Mr J.T.Pidgeon Pr Eng., is the founder and CEO of the Raft Foundation Solutions Group. He is a South African citizen who graduated from the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine (a constituent college of the University of London) in 1973, with a first class honours degree and ACGI in Civil Engineering. In 1974 he obtained a Master’s degree in Soil Mechanics and DIC also from IC, and immigrated to South Africa that same year.

In May 1987 he established several companies in South Africa specialising in the research, design, development and construction of stiffened raft foundations on all types of soil and rock profiles. In addition he has been actively involved in the inspection and repair of structures founded on inadequate or inappropriate foundations. He continues to be active in research and has invented and patented a large number of foundation systems, including the extremely successful Waffle Raft®, WafflesonTM, i-WaffleTM and ScotsmanTM, which are aimed at pushing the envelope in cost effectiveness so that raft foundations can be considered seriously as viable alternatives to strip footings in non-problem soil areas on the one hand, and to piled foundations in the case of large structures founded on highly problematic soil profiles, on the other.

More than 30 million square meters of Waffle Raft® has been constructed in various parts of Africa and the Arabian Gulf since 1988. This includes South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Mozambique and Dubai. All our various foundation system or components are protected internationally by either patents, and/or design registrations, copyrights and/or trademarks. For over 24 years, Waffle Raft Foundations have been tested on a wide range of soil profiles and a wide range of sizes and configurations of top-structure. Both their economy and performance remain unrivalled. During this time period, most of the installed rafts have been subjected to extremes of rainfall and draught, and in spite of this, reported damage to the rafts themselves as well as the superstructures, stands at less than 0.001% of their total value.

Our ultimate goal is to gain world-wide acceptance, for all our foundation systems. By using a combination of advanced technology at the design stage, and innovative fast-track construction techniques, it is intended to deliver our rafts at highly competitive prices, without sacrificing either performance or quality. We aim to maintain our leadership position in this field by adopting a programme of ongoing research and development linked to long term monitoring of our rafts performance.

RFS also carries out targeted geotechnical site investigations, together with associated in-situ and laboratory soil testing, in accordance with and in some respects exceeding the requirements of GFSH-2, SANS 634 and EUROCODE 7, in a way that achieves more valuable foundation design information.

WHAT MAKES THE WAFFLE RAFT® A SUPERIOR FOUNDATION SYSTEM?

The Waffle Raft® combines maximum strength and stiffness with minimum cost by optimising the use of concrete and steel. Compared to other systems it is therefore not necessary to make savings by means of reducing the design parameters, which would inevitably increase the risk of cracking.

Each different house type is provided with a customised raft design taking into account localised soil conditions. The very latest state-of-the-art methods are used in the analysis and design processes. The design method has been developed using advanced non-linear finite element techniques, together with the results of more than 30 years of research and successful practical implementation.

RAFT FOUNDATION SOLUTIONS ensures through a system of accreditation that the constructors of the WAFFLE RAFT® are provided with the necessary training to enable them to produce a top-class quality product and that high standards are maintained. Product development is carried out on an ongoing basis. The influence on raft performance of material properties, raft shape and loadings, beam configurations and design assumptions are under continuous investigation. Raft construction techniques are also constantly being improved in order to increase productivity and contain costs. Over 25 million square metres of experience!

IS THE WAFFLE RAFT® A LABOUR INTENSIVE FOUNDATION SYSTEM?

The Waffle Raft® can be regarded as a labour intensive system although a more correct term would actually be ‘labour productive’. Large numbers of unskilled workers are required for the preparation removing the spoil excavated by the trenching machine, cleaning out the trenches and placing the concrete.

It is worth nothing however that by using the trenching machine, the most unpopular and unproductive element of the work is mechanised resulting in vastly improved speed of construction and overall productivity. The nett result is that more labour is required for the easier tasks in order to ensure that the machine is fully utilised and the more rapid turnaround time per foundation results in reduced costs of supervision and overheads. In addition the savings in the cost of materials which result from the design optimisation can be used to build more houses which naturally result in the creation of more job opportunities.

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