Foundation Engineer

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Foundation engineers apply knowledge of geology, soil and rock mechanics, and structural engineering to the design and construction of foundations for infrastructure. At the most fundamental level, foundation engineers study characteristics of the Earth to select the most appropriate materials and design with which to construct foundations, such as determining the type and spacing of steel reinforcements in concrete footings. They establish foundation design parameters by testing for things like bearing capacity, allowable soil pressure, and the influence of slopes and adjacent foundations.

Foundation engineers also investigate existing or potential foundation deterioration, and make recommendations for repairs. They study the surrounding topography, seismic forces, and groundwater to predict damage to foundations and assess risks to human safety.

Foundation engineers are frequently employed by residential and multinational construction companies, local and federal governments, and structural engineering consultancy firms. Entry level positions typically require an undergraduate degree in civil (structural) engineering, and work experience in the field can be highly advantageous. Senior positions may require postgraduate qualifications in foundation engineering and/or extensive experience with foundation construction projects.