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Reul, O. & Randolph, M. F. (2003). Geotechnique 53, No.

3, 301315

Piled rafts in overconsolidated clay: comparison of in situ measurements

and numerical analyses
O. R E U L  a n d M . F. R A N D O L P H 

This paper presents the results of detailed back-analysis, Cet expose presente les resultats dune retro-analyse
using three-dimensional finite-element analysis, of three detaillee utilisant une analyse delements finis en trois
piled raft foundations on overconsolidated clay. Compari- dimensions, de trois fondations en tables a piles sur une
sons of overall settlement, differential settlements and the argile surconsolidee. Les comparaisons du tassement gen-
load carried by the piles show reasonably good agree- eral, des tassements differentiels et de la charge portee
ment, although the finite-element analyses generally show par les piles, correspondent assez bien, meme si les
a higher proportion of the overall load being carried by analyses delements finis montrent dans lensemble que la
the piles than estimated from the field measurements. proportion de la charge generale supportee par les piles
Three main performance indicators of the piled raft are est plus elevee que celle suggeree par les mesures sur le
proposed: the proportion of load carried by the piles, terrain. Nous proposons trois indicateurs de performance
and the maximum settlement and maximum differential principaux pour les fondations en tables: la proportion
settlement, both as a proportion of the corresponding de charge portee par les piles et le tassement maximum
quantity for an unpiled raft foundation. The last indica- ainsi que le tassement differentiel maximum, tous deux
tor, in particular, suggests that improved layout of the comme proportion de la quantite correspondante pour
pile support can lead to a reduction both in the maxi- une fondation sans piles. Le dernier indicateur, en parti-
mum differential settlement and in the overall quantity of culier, suggere quen ameliorant lagencement ameliore
piles. This is illustrated for one of the case histories. des piles de support, on peut obtenir une reduction du
tassement differentiel maximum et de la quantite globale
KEYWORDS: case history; numerical modelling and analysis; de piles. Ceci est illustre dans une des histoires de cas.
piles; rafts; settlement; soilstructure interaction

INTRODUCTION absolute and differential settlements (Randolph, 1994).

The piled raft is a geotechnical composite construction Therefore three coefficients are introduced to quantify the
consisting of three elements: piles, raft and soil. The performance of piled rafts:
design of piled rafts differs from traditional foundation
design, where the loads are assumed to be carried either by (a) The piled raft coefficient, pr , describes the ratio of the
the raft or by the piles, considering the safety factors in each sum of all pile loads, Ppile , to the total load on the
case. In the design of piled rafts the load share between the foundation, Ptot :
piles and the raft is taken into account, and the piles are
used up to a load level that can be of the same order of Ppile
pr (1)
magnitude as the bearing capacity of a comparable single Ptot
pile or even greater. Therefore the piled raft foundation
allows reduction of settlements and differential settlements A piled raft coefficient of unity indicates a free-
in a very economic way compared with traditional founda- standing pile group, whereas a piled raft coefficient of
tion concepts. In this foundation concept the piles are zero describes an unpiled raft.
usually required not to ensure the overall stability of the (b) The coefficient of maximum settlement, s , is defined
foundation but to act as settlement reducers (Burland et al., as the ratio of the maximum settlement of the piled
1977). In recent decades an increasing number of structures, raft, spr , to the maximum settlement of the correspond-
especially tall buildings, have been founded on piled rafts ing unpiled raft, sr :
(ONeill et al., 1996; Katzenbach et al., 2000; Poulos,
2001). As an example, Table 1 summarises instrumented spr
s (2)
piled rafts in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, most of which sr
have been instrumented by the Institute and Laboratory of
Geotechnics of Darmstadt University of Technology (Arslan (c) The coefficient of differential settlement, s , is defined
et al., 1999). correspondingly. Unless otherwise stated, this is the
Key questions that arise in the design of piled rafts differential settlement between the centre and the
concern the relative proportion of load carried by raft and middle of the shorter side of the raft.
piles, and the effect of the additional pile support on
In the scope of this paper three of the case histories
summarised in Table 1Westend 1, the Messeturm and the
Torhaushave been studied by means of three-dimensional
elasto-plastic finite-element analyses, and the calculated
Manuscript received 4 April 2002; revised manuscript accepted 18
October 2002. results have been compared with the in situ measurements.
Discussion on this paper closes 1 October 2003; for further details Additionally, for Westend 1 the results achieved with the
see p. ii. finite-element analysis are compared with the results
 Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems, The University of achieved with eight different analysis methods, including the
Western Australia, Crawley, Australia. results given by Poulos et al. (1997).

Table 1. Piled rafts in Frankfurt, Germany
Building References H: m Peff : MN A: m2 tr : m zr : m n Lp : m Dp : m nip Pp : MN s: mm t: years
American Express Rollberg & Gilbert (1993); Reul 75 723 3575 20 140 35 200 09 6 2751 55 10
Congress Centre Barth & Reul (1997); Reul (2000) 52 1440 10 200 27 142 141 125345 13 12 2459 58 0
Eurotheum Katzenbach et al. (1998); 110 425 1893 25 130 25 250300 15 4 2647 29 10
Moormann (2000)
Forum-Kastor Lutz et al. (1996); 95 750 2830 30 135 26 200300 13 3 50126 55 0
Ripper & El Mossallamy (1999)
Forum-Pollux Lutz et al. (1996); 130 760 1920 30 135 22 300 13 3 74117 70 0


Ripper & El Mossallamy (1999)
Japan Centre Lutz et al. (1996); 115 630 1920 35 158 25 220 13 6 79138 65 05
Ripper & El Mossallamy (1999)
Main Tower Katzenbach et al. (1998); 199 1470 3800 38 21 112 300 15 17 1480 25 0
Moormann (2000)
Messeturm Sommer et al. (1990, 1991); 256 1570 3457 60 140 64 269349 13 12 58201 144 8
Sommer & Hoffmann (1991a, b);
Sommer (1993); Reul (2000)
Torhaus Sommer (1986, 1991); Sommer et al. 130 2 3 200 2 3 429 25 30 2 3 42 200 09 6 1769 140 2
(1984, 1985)
Westend 1 Franke & Lutz (1994); Lutz et al. 208 950 2940 47 145 40 300 13 6 92149 120 25
(1996); Wittmann & Ripper (1990)
Haus der Wirtschaft, Reul (2000) 68 605 5120 20 85 47 250 12 6 1431 25 0
Offenbach 6 375410
H, height of the building; Peff , effective load (settlement-inducing total load minus uplift); A, area of raft; tr , maximum thickness of raft; zr , maximum depth of raft below ground level; n, number of piles;
Lp , pile length; Dp , pile diameter; nip , number of instrumented piles; Pp , measured pile load resistance; s, maximum measured settlement; t, time of settlement measurement after completion of
construction of building.
 Foundation in Rupel clay.
Indicates completion of shell only.
STRUCTURAL MODEL special interface elements. The contact between structure
The analyses in the scope of this paper have been carried and soil was described as perfectly rough. This means that
out with a structural model based on the finite-element no relative motion takes place between the nodes of the
method. The soil and the foundation are modelled with finite finite elements that represent the structure and those of the
elements, which allows the most rigorous treatment of the finite elements that represent the uppermost layer of soil.
soilstructure interaction. The soil and the piles are repre- The material behaviour in the contact area was simulated by
sented by first-order solid finite elements of hexahedron the material behaviour of the soil.
(brick) and triangular prism (wedge) shape. For the model- The verification and calibration of the structural model is
ling of the raft, first-order shell elements of square and based on the back-analysis of static load tests and the
triangular shape with reduced integration have been used. measured bearing behaviour of foundations. Reul (2000)
Only the soil below the foundation level is modelled with gives a detailed description of the structural model. All
finite elements. The soil above the foundation level is con- finite-element analyses presented in this paper have been
sidered through its weight. The circular piles have been carried out with the program ABAQUS.
replaced by square piles with the same shaft circumference.
A discussion of the influence of the mesh refinement on the
results of the finite-element analyses can be found in Reul & SUBSOIL CONDITIONS
Randolph (2002). The subsoil condition in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, is
In the finite-element analyses the soil, which is in reality characterised mainly by tertiary soils and rock. They consist
a multiphase medium consisting of the three components of Frankfurt clay at the top underlain by the rocky Frankfurt
solid phase (grains), liquid phase (pore water) and gaseous limestone. The Frankfurt clay is a stiff, overconsolidated
phase (pore air), was simplified to a one-phase medium. The clay with liquid limit, plastic index and natural moisture
long-term behaviour of this one-phase medium was consid- content very similar to the London clay (Butler, 1975). Sand
ered with the drained shear parameters c9 and 9. The non- and limestone bands of varying thickness are embedded in
linear material behaviour of the soil (grains) has been the Frankfurt clay, which results in a non-homogeneous
modelled with a cap model that consists of three yield appearance of the layer as a whole. The compressibility of
surface segments: the pressure-dependent, perfectly plastic the Frankfurt limestone, which is composed of massive lime-
shear failure surface, Fs ; the compression cap yield surface, stone and dolomite layers, algal reefs, marly calcareous
Fc ; and the transition yield surface, Ft . Changes of stress sands and silts and marly clay, is small compared with that
inside the yield surfaces cause elastic deformations, whereas of the Frankfurt clay. As the boundary between Frankfurt
changes of stress on the yield surfaces cause plastic defor- clay and Frankfurt limestone dips slightly to the north-west,
mations. The shear failure surface is perfectly plastic, the thickness of the clay layer varies in the vicinity of the
whereas volumetric plastic strains cause hardening or soft- Messeturm, the Westend 1 and the Torhaus studied in this
ening of the cap. Plastic flow is defined by the non-asso- paper.
ciated flow potential, Gs , of the shear surface and the As mentioned previously, the material behaviour of the
associated flow potential, Gc , of the cap. The parameters  soilthat is, the Frankfurt clay, the Frankfurt limestone and
and d can be derived from the angle of friction, 9, and the (in the case of the Torhaus) the quaternary sand and
cohesion, c9, of the soil. A complete description of the cap gravelis modelled with an elasto-plastic cap model. How-
model can be found in the ABAQUS Theory Manual ever, as the Frankfurt clay is overconsolidated, assuming a
(ABAQUS, 1998). maximum previous vertical stress of 450 kPa at its top
For the modelling of the contact zone between soil and surface, the analyses are dominated by the soil stiffness
raft, and between soil and the large-diameter bored piles, rather than the soil strength. Therefore an elastic model with
thin solid continuum elements have been applied instead of non-linear elements at the interface of the soil and piles

Table 2. Material parameters used in the finite-element analyses

Parameter Frankfurt clay Frankfurt Sand Raft Piles
Youngs modulus, E: MPa Equation (3) 2000 75 34 000 25 000
22 000{
23 500}
Poissons ratio,  015 025 025 02 02
Total unit weight of moist soil, : kN=m3 19 22 18 25 25
Buoyant unit weight, 9: kN=m3 9 12 15 15
Coefficient of earth pressure at rest, K 0 072 (0 < z , 25) 05 046
057 (z > 25)
Angle of internal friction, 9: egrees 20 15 325
Slope of the conical yield surface in the 3767 2953 5262
pt plane, : degrees
Cohesion, c9: kPa 20 1000 0
Intersection of the conical yield surface with the 4242 2114 0
t-axis, d: kPa
Shape parameter of the transition surface between 0 0001 0
cone and cap,
Shape parameter of the cone, K 0795 0841 0778
Shape parameter of the cap, R 01 001 01
z in m below surface of tertiary layers.
 Parameters sand only for analyses Torhaus.
{ Westend 1.
} Torhaus.
would yield very similar results for the back-analyses of the linear elasto-plastic algorithm such as the cap model. The
case histories presented in this paper. The application of the distribution of the Youngs modulus of the Frankfurt clay
cap model for the Frankfurt clay was motivated by the need with depth is described by the following empirical formula-
for consistency with previous analyses that have been tion based on the back-analysis of boundary value problems
reported (e.g. Katzenbach et al., 1994, 1997) and because it in Frankfurt clay (Reul, 2000):
allows, in principle, the complete failure or loss of service-    
ability of the foundation system to be modelled (Reul, z  30
E 45 tanh 1 3 0:7z (3)
2000). 15
For overconsolidated clays, small-strain non-linearity can
have an important influence on the simulated ground move- where E is Youngs modulus (MPa), and z is the depth below
ments (e.g. Atkinson, 2000). However, it is the opinion of the surface of the tertiary layers (m). Within ABAQUS, an
the authors that the general principles demonstrated in the external text file allows interpolation of E values according
present paper are not altered by the adoption of a robust to the vertical coordinate. The raft and piles are considered

208 m


60 m Low rise section

0.0 m 47.3 m
14.5 m Instrumented piles

Contact pressure cells

Frankfurt clay Pore pressure cells

44.5 m
Multi-point borehole extensometers

Inclinometer/multi-point borehole
(a) extensometers
325 m Piled raft

clay 68 m
307.2 m 32 m

kfu rt lim

(c) (d)

Fig. 1. Westend 1: cross-section of the building, ground plan of the raft, and finite-element mesh. (a) Cross-section; (b)
ground plan of the raft of the tower; (c) finite-element mesh of the system; (d) finite-element mesh of the piled raft
to behave linear-elastically. Note that no site-specific mod- thin soil element at the pile shaft to zero. While this is an
ifications of the soil parameters have been applied, which extreme assumption, it allows bracketing of the possible
might be justified because of the non-homogeneous nature effect of shaft friction on the piled raft response.
of the Frankfurt clay and Frankfurt limestone. All finite- Figure 2 shows the comparison of the measured centre
element analyses presented in this paper have been carried settlement, the maximum pile load, the minimum pile load
out with the same set of soil parameters. The material and piled raft coefficient with the results of the finite-
parameters used in the finite-element analyses are sum- element analyses and the following analysis methods:
marised in Table 2.
(a) simplified hand calculation method (Poulos & Davis,
(b) strip on springs (Poulos, 1991)
(c) plate on springs (Poulos, 1994)
The 90 m 3 100 m office building Westend 1 was con-
(d ) combined finite-element and boundary-element method
structed between 1990 and 1993. The 208 m high tower and
(Ta & Small, 1996)
the 60 m high low-rise section of the building complex are
(e) combined finite-element and boundary-element method
founded on two separated rafts. The piled raft of the tower
(Sinha, 1996)
consists of a 47 m 3 62 m large raft with a thickness of 3
( f ) combined finite-element and boundary-element method
465 m and 40 bored piles with a length of 30 m and a
(Franke et al., 1994)
diameter of 13 m. The bottom of the raft lies 145 m below
(g) flexibility matrix method (Randolph, 1983)
ground level (Fig. 1(a)).
(h) load transfer approach for individual piles combined
The groundwater level is situated 7 m below ground level
with elastic interaction between piles and raft (Clancy
in the quaternary layers. The top surface of the tertiary
& Randolph, 1993)
Frankfurt clay, which has a thickness of at least 63 m in the
vicinity of Westend 1, lies 85 m below ground level. The results calculated with the first six analysis methods are
The layout of the measurement devices, which consist of given by Poulos et al. (1997). Therefore the subsoil condi-
six instrumented piles, 13 contact pressure cells, five pore tions and soil parameters described above may not necessa-
pressure cells, one multi-point borehole extensometer and rily comply with the assumptions made for those analyses.
two combined inclinometers/multi-point borehole extens- For the analysis with the flexibility matrix method, an
ometers, is shown in Fig. 1(b). overall stiffness of the pile group in isolation of k p
The finite-element mesh for Westend 1 models the tower 6912 MN=m and overall stiffness of the raft in isolation of
foundation. The low-rise section of the building complex is k r 6274 MN=m has been applied based on the distribution
not considered in the analysis (Fig. 1(c) and (d)). In the core of the Youngs modulus with depth (equation (3)). The
area of the tower (approximately 1580 m2 ) the raft consists overall stiffness of the pile group has been derived after
of 47 m thick elements, whereas the raft elements at the Randolph & Wroth (1978) by replacing the pile group with
edge have a thickness of 385 m. The bottom of the Frank- an equivalent pier. The overall stiffness of the raft has been
furt clay is assumed to be 68 m below the foundation level, estimated with the approach described by Mayne & Poulos
which lies 145 m below ground level. The Frankfurt clay is (1999).
followed by a 32 m thick layer of Frankfurt limestone in the For the analysis method described by Clancy & Randolph
finite-element mesh. According to the investigations of (1993) the program HyPR has been applied. In the HyPR
Franke & Lutz (1994), the Youngs modulus of the piles is analysis the soil depth is assumed to be 68 m, and the whole
assumed to be Epile 22 000 MPa in the finite-element area of the raft is modelled with 47 m thick finite elements.
analysis. The Youngs modulus of the soil has been calculated with
Table 3 outlines the step-by-step analysis of the construc- equation (3) for Frankfurt clay as the mean value over a
tion process in the finite-element analysis. The maximum depth of 68 m below foundation level. The ultimate shaft
load of Peff 895 MN (above the raft) is successively and base resistance of a single pile with the same length and
applied in the core area of the raft. The weight of the raft diameter as the piles of the piled raft has been estimated
minus the uplift amounts to 619 MN, and is applied over from the drained shear parameters for Frankfurt clay given
the whole area of the raft before the stiffness of the raft is in Table 2. However, it should be noted that the ultimate
included in the model. resistance of a pile under a piled raft is not necessarily the
To study the influence of the modelling of the pilesoil same as the ultimate resistance of a single pile (Reul, 2000).
interface an additional finite-element analysis has been car- The parameters of the soil, the raft and the piles used in the
ried out with reduced shaft friction. The reduction of the HyPR analysis are summarised in Table 4. The HyPR analy-
shaft friction was achieved by setting the cohesion of the sis has been carried out in two separate runs. A linear

Table 3. Westend 1: step-by-step analysis of the construction process in the finite-

element analyses
Step Applied load, Mean vertical effective stress
Peff : MN at foundation level,  v9 : kPa
1. In situ stress state 1920
2. Excavation to a depth of 7 m below 660
ground level
3. Installation of the piles 660
4. Excavation to a depth of 145 m below 0
ground level
5. Application of weight of raft minus 619 219
uplift due to pore pressures as uniform
load on subsoil (zero stiffness of raft)
6. Installation of raft 619 219
7. Loading of raft 9569 3380
Analysis method
1 Poulos & Davis (1980)
2 Poulos (1991)

Centre settlement, s: mm
150 3 Poulos (1994)
4 Ta & Small (1996)
5 Sinha (1996)
100 6 Franke et al. (1994)
7 Randolph (1983)
8 Clancy & Randolph (1993)
50 FEA Finite-element analysis
FEA* Finite-element analysis:
reduced shaft friction
M Measurement
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 FEA FEA* Ma)
Analyses results with methods
1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 given by
Poulos et al. (1997)
Maximum pile load, Pp,max: MN

Lutz et al. (1996)
Franke & Lutz (1994)

2 3 4 5 6 8 FEA FEA* Mb)

Minimum pile load, Pp,min: MN



2 3 4 5 6 8 FEA FEA* Mb)


Piled raft coefficient, pr




2 3 4 5 6 7 8 FEA FEA* Mb)

Fig. 2. Westend 1: comparison of different analysis methods and measurements

Table 4. Westend 1: parameters of the soil, the raft and the piles used in the HyPR
Parameter Soil Raft Piles
Youngs modulus, E: MPa 901 34 000 22 000
Poissons ratio,  015 02
Ultimate shaft resistance of piles, Rs1 : MN 110
Ultimate base resistance of piles, Rb1 : MN 44
analysis with a very small stiffness of the raft and a load of measured values and therefore overestimate the piled raft
619 MN gives the response of the foundation due to the coefficient. The calculated maximum pile loads are generally
weight of the raft. A second, non-linear analysis with the close to the measured value. The finite-element analysis
real stiffness of the raft and a load of 895 MN gives the shows the largest deviation and overestimates the maximum
response of the foundation due to the weight of the super- pile load by 18%. The minimum pile load calculated with
structure. As in the finite-element analysis, the load is the methods of Poulos (1991) and Ta & Small (1996) is
applied in the core area of the raft. The values shown in 75% larger than the measured value. The modified finite-
Fig. 2 are achieved by superposition of the results of the element analysis with the reduced shaft friction shows a
two analyses. better agreement with the measurement than the original
The measured centre settlement amounts to 120 mm, 25 finite-element analysis for the centre settlement, the maxi-
years after completion of the shell of the building (Lutz et mum pile load and the piled raft coefficient. Compared with
al., 1996), whereas the settlement obtained from the finite- the original finite-element analysis the centre settlements are
element analysis is 109 mm. The centre settlement calculated increased by 6% and the piled raft coefficient decreases by
with the method by Sinha (1996) is significantly larger than 9%.
the results achieved with all the other analysis methods. The Overall, methods that yield the closest match to the meas-
measured minimum and maximum pile loads of 92 MN and ured settlements tend to overestimate the proportion of load
149 MN respectively are taken from Franke & Lutz (1994). carried by the piles, while (with the exception of Franke et
Under the assumption that the average load of the six al., 1994) close agreement with the measured pile loads
instrumented piles is equal to the average load of the whole leads to overestimation of settlement. The computed settle-
pile group, the piled raft coefficient can be derived from the ment coefficients from the finite-element analyses with full
measured pile loads to give pr 0:5, whereas the finite- shaft friction were s 0:59 and s 0:51. Thus the ratio
element analysis yields a piled raft coefficient of pr 0:66. of differential settlement to the maximum (or indeed the
Most of the analysis methods give pile loads larger than the average) settlement has decreased slightly by the addition of

Piles: Lp 26.9 m

256 m Piles: Lp 30.9 m

Piles: Lp 34.9 m

Instrumented piles

Contact pressure cells

Pore pressure cells

Multi-point borehole

Section modelled with

finite elements

120 m
58.8 m

Piled raft

74.8 m


one 55.2 m
0m kfurt li
14 m

Frankfurt clay 120 m

48.9 m

(a) (c) (d)

Fig. 3. Messeturm: cross-section of the building, ground plan of the raft, and finite-element mesh. (a) Cross section AA; (b)
ground plan of the raft; (c) finite-element mesh of the piled raft; (d) finite-element mesh of the system
piles. Optimal placement of piles to minimise differential and quaternary sand and gravel up to a depth of 10 m below
settlements will be explored further in the final case history ground level, which is followed by the Frankfurt clay up to
considered here. a depth of at least 70 m below ground level.
Figure 3(c) and (d) shows the finite-element mesh of the
system, where one-eighth of the complete three-dimensional
MESSETURM problem has been modelled considering the three symmetry
The piled raft of the 256 m high Messeturm comprises 64 planes. The thickness of the raft decreases in three steps
bored piles and a square raft with an edge length of 588 m. from the core area (tr 6 m) to the edge of the raft
The length of the piles (Dp 1:3 m) varies from 269 m (tr 3:8 m). The interface between the Frankfurt clay and
(outer ring) through 309 m (middle ring) to 349 m (inner the Frankfurt limestone has been assumed to be 748 m
ring). The foundation level of the 36 m thick raft lies 11 below the bottom of the raft. The Youngs modulus of the
14 m below ground level (Fig. 3(a)). The construction of the piles of Epile 25 000 MPa has been derived from the in
building started in 1988 and was finished in 1991. The situ measurements (Reul, 2000). As the pile loads are
behaviour of the foundation was monitored from the con- calculated from strain measurements, the pile loads pre-
struction period until more than 7 years after the building sented in this paper are smaller than the values previously
was finished by means of geodetic and geotechnical meas- published (Sommer et al., 1990, 1991; Sommer & Hoff-
urements with 12 instrumented piles, 13 contact pressure mann, 1991a, b; Sommer, 1993), where a Youngs modulus
cells, one pore pressure cell and three multi-point borehole of the pile concrete alone of Econcrete 30 000 MPa is
extensometers. The positions of the measurement devices are assumed (Sommer & Hoffmann, 1991a).
plotted in the ground plan of the raft (Fig. 3(b)). The groundwater level is situated 455 m below ground
In the vicinity of the Messeturm the subsoil consists of fill level. For the construction of a subway tunnel with a station


96 20

92 16
Groundwater level, hGW : m


Pile load, Pp : MN
88 12

Inner ring

84 8 Middle ring

Outer ring

80 GB1/GB2 begin of 1./2. groundwater drawdown 4

GE1/GE2 end of 1./2. groundwater drawdown
F building finished

0 0
1.1.89 1.1.91 1.1.93 1.1.95 1.1.97 1.1.99

Fig. 4. Messeturm: variation of groundwater level and pile load with time

Table 5. Messeturm: step-by-step analysis of construction process in finite-element

Step Applied load, Mean vertical effective
Peff : MN stress at foundation
level,  v9 : kPa
1. In situ stress state 1774
2. Excavation to a depth of 75 m below 424
ground level
3. Installation of the piles 424
4. Excavation to a depth of 14 m below 0
ground level
5. Application of weight of raft minus uplift 1249 361
due to pore pressures as uniform load on
subsoil (zero stiffness of raft)
6. Installation of raft 1249 361
7. Loading of raft 15686 4537
8. Groundwater drawdown 18599 5379
9. Groundwater rise 15686 4537
47 m east of the Messeturm, groundwater had to be drawn to 174 mm, whereas the last documented measurement (De-
down more than 12 m at the tunnel (Sommer et al., 1991). cember 1998) gives a value of 144 mm. For the piled raft
As a result, the groundwater level in the vicinity of the coefficient the finite-element analysis yields pr 0:63
Messeturm decreased by about 10 m, which led to changes (groundwater drawdown) and pr 0:60 (natural ground-
of the uplift on the raft of 287 MN. During the construction water level) respectively. Based on the assumption that the
process of the subway tunnel and the station the groundwater average pile load can be derived from the twelve instrumen-
lowering was suspended for 2 years and continued in 1994 ted piles, the piled raft coefficient at the time of the last
until the end of 1996. Fig. 4 shows the variation of the documented measurement, where the groundwater is situated
groundwater level and the average measured pile loads for almost at its natural level, is pr 0:43.
the inner, middle and outer pile ring with time. The changes The corresponding settlement coefficients from the finite-
of the groundwater level, and the resulting uplift on the raft, element analysis are s 0:63 and s 0:77, implying that
caused alterations of the pile loads of up to 3 MN. A the ratio of differential settlement to maximum settlement
groundwater drawdown is accompanied by an increase of the has actually increased as a result of the addition of piles.
pile loads, and a groundwater rise by a decrease of the pile This raises questions as to the optimal positioning of the
loads, respectively. pile support.
Table 5 summarises the step-by-step analysis of the con- A comparison of the measured and calculated settlement
struction process in the finite-element analysis. The maxi- profiles at the three extensometers is plotted in Fig. 5. The
mum load amounts to Peff 1860 MN for the simulation of settlements at various depths have been normalised with the
the groundwater drawdown and to Peff 1569 MN for the settlements of extensometer head TP3 at the centre of the
simulation of the situation after the groundwater has reached raft. For the extensometers TP1 and TP3 reasonable agree-
its natural level. The weight of the raft minus the uplift ment between measured and calculated settlement profiles is
amounts to 125 MN and is applied over the whole area of achieved, whereas the finite-element analysis overestimates
the raft before the stiffness of the raft is included in the the settlements at extensometer head TP2.
model. The weight of the superstructure is applied by means Figure 6 shows the average pile load distribution and the
of single loads at the column position of the structure. average shaft friction distribution along the pile shaft for the
The calculated settlement at the centre of the raft amounts middle pile ring (Lp 30:9 m) for two different load levels.

sz settlement at the depth z under the raft TP1 TP2 TP3

s3 settlement at extensometer head TP3

20 40 60 20 40 60 80 20 40 60 80 100
0 0 0

20 20 20
sz/s3: %

40 40 40

TP1; TP2 TP3

60 60 60
Measurement (26.07.1991)
Finite-element analysis
80 80 80
z: m z: m z: m

Fig. 5. Messeturm: settlement profile. Measurements after Sommer & Hoffmann (1991b)
and finite-element analysis

Middle pile ring: Lp 30.9 m

0 5 10 15 20 0 100 0 100 200
Q pile load

5 qs shaft friction
z depth below pile head

10 10
Measurement (12.11.1988)
qs: kPa

15 Measurement (17.12.1998)
FEA (after installation of the raft)

20 20 FEA (after groundwater rise)

25 25

30 30
z: m z: m

Fig. 6. Messeturm: pile load and shaft friction distribution along the pile shaft. Measurement and finite-element analysis
The measured and calculated pile loads and shaft frictions TORHAUS DER MESSE
are related to the stage after the final excavation. The meas- Constructed between 1983 and 1986, the 130 m high
urements as well as the finite-element analysis show negative Torhaus was the first building in Germany with a foundation
shaft friction at the upper third of the pile shaft owing to the designed as a piled raft. A total number of 84 bored piles
installation of the raft. For both investigated load levels good with a length of 20 m and diameter of 09 m are located
agreement is achieved between measurements and finite- under two 17:5 m 3 24:5 m large rafts. The distance be-
element analysis. tween the two rafts is 10 m. As the building has no under-

130 m

Pile 2 Pile 3

Instrumented piles
100 m
Contact pressure cells
Pile 1 Pile 4
Multi-point borehole TP3
extensometers TP1
Pile 6 Pile 5
Section of the raft
modelled with
finite elements TP2

Symmetry axis

17.5 m
3 m
Quarternary layers

Frankfurt clay
23 m

24.5 m
(a) (b)

84.25 m

Piled raft

ry lay

110 m


90 m

74 m

(c) (d)

Fig. 7. Torhaus: (a) profile view of the building; (b) ground plan of raft; (c) finite-element mesh of system; (d) finite-
element mesh of piled raft
ground storeys, the bottom of the 25 m thick raft lies just weight of one raft amounts to 268 MN and is applied over
3 m below ground level (Fig. 7(a)). The subsoil comprises the whole area of the raft before the stiffness of the raft is
quaternary sand and gravel up to 25 m below the bottom of included in the model.
the rafts, followed by the Frankfurt clay. The Frankfurt From the last documented settlement measurement in
limestone is outside the influence of the foundation. The 1988 (Sommer, 1991) an average centre settlement for the
groundwater level lies below the rafts. The geotechnical two rafts of 124 mm can be estimated, whereas the finite-
measurements comprised results from six instrumented piles, element analysis gives a value of 96 mm. The computed
eleven contact pressure cells and three multi-point borehole settlement coefficients for the piled raft are s 0:51 and
extensometers. The position of the measurement devices is s 0:50, giving a similar ratio of differential to maximum
shown in Fig. 7(b). settlement as for the raft alone.
The finite-element mesh of the system constitutes one A comparison of the measured and calculated settlement
quarter of the complete three-dimensional problem consider- profile at the extensometers TP1 and TP3 is plotted in Fig.
ing the two symmetry planes (Fig. 7(c) and (d)). The finite- 8, where the settlements at various depths have been normal-
element mesh has a depth of 110 m, of which the first 25 m ised with the settlements of extensometer head TP1 at the
represents the quaternary layers while the remaining part is centre of the raft. Both the measurements and the finite-
Frankfurt clay. As no detailed information was available, element analysis show a significant block deformation of the
the Youngs modulus of the piles has been calculated pile group and the surrounding soil, due respectively to the
as the mean of the values for the Messeturm and Westend 1 large number of piles and the relatively small pile spacing.
(Table 2). This assumption is supported by the calculated settlement
The step-by-step analysis of the construction process in profile of an equivalent unpiled raft, which shows a strong
the finite-element analysis is summarised in Table 6. The decrease in the settlements with increasing depth.
maximum load of Peff 200 MN for each raft (Sommer, Figure 9 shows a comparison of the measured and calcu-
1991) minus the weight of the raft is successively applied by lated pile loads. The loads increase from a centre pile (pile
means of a uniform load over the whole raft area. The 1), to the edge piles (pile 2, pile 4, pile 6) and finally to the

Table 6. Torhaus: step-by-step analysis of the construction process in the finite-element

Step Applied load, Mean vertical effective
Peff : MN stress at foundation
level,  v9 : kPa
1. In situ stress state 450
2. Excavation to depth of 3 m below ground 0
3. Installation of piles 0
4. Application of weight of raft as uniform 268 625
load on subsoil (zero stiffness of raft)
5. Installation of raft 268 625
6. Loading of raft 200 4665


20 40 60 80 100 20 40 60 80 100
0 0

20 20

TP1 TP3 40 40
sz/s1: %

sz/s1: %

Measurement (February 1986)

Finite-element analysis (piled raft) 60 60

Finite-element analysis (unpiled raft)

sz settlement at the depth z under the raft

80 80
s1 settlement at extensometer head TP1

100 100

z: m z: m

Fig. 8. Torhaus: settlement profile. Measurements after Sommer (1991) and finite-element analysis
Cross-section I

Pile load, Pp: MN

I Pile 6 Pile 1 Pile 2 I 4

II Pile 5 Pile 4 Pile 3 II
Pile 6 Pile 1 Pile 2

Cross-section II

Measurement (February 1986) 6

Finite-element analysis 5
Pile load, Pp: MN

Pile 5 Pile 4 Pile 3

Fig. 9. Torhaus: pile load. Measurements after Sommer (1991) and finite-element analysis

corner piles (pile 3, pile 5), which is typical for a piled raft (Lp 23:1 m), and for pile configuration B the total pile
under working load conditions. The variation of the loads length amounts to nLp 1100 m (Lp 27:5 m).
with the pile position is due to the varying mobilisation of Moreover, for pile configuration A (Lp 23:1 m) the
shaft friction. Because of the block deformation of the pile coefficient for the differential settlement yields only
group discussed above, there are only small differential s 0:16 compared with s 0:50 for the real pile con-
displacements between the piles at the centre of the raft and figuration (Fig. 10(b)). Pile configuration B causes hogging
the surrounding soil. Hence the pile shaft loads of the centre of the raft (s , 0) for all investigated pile lengths. These
piles are substantially smaller than the pile shaft loads of the results are in good agreement with the centrifuge model test
edge or corner piles, whereas the pile base loads are similar and numerical studies presented by Horikoshi & Randolph
(Reul, 2000). From the last documented pile measurement in (1998), where the differential settlements of a uniformly
February 1986 (Sommer, 1991), a piled raft coefficient of loaded raft have been minimised by the installation of piles
pr 0:67 can be derived, whereas the finite-element analy- under the central area of the raft.
sis yields pr 0:76. For the investigated pile configurations, the piled raft
Figure 10 shows the coefficients for maximum and differ- coefficient increases with increasing total pile length from
ential settlement, s and s, and the piled raft coefficient, pr 0:52 (pile configuration B, Lp 20 m) to pr 0:76
pr , depending on the total pile length, nLp , for the real pile for the real pile configuration (Fig. 10(c)). Comparison
configuration and two modified pile configurations. For the with the coefficient for the maximum settlement in Fig.
modified pile configurations A and B, the number of piles 10(a) shows that the same maximum settlement can be
has been reduced to n 60 and n 40 respectively. The achieved with a varying contribution of the piles in the
pile length has been varied between Lp 20 m and load transfer.
Lp 27:5 m. As the raft is loaded uniformly, the necessity
to install piles, if column loadings are present as discussed
by Poulos (2001), is not addressed by the modified pile SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
configurations. The settlements, coefficients of maximum settlements and
For the real pile configuration with a total pile length of piled raft coefficients achieved from the finite-element ana-
1680 m a coefficient for the maximum settlement of lyses for the Messeturm, Westend 1 and the Torhaus are
s 0:51 is achieved. The same value can be attained with summarised in Table 7 and compared with the measurements.
a significantly smaller total pile length for a modified pile For the settlements a reasonable agreement between finite-
configuration with longer piles (Fig. 10(a)). For pile config- element analyses and measurements is obtained. The finite-
uration A the total pile length amounts to nLp 1389 m element analyses show that, owing to the installation of the

1.0 Modified pile configuration A:

Number of piles: n 60
0.8 Pile length: Lp 20.027.5 m
Pile diameter: Dp 0.9 m




600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800
n.Lp: m

Modified pile configuration B:

Number of piles: n 40
Pile length: Lp 20.027.5 m
Pile diameter: Dp 0.9 m



600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800
n.Lp: m

Real pile configuration

Pile configuration A

Pile configuration B

s settlement reduction coefficient

for the maximum settlement
s settlement reduction coefficient
for the differential settlement
pr piled raft coefficient
0.2 n.Lp total pile length

600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800
n.Lp: m

Fig. 10. Torhaus: coefficient for maximum and differential settlement and piled raft coefficient depending on the total
pile length

Table 7. Piled rafts in Frankfurt clay: measurements (M) and finite-element analyses (FEA)
Building scentre : mm s: mm s s pr pr


Messeturm 144 174 278 46 30 39 063 077 043 060
Torhaus 124 96 189 m.n.a. 7 14 051 050 067 076
Westend 1 120 109 184 m.n.a. 87 141 059 051 050 066
m.n.a., measurements not available; PR, piled raft; R, unpiled raft.
piles, the maximum settlements of the foundation can be Katzenbach, R., Arslan, U. & Moormann, C. (1998). Design and
reduced to 5163% of those of the equivalent unpiled raft. safety concept for piled raft foundations. Proceedings of the
The calculated piled raft coefficients are larger than the conference on deep foundations on bored and auger piles,
values derived from the measurements. However, as only Ghent, pp. 439448. Rotterdam: Balkema.
15% of the piles of the studied case histories are instrumen- Katzenbach, R., Arslan, U. & Moormann, C. (2000). Piled raft
foundation projects in Germany. In Design Applications of Raft
ted, it might be questionable if all aspects of the pile group Foundations, pp. 323391. London: Thomas Telford.
behaviour can be monitored with the in situ measurements. Lutz, B., Wittmann, P., El Mossallamy, Y. & Katzenbach, R.
Additionally, further investigations of the contact behaviour (1996). Die Anwendung von Pfahl-Plattengrundungen: Entwurf-
between stiff clay and large-diameter, bored, cast-in-place spraxis, Dimensionierung und Erfahrungen mit Grundungen in
piles might yield an optimised interface model for the finite uberkonsolidierten Tonen auf der Grundlage von Messungen.
element analysis. Vortrage der Baugrundtagung 1996 in Berlin, pp. 153164.
For the example of the Torhaus the same maximum Essen: DGGT.
settlement has been achieved with a modified pile configura- Mayne, P. W. & Poulos, H. G. (1999). Approximate displacement
tion and a significantly reduced total pile length, and the influence factors for elastic shallow foundations. J. Geotech.
Geoenviron. Engng 125, No. 6, 453460.
differential settlements are substantially smaller. This aspect
Moormann, C. (2000). Private communication from PhD thesis,
is of special importance when focusing on the optimised Darmstadt University of Technology.
design of piled rafts. ONeill, M. W., Caputo, V., De Cock, F., Hartikainen, J. &
Mets, M. (1996). Case histories of pile supported rafts. Report
for ISSMFE TC18, University of Houston, Texas.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Poulos, H. G. (1991). Analysis of piled strip foundations. Proceed-
Part of the work of the first author was supported by a ings of the conference on computer methods and advances in
fellowship within the Gemeinsame Hochschulsonder- geomechanics. pp. 183191, Rotterdam: Balkema.
programm III von Bund und Landern by the German Aca- Poulos, H. G. (1994). An approximate numerical analysis of
demic Exchange Service (DAAD). The measurements at the pileraft interaction. Int. J. Numer. Anal. Methods Geomech. 18,
Messeturm (19971998) were carried out while the first Poulos, H. G. (2001). Piled-raft foundation: design and applications.
author was employed as research assistant at the Institute Geotechnique 51, No. 2, 95113.
of Geotechnics at Darmstadt University of Technology, Poulos, H. G. & Davis, E. H. (1980). Pile foundation analysis and
Germany. design. New York: Wileys.
Poulos, H. G., Small, J. C., Ta, L. D., Sinha, J. & Chen, L. (1997).
Comparison of some methods for analysis of piled rafts. Proc.
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