In the conventional rigid method the mat is assumed to be infinitely rigid and the bearing pressure against the bottom of the mat follows a planar distribution where the centroid of the bearing pressure coincides with the line of action of the resultant force of all loads acting on the mat. The procedure of design is as follows:

1. The column loads of all the columns coming from the superstructure are calculated as per standard practice. The loads include live and dead loads.

2. Determine the line of action of the resultant of all the loads. However, the weight of the mat is not included in the structural design of the mat because every point of the mat is supported by the soil under it, causing no flexural stresses.

3. Calculate the soil pressure at desired locations by the use of Eq. (12.73a)

4. The mat is treated as a whole in each of two perpendicular directions. Thus the total shear force acting on any section cutting across the entire mat is equal to the arithmetic sum of all forces and reactions (bearing pressure) to the left (or right) of the section. The total bending moment acting on such a section is equal to the sum of all the moments to the left (or right) of the section.