In the building arena, the footing or foundation is the critical first step that must be undertaken for any structure. If that is not done properly than you are bound to have problems at some point in time.
In these two photos you can see that the footings were set barely in the sand and concrete was poured around them.
Yet as you can see this system will work for a time but the sand is a very moving thing and it would have been far better to have dug these holes done to at least 5 or 6′ deep drill some short pieces of rebar through the post in two directions and then pour concrete down there and fill the rest with sand. It would be virtually impossible to lift up and the only potential issue comes from the snapping of the timbers themselves but the footing would be much better and surely wouldn’t topple over creating the mess below.
Due to the shallow footings and the high winds of a hurricane the structure started to give as the wind blew and as it shifted the structure took on a new force,kicking the footings up and send the tower to the ground.
In the north, we also put footings down at least 4′ due to the frost potential. In the winter, frost can go down deeply into the soil and the frost crystal adhere to the footing or foundation if too shallow. Picture and ice cube in a tray. When the ice expands it sometimes forces the cube to rise up in the tray. This is what happens with frost in the north. Now when spring comes, the frost lets go and the structure sinks down again. Problems will start.
It really doesn’t matter where you are but footings and foundations are what a structure relies on to stay put. If they aren’t done correctly from the start it’s generally just a matter of when the problem will occur. But it will!