You are on page 1of 7

DR. C.T.

TOH CONSULTANT, MALAYSIA

PRESSURE GROUTING TO RECTIFY PILE


INTEGRITY PROBLEMS
1. Introduction

It is an on-going project located at Petaling Jaya of Malaysia. The project


consists of three blocks of offices and one block of 39-strory service suites. The
buildings are founded on big diameter bored piles ranging from 600mm to
1800mm diameters. The bored lengths of piles vary from 23m to 53m.

A total of about 500 bored piles were installed, in which 136 of them are piles of
1500 to 1800mm diameters. The working loads of 1500mm and 1800mm
diameter piles are 15,400kN and 22,000kN, respectively. The concrete used is
of Grade 35.

The subsoil generally consists of firm to hard sandy SILT. A typical subsoil
profile is given in Figure 1. All piles were bored in soils using water as the
support fluid. Concrete was placed under water by tremie method. No rock was
encountered at the depths of pile termination.

2. Sonic Logging

Sonic logging tests were performed on 21 of the big diameter bored piles
(1500mm and 1800mm dia.) in order to check the pile integrity. The installation
of five to six sonic logging tubes into a bored hole often took more than two hours
before placement of concrete. Because of this prolonged installation time of
sonic logging tubes, sedimentation or perhaps, soil collapse, of up to about 1 to
2m happened. The piling subcontractor believed that the sedimentation can be
displaced by concrete using the tremie method.

Sonic logging showed deficiencies in integrity in all the 21 piles tested. The
problem of integrity can be categorized as follows:

a) Piles where deficiencies in integrity are observed at different levels. There


were 11 such piles;

b) Piles where deficiencies in integrity are confined to near the toe of the pile.
There were 10 such piles.

Remedial works inclusive of replacement piles and pressure grouting were


proposed. The latter option appears to be much more economical if it is
effective.

Page 1
DR. C.T. TOH CONSULTANT, MALAYSIA

3. Piles Where Deficiencies In Integrity Are Observed At Different


Levels

BS 8004 requires that the allowable compressive stress in pile shall be limited to
0.25 x the 28 day concrete strength. The method of assessing whether the
concrete is of adequate strength is to core through the pile, test the cores under
unconfined compression tests, and compare with the estimated vertical load in
the pile at the corresponding depth.

Photos 1 and 3 show some concrete cores obtained from the proof coring on the
piles with integrity problems. Honeycombs, contaminated concrete or
discontinuities were observed at the depths where loss of FAT signals or delay in
FAT signals was observed from sonic logging.

Pressure grouting was proposed to rectify the integrity problems of the piles. The
coring holes were first flushed with high water pressure until they are clean.
Then, cement grout was pumped in until clean grout was discharged from the
coring hole. Finally, high pressure was applied in order to ensure that all voids in
the concrete were filled with cement grout.

Sonic logging tests were performed on the piles seven days after the pressure
grouting. The results are encouraging in which significant improvements in
integrity can be observed from the sonic logging. Appendices A and B present
the sonic logging results for one of the treated pile, Pile No. 35 (1800mm dia., 6
sonic logging tubes), before and after the pressure grouting.

4. Piles Where Deficiencies In Integrity Are Confined To Near The Toe


Of The Pile

In this case, pressure grouting was performed via the existing sonic logging
tubes. The drilling rod was inserted through the existing sonic logging tube to the
bottom of the tube. The end cap of the tube was broken through and the drilling
was continued to the pile toe. After drilling through all the tubes in a pile, the pile
toe was flushed with high water pressure until it was clean. Then, cement grout
was pumped into the pile toe with high pressure via the sonic logging tubes.
Three tubes were then washed with low water pressure for sonic logging. Photos
4 and 5 show the cleaning and pressure grouting works.

Sonic logging after seven days shows encouraging results in which


improvements in integrity were observed at the treated pile toes. Appendices C
and D present the sonic logging results for one of the treated pile, Pile No. 145
(1800mm dia., 6 sonic logging tubes), before and after the toe grouting.

Page 2
DR. C.T. TOH CONSULTANT, MALAYSIA

5. Conclusions

Pressure grouting can be effective in rectifying the pile integrity problems. It is a


much cheaper solution compared to replacement piles.

Page 3
DR. C.T. TOH CONSULTANT, MALAYSIA

Figure 1. Typical Subsoil Profile

Page 4
DR. C.T. TOH CONSULTANT, MALAYSIA

Photo 1. Honeycombs were observed in concrete cores from proof coring

Photo 2. Contaminated concrete was also observed

Page 5
DR. C.T. TOH CONSULTANT, MALAYSIA

Photo 3. Discontinuities were observed in concrete cores

Photo 4. Mud was displaced out from sonic logging tube in the toe cleaning
process

Page 6
DR. C.T. TOH CONSULTANT, MALAYSIA

Photo 5. Pressure grouting in process

Page 7