Click here for our cancellation and refund policy.

Free Webinar - Design of Slab on Grade for Light Buildings on Shrink Swell Soils

December 18, 2018
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
 Add to Calendar

S&ME, Inc.,
6190 Enterprise Court
Dublin, OH 43016

  • Offered for free to Central Ohio Section ASCE Members
  • Seating is limited to the first 25 people
  • Bring your own lunch


Sponsored by ASCE Continuing Education and the Geo-Institute (G-I).  

INSTRUCTOR:  Jean-Louis Briaud, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, Dist.M.ASCE

Purpose and Background

The damage to houses built on shrink swell soils has been reported as being the most expensive disaster in the USA ahead of floods, hurricanes and earthquakes. While nobody dies, the structure deforms and cracks and the repairs can be very expensive. The best solution is to design a foundation which is stiff enough that the soil can deform while the deformation of the structure is limited to an acceptable level. In addition to this certain measures including good drainage will minimize the soil movement.

There are several types of foundation which are commonly used, some are good and some are bad. The good ones include the stiffened slab on grade for lighter structures and the elevated structural slab on piles for taller structures. The bad ones include the slab on grade and on piles and the thin flexible slabs. The stiffened slab on grade is the most economical foundation solution for houses on shrink swell soils.

This webinar presents a new design method developed at Texas A&M University over the last 15 years for stiffened slabs on grade. It includes the methodology to arrive at the final method, the design charts and how to use them, an example foundation design, a monitored case history, and an Excel spreadsheet to automate the design process. Participants will receive the Excel spreadsheet as part of the webinar.

Primary Discussion Topics

  • Houses on shrink swell soils
  • Shrink swell soils behavior
  • House foundations solutions
  • Design example
  • Case history
  • Dos and Don'ts for good house maintenance

Learning Outcomes

  • Explain the reason for distress in one to two story buildings on shrink swell soils
  • Explain the role of water tension in soil behavior
  • List the steps in the design of stiffened slabs on grade on shrink swell soils by the new method
  • Use the spread sheet which automates the design of stiffened slabs on grade on shrink swell soils

Webinar Benefits

  • Find out why houses on shrink swell soils crack
  • Find out what are the good and bad solutions for foundations of houses on shrink swell soils
  • Avoid costly errors in choosing foundations for houses on shrink swell soils
  • Examine the results of a full scale case history
  • Learn a new simple approach for the design of stiffened slab on grade
  • Learn the dos and don'ts of house maintenance to minimize damage of houses on shrink swell soils
  • Obtain a spread sheet to automate the new method

Webinar Outline

  • Behavior of houses on shrink swell soils
    • Why do soils shrink and swell
    • The three zones of soils under a house
    • Tests to measure the shrinking and swelling
    • Typical house deformation
  • Important design parameters
    • Water tension also called suction
    • Depth of the active zone
    • Change in water content over the seasons
    • The weather, the soil, the structure
  • Development of the method
  • Behavior of flexible covers on shrink swell soils
  • Behavior of stiff slabs on unevenly deformed soil surface
  • The soil weather index
  • The design charts
  • Application of the method
    • Example design
    • Dallas foundation tests
    • College Station case history
    • Use of the spreadsheet TAMU-SLAB escription to come


The Central Ohio Section of ASCE sponsors free continuing education webinars as a service to our members. These webinars are produced by ASCE and normally cost $250 or $300 for ASCE members. However, the Central Ohio Section is paying the registration fee and inviting any interested section members to attend for free. Just RSVP by the deadline. Seating is limited, so do not delay.

The Central Ohio Section is partnering with ASCE to promote live and on-demand webinars. Use the Promo Code WEBCENOHSEC when signing up and ASCE will provide a portion of the registration fee to the Section to use toward more free webinars. Thank you for your support!

ASCE’s live webinars provide cost-effective training for large and small groups. Click HERE for a complete list of available live webinars.

ASCE’s on-demand webinars provide real-world knowledge and convenient delivery to fit your demanding schedule. Click HERE for a complete list of available on-demand webinars.



$0.00 Webinar RSVP