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The pile code consists of four parts. They are Part 1:Concrete piles Part 2: Timber
Piles Part 3: Under reamed Piles Part 4: Load test on Piles. Out of these Part 1
consists of four section. Among these, Section 1: Driven cast in situ concrete piles.
Section 2: Bored cast in situ concrete Piles and Section 3: Driven precast concrete
Piles are revised in 2010. Some of the important changes in the code are highlighted
as follows:
1. Definitions of various terms have been modified as per the prevailing engineering
2. Minimum grade of concrete to be used in pile foundations has been revised to
M 25.
3. Design parameters with respect to adhesion factor, earth pressure coefficient,
modulus of subgrade reaction, etc, have been revised to make them consistence
with the outcome of modern research and construction practices.
4. Minimum dia of bored cat in situ pile have been changed as 450mm based on
following parameters:
Clear cover over reinforcement Cl.6.11.4 50 x2 = 100mm
Dia of vertical bar minimum Cl. 6.11.4 12 x 2 = 24 mm
Helical reinforcement minimum dia cl. 6.11.4 8 x2 = 16 mm
Clearance for operation of Tremie Cl.6.11.4 4 x20 = 80 mm
Dia of Tremie pipe minimum Cl.8.4 (c) = 200 mm
Total dia of pile required = 420 mm say
5. Provisions for special use of large diameter bored cast in-situ reinforced cement
concrete piles in marine structures have been added.
6. Procedures for calculation of bearing capacity, structural capacity, factor of
safety, lateral load capacity, overloading, etc, have also been modified to bring
them at par with the present practices.
7. Minimum time of curing before handling of precast piles has been modified.
8. Provision has been made for use of any established dynamic pile driving
formulae, instead of recommending any specific formula, to control the pile
driving at site, giving due consideration to limitations of various formulae.

Selection of pile foundation:

1. For Poor bearing soils such as Soft clay, Medium Clay or any clay etc. under

reamed pile foundation with pile cap and grade beam or Bored cast insitu

Pile foundation with pile cap may be adopted.

2. For clay soil with G+2F, G+3F, silt+3floors loads, under reamed piles with

pile caps connected with grade beams is best suited.

If the hard strata available is at 10m depth, End bearing/ Bored cast insitu

piles with pile caps may be adopted. This type of foundation is also best

suited for multi storeyed building also.

3. If the load on foundation is 500KN (say G+2Floor load), Under reamed pile

foundation for a depth of 3.5m to 4.50m with pile caps shall be adopted.

If the load on foundation is in the range of 2000KN to 3000KN, Bored cast

in situ concrete piles with 6.0m to 20.0m depth with pile caps shall be

adopted. This type is adopted in case of multi storeyed building.

Design aspects on Pile:

1. A minimum of three piles are required under a column in order to resist all the
column loads and moments acting on it. If one or two piles are provided under a
column, the grade beams have to be provided in one or more directions which have
to be designed to resist fully column basements since piles will resist the vertical
loads only.
2. Further, column shear will also be resisted by piles, which are assumed to have
.a horizontal load carrying capacity equal to 5% of its vertical load capacity. It may
be noted that horizontal load on a pile is the result of earthquake or wind loads only,
for which 25% excess pile capacity is allowed by codes.
3. The bearing capacity of a single pile is governed by the structural strength of the
pile and the supporting strength of the pile and the supporting strength of soil
stratum and the lower one is used for the design.
4. The selection of the type, length and capacity of pile is usually made from
estimation based on the soil conditions and the magnitude of load. In large cities,
where the soil conditions are well known and where a large number of pile
foundations have been constructed, the experience gained in the past is extremely
5. Generally the foundation design is made on the preliminary estimated values.
Before the actual construction begins, pile load tests must be made to verify the
design values, the foundation design must be revised accordingly to the test results.
6. Piles in sands are driven to the maximum possible depth because pile load is
proportional to square of the length while its cost increases at a smaller rate. In
clayey soils, increased length does not increase the capacity as rapidly as in sandy
soils. In clays the length is determined by block failure criterion. Provision of a
spread or bulb at the bottom increases the pile load considerably, at a very small
increase in the cost.
Cost comparison of pile foundation with reference to other foundation:.
1. In general the pile require foundation is likely to be more expansive than spread
footings or mat.
2. Weak soils with heavy column loads require either rafts or piles. Rafts, in
general are more economical than piles. But, when rafts become very large, piles
have to be used for restricting both cost and settlement.
3.When piles and rafts are both equal in cost, then piles are preferable to rafts, as
the settlement for piles is considerably less than that of rafts. Thus, pile foundations
have to be used when raft foundations are not suitable on grounds of economy or
settlement considerations.
4. Generally up to 3 to 4 floors (storeys), provision of raft foundation works out to
be economical when a medium bearing/moderate bearing soil is available upto a
depth of 2 to 3m. However for structure having more than 4 storeys and a hard
strata is available only 10m depth below ground level, then adoption of pile
foundation is the best in addition to be economical.
5.The key to economy in the pile foundations is to keep the area of pile cap in plan
to the minimum, for which high capacity piles should be used.
6. Capacity of a pile is increased by increasing either the diameter or depth of a
pile, pile spacing (equal to three times the diameter) will increase and this will lead
to a large pile cap, which will result in increased cost. So, pile depth should be
increased to get high capacity piles. Thus, economy requires the use of a few high
capacity deep piles under a column rather than a large number of low capacity
shallow piles.
The technical details of various types of piles are as detailed below:
1. Driven cast in situ piles: IS 2911 (Part 1/sect.1)-2010
This type of Pile is suitable for situations where accurate determination of pile
length cannot be made on the basis of sub soil investigation and in cases where
lengths of different piles may be different.
Driving of piles in sandy soils results in volume changes. In loose soils
compaction takes place. This has a beneficial effect on the soil strength. Driving
piles are advantageous in sandy soils, when compared with bored cast in situ Piles.
in Sandy soils, the point resistance is large compared to the skin resistance and
compaction at the tip greatly helps to improve the pile load.
For driven piles through sandy soil and resting on a firm cohesionless material, N
value shall be between 35 and 45.
Driving piles into clays may alter the structure of the soil and reduce rather than
increase the strength of the soil medium. Driven piles are generally not desirable in
clayey soil since the set value are false due to pore pressure
resistance. Driven piles are not suitable in predominantly boundary strata. Design
Spacing of piles
End bearing : Piles (hard strata) =2.5 D
Piles resting on rock =2.0 D
Friction Piles =3.0 D where D is dia of piles.
Longitudinal reinforcement:
Main rod: Minimum 6Nos. bars shall be used. Minimum dia. of bar is 12mm.
Clear horizontal distance between bars: 4 times max. size of aggregate.
Minimum =0.4% of c.s. (of any type or grade)
Links: Minimum dia. =8 mm
Spacing not less than 150mm
Settlement of driven cast insitu piles:
Not more than 10mm for 20 blows with a 3 tonnes drop hammer over a height of
1.0m as a general guide.
Estimate for driven cat in situ pile:
The cost of pile foundation is roughly one floor cost for the building upto 8 storeys
10% extra for each additional floor may be added.
2. Bored cast insitu Piles: IS 2911 (Part 1/sect. 2)-2010
These piles are ideal as end bearing piles particularly when they are to be socketed
into rock. These piles are suitable where vibrations to the existing adjoining buildings
produces noisy and disturb the structures in the immediate vicinity is not desirable. For
high capacities (150 tonnes to 300 tonnes) these piles are preferable.
For bored piles through sandy soil resting on a firm cohesionless material, N value
shall be between 40 and 50. Bored cast in situ piles in clay, the capacity must be
ascertained from shear strength of the supporting soil. The ultimate bearing capacity of
a bored pile in a granular soil is generally taken as being 1/3 to that of the ultimate
bearing resistance of a driven pile within the same soil.
Design aspects:
Spacing of piles:
The minimum centre-to-centre spacing of piles is considered from three aspects,
a) practical aspects of installing the piles,
b) diameter of the pile, and
c) nature of the load transfer to the soil and possible reduction in the load capacity
of piles group.
Minimum spacing: End bearing piles=2.5D ; Piles resting on rock=2 D;
Friction piles=3.0 D where D is dia of piles.
Longitudinal Reinforcement: Mini. Ast =0.4% of sectional area of pile.
Main rod: Minimum 6Nos. bars shall be used. Minimum dia. of bar is 12mm.
Lateral ties: Mini. Dia of links or spiral shall be 8 mm and spacing of links or spirals
not less than 150mm.
Concrete Grade: Minimum M25. The minimum cement content shall be 400 kg/m3 .
However, with proper mix design and use of proper admixture the cement content
may be reduced but in no case the cement content shall be less than 350 kg/m3.
Settlement of Bored cast insitu piles:
Bore may be terminated at a depth where the penetration with 1 tonne chisel
dropped from a height of 1.20m should not exceed 150mm for blows.
3. Driven Precast Piles: IS 2911(Part 1/sec.3)-2010
Precast piles are suitable for places where wooden piles are likely to be weaken by
the white ants or other insects and termites. These piles are preferred for Bridge
foundation. Generally these piles are square or octagonal in shape owing to ease in
casting them. Single length precast pile cannot be designed for a length exceeding
18 to 20m, because of undue handling stresses. It derives its capacity from friction
and bearing. Maximum loads on precast piles are generally limit to 100 tonnes. The
optimum loads generally are 50 to 60 tonnes.
Design aspects:
Spacing of piles:
Minimum spacing
Hard Stratum: End bearing piles =2.5D
Piles resting on rock=2.0 D
Friction piles =3 D where d is dia. of pile
Main rod:
(i) Pile length <30 times least width =1.25% of c.s.area
(ii) Pile length 30 to 40 times least width =1.5% of c.s. area
(iii) Pile length > 40 times least width =2.0% of c.s. area.
Minimum : 6 nos. of rod. Minimum dia not less than 12 mm.
Ties: Mini. Dia of links or spirals =8 mm.
Spacing shall not be less than 150mm.
Spacing of ties: closer near ends. Max. spacing=3 times least width of pile.
Stiffener rings:
Stiffner rings preferably of 16 mm diameter at every 1.5 m centre-to-centre to be
provided along the length of the cage for providing rigidity to reinforcement cage.



If a short bored pile is provided with one, two or three bulbs, to provide anchorage

and / or to increase the bearing load, it is known as the under-reamed pile. Due to

their enlarged based they provide anchorage to structures founded on expansive soils,

carry higher loads in comparison to uniform diameter bored piles and offer high uplift

resistance. This type of pile is particularly useful in swelling soils like black cotton soils.


The choice of the pile is governed by site conditions, economics and time
considerations. Under-reamed Piles are generally adopted in locations, where
soft / loose soils occur at top and relatively compact layers are available at
lower elevations. Best use is made of the existence of such compact soil
layers by resisting the bulb ( at the bottom of the Pile Stem ) so that an
increased bearing capacity ( Point Bearing ) of the pile is obtained. Under-
reamed Piles are also used in locations where the top soils are of high
swelling and high shrinking type in which case the bulbs are rested at a
depth well below the zone of variation of moisture content. In case of
expansive soils (e.g) black cotton soils or filled up soils, under- reamed piles
with bulbs provide a good anchorage. It is found that provision of bulbs in
the under-reamed piles increases the lateral load capacity of piles.

Under-reamed Compaction Piles:

For loose to medium sandy and silty soils, bored compaction piles should
be used since in such piles, the compaction process increases the load
bearing capacity of piles.

Under-reamed compaction piles are basically cast-in-situ concrete piles

having one or more bulbs. These combine the advantage of both the bored
and driven piles.


General equipments required (a) Auger (b) Under- reamed (c) Boring
Guide (d) General tools like cutting tools, extension rods and general

T & P.

Boring is usually done by manual earth auger, handled by tripod hoist.

Three men can easily advance 3.5 m of a hole of dia. up to 30 cm. in about

6 hours, in normal conditions. For Piles larger than 3.5 m and / or of the

dia. larger than 37.5 cm. stem diameter, a tripod is required.

After reaching the desired depth, the bore is enlarged with a special

under- reaming tool. It consists of two collapsible cross- blades with a

bucket at the bottom to collect the scrapped soil. The under-reamer is

lowered in the bore hole and rotated with progressively increasing

diameter. The scraped soil collected in the bucket is lifted up and disposed
off from time to time. In sandy soils, the bore hole is to be kept filled with

drilling mud if lowering is to be done under water. After the under-reamer

is formed, boring is further advanced. Bottom spreads are made with tools.

Piles should be concreted soon after boring, under the supervision of a

qualified person. Pre- fabricated reinforcement cage is inserted in the hole

and concrete of suitable workability (M20), slump 70 to 150 mm is poured

down through a funnel. For under water construction, concrete of higher

slump should be placed by displacement method using Tremie Pipe (not

less than 150 mm diameter).


(1) Minimum length of Pile below ground level =3.0 m.

(2) Minimum diameter of Stem (D) in mud =250 mm.

(3) For strata consisting of harmful constituents such as sulphate

diameter =300 mm.

(4) Bulb diameter (Du) =2 to 3 times diameter

Preferable = 2.5 times diameter

(5) Thickness of bulb =D

(6) Maximum spacing of bulbs:

Piles up to 300 mm dia. =1.5 Du

Piles greater than 300 mm dia =1.25 Du

(7) Minimum depth of top most bulb =2 Du or 1750 mm for

expansive soils. The minimum clearance below the underside of

pile cap embedded in the ground and the bulb should be a minimum
1.5 times the bulb diameter.

(8) Location of bottom most bulb from toe = Bucket length +0.55D

Bucket length for 200 to 250 mm dia. = (40 5 ) cm.

300 mm dia. = (45 5 ) cm.

375 mm dia. = (50 5 ) cm.

400 mm dia. = (55 5 ) cm.

450 mm dia. = (65 5 ) cm.

500 mm dia. = (70 5 ) cm.

(9) Number of bulbs in a Pile = Maximum 2 (Restricted)

In case the site is such that the depth of fill is more and water
table is high, as far as possible choose single under- reamed Pile.

If, on the other hand, the water table at the site is low and the
depth of fill is less, choose single or double under-reamed
depending upon the load capacity required. In case of double
under-reamed pile, the first under- ream should be 2 times the
bulb dia. or 1.75 m below G.L.

(10) Location of Piles :

Piles are provided on the corners of the buildings and wall

junctions. For intermediate piles, they should be arranged in such a
way that the doors and windows openings lie centrally as far as
possible. For the structures with columns (e.g) multistoreyed
complex etc., the piles should be first laid for columns and then for
walls. The maximum spacing between two piles in a beam and pile
construction should not normally exceed 3 m.
(11) Mix: Minimum M20 concrete and minimum cement content shall

be 400 kg/m3 in all conditions. M15 concrete with minimum

cement content 350 kg/m3 shall be used for without provision for

under water concreting and non-aggressive sub soil conditions.

(12) Reinforcement:

Longitudinal reinforcement:

Ast = Tension / st

Minimum steel = 0.4% of c.s. area of stem for M.S. rod

=0.3% of c.s. area of stem for HYSD bars.

Minimum main rod: 3 Nos. of 8 mm dia RTS. For piles of lengths

exceeding 5 m and or 37.5 cm diameter, a minimum number of six 12-

mm diameter bars of mild or high strength steel shall be provided. For

piles exceeding 40 cm dia, a minimum number of six 12-mm diameter

mild or high strength steel bars shall be provided.

Transverse Reinforcement :

(i) 6 mm dia. M.S. circular stirrups at a spacing not more than

stem dia or 300 mm whichever is less.

(ii) For piles of lengths exceeding 5 m and dia. exceeding 375

mm use 8 stirrups.

(13) Clear cover :

Minimum clear cover to reinforcement

Sides =40 mm (normal); 75 mm in case of sulphate presence.

Bottom =75 to 100 mm.


a. From soil properties

b. From load test (as per I.S.2911 (Part IV)-1985).

c. From Table 1 of I.S. 2911 (Part III)-1980.


Under- reamed piles are useful for both in expansive clays as well as in
loose to medium no-expansive soils. It has been established that under-
reamed piles combine safety, economy and speed in construction, especially in
expansive soils. Under-reamed piles are used for following structures:
(i) Residential buildings.
(ii) Industrial sheds, workshops, godowns.
(iii) Machine foundations.
(iv) Retaining walls, boundary walls, fences
(v) Anchors, reaction frames.
(vi) Transmission line towers and pole footings
(vii) Water tanks, silos and bins, cooling towers
(viii) Bench marks, international boundary posts.


Under-reamed Pile foundation can be used in expansive soil strata and in

other soils where the bore and bulb can be supporting or by mud fluids. In

certain cases it is found that the upper most layer consists of medium to

stiff consistency clay up to 1.50m to 2.0 m and beneath it very very soft

consistency clay (bitter like nature) to considerable depth. In such cases

the under-reamed pile foundation cannot be used.

Under-reamed piles in expansive soils is one of the widely used

solutions, but it cannot be considered the best. Failures of structures

supported on under-reamed piles have been reported. As such, it cannot be

treated as a fool-proof method.

Important Note:- For determining the N value the average may be taken

up to a depth equal to the bulb diameter below the pile toe.


(i) Under-reamed piles are suitable generally only for structures contributing
low loads (20 t to 40 t).
(ii) Because of the presence of unreinforced portion of concrete in the under-
ream bulb, there is a chance of failure of concrete by shear in the bulb
portion. Hence the design engineer must carefully select the sizes of the
pile while proposing under-reamed piles. Further concreting of under-reamed
piles shall be done by tremie only since GW displacement during concreting
must not be allowed.

Section of single under Section of double under

reamed pile reamed pile


Dia.of piles Length in m Longitu Rings Safe Loads (KN)
Compression Uplift Lateral Thrust


D Du= Single Dou No.- 6 mm Single Double Single Dou Single Double
UR bleU DIa @ UR UR ble

3.5 3.5 3 #10 180 80 120 40 60 10 12

200 500

250 3.5 3.5 4 #10 220 120 180 60 90 15 18


300 3.5 3.5 4#12 250 160 240 80 120 20 24


940 3.5 3.75 5#12 300 240 360 120 180 30 40

1000 3.5 4.0 6#12 300 280 420 140 210 34 40


1125 3.5 4.5 7 #12 300 350 625 175 256 40 48

1250 3.5 5.0 9 #12 300 420 630 210 315 45 54
NOTES TO TABLE 1 OF I.S.2911 (Part III) - 1980 :-

1. This Table apply to both medium compact sandy soils (10 < N <30) and clayey
soils of medium (4 < N < 8) consistency including expansive soils.

2. For dense sandy soil (N 30) and stiff clayey soils (N 8) , safe loads in
compression and uplift may be increased by 25%.

3. For loose sandy (4 < N < 10) and soft clayey soils (2 < N 4) safe loads should
be taken 0.75 times Table value.

4. For very loose sandy soil (N 4) and very soft clayey soils (N 2 ) the Table
value should be reduced by 50%.

5. For piles with bulb of twice stem dia, the table value should be reduced by 15%.

6. If the pile is full of sub soil water, safe load shall be reduced by 25% as per
clause B 1.6 given in Appendix B.

7. If the spacing between piles is reduced by 1.5 times instead 2 times the under
seamed bulb dia. as per normal requirements safe load shall be reduced by 10%

8. If the under reamed bulb is 2 times pile dia. instead 2.5 times pile dia, safe load
shall be reduced by 10% as per clause