Project Description

Developer led new build, Standlake

This project is a new traditionally built 5-bedroom house in Standlake, West Oxfordshire, for a developer.

Our local knowledge of the area meant that we could anticipate gravel ground conditions with a potentially high water table. To avoid an extensive ground investigation report we commissioned trial pitting to be undertaken to establish the level of the gravel and the water table to confirm our suspicions.

Armed with the knowledge from the trial pits we discussed the foundation options with the client; shallow strip foundations or a raft foundation.

For cost reasons the client’s preference was shallow strips but we were concerned about the made ground collapsing around the foundations as they were being dug out. We suggested a test trench to establish if this option was feasible. It became apparent that this solution wasn’t practical as the ground was collapsing as it was being dug, so we designed a raft foundation to float above the water table (see image below).

SWJ Piled raft solutions illustration

SWJ Piled raft solutions illustration

An additional benefit of having a raft foundation above the water table was a cleaner site. Keeping the raft foundation shallow and placed on the gravel layer meant there were less issues with muck away that is always an issue when there is increased rainfall.

Very wet soil and materials will not be accepted by the yards that would normally take the soil. Groundworkers must dump and dry out the soil before they can dispose of it, meaning and increase costs and vehicle movements.

The superstructure was straightforward with a façade of natural Cotswold stone.

The value we brought to this project was our local knowledge. This saved time and budget as we were able to avoid an extensive ground investigation report. We were also then able to give the client options for the foundations. By trialling a shallow strip foundation, the client could see the issues and was reassured that the more expensive raft foundation was the right option.

If you have a new build project in Oxfordshire it is worth speaking to us because of our extensive local knowledge and experience with foundation solutions for all types of soils and challenges.

Give us a call on 01993 225085 (Witney) or 02381 920656 (Southampton) or email


Project Team

Client: Private Client

Architect: Bourne9 Architectural Design Services

Contractor: Cordiem Ltd