This paper presents results from a series of three-dimensional finite element analyses investigating the ultimate limit state of a circular skirted shallow foundation over a comprehensive range of combined vertical, moment and horizontal loading. Failure loci in V:M:H load space derived from the finite element analyses are compared with limit state predictions from the offshore industry design guidelines [1]. The comparison highlights considerable conservatism of the current design method largely due to poor representation of the response to fully combined loading and neglect of the tensile capacity achieved with foundation skirts. These shortcomings are particularly significant with respect to foundations for offshore conditions and result in an oversight of considerable potential load capacity in design.

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