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Normally, piles are designed initially by analytical or other methods, based on estimated loads and soil characteristics. The pile load tests are performed on test piles during the design stage to check the design capacity. Should load test results indicate possible bearing failure or excessive settlement, the pile design should be revised accordingly. To carry out pile load tests the first step is to drive the test piles. They should be driven at a location where soil conditions are known (such as near a borehole) and where soil conditions are relatively poor. construction pro"ect. oth the test piles and the method of driving!casting them should be exactly the same as will be used in the

#igure$% &ead 'oad

Plate 1: Uplift Pile Load Test Arrangement

Plate 1: Lateral Pile Load Test Arrangement The next step is to load the test pile. The pile may be loaded by adding dead weight or by hydraulically "acking (against a fixed platform, for example).

#igure$( 'oad Test )rrangement *ostly used possible methods of applying the test load are illustrated in #igure + ,. The total test load to be applied should be determined in advance and the stages of the incremental loading, and unloading, should be prescribed. The total dead load should be at least %-. greater than the anticipated maximum test load. /t is convenient to use increments of about (0. of the working load up to the working load, with smaller increments thereafter. 1nless failure occurs first, load the pile to (--. of the anticipated pile design load for tests on individual piles. 2ach increment of load should be applied as smoothly and expediently as possible and simultaneous readings of time and settlement gauges are taken at convenient intervals as the load increases. *aintain each load increment until the rate of settlement is not greater than -.(0 mm!h but not greater than (h. 3rovided that the test pile has not failed, remove the total test load anytime after %(h if the butt settlement over a one$hour period is not greater than -.(0mm4 otherwise allow the total load to remain on the pile for (5h. )fter the re6uired holding time, remove the test load in decrements of (0. of the total test load with %h between

decrements. /f pile failure occurs continue "acking the pile until the settlement e6uals %0. of the pile diameter or diagonal dimension. /t is usual to include unloading stages in the programme and one unloading stage from the working load is often specified.

&ead 'oad

8eaction 'oad


Settlememt gauge

Test pile

Figure 3 Load Testing for Pile Capacity





Figure 4 Results of a Pile Load Test

8eaction pile

8eaction pile

Test pile

The results of the load test are shown in #igure + 5 giving the curves of load and settlement versus time and of load versus the maximum settlement reached at each stage. The unloading stage is also plotted. The load test is commonly used to determine the ultimate bearing capacity of a pile. /n practice, a well failure load is not necessarily obtained and the following definitions of failure are often adopted9 (%) The failure load is that which causes settlement e6ual to %-. of the pile diameter, (() The failure load is that load at which the rate of settlement continues undiminished without further increment of load, unless, of course, the rate is so slow as to indicate that it is due to consolidation of soil. (,) The failure load is the load where the load settlement has its minimum radius of curvature. (5) &rawing tangents to the initial and final portions of the load settlement curves and taking the point of intersection as the failure load. (0) :ther methods as given in Technical /nstructions for ;&esign of &eep #oundations< by 1S )rmy =orpse of 2ngineers are given on the sheets.

!" Pile load tests s#all $e carried out in t#e follo%ing situations& (Eurocode-7) >hen using a type of pile or installation method that is outside comparable experience and which has not been tested under comparable soil and loading conditions4 >hen using a piling system which is outside the experience of the operatives carrying out the work4 >hen the piles will be sub"ected to loading for which theory and experience do not provide sufficient confidence in the design. The pile testing procedure should then provide loading similar to the anticipated loading4 >hen observations during the process of installation indicate pile behaviour that deviates strongly and unfavourably from the behaviour anticipated on the basis of the site investigation or experience and when additional ground investigations do not clarify the reasons for this deviation.

'" Pile loading tests are carried out for t#e follo%ing reasons& )ssess the suitability of the construction method4 &etermine the response of a representative pile and the surrounding ground to load, both in terms of settlement and limit load4 =heck the performance of individual piles (a proof of acceptability) and to allow "udgment of the overall pile foundation.


/f one pile load test is carried out, it shall normally be located where the most adverse ground conditions are believed to occur. /f this is not possible, an allowance shall be made when deriving the characteristics value of the bearing resistance. /f load tests are carried out on two or more test piles, the test locations shall be representative of the site of the pile foundations, and one of the test piles

shall be located where the most adverse ground conditions are believed to occur. (5) etween the installation of the test pile and the beginning of the load test, ade6uate time shall be allowed to ensure that the re6uired strength of the pile material is achieved and the pore pressures have regained their initial values. (0) /n some cases it may be necessary to record the pore pressures caused by pile installation and their subse6uent dissipation in order to take a proper decision regarding the start of the load test.

Test or Trial Piles The number of trial piles re6uired to verify the design shall be selected based on the following aspects9 The ground conditions and their variability across the site4 The geotechnical category of the structure4 3revious documented evidence of the performance of the same type of pile in similar ground conditions4 The total number and types of piles in the foundation design.

The ground conditions at the test site shall be investigated thoroughly. The depth of borings or field tests shall be sufficient to ascertain the nature of the ground both around and beneath the pile tip. /t shall include all strata likely to contribute significantly to pile deformation behaviour, at least to a depth of 0 times the pile diameter beneath the pile tip, unless sound rock or very hard soil is found at a lesser depth. /f the diameter of the trial pile differs from that of the working piles, the possible difference in performance of piles of different diameters should be considered in assessing the bearing resistance to be adopted.

/n the case of a very large diameter pile, it is often impractical to carry out a load test on a full si?e trial pile. 'oad tests on smaller diameter trial piles may be considered provided that9 The ratio of the trial pile diameter!working pile diameter is not less than -.04 The smaller diameter trial piles are fabricated and installed in the same way as the piles used for the foundation4 The trial pile is instrumented in such a manner that the base and shaft resistances can be derived separately from the measurements. (or)ing Piles The number of working piles load tests shall be selected on the basis of the recorded findings during construction. The selection of the working test piles can be prescribed in the contract documents. This prescription may be related to the results of pile installation recordings. The number of piles on which such a test should be performed is 1.5% to 2%. The load applied to working test piles shall be at least e6ual to the design load governing the design of the foundation.

'ateral 'oad Test

)xial Tensile 'oad Test