If anyone asks you what the best material to lay a foundation with, to build a house on, 9 times out of 10 you are likely to say concrete. While concrete is probably the best material to hold a house up, it is certainly not the only one in the market. Wood is some times scoffed at. It will get wet and rot away right? It will leak. It will not last long enough, or it may just crumble. While that is true, the same things can happen to concrete, foundation cracks are common enough. If water is not managed properly, it will seep through and destroy it.
Wood and water get along well, so wooden foundations normally get placed on a rock bed that acts as a filter and as a steady footing base. A good spraying of urethane foam between the wood and rocks will seal it in and hold it steady as the rest of the house gets built on it. This will also keep the gases from coming through the floor and will keep it warm. The washed rock base will drain out any water that may come near the foundation.
You must have seen wood get eaten away by fungi and other insects like termites. Preserved wood is a type of wood that is treated with a certain concentration of salts that make it inedible to termites and mold. There is very little chance of it getting damaged or rotting away. The wood in itself is called foundation grade lumber.
There are a number of specs and technical aspects that have to be taken care of when building. Structural integrity of a building depends entirely on how accurate the calculations and other aspects of the engineering is done. If done with care, foundation cracks can be entirely avoided. Wooden structures that fail, fail not because of the wood, but because builders do not put enough care into the construction.
If you are building a new home, consider all the options before you settle down with a foundation. Wood may not be suitable for a certain type of building type, and concrete may not be needed for your house. It all comes down to personal preference and environmental impacts. Just keep in mind that wooden foundations have proven to be strong and reliable and have held up some of the most beautiful buildings in the world, for hundreds of years now.