GDL offer a range of Ground Improvement techniques that can often be proposed as an alternative to a piled solution. As such, clients and prospective clients approach us regarding sites with piling proposed and ask us to review as part of a value engineering exercise.

What is a Pile Foundation?

Put simply, a pile is a long cylinder of a strong material such as concrete that pushes into the ground to act as a steady support for the construction of buildings on top of it.

Why are piled foundations used?

Piling is a type of foundation used to improve the stability of buildings, as part of the pre-construction process. Foundation Piling is not to be confused with Ground Improvement. Both are effective, yet different ways of ensuring the long term stability of a building.

Large scale building projects such as new build housing developments, and public sector construction projects such as schools and hospitals form a large part of of piling customer base . Pilling is often a crucial part of projects such as these, which can be built in areas with challenging ground conditions.

How Does Piling Work?

  1. Piling transfers weight from weak soil to stronger soil as when there is a layer of weak soil at the surface this layer cannot support the weight of the building. If this situation arises, the loads of the building have to bypass this layer and transfer to the layer of stronger soil or rock that is below the weak layer. A pile foundation facilitates this requirement.
  2. Piling allows for the even spreading of weight across the foundations of larger structures. This is especially useful For structures such as high-rise buildings, bridges or water tanks where there are very heavy and concentrated loads.

Ground Improvement as an alternative to piling

  1. For lightweight structures on sites with the correct soil conditions we can often provide a more cost-effective alternative to piling by offering soil modification to provide structural platforms, vibro stone columns to treat poor formations and sometimes a combination of both ground improvement techniques to provide the overall foundation solution.
  2. Our ground improvement techniques including deep soil mixing can also be utilised in very weak soils (including peat) in external areas such as roads and hard-standings in lieu of piling or dig & dump.

Benefits of ground improvement

  1. Simplified foundation design for subsequent structures and features.
  2. Little or no excess spoil is generated during the construction process.
  3. By re-engineering site-won soils we can reduce or remove the need for imported aggregate and concrete, and this increases the sustainability of construction projects.

How do we design out piling?

    We have our own in-house design and we frequently undertake ground improvement projects for sites originally earmarked for piling as a specialist contractor.

    When piling is deemed to be the best foundation solution but where there is an excess of material on site, we can offer stabilised pile mats in lieu of exporting soil and then importing stone for the piling mat. This brings both cost and environmental benefits to the project.

    When the geotechnical or the enabling element is significant, we have the capability to undertake projects directly for a client as the main contractor.

    We operate a modern fleet of specialist ground improvement plant from leading manufacturers, which are both versatile and have the capabilities required to carry out a wide range of installations.

    Get in touch today, and our team will be able to advise you on the best option and package for your construction project

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