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Case Studies


Across the Northern Periphery of Europe the use of foundations, and in this case of roundpole foundations is split between those areas where permafrost exists, and where it doesn’t. This may help to explain the presence of the rock counterweight solution which, viewed from a British perspective seems peculiarly amateur, but in areas where it is hardly possible to penetrate the ground either because it is permanently frozen, or because there is no soil, only rock, then the solution becomes one of the only possible solutions.

Another parameter that needs to be addressed is that the design lifespan of the structure will have a significant impact on the technique chosen.

It is worth noting in respect of foundation design that the use of poles in submerged conditions has been commonly used to prolong the life of timber foundations indefinitely.


(source: Buro Happold)
Poles buried directly into the ground will have a relatively short life which can be improved by treatment, gravel or concrete surround although any solution will only be temporary.
Ground Screw
(source: Buro Happold)
Ground screws can be used as foundations having resistance to both upward and downward loads and provide a less intrusive alternative to piles, trenches and the like.
Spiked Cup
(source: Buro Happold)
A spiked cup or other intermediary such as a steel plate in concrete can prevent the timber getting, and staying wet and so considerably prolong the life of the structure.
Rock counterweight
(source: Buro Happold)
An extremely simple, ‘low tech’ and temporary solution where stability and resistance to overturning and uplift is supplied by mass such as rocks.
Submerged Piles
(source: Goy)
Extracted from a book on Roman foundation techniques, this demonstrates the use of roundpole in permanently submerged conditions which in fact prolong the life of the timber indefinitely.