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CASE HISTORY: INNOVATIVE LOAD TEST PROGRAM OPTIMIZES PILE CAPACITY IN

CHALLENGING GROUND CONDITIONS


Emad Farouz, P.E., CH2M HILL, Chantilly, VA, USA
Francis A. Abreu Sr., P.E., CH2M HILL, Chantilly, VA, USA

This paper presents a case history of a successful construction-phase pile load


test program that optimized the pile design in challenging ground conditions at
the Great Neck Wastewater Treatment Plant in the Town of North Hempstead in
Nassau County, New York. The improvements and expansion of the wastewater
treatment plant included the construction of several new structures to comply
with new stringent nitrogen discharge requirements and new design flow. The
challenging ground conditions included up to 20-ft thick organic deposits with
weight of hammer blow counts and up to 14 percent organic content and tidal
ground water that was near the ground surface. The foundation design evaluated
various deep foundation alternatives and selected driven closed-ended pipe piles
then filled with concrete as the most suitable foundation. The selection process
included considerations of cost, risk, vibrations, noise, and schedule. The
contract documents utilized an innovative approach of performing an optimization
load test program that was implemented during construction to optimize pile
lengths and reduce potential vibration and construction schedule.
This paper discusses the details of the successful load test program including
static testing, dynamic testing, and the innovative contracting approach utilized to
implement the construction phase load test program. It also discusses the
successful development and implementation of driving criteria for production
piles and construction challenges. The successful load test program resulted in
savings of several hundred thousand dollars, optimized schedule, and lower
environmental impacts.
SITE AND PROJECT DESCRIPTION
The Great Neck Water Pollution Control District
(GNWPCD), located in the Town of North
Hempstead in Nassau, New York, owns and
operates a municipal wastewater treatment plant
(WWTP) that discharges treated effluent through
an outfall to Manhasset Bay, which is a tributary
of the Long Island Sound. The site is located
west of Manhasset Bay and is surrounded on
three sides by local roads, and commercial,
industrial, and recreational properties. The site
has a gentle slope ranging from elevation +20 to
+7 from west to east, respectively, based on the
Nassau County Datum.
To comply with new nitrogen discharge
requirements and new design flows, the
GNWPCD contracted CH2M HILL, Inc. and
William F. Cosulich Associates as a JointVenture (JV) to design and provide services
during construction of eight new advanced
nitrogen removal facilities.

GEOLOGIC SETTING AND SUBSURFACE


CONDITIONS
The Great Neck peninsula is underlain by
unconsolidated glacial deposits consisting of
gravel, sand, silt, and clay, and coastal-plain
deposits. Geologic documents report that these
deposits are underlain by biotite-garnet-schist
rock at depths greater than 400 feet below
ground surface.
Historical subsurface information was evaluated
along with a subsurface investigation program
conducted by CH2M HILL in 2009 to
characterize the subsurface conditions and
develop soil properties. Exploratory borings
performed during the investigation extended to
depths ranging from 82 to 102 feet below ground
surface using mud rotary drilling techniques.
Standard Penetration Tests were performed
during the field investigation and samples
obtained for laboratory testing.

Table 1 - Generalized subsurface Profile and Soil Properties

Layer ID

Top
EL
(ft)

Bottom
EL
(ft)

Depth to
top of
Layer
(ft)

Unit
Weight
(pcf)

Su
(psf)

(Degrees)

Silty Sand Fill w. Gravel

Stratum 1

11

110

28

Organic Clayey Silt

Stratum 2

-7

105

250

Dense Sand and Gravel

Stratum 3

-7

-16

18

115

32

Med Dense Silty Sand with Silty


Clay pockets

Stratum 4

-16

-58

27

115

32

Med. Dense to Dense Silty Sand


with Clay

Stratum 5

-58

NA

69

125

36

Layer Description

Notes:
1. Su = Undrained Shear Strength, = drained friction angle

Laboratory testing consisting of natural moisture


content tests, Atterberg limit tests, grain size
distribution, organic content, and corrosivity
were used to characterize the soil and develop
engineering properties.
The subsurface profile generally consists of
brown to black, moist, silty sand with gravel was
underlain by a layer of brown to black, moist to
wet low-plasticity organic clayey silt with blow
counts ranging from weight of hammer to 7
blows per foot and organic contents of up to 14
percent. Beneath the organic layer are glacial
outwash depots consisting of a mixture of silt
sand and gravel, dense to medium dense with
clay pockets. A consistent layer of medium
dense to dense silt sand with clay was
encountered roughly 60 to 70 feet below ground
surface.
Although various subsurface profiles were
evaluated during design, a generalized
subsurface profile and soil with soil properties is
provided in Table 1.
Groundwater is at approximately elevation +6
feet and long-term groundwater monitoring wells
indicate that it is influenced by the tidal-effects of
the Manhasset Bay.
FOUNDATION TYPE SELECTION
Settlement potential was evaluated and due the
high compressibility of the organic silty layer

(Stratum 2), it was determined that settlements


would compromise the serviceability limits for
the proposed structures if supported on shallow
foundations. Furthermore, due to inherent
variability of the subsurface conditions, large
differential
and
total
settlements
were
anticipated. As a result, a deep foundation was
recommended for supporting the proposed new
structures.
Driven H-piles, driven pipe piles, drilled shafts,
auger cast-in-place piles, and auger cast-inplace displacement piles were considered for
foundation support. The following factors were
considered in selecting the deep foundation pile
type,

variability of the upper fill layer,


very loose/soft nature of Stratum 2,
which may be problematic for drilled
piles,
installation costs,
contaminated soils on site, which will
increase costs for drilled piles that
generate spoils as a result of the
installation process

Considering the aforementioned factors and the


available subsurface conditions, driven steelpipe pile that are then filled with concrete were
determined to be the most suitable foundation
type.

FOUNDATION ANALYSIS AND EVALUATION


The static axial capacity of the driven pipe piles
were estimated using DRIVEN, a program
developed
by
the
Federal
Highway
Administration (FHWA) for estimating the axial
capacity of driven piles.
Due to significant fill required raise the site
above the 100-year flood elevation, additional
settlement analysis was conducted and used to
evaluate the potential for negative shaft
resistance or downdrag loading on the piles.
Downdrag loading occurs when piles are
installed through soft soil deposits that undergo
consolidation after the piles have been installed.
The resulting relative downward movement of
the soil around the piles induces negative side
friction resistance on the pile that is termed
downdrag. In this case, the soft compressive
layer is the organic clayey silt layer, Stratum 2.
Using the traditional approach to negative shaft
resistance as described in the FHWA Design
and Construction of Driven Pile Foundations
Manual, the neutral plane was determined as
the point where relative settlements between
settlement between the pile and the soil is 0.4
inch. The neutral plan was determined to be
near the bottom of Stratum 2 and negative shaft
resistance values of up to 20 kips were
determined.
Service loading for the proposed structures
ranged from 30, 100, and 150 kips with cut-off
elevations varying by up to 15 feet. To optimize
the design lengths, five different cases were
evaluated for estimating the axial capacity.
A driven, 0.375-inch thick wall, 14-inch diameter
close-ended pipe then filled with concrete was
foundation of choice due to cost effectiveness,
and ability to develop higher capacity in the
medium dense to dense bearing stratum due to
its relatively high lateral soil displacement as
compared to steel H-piles. Corrosion was
considered and additional steel wall thickness
was provided to compensate for potential loss in
section with time due to the mildly corrosive
environment presented by the site soil and
groundwater conditions. The project includes the
installation of 914 pipe piles.
Drivability
The drivability of the steel pipe pile was
evaluated using GRLWEAP, a one-dimensional

Wave Equation Analysis Program that simulates


the pile response to pile driving equipment. The
maximum driving stress on a pile driven to depth
approx. 70-ft below the bottom of the proposed
cut off elevation was estimated to be
approximately 28.3 ksi, which is less than the
allowable driving stress of 40.5 ksi.
DESIGN-BID-BUILD APROACH
A typical approach to optimize the design of
deep foundations is to perform static load testing
and dynamic testing during design to gain
confirmation on the estimated axial capacities
and develop an economical design. While this
approach has its clear advantages in that it
accounts for performance uncertainties during
design thereby reducing the bid contingency
and potential claims, it can be a long process
and requires greater cost during design to
mobilize a contractor as compared to the
approach presented in this paper.
Pile load tests performed during the design
phase are generally more expensive than when
conducted during construction mainly due to the
mobilization costs. Additionally, if testing is
performed during design, the driving system
used to drive the test piles during design may be
different that the driving system used during
construction, which may lead to potential
changes.
Testing during construction on the other hand is
less expensive because resources are generally
only mobilized once, but requires that
construction scheduled be planned to allow for
the load test program and associated analyses
at the start of construction to allow for the
optimization.
Because of schedule constraints during design,
a construction-phase load test program was
selected. Unlike conventional constructionphase load test programs, this project used
results from load testing to optimize the pile
lengths thereby greatly reducing the cost of the
foundation. The program was designed to fail
the piles that will be statically load tested to
ensure that the maximum side friction and end
bearing are achieved. Additionally, as part of the
contract documents, the contractor was required
not to order the production piles until the load
test program is completed.
VIBRATION INDUCED SETTLEMENT

As part of a design review by the clients


independent consulting engineer, concern was
raised regarding potential vibration induced
settlement on existing structures due to
vibrations generated from driving of the
proposed pipe piles. After various meetings and
exchanges of professional opinions between the
writers and the independent consulting firm, the
client sided with the writers more cost effective
solution to pre-drill to a depth of 20 feet below
ground surface to minimize impacts of vibration.
Additionally, the writers proposed a driving
sequence where production piles closest to
adjacent or nearby existing or newly completed
structures are driven first, and then the
remaining piles installed in a sequence that
progress away from the existing structure. The
independent review firm suggested that the
foundation system be changed to micropiles,
which would have lead to a more expense and
less efficient foundation, not to mention the
costs associate with delays in having to redesign
and reissue construction documents.
LOAD TEST PROGRAM
Due to the high variability of subsurface
conditions and soil properties encountered
across this site, dynamic pile testing were
recommended to be performed using Pile
Driving Analyzer (PDA) on non-production piles
at selected locations across the site prior to
starting the production piles. Then, re-striking of
these piles after a minimum of 96 hours after
completion of initial drive to assess the changes
in soil resistance over time. Axial load test was
then to be conducted on selected test piles to
determine the pile performance under load.
The purpose of the testing program was to refine
the production pile lengths. Final driving criteria
were established for the required pile capacities
at the end of the testing program. This pile
driving criteria was to be implemented during
installation of production piles using a Saximeter
to accurately measure the hammer energy and
blow count during the pile driving process.
Additionally, five to ten percent of production
piles are to be dynamically tested through the
progression of the production pile installation to
confirm the pile capacities, driving criteria, and
to ensure performance of the driving system are
maintained
throughout
production
pile
installation.

During the testing program, the driving system


was assessed to verify that it is suitable for
achieving the desired ultimate capacities without
overstressing the piles. Large compressive
stresses typically occur in piles when very dense
soils are encountered in the soil profile.
Variability in the driving system can be
measured with the dynamic testing and
adjustments can be easily tested to check the
impact on the system. All of this testing will
therefore greatly increase the efficiency of the
driving system and in return, the productivity and
cost effectiveness of the pile driving operation.
Additionally, during the load test program,
accelerometers were positioned at various
distances and locations while driving the test
piles to assess vibrations.
The contractor proposed using a Delmag D25
32/33 open-ended diesel hammer (OED), with a
rated energy of 66.34 ft-kip
TESTING
For determination of allowable axial pile
capacities, a factor of safety (FS) equal to 2.0
was applied to the ultimate pile capacities
determined from static load tests. Upon
completion of the PDA testing and CAPWAP
analyses of select hammer blows near the end
of initial drive. This CAPWAP analysis allowed
for calibration PDA data for assessment of
overall pile capacity during production driving.
Final driving criteria were established for the
piles based on the results of the overall testing
program. The pile-driving criteria were verified
during production pile installation by the piledriving inspector using a Saximeter to accurately
measure the hammer stroke and blow count of
the pile during installation.
Pile capacity was evaluated with respect to time
to capture the time-related set-up or relaxation
due to changes in pore water pressure in the
soil.
Dynamic Testing
High Strain Dynamic Testing using the Pile
Driving Analyzer (PDA) following the test
procedures outlined in ASTM D4945 was
performed during initial drive and re-strike of 10
non-production test piles prior to installing
production piles. CAPWAP was performed on
one blow count near the end of initial drive and

on one of the first few blows at the beginning of


re-strike to evaluate the time-dependent
changes in axial capacity. It is noted that during
re-strike, the pile may not have moved
sufficiently to mobilize full end bearing
resistance,
which
may
lead
to
an
underestimation of the axial capacity even
during re-strike.
Figure 1 presents a graphical summary of the
estimated pile capacities at end of initial drive
versus elevation for the test piles for this project.
While there is some scatter in the estimated
axial capacity versus elevation, some general
trends can be seen in the data. While, this
relationship between the estimated pile capacity
with depth is useful for evaluating the pile-soil
behavior during initial, it does not reflect the
expected ultimate pile capacity as it does not
capture effects of dissipation of pore pressures
generated during driving and uses assumed
dynamic soil parameters.

Static Load Testing


As part of the load test program, three test piles
were statically tested to confirm the predicted
axial capacity using static analysis methods and
from dynamic testing. The static load tests were
designed to fail the piles to estimate the ultimate
side friction and end bearing. The contractor
proposed to use a load test configuration where
loading blocks with known weights are directly
stacked onto a platform, which rests on cribs
that transfer the load to the ground surface until
the load is transferred to the pile by jacking
against the load platform and the test pile.
Figure 2 shows a general diagram of the load
test set up.

5
0
-5
-10
-15
-20
-25

TP-1
TP-2
TP-3
TP-4
TP-5
TP-6
TP-7
TP-8

Pile Tip Elevation, feet

-30
-35
-40
-45

Figure 2 - Typical Load Test Set-up

Static load tests were performed in general


accordance with ASTM D1143 (Standard Test
Method for Piles under Axial Compressive Load)
following the quick load method. Load was
applied onto the pile until plunging failure
defined as the load at which there is continuous
increase in deformation without change in load.
Figure 3 shows load settlement curve for one of
the piles load tested in this project.

-50
-55
-60
-65
-70
-75
-80
-85
-90
0

100
200
300
Capacity at End of Initial Drive, kips

400

500

Figure 1 - Estimated Pile Capacity versus


Elevation at End of Initial Drive Based on Dynamic
Testing

100

Load, Q (kips)
200
300
400

500

600

0.0
0.2

Ulti.load =
445 kips

0.4

Settlement, S (in.)

0.6
0.8
1.0
1.2
1.4
1.6

mposite modulus at
determination of the piles com
the time of the test and deterrmine if there was
any load eccentricity. Additionally, test piles
were equipped with four or five strain gages
installed at targeted depths to represent
subsurface layer breaks and near the top and
bottom of the pile to de
etermine the soil
resistance distribution with de
epth along the pile.
Strain gages on the inside of the pile were
w inserted and in
attached for a steel rod that was
the steel pile prior to placing concrete and
centered using plastic centraliz
zers. The concrete
was cast inside the steel pile and the strain
gages checked to ensure th
hey were working
properly prior to load testing. Figure
F
4 is a plot of
the load distribution against elevation for each
load increment.

1.8
0
2.0 3 - Load-Settlement Plot for Te
Figure
est Pile

Test piles were loaded to failure to determine


the ultimate pile capacity that is ussed as part of
the pile length optimization strategyy.

50

100

Load (kips)
150 200 250

10
5
0
-5
-10

In general, when the measured movvement at the


top of the pile was less than the exp
pected elastic
shortening of the pile, the load is b
believed to be
resisted by side resistance onlyy. After the
movement becomes greater than
n the elastic
shortening of the pile, the e
end bearing
resistance begins to contribute to the total
resistance. In general, all three sta
atic load tests
showed similar behavior where the percent side
resistance provided 100 percent of the total
resistance until the load reache
ed 60 to 70
percent of the load at failure.
Static Load Test Instrumentation
with calibrated
Static load tests were performed w
hydraulic jack, pressure gage, a
and load cell
used as measure the applied load. Movement at
the top of the test piles was mea
asured using
three dial gages spaced 120 de
egrees apart.
Test piles were equipped with fourr strain gages
installed 90 degrees apart on the o
outside of the
pile near the top to measure strainss near the top
of the pile; this allowed for mo
ore accurate

-15
-20

Elevation (feet)

Ultimate pile capacities were determined as the


n general, the
load just prior to plunging failure. In
load at plunging failure correspond
ded well with
the ultimate capacity determ
mined using
Davisons offset limit failure criteria
a.

-25
-30
-35
-40
-45
-50
-55
-60
-65

300

350

400
10
31
44
57
78
97
112
129
151
170
185
201
221
240
274
296
311
324
358
361
378
396
412
424
443
453
461

Figure 4 - Distribution of Stress


ses along Length of
Test Pile for Each Load Increme
ent

Linear interpolation was used to determine load


distribution between strain gages. The changes
in slope of the load distribution plots in Figure 4
represent the location of the sttrain gages.
RESULTS FROM TESTING
Axial capacities measured from dynamic testing
ginning of re-strike
at end of initial drive and beg
was compared with ultimate capacity
c
measured
from static load testing. Table 2 provides a
summary of the capacities determined from PDA
and CAPWAP.

Pile ID

Length
(feet)

EOID

BOR

CAPWAP
EOID

CAPWAP
BOR

TP-1

64

208

203

TP-2

75

281

347

280

341

TP-3

45

261

265

TP-4

64.8

149

353

165

359

TP-5

56

248

254

165

250

TP-6

75

116

183

118

209

TP-7

83

248

252

263

263

TP-8

75.7

154

206

150

193

TP-9

64.3

317

294

320

305

TP-10

95.8

129

149

*Test piles TP-1, TP-3, and TP-10 were not re-struck

It is noted that the predicted axial capacities at


end of initial drive (EOID) and beginning of restrike (BOR), are based on an average of the
capacities estimated using Case damping
factors, Jc, of 0.7 and 0.9.
Static load testing was performed between 8
and 14 days after end of re-strike. Approximately
50 percent gain in skin friction resistance was
observed from the end of re-strike to when the
test pile was statically loaded with little or no
gain in end bearing.
Re-strike was generally performed 5 to 7 days
after the end of initial drive. Axial capacity
estimates from dynamic testing indicate an
increase in skin friction capacity of approx. 40 to
100 percent in and 0 to 40 percent gain in end
bearing. Combined, the total gain in axial
capacity ranged from 30 to 90 percent between
end of initial drive and beginning of re-strike.
Ultimate pile capacities determined from static
load test were compared against pile capacities
estimated for dynamic testing. Test piles, TP-2,
TP-5, and TP-8 were statically load test and had
ultimate capacities of 390, 290, and 170 kips,
respectively. Figure 5 illustrates the comparison
between the axial capacity measured from static
load testing versus the axial capacity estimated
from dynamic testing and beginning of re-strike
using CAPWAP.

Predicted Axial Capacity from PDA(kips)

Table 2 - Summary of Axial Capacities Estimated


From PDA and CAPWAP

400

TP-2
y=x

350
300

TP-5

250
200
TP-8
150
150

200

250

300

350

400

Axial Capacity from Static Load Test (kips)

Figure 5- Comparison of Pile Capacity from Static


and Dynamic Methods

As illustrated in Figure 5 and Table 2, the axial


capacity predicted from dynamic tests in piles
TP-2 and TP-5 under predicted the capacity
measured from static load testing. However, the
opposite is true for TP-8. Note however, that for
both TP-2 and TP-5, the static load test was
performed 2 weeks after the end of re-strike,
while for TP-8 the static load test was performed
1 week after the end of re-strike. It is common
for the set-up, i.e. the gain in axial capacity due
to dissipation of pore water pressure in the soil
that are developed during driving, to be lost
during re-strike also known as the break in
freeze. Therefore, it is likely that there was not
adequate time between end of re-strike and the
static load test for TP-8 to allow for adequate
pore pressure dissipation and resulted in an
under-prediction of the pile axial capacity. It is
noted however, that all piles exhibited an
increase in capacity from the capacity measured
during initial drive and during the static load test.
On average, a 40 percent increase in capacity
was observed from EOID and the static load
test.
PROCEDURE FOR DEVELOPING DRIVING
CRITERIA
After completion of the dynamic testing including
CAPWAP evaluations at EOID and BOR, the
estimated capacities, soil resistance distribution,
stroke, driving resistance, transferred energy,
and maximum compression stresses were
evaluated for each test pile using refined wave
equation analyses.
Figure 6 illustrates the change in capacity with
respect to time based on results from dynamic
and static load testing.

Refined wave equation analyses were


performed by inputting para
ameters measured
from dynamic testing includin
ng soil resistance
distribution, measure hammer efficiency, and the
dynamic soil properties determined from
CAPWAP. Results from th
he refined wave
equation are compared against
a
estimated
capacities, driving resista
ance, transferred
energy, and maximum com
mpressive stresses
from the PDA and CAPWAP. Finally, drivability
plots are evaluated for each te
est pile and used to
develop the driving criteria.

450

Axial Capacity from Testing, kips

400
350
300
250
200
150
TP-2
TP-5
TP-8
TP-8 "Predicted
d"

100
50
0
01

10

Figure 6 - Change in Capacity versus


s Time

TP-2 exhibited an increase of 22 pe


ercent in total
capacity from end of initial drive (EOID) to the
beginning of re-strike (BOR) in 6 days and an
increase in capacity of 39 percentt from end of
initial drive (EOID) to the static load
d test (SLT) in
23 days. Similarly, TP-5 exhibited a
an increase of
52 percent from end of initial drive E
EOID to BOR
in 6 days and 76 percent from EOIID to the SLT
in 14 days. TP-8 exhibited an inccrease of 29
percent from end of initial drive EO
OID to BOR in
6 days and 13 percent from EOID to the SLT in
14 days. It is noted that the pile
e freeze was
broken during re-strike of TP-8 so the number of
days to regain the set up capacity is
appropriated 8 days from BOR to tthe SLT. The
graph shows the predicted trend
d of gain in
capacity with time for pile TP-8 ha
ad there been
no break in the time for set up.
Similarly, by plotting the percent gain in total
capacity with time can be used to evaluate the
gain in total capacity with time a
as shown in
Figure 7, which shows a positive ga
ain in capacity
with for each pile.

Percent Increase in Axial Capacity

80%
TP-2
TP-5
TP-8
TP-8 "Predicted"

70%
60%
50%

30%
20%
10%
0%
0.1

1
Time, Days

12
11
TP-2 Refined2 - 260 kips - 54' - FST

10

TP-2 Refined2 - 230 kips - 84' - FST Deep


TP-5 Refined2 - 230 kips - 57'
embedment
TP-6 Refined2 - 230 kips - 50'
embedment
TP-7 Refined1 - 230 kips - 57'
embedment

9
8
7
6
5
4
0

20

40
60
80
Blow Count (bl/fft)

100

120

Figure 8 - Relationship betwee


en Blow Count and
Stroke for Required Ultimate Ca
apacity

A relationship similar to that shown


s
in Figure 8
was developed of each of the required
capacities for the project and
d used to develop
the final driving criteria fo
or installation of
production piles.
IMPLEMENTING FINAL DRIV
VING CRITERIA

40%

0.01

Figure 7 presents some of th


he drivability plots
various in terms of blow count versus stroke for
the required ultimate capacity
y determined from
the refined wave equation ana
alysis.

Stroke (ft)

0 01

10

Figure 7 - Percent Increase in Axial Capacity with


Time

An effective driving criterion


n was developed
based on the refined wave equation analysis.
The final driving criteria issued
d for installation of
production piles consisted of two components;
one for the end of initial driv
ve (EOID) and the
other for beginning of re-strrike (BOR). If the
criterion for initial drive was not met within
specified minimum and maximum
m
pile tip
elevations, the pile is te
erminated at the
maximum pile tip elevation provided. The

Contractor then waits a minimum of 72-hours


after the end of initial drive, then re-strikes the
pile and compares it with the re-strike criteria.
The blow counts and stroke height measured for
the final two feet of driving of initial drive was
considered to determine if the driving criteria at
EOID was satisfied.
The blow counts recorded during BOR for the
first 1 to 2 inches of driving during re-strike was
considered to determine if the re-strike driving
criteria at BOR as satisfied.
Engineering judgment was used to develop
driving criteria that takes advantage of the
almost 40 percent gain in axial capacity from
end of initial drive and the static load test.
INSTALLATION OF PRODUCTION PILES
The use of the load test program allowed the
use of a lower factor of safety. Without the load
test program, a factor of safety of 2.75 is
recommended for construction methods that
only use wave equation analysis. The load test
program for the Great Neck WWTP
improvements project consisted of static load
tests and dynamic testing with wave equation
analysis, which allowed the use of a factor of
safety of 2.
The installation consisted of pre-drilling to a
depth of 20 feet below ground surface to
minimize impacts of vibration and implementing
a driving sequence where production piles
closest to adjacent or nearby existing structures
are driven first, and then the remaining piles
installed in a sequence that progress away from
the structure. This installation method proved to
be a success as there was no recorded
settlement or damage to existing structures
during pile driving. Vibration monitoring during
the test program indicated that vibrations from
impact pile driving generated peak particle
velocities (PPV) of generally up to 1 inch per
second. It is noted that a PPV of 2 inch per
second is commonly accepted as the limit that
the structures can tolerate for ground motions
induced by impact pile driving.
Shortly after completion of the load test
program, installation of the production piles
began in accordance with the driving criteria
developed from the load test program. The
driving criterion was effectively implemented

resulting in approximately $500,000 in savings


when comparing the as-built driving lengths and
the projected lengths based on static analysis
design methods alone. This savings reflected
the savings from optimizing the pile lengths. The
cost of the load test program was offset by the
savings realized as result of the reduction of
design factor of safety from 2.75 to 2.0 for axial
capacity.
CONCLUSION
The following are the major conclusions of the
construction-phase
load
test
program
undertaken on the project to optimize production
pile lengths.
1. A construction-phase optimization load test
can be implemented successfully to realize
significant construction savings. This project
realized approximately $500,000 of cost
savings.
2. The construction-phase optimization load
test program saved on average 8-ft linear
feet per pile in length, which would have had
to be driven into the dense sand that would
have increased the potential vibrations and
risk of settlement of existing structures.
3. By optimizing the length of the production
piles, on average 8-ft, and keeping the
average production length less than 60-ft, a
single pile section was used in the
production piles without need for costly and
timely pile splicing. Assuming the splice and
additional pile driving would have taken one
hour per pile, this saved about 900 hours or
10 weeks using two pile-driving rigs, which
is more than the time duration for load test.
4. To achieve a successful construction-phase
optimization load test program, the program
must be integrated with the contract
document such that adequate schedule,
clear instructions to bidder, and unit prices
are stated to allow for the load test program
execution.
5. For existing structures vulnerable to
settlement induced by vibration from pile
driving, a sequence of pile driving starting
from near and away from the existing
structure can help in reducing the vibration
impacts on the existing structure.

6. The testing program proved that test piles


exhibited soil set up with time. The soil
resistance with respect to time was
observed on all tests piles after end of initial
drive. It is concluded that an increase in
total capacity of approximately 20 to 40
percent can be achieved 14 days or more
after end of initial drive.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The writers express gratitude to the Owner
Great Neck WPCD, our Joint Venture partner
William F. Cosulich Associates, the Construction
ManagerHazen and Sawyer, the piling
contractorFalco Construction, and the PDA
subcontractorHeller and Johnsen, for their
cooperation
and
efforts
through
the
implementation of the load test program and for
allowing time at the start of production for
adequate evaluation of the test data.
REFERENCE
Hannigan, P.J. et al., Design and Construction
of Driven Pile Foundations. U.S. Department of
Transportation Federal Highway Administration
Report No. FHWA-NHI-05-042. Washington
D.C. 2006.
Stumm, Frederick. Hydrogeology and Extent of
Saltwater Intrusion of the Great Neck Peninsula,
Great Neck, Long Island, New York. USGS
Water-Resources Investigation Report 99-5280.
Zenon, et al. Static Testing of Deep
Foundations. U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration Report No.
FHWA-SA-91-042. Washington D.C. 1992.