Design Report of a family house on steep terrain (Civil Engineering, Geotechnics

Posted On Mar 31 2021

  1. Introduction

This assignment provides the opportunity for you to practice designing different foundation types under advanced conditions and researching the necessary standards and codes.

  1. Learning Outcomes to be assessed

1 - Design geotechnical structures to current codes under advanced conditions.

5 - Demonstrate understanding of the interaction between superstructure and substructure

3 Detail of the task – Family house on steep slope

This is an academic exercise based on the working information and constraints for a real geographical location.

You are appointed as geotechnical engineer to calculate and fulfil all requirements to build a family house on steep terrain. The house, designed by an architect, is presented in Figure 1.


Figure 1: Family house

The house has been specially designed for the terrain described below. Two boreholes indicated by V1 and V2 were drilled at this location, as shown in Figure 2, and the results are presented in Tables 1 and 2. This is only the nomenclature and it is expected that the geotechnical engineer will provide this information as borehole nomenclature according to the appropriate standard. The architect has determined that it would be safe to build the house on 8 piles. The piles are indicated by H01-H08. The distance between pile H01 and H02 is 20 m. The distance between piles H03-H08 is 3.6 m. The perpendicular distance between piles H03-H08 and piles H01-H02 is 5.2 m.


The load of the house should be assumed according to your preferences of the building material (bricks, wood, etc…). Consider variable loads if applicable.

The architect would like to sell this design to other locations around the world. As an expert in geotechnics, you should find one location where it would be possible to build this house and justify your selection.



Figure 2: Topographic map


The results from boreholes V1 and V2 are presented in Tables 1 and 2 and SPT was performed.

Table1: SPT results from V1


What you should hand in:

The level of the water table should be assumed where SC is indicated as wet.

Make use of the lecture notes and other appropriate references to estimate any additional parameters and correlation charts / formulae that you may need. The design should be based on Eurocode 7 and other current standards in use (British standard)



A report of no more than 2000 words (references, lists of content, figures, tables, etc are excluded), including hand-written calculations/typed up calculations and referencing appropriate to the Harvard format. The report should be submitted via Canvas.

Marking Scheme/Assessment Criteria

Presentation (10%)

It should be clear, concise and easy to read. It should contain all the vital information. Citations should be provided where appropriate in Harvard format.

Establishment of potential ground types/assumptions for site (20%)

You should provide the ground type according to the data provided in the assignment and any additional assumed geotechnical parameters needed for calculations. Provide the borehole nomenclatures and the cross-section of the terrain and all other information needed for the successful construction of the family house on steep slope. You should also search for a potential location where this type of family house could be built and justify the selection of the terrain. Focus on the ground type, only.

State any issues that could impact the design. State how this has influenced your choice of foundation and therefore the likely implications for the design of the foundation type.


Independent research (15%)

This requires you to demonstrate the extent of any investigation you have undertaken as to the standards needing to be followed to design the foundation accurately.

Detailed design (40%)

Use this section to specify the likely loadings the foundation may be under, the size, shape and nature of the foundation with calculations showing that the foundation will be able to support all the forces necessary to the appropriate European codes. Hand calculations should be shown and scanned into the document and either be referenced in the main body or be available to be checked in the appendices. A significant penalty on this section will be given for no hand calculations.

Reflection (15%)

How has your thinking developed over the assignment? Are there any other design options that may be viable? What problems may you encounter on site that could affect the successful completion of the project? Are there any ways to mitigate those risks?

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