Foundations Construction Site Large Structure Cranes

Understand foundational challenges

Exponent provides multidisciplinary expertise for addressing design challenges for shallow and deep foundations, including during and post construction.

Review foundation designs, assess construction challenges, and analyze failures with an integrated, multidisciplinary approach

Exponent has extensive experience evaluating the performance of foundation systems — structural elements that support a building or structure and connect it to the ground. Our engineers  draw on decades of consulting in the areas of geology and geotechnical, structural, and materials engineering, enabling us to provide a multidisciplinary approach for foundation design review, assessment of foundation construction challenges, and analysis of foundation failure.

Foundations can generally be classified into two broad categories: shallow foundations and deep foundations

Shallow foundations transfer structural loads to near-surface soils and are typically used for small- to medium-sized structures when near-surface soil conditions are adequate. They are occasionally used for large structures when the near-surface ground conditions are particularly favorable, such as the presence of shallow bedrock, and they can be used where unfavorable near-surface soil conditions have been modified by ground improvement techniques, such as with removal and recompaction, stone columns, compaction grouting, soil mixing, and/or soil surcharging.

Deep foundations transfer some of a structure's entire load to deeper soils and are considerably more expensive and complex than shallow foundation systems. Because the bearing capacity of soil often increases with depth, deep foundations generally possess higher structural load capacities relative to shallow foundations. Deep foundations are typically used when encountering adverse near-surface soil conditions (i.e., soft clays, collapsible soils, and/or expansive soils), and when structural load requirements are large enough to warrant the additional cost of deep foundations, or when a high lateral load capacity is needed.

Our Capabilities Are Unparalleled

With expertise in over 90 disciplines and hundreds of capabilities, tools, and methodologies — we get to the root of even the most complex challenges and give you the objective answers you need.


Our global and comprehensive expertise across industries gives us a deep understanding of current challenges, best industry practices, and the implications of emerging technologies.