What Are Footings in Construction?

Footings are structural elements that support and distribute the weight of a building or other construction project to the ground. Footings, typically crafted from concrete, are structures situated below the ground level and they act as a foundation for a building. Their primary function is to provide a sturdy base for the building’s foundation, reducing the likelihood of any sinking or shifting over time. In any construction project, footings are one of the most critical components, as they play a pivotal role in ensuring the stability and durability of the structure.

There are several different types of footings, including strip footings, isolated footings, and raft footings. Each type is designed for a specific purpose and has its unique features and benefits.

What Are the Types of Footings?

  • Strip Footings: Strip footings are the most common type of footings used in construction. They consist of a strip of concrete that runs along the length of the wall and supports the weight of the wall and any load-bearing columns or beams. Strip footings are used for shallow foundations and are typically no more than 1.2 meters deep.
  • Isolated Footings: Isolated footings are used to support single columns or pillars. They consist of a concrete pad that is isolated from the surrounding soil by a layer of gravel or crushed stone. Isolated footings are typically used for smaller structures, such as single-story houses or small commercial buildings.
  • Raft Footings: For larger structures such as bridges or high-rise buildings, raft footings serve as the ideal foundation. These footings are made up of a broad, flat concrete slab that covers the entire building’s footprint. The key advantage of using raft footings is that they disperse the building’s weight over a more substantial area, thereby minimizing the settling or shifting of the structure over time.

Footings are structural elements that transfer loads from the building or structure to the ground. They are designed to distribute the weight of the building over a larger area of soil, which helps to prevent settling or sinking. The type of footing that is used for a particular structure will depend on some factors, including the size and weight of the structure, the type of soil on which it will be built, and the local building codes and regulations.

Some Common Types of Footings Are:

  • Strip footings: These are also known as spread footings and are used for shallow foundation designs. They consist of a continuous strip of concrete that runs along the length of the load-bearing wall and are ideal for supporting light to moderate loads.
  • Raft footings: Raft footings are used for larger structures and are designed to spread the weight of the building over a larger area. They consist of a concrete slab that covers the entire area of the building.
  • Pile footings: Pile footings are used in areas where the soil is not strong enough to support the weight of the building. They consist of long, slender columns or piles that are driven deep into the ground, and are often used for high-rise buildings, bridges, and other large structures.
  • Combined footings: These are used when two or more columns are close to each other and cannot be supported by individual pad footings. They consist of a combination of strip footings and pad footings and are designed to distribute the load from the columns evenly over a larger area.

Uses For Footings

Here are some specific uses for footings:

  • Foundation support: Footings provide a solid base for the foundation walls of a structure. They distribute the weight of the walls and any additional loads evenly across the ground, preventing the foundation from sinking or shifting.
  • Wall support: Footings also provide support for the walls of a building. By spreading the load evenly across the ground, they prevent the walls from cracking, buckling, or collapsing.
  • Column support: Footings can be used to support columns that bear the weight of a structure, providing a stable and secure base. This helps to prevent any movement or sinking of the columns over time, ensuring the long-term stability and safety of the structure.
  • Load distribution: Footings help to distribute the weight of a structure evenly across the ground, which is especially important in areas with unstable soil or a high water table. By distributing the weight, footings help to prevent settlement or sinking.
  • Seismic protection: In areas prone to earthquakes, footings can be designed to provide additional seismic protection. They can be reinforced with steel or other materials to help absorb seismic forces and prevent structural damage.
  • Moisture control: Footings can also be designed to provide moisture control for a structure. By installing a moisture barrier or a drainage system, footings can help to prevent water from penetrating the foundation and causing damage.


Footing is a critical component of any construction project, as they provide a stable foundation for the structure being built. The type and size of the footings required will depend on some factors, including the soil conditions, the load capacity of the structure, and the local building codes and regulations. Proper construction and installation of footings are essential for the stability and safety of the overall structure.

This includes ensuring that the footings are placed on a stable and level surface, using the appropriate reinforcement materials, and adhering to all relevant building codes and regulations.

Read more about footings in construction in Malvern East to understand what footings are and why they are necessary.

Written by Nivi Watson