Frank Van der Woude (B.E, PhD)

The objective of my blog is to raise the engineering community’s awareness of serious tissues with current application of Australian Standard AS2870 – Residential slabs and footings (2011). Your comments will be very much appreciated. Please use the form at the bottom of any page if you allow me to post your comment, otherwise please Email a private comment. Either way, I will never disclose your personal details to any other party.


AS2870 regulates site classification, design, construction and maintenance of residential slabs and footings. Coincidentally with the introduction of AS2870 in 1986, I started a consulting engineering practice in and around Brisbane, specializing in residential slab and footing design. Because Local Authorities required professional engineer certification of residential slab and footing designs, I diligently assessed the structural adequacy of standard designs prescribed in AS2870. Rudimentary engineering calculations raised my initial concern that some standard slabs were not strong enough to withstand the combined effects of static loading and dynamic foundation movement they had supposedly been designed to withstand. Subsequent in-depth research revealed that the theory underlying the prescription of standard slabs in AS2870 is fundamentally flawed, consequently causing an unprecedented and unsustainable level of incidence of structural damage. Moreover, application of AS2870, in its present prescriptive format, effectively prevents owners of prematurely damaged houses from proceeding to litigation to seek compensation for potentially huge damage repair costs.


Welcome to my engineering blog — 2 Comments

  1. Hi Frank,
    I found your blog while I was searching the internet for a practical explanation of “characteristic surface movement”. Although I haven’t resolved my initial problem, I did find your investigations into slab failure and the flaws in AS2870 to be very interesting. Not having a civil engineering background, the more technical information you presented (along with some of the terminology) was a little deep for me, but the last page about slab heave made perfect sense from a logical standpoint. Sometimes I regret choosing mechanical engineering instead of civil. Oh well.

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