Sorry I missed your post and I presume you have had this sorted by now, BUT
the only reason I can think that they upgraded your slab is to account for disturbance of the natural soil when the existing house was removed. When the footings were demolished the builder could have taken great care to compact the soil back into each and every hole. This would have increased the cost of demolition and earthworks. Instead I think they have used a stronger waffle slab design to account for some soft spots left in the ground.
Is this how it was eventually explained to you?
Your experience with waffle slabs - good and bad
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