SE-006 Design of Residential Foundations

SE-006 Design of Residential Foundations – PHOTO

Design of Residential Foundations

The Design of Residential Foundations course is part of our Structural Course Category and provides guidance on design and construction of residential foundations. The course includes information on concrete (plain and reinforced), masonry (unreinforced and reinforced), and other type of foundation structures (insulated concrete forms and wood foundation walls).

A foundation supports and anchors the superstructure of a building and transfers all loads (including those from flood, wind, or seismic events) imposed on it directly to the ground. Foundations distribute the loads to the earth over an adequate area so that loads do not exceed the bearing capacity of the soil and so that lateral movement or settlement is minimized. In cold climates, the bottom of the foundation must be below the frost line to prevent freeze-thaw damage and frost heave of the footing.

A foundation in residential construction may consist of a footing, wall, slab, pier, pile, or a combination of these elements. This course addresses the following foundation types:

  • Crawl space
  • Basement
  • Slab-on-grade with stem wall
  • Monolithic slab
  • Piles
  • Piers
  • Alternative methods

This course is based on Chapter 4 of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development document “Residential Structural Design Guide”, Second Edition.

This course is intended for use by civil  and structural engineers, design and construction professionals, students and others interested in learning about design of residential foundations.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Discuss different materials used in residential foundation construction
  • Demonstrate how to establish soil safe load bearing capacity and size of footings
  • Design plain and reinforced concrete footings
  • Design reinforced and unreinforced masonry and concrete foundation walls, including lintels
  • Describe other type of foundation walls such as Preservative-Treated Wood Foundation Walls and Insulating Concrete Form Foundation Walls
  • Explain design and construction of slabs on grade
  • Discuss pile foundation design and construction
  • Discuss and explain frost protection measures
  • Perform step by step design of residential building foundations

Course Content

Total learning: 1 lesson / 1 quiz



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  • Kegan Provost

  • Joshua Root

  • Andrew Berg

    tricky questions
  • Henry Chandler


    There are several questions with incorrect answers or without the correct answer. Not too sure I would take this course again because a certain number of questions/answers are automatically wrong. PDH STAR response: Thank you for your comment. We checked the answer key for the quiz and we did find that, out of the 40 questions, one question had an incorrect answer and one did not have a correct answer allocated. We have already corrected this. Thank you again for the feedback.
  • Jeffrey Shaw


    When I took the quiz and reviewed the questions I missed, I found that either I was correct and the quiz was wrong, or there was wrong information in the text. These mistakes should be fixed. PDH STAR Response: Thank you for your comment. If you press the number of the next question instead of pressing the Next button, your answer will not be recorded. Hope this helps.

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