The combined raft, soil and pile foundation system has reached a high level of familiarity and is now being used to support a large number of structures. When the bearing capacity of the raft foundation is acceptable but the settlement value exceeds the permissible limit, raft-soil system is reinforced with piles to reduce settlement. Here, piles act as settlement reducers to the raft-soil foundation system. Different researchers have studied the effect of varying pile, raft and soil parameters on the settlement response and load-sharing behaviour of the raft and piles in a combined raft, soil and pile foundation system but less attention has been paid to the stress response behaviour of the raft. As this aspect is considered to be important from economics of raft design, a study has been performed to understand the stress response of the raft on the introduction of piles. The stress response of the raft for varying load conditions, Ec/Es ratios, thicknesses of raft and diameters of pile have been studied by performing numerical analyses on the foundation system supporting a moderately loaded 12-storeyed real-time commercial structure located in Chennai, India. An attempt has been made to study the applicability of Equivalent Pier concept. The above analyses were performed for two different layouts of piles. The behaviour of the stress and settlement responses of the raft reinforced with piles was compared with unpiled raft. Staad-Pro V8i and Ansys 16.0 have been used for the study and this paper presents observations and discussions from the study. © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd 2020.