two-storied religious building (14000 sft each
floor) in concrete.  Foundation is on extremely plastic soil with heave
potential.  The slabs are to be flat type and the spans are nearly 30ft
x 30ft in the main hall.
    The soil engineer asked for a stiff footing system so I went for mat
type footing with 40% openings.  Now that the foundations are
constructed, the outer retaining walls (no basement, plinth of the
building is 4ft above EGL) have cracked at the middle.  I assured the
owner that once the building is constructed, its weight will counteract
the ground forces and the cracks will go away.
    The owners, are worried that if its cracking before construction,
God knows what may happen later.
    Any Help?

S A Masroor
Cons Str Engr
Karachi, Pakistan

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