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RE: Foundation Connection

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The provisions for tying pile caps and caisons was in response to concerns
that, as a result of poor (soft) soil, that foundations could spread thus
causing damage to the building.  The IBC provisionfor spread footings on
poor soil,  seems to parallel this concern.  Some plan checkers will
require tie beams anytime you use drilled piers even when the soil is
stiff, which does not make much sense.

It is generally assumed that where spread footings are appropriate, that
the soil is stiff enough to prevent significant displacement of the
foundation during earthquakes.

In many cases you will find that the slab on grade will adequately tie the
foundations together if adequately reinforced.  Too often people assume
that without a grade beam there is no restraint or that even a poorly
detailed grade beam provides restraint.   

Mark Gilligan 

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