(Investigation and Recommendations)
Shallow foundations, such as in residential homes, are designed to have an adequate load capacity with limited settlement by a geotechnical engineer; the footing itself is designed structurally by a structural engineer.
Settlement and bearing capacity are the primary design concerns. When considering settlement, total settlement and differential settlement is normally considered. Differential settlement is when one part of a foundation settles more than another part. This can cause problems to the structure that the foundation is supporting. It is necessary that a foundation not be loaded beyond its bearing capacity or the foundation will fail.