A foundation is the supporting part of a structure that transmits the load from the superstructure to a suitably stable ground stratum.
Generally, a properly designed and performing foundation system should:
- support the mass of the structure without excessive settlement
- transfer large lateral earthquake loads between the structure and the ground (the design may achieve this by transferring load directly to a solid bearing stratum or spreading the load over a sufficiently large area)
- resist earthquake-induced overturning forces
- resist both transient and permanent ground deformations without inducing excessive displacements in the structure or in-plane distortions in elements supported by the structure (such as partitions and claddings).