Geotechnical Foundation Systems

  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Requirements & Materials

Geotechnical Foundation Systems

Course Description

The structural loads of buildings, bridges, towers, and other civil engineering projects must somehow be transmitted to the underlying natural geomaterials using a foundation system that is safe, stable, and economical. Since site-specific information is required for each particular structure, an emphasis is made on the use of geotechnical in-situ testing for a rational and proper assessment of the ground. The Geotechnical Foundation Systems course reviews analytical procedures for the evaluation of shallow and deep foundation systems. You will discover methods for calculating ultimate bearing capacity (limit plasticity solutions) and load-displacement behavior (elasticity theory). For deep foundation systems, you will learn additional considerations for evaluating side resistance by effective stress approach and direct cone penetration test methods. Many case studies are intermingled throughout the course to illustrate the analytical procedures and verify their applicability.

Course Content


  • Overburden stress profiles
  • Critical state soil mechanics for dummies
  • Geotechnical site characterization 2014
    • In-situ testing
    • Geophysics
    • Geoparameter evaluation


  • Bearing capacity by limit equilibrium
  • Capacity by limit plasticity theory
  • Interpenetration of "capacity" from load tests
  • Case studies on bearing capacity


  • Stress distribution beneath surface loaded areas
  • Displacement influence factors
  • Approximate solutions using spreadsheets
  • Direct CPT methods for footing response
  • Foundations on fractured and jointed rock


  • Driven pilings versus bored/augered/drilled deep foundations
  • Interpretation of pile load tests
  • Calculation of axial pile capacity
  • Load Resistance Factor Design (LRFD)


  • Axial load-displacement response of deep foundations
  • Drilled shaft response in Piedmont residuum
  • Evaluating axial pile response from CPT (2009 O'Neill lecture)
  • Nonlinear pile response from seismic cone tests
  • Lateral and moment capacity of pile foundations


Requirements & Materials



  • Hard copy of notes from PowerPoint slides (approximately 250 pages)
  • DVD with approximately 360 PDF files on Georgia Tech technical documents related to shallow foundations, piling and deep foundations, and in-situ testing

Who Should Attend

This course is designed for geotechnical engineers, geologists, structural engineers, architects, site planners, developers, real-estate developers, and construction firms involved with buildings, foundation installation, and land construction.

Working professional attending an engineering course

What You Will Learn

  • Geotechnical site characterization, including in-situ testing and geophysics
  • Shallow foundations, including footings and mats
  • Ground modification techniques
  • Deep foundation systems, including driven pilings, bored, and augered piles
  • Axial, lateral, and moment load displacement evaluations
Civil engineers reviewing construction plans on job site

How You Will Benefit

  • Employ geotechnical in-situ testing for a rational and proper assessment of the ground regarding soil and rock type, stress state, strength, and stiffness.
  • Review analytical procedures for the evaluation of shallow foundation systems and deep foundations.
  • Evaluate side resistance through effective stress approach and direct method using cone penetration testing.
  • Learn about axial load-transfer distributions, full-scale load testing, installation effects, and force-displacement relationships.
  • Taught by Experts in the Field icon
    Taught by Experts in the Field
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The course schedule was well-structured with a mix of lectures, class discussions, and hands-on exercises led by knowledgeable and engaging instructors.

- Abe Kani


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