In this paper, the PLAXIS 3-D Foundation finite element (FE) software package, in conjunction with the nonlinear Hardening Soil (HS) constitutive model, is employed in an extensive parametric study of the angular distortion of piled foundations. Angular distortion has been documented as the most influential settlement characteristic in the cracking of buildings. Numerical results are appraised in the context of the acceptable limits for angular distortion, recommended in the literature and set down in geotechnical building codes, since there is currently no guidance in the literature on appropriate pile cap rigidities for remaining safely within these limits. The results of the parametric study were validated by a comparison to the measured differential settlement characteristics from buildings and full-scale pile groups documented in the literature for which a good agreement was obtained. In addition, the numerical data has been formulated into a set of fully-normalised trends. Although a relatively wide range of variables are considered in the parametric study, a consistent trend between the average settlement performance and angular distortion for corresponding pile cap rigidities was evident. These trends present design engineers with a useful resource for estimating the angular distortion of piled foundations. (C) 2015 The Japanese Geotechnical Society. Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.