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Piled foundations - who and what is the real competition?

John Patch

A strange question you might think. Why, surely other piling contractors are the competition and with either the same or different piles. But is that right?

With design and construct, performance-related contract enquiries on the increase and, as a direct consequence, value-engineered solutions on the rise there is no time like the present to purchase a piled foundation instead of a mass concrete foundation. Now, of course, this only applies to a small part of the marketplace……..or does it?

Trench fill concrete, mass concrete bases, even reinforced strip and raft foundations are all users of huge amounts of natural resource compared with their load carrying capacity.Compare load carrying capacity to cubic metres of concrete for mass foundations and piled foundations and the full horror of waste becomes apparent.

For far too long we have, as an industry, glibly dug holes and filled them with concrete creating foundations with vast factors of safety. And the excavations required are also comparatively large and the disposal of excavated arisings is becoming increasingly expensive; not to mention the safety-related issues associated with deep excavations.

Landfill tax goes up to £72/tonne in April!

So why are we still digging holes and filling them with huge amounts of concrete when we could be using far less material, creating far less waste, and spending the customers’ money. The answer is “We shouldn’t”

Instead we should, as geotechnical engineers, be educating our customers that there is a better way; and it’s more cost effective, more sustainable, more environmentally beneficial and safer.

The competitor is “white-van-man” digging holes.

Let’s provide better alternatives…!

  • John Patch is director at Roger Bullivant Ltd

Readers' comments (1)

  • Here Here John.
    The days of landfill are numbered; we humans need to be a lot more caring of our planet, particulary on a small crowded island like ours.

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