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7662 Observations on the behaviour of a

piled-raft foundation on London Clay

The behaviour of a piled-raft foundation supporting a tower block in central London

has been studied in detail. Construction of the foundation took place in 1967 and
load cells were installed to measure pile loads and raft contact pressures during and
after construction. In addition, levelling sockets were built into the substructure to
facilitate themeasurement of foundationdisplacements.Thefieldmeasurements
taken during several years are presented, together with the results of a detailed finite
element analysis of the piled-raft foundation. In view of the geometrical complexity
of the problem, surprisingly good agreement has been obtained between measured and
computed values of load and displacement. The analytical work also demonstrates
the influence of the various factors contributing to the observed behaviour of the
foundation. Of particular importance in this respect are the depth and method of
construction of the basement, the variation of soil deformation modulus with depth
and thecontribution of thesubstructure to theoverallbendingstiffness of the
foundation. The combined approach of relating field measurements to the results of
a numerical analysis has provided, for the first time, a comprehensive insight into
the behaviour of a piled-raft foundation on London Clay.

Althqugh piled rafts are commonly used as a meansof supporting tall buildings
on various types of soil strata, little is known of their behaviour in service.
Moreover, the generalcomplexity of thistype of foundation gives rise to
numerous design problems, most of which are centred on the apportionment
of applied structural load between the piles and the base of the raft. This
load distributionwithin the piled raftwill depend on such factors as the stiffness
and plan shape of the foundation and the thickness and deformation proper-
ties of the soil. T o complicate matters further, the load sharing between the
piles and the raft will change with time because of consolidation of the soil.
2. With these problems in mind, an investigation was carried out into the
foundationbehaviour of oneparticular building: theHydePark Cavalry
Barracks tower block in London. This 90 m high building has a two-storey
basement and the foundation comprises a group of under-reamed bored piles
capped by a concrete raft in contact with theclay. During construction of the
foundation in summer 1967 load cells were installed in three of the piles and
three pressure cells were installed to measure contact pressuresat the raft-soil
interface. In addition, levelling sockets were cast into the structure at ground
floor level.
3. Subsequent field measurements taken over six years are presented to-
gether with the results of an elastic finite element analysis of the piled-raft
foundation. Related data on the structure and the soil strata are also given.

Written discussion closes 15 February, 1974, for publication in Proceedings, Part 2.

* Ove Arup and Partners.

Fig, 1. Hyde Park Cavalry Barracks, looking west t o east along Knightsbridge


General information
Site location
4. The Hyde Park Cavalry Barracks are situated on a wedge-shaped site
between South Carriage Road and Knightsbridge, along the south side of
Hyde Park. These buildings, which provide accommodation for the House-
hold Cavalry, replace the former barracks which previously occupied the site.
Reconstruction of the present barracks took place during 1967-70.' A view
of the completed barracks, looking west to east along Knightsbridge, is given
in Fig. 1.

Soils data
5. Boreholes sunk during the site investigation revealed the succession as
0.8 m fill, 4.2 m sand and gravel, followed by a thick layer of London Clay.
The ground water level was approximately 4.0 m below ground surface. In
subsequent borings on a site 370 m to the south-east of the tower block area
(referred to as theKnightsbridge Green site by Hooper and Butler") the thick-
ness of London Clay was 57.6 m, followed by 21.3 m of Woolwich and Reading
Beds, 2.1 m of Thanet Sands, 0.9 mof flint gravel and then Chalk.
6. Cone penetration tests were carried out in the coarse granular strata at
nominal 1.2 m intervals. The number of blows taken to drive the cone (60"
apex, 51 mm dia., fitted to split spoon sampler) 0.30 m varied from 12 to 49,
with an average value of 36 from 12 tests. A 622 N hammer blow with a free
fall of 0-76 m was used to drive the cone into the soil.

0 C"

t 0
& ...

0- O-
+ E 0.
London Clay
- ++ - . O

- t -
S t
+t g 0 0
-10 - -10 -
+ t
1 *:
0 o
0 o o

-20 - t
t +

-30 - _L-
t I *

Fig. 2. Soils data

7. Data relating to the shear strength and consolidation characteristics of
the London Clay are shown in Fig. 2. Values of undrained shear strength c,
represent the average of sets of three 38 mm dia. specimens extracted from
102 mmdia. samples.Values of the coefficient of consolidation cv and
coefficient of volume compressibility m, are also plotted, the latter values re-
lating to a pressure increment of 107 kN/ma in excess of the effective over-
burden pressure atthesample depth.Average values of natural moisture
content and bulk density of the clay were 27% and 1.97 Mg/m3 respectively.
Measuredvalues for the liquid and plasticlimitsaveraged 82% and 27%

Foundation layout and construction

8. A plan of the tower block basement is shown in Fig. 3 and a section
through the foundation is shown in Fig. 4.
9. The raft is 1.52 m thick and its base is 8.8 m below the average level of
the ground surface. The plan area of raft in contact with the clay is 618 ma.
Theraft is connected to 51 identicalconcrete bored piles, symmetrically
arranged as indicatedin Fig. 3. The piles are 0.91 m in dia., 24.8 m long and

South Carriage Drive N

Fig. 3. Plan of tower block basement


Fig. 4. Section A-A

have 2.44 m dia. under-reamed bases; they also contain nominal steel rein-
forcement in the top 6.1 m.
10. The basement houses the heating and ventilating plant for the building
complex and additional services equipment. The thickness of the principal
core walls (381 mm and 457 mm) is constant up to second floor level and the
maintowercolumns are 1520 mm by 915 mm. Theground floor slab is
228 mm thick. Jointsare providedin thesubstructure to accommodate
differential vertical movement between the tower block andthe adjoining
11. The calculated total weight of the building (i.e. dead load, including
raft, plus live load, excluding wind load) is 228 MN, giving an average gross
bearing pressure of 368 kN/ma. At a depth of 8.8 m, corresponding to the
bottom of the excavation, the calculated totaloverburden pressure is
172 kN/m2.Thecomputed weight of soil removed is therefore 107 MN,
giving a net applied load of 121 M N (equivalent pressure 196 kN/m2).
12. In constructing the foundations, the concrete piles were formed from
the original ground surface and thus involved about 8 m of empty bore. After
installing these concrete piles, a continuous row of sheet piles was formed
around the periphery of the proposed excavation, with a minimum penetra-
tion of 2.1 m below the specified base level of the raft. Soil was then removed
from the central area of the site down to raft base level, leaving a batter to
support the sheet pile wall. After the casting of the central portion of the
raft, raking struts were installed between the raft and the sheet pile wall.
More soil was then removed, a lower set of struts and walings installed, and

Fig. 5. Typical superstructure plan

the remaining soil excavated down to raft base level. This enabled the raft
to be extended up to the sheet piles, which were left permanently in place.
Subsequently a continuous reinforcedconcreteretaining wall was formed
against the sheet piles. The time between starting the excavation and com-
pleting the raft was approximately four months.

Layout of superstructure
13. The tower has 31 floors and rises to a height of 90 m above ground
level. Abovetheground floor and mezzanine level are 28 similarfloors,
each 20.1 m squareand comprising four flats. The remaining structure,
between the top flat and the roof, hasa different layout.
14. A plan of a typicalfloor is shown in Fig. 5. Between the third and
ninth floors the thicknesses of the principal core walls are 229 mm and381 mm;
on the tenth floor and above the corresponding dimensions are 229 mm and
305 mm. The corner columns are 1520 mm by 915 mm and are constant
over the height of the building. In general, doorway positions are staggered
on alternate floors to give additional stiffness. The 178 mm thick concrete
floor slabs are supported on the inner two sides by the wind core and on the
other two sides by 1070 mm deep, 152 mm thick, concrete edge beams, which
are themselves connected to the corner columns.
Instrumentation and resulting measurements
Load measuring instrumentation
15. Photoelastic gauges formthe basis of the instrumentation used for
measuring both the pile loads and the raft contact pressures. T h e e gauges
consist essentiallyof a symmetrical steel bodycontaining a transverse hole, into
which is set a solid glass cylinder. When load is applied to the steel body, the
hole deforms and thereby induces diametral compression of the glass cylinder.
Isochromatic fringe patterns are then visible in the glass when viewed under
circularly polarized light, and these can be directly related to the applied load.
A detailed account of the design and performance of these. gauges, including
such effects as temperature sensitivity and long-term stability, has been given
e l s e ~ h e r e . ~ Details
.~ have also been given'
- - for the
of the load cells designed
present investigation.
16. In its basic construction the nile load cell comnrises six concentricallv
~~~ ~ ~ ~~ ~~~ ~ ~~~~~

arranged loo0 kN load gauges w n f i k d between two 875 mm dia. steel plates
(Fig. 6). The overall stiffness of the cell is almost identical to the volume of
concrete it replaces and hence there shouldbe no redistributionof load within
the pile due to thepresence of the cell itself. Each cell is 1.5 m below the base
of the raft. The individual load gauges are read at the raft surface by lowering
a polarized light unit down a vertical access tube to the cell and viewing the
fringe patterns by way of an inclined mirror housed within the light unit.
17. The earth pressure cell consists essentially of a 685 mm dia. concrete

Fig. 6. The 6 M N pile load cell during assembly

piston connected to the surrounding raftby a 100 k N photoelastic load gauge.
Gauge readings are taken in the same way as for thepile load cells, and using
the same equipment. However, the upward movement of the concrete piston
will give rise to recorded pressures which are lower than those which would
otherwise exist on the base of a continuous raft; a numerical analysis related
to this particular pressure cell showed that the probable reductionis approxi-
mately 9% and so the recorded pressures were corrected by this amount.

Load cell readings

18. Three pile load cells and three earth pressure cells were installed in the
tower block foundation and the positions are marked on the basement plan
(Fig. 3). A summary of the measured pile loads and corrected raft contact
pressures is given in Table 1.
19. As a result of the excavation procedure, the load cells in the central
area of the foundation were the first to be installed. Pile load cells P2 and P3
and earth pressure cells C2 and C3 were installed between 16 and 18 May,
1967. The third pair of load cells PI and Cl was installed between 10 and 12
July, 1967. For each set of readings the time datum has been taken as 17 May,
1967, which is when the first load cells were installed and when the initial
casting of the raft took place.

Measured foundation displacernents

20. In order to measure foundation displacements, i.e. so-called heave and
settlement, 14 brass levelling sockets were installed at the positions indicated
in Fig. 3. It was not feasible to locate the sockets in the raft itself so they
were installedin the walls andcolumnsjustaboveground floor level-a
vertical distance of 5.5 m from the top of the raft.
21. The level used in thesettlement surveys was a high precision instrument
incorporating a parallel plate micrometer capable of reading to 0.025 mm.

Table 1. Measured pile loads and raft contact pressures

Date Time.
I Pile load, kN Contact pressure,

17 May, 1967 n I - 0 0 - 0 0
11 July, 1967 150 0 0 45 43
3 August, 1967 . 200 50 68 69 47
28 Seutember. 1967 200 20 99 78 56
1 December, 1967 6.5 - 100 - 107 78 49
2 February, 1968 8.5 20 300 400 123 93 61
5 April, 1968 10.6 350 400 1270 140 105 78
7 June, 1968 12.7 950 750 1990 148 112 88
2 August, 1968 14.5 1270 1400 2630 157 113 94
9 September, 1968 15.7 1750 1740 3060 161 128 101
12 December, 1968 18.8 1920 1990 3330 166 - 101
12 June, 1969 24.8 2510 2540 3430 173 130 105
15 September, 1970 39.9 2790 2680 3410 - 136 109
2 May, 1973 71.5 3030 2860 - - 124 102
, .




An Invarstaff was used throughout, together with a single levelling plug which
was screwed into each of the sockets in turn. Temporary bench marks were
established at about 100 m from the tower and were periodicallychecked
against a permanent deep bench mark. This bench mark is based in the Chalk
and is 370 m from the tower.
22. The measured displacements are listed in Table 2, again the time datum
being taken as 17 May, 1967. The closing errors were normally in the range
0.5-1.0mm and were distributed on each survey.

Analysis of piled-raft foundation

Method and details of analysis
23. From the analytical viewpoint, the piled raft represents one of the most
complex of all foundation systems. The general problem, which is fully three-
dimensional, is essentially one of determining the stresses and displacements
within a foundation consisting of a raft of finite flexibility in contact with the
soil and connected to a group of piles embedded in a non-homogeneous soil
layer. Furthermore, the raft may not be located at the ground surface and it
may also be subjected to non-uniform or discontinuous applied loading. By
any standards the problem is formidable, even when considered on the basis
of elastic theory.
24. Some attempts at piled-raft analyses have been made using numerical
methods,notably by Poulos6and Butterfield andBanerjee.7~8 However,
there are two importantlimitations implicit in these solutions: they relate only
to a homogeneous soil layer and thepiles are assumed to be capped by a com-
pletely rigid raft. These restrictions preclude the application of existing solu-
tions to thepresent problem.
25. By way of an alternative approach, a solution to the problem was
sought by means of the finite element method. In order to retain the essential
three-dimensional nature of the problem, axial symmetry of the foundation
was assumed; reference to Fig. 3 shows this to be a reasonable assumption,
particularly in view of the approximately concentric arrangement of piles.
The axisymmetric model used in the finite element analysis of the piled raft is
shownin Fig. 7, the elements themselves being eight-noded isoparametric
26. In forming thefinite element model,some degree of approximation was
inevitable because in the real foundation the piles are connected to the raft
at discretepoints. The method used was to simulate eachconcentric row
of piles by a continuous annulus with a n overall stiffness (i.e. displacement
per unit force) equal to the sum of the stiffnesses of the individual piles. In
calculating the stiffness of each annulus, Young’s modulus of the concrete
was taken as 13.8 GN/m2. The condition of no slip between the piles and the
raft is implicit in the finite element formulation of the problem.
27. A further difficulty associated with piled-raft analyses is that normal
stresses are required at thesoil-raft interface, along which are common nodes
joining elementswith dissimilar elasticproperties.Accordingly, a com-
paratively simple test problem was investigatedlO before the main problem
was tackled. The results show that satisfactory estimates of contact pressure
are possible using the finite element method in its conventional form,provided
that certain averaging procedures are adopted. They also indicate that effects

g Free surface


Fig. 7. Axisymmetric finite element model of piled-raft foundation

due to shear tractions at the soil-raft interface may be neglected for practical

Soil deformation parameters

28. For analyticalpurposes, the following assumptions were made re-
garding soil deformation properties
(a) the soil is isotropic and displays linear elastic behaviour
(b) the undrained Young’s modulus of the soil E, increases linearly with
(c) the drained Poisson’s ratio of the soil v’ is a constant and is indepen-
’ dent of depth.
Although there is considerable evidence that heavily overconsolidated soils
such as the London Clay or the Woolwich and ReadingBeds behave like linear
elastic materials at low stress levels, there is little reliable data relating to the
in situ elastic moduli for these strata. In the analysis, therefore, it was neces-
sary to adopta trial and error approach in order to establish the relationship
of E , with depth; this was achieved by matching, as far aspossible, computed
and measured values of load and displacement at the soil-raft interface. The
final result (obtained at the third attempt) was
E, = 1 0 f 5 . 2 ~ . . . . . . * (1)
where z is the depth in metres from the groundsurface and E , is measured in
MN/ma. The value of Poisson’s ratio corresponding to undrained conditions
V , was assumed constant and equal to 0.47;in the strictest sense v, should
equal 0.5 to comply with the requirements of an incompressible material, but
this extreme value of v , is difficult to handle computationally. However, the
error associated with using the slightly lower value is considered negligible.
29. The relationship between the drained Young’s modulus E’ with depth
was derived on the assumption that the shear modulus of soil is invariant with
respect to pore water drainage, whence

Assuming v’= 0.10

E = O.75Eu . . . . . . f (3)
which was used in the drained analysis.
30. These relationshipsof E , with depth are central to the analysis and it is
relevant to consider how they compare with other data. Laboratory studies
on London Clay have long since shown that E , increases in some way with
depth and attempts have been made to correlate E , with undrained shear
strength c,. Cooling and Skempton,ll for example, suggested the relation-
ship E,= 140c, based on unconfinedcompression tests on smallborehole
samples; the sameresult was later obtained by Skempton and Henkel,la again
based on borehole samples. However, subsequentlaboratorystudies by
Ward et did notshow a clear relationship between E , and c , ; the in-
vestigation also highlighted problems associated with size effects and sample
disturbance which are encounteredin even the most carefully controlled forms
of laboratory testing. For the present site, the line corresponding to E,/c, =
200 is shown in Fig. 8, based on shear strength results obtained from 38 mm
dia. specimens extracted from 102 mm dia. borehole samples.Clearly,this
approach appears to underestimate grossly the in situ modulus of the soil.
31. A different interpretation of triaxialtestresults,based on published
test data for the London Clay at Ashford Common,14 has been presented by
Wroth.15 His analysis suggests that v’ is independent of depth (and equal to
0.12), and that E and hence E , increase linearly with depth. The resulting
variation of E , with depth, obtained using equation (3), is included in Fig. 8.
Again the modulus values are comparatively low, but this is not altogether
surprising in view of the work of Simons and Som;16 they maintain that real-
istic modulus values from triaxial tests can only be obtained if the correct
stress path is followed. The work showed that the axial compressibility of
samples is greatly influenced by the ratio of vertical to horizontal effective
stress, and that in most cases the stress paths followed in conventional un-
drained triaxial tests give rise to E , values which are much too low.
32. As an alternative to laboratory testing, Marsland17 carried out large
diameter plate loading tests at two sites in London. The access shafts were
Eu : M N / m *

0 200 400 600

I .\,,y
n I I
Hendon "
I 1 I 1


R" = 200 C "

80 -

Fig. 8. Various relationships of E, with depth

large enough toenable the clay surface to be prepared by hand before bedding
in the plate, but even with this elaborate form of field testing there are con-
siderable difficulties, particularly those concerning ground disturbance and
opening of fissures during the preparation stage.le In thisconnexion, sur-
prisingly wide variations in moduli were obtained at a given level on the same
site. Nevertheless, it is probablethatthe results are a good deal more
representative of in situ moduli than those derived from laboratory test speci-
mens. Plate test values (second loading) of E , for sites at Hendon andChelsea
are given in Fig. 8.
33. Figure 8 includes a relationship between E, and depth derived by Cole
and Burland19 for a site at Moorfields in London, where the thickness of the
London Clay is only 25 m and where the Woolwich and Reading Beds are
28 m below the ground surface. However, this relationship was deduced from
a retrospective finite element analysis of retaining wall movements and would
thus have been influenced to a great extent by the values of KO (the coefficient
of earth pressure at rest) used in the analysis. Evidently Cole and Burland
assumed a linear variation of KO with depth and the approximate nature of
this assumption should be considered in assessing the results of their analysis.
34. Although Fig. 8 shows the Moorfields values to be comparatively high,
the related analysis was concerned with matching measured horizontal wall
movements on the basis of anisotropic clay model.However, laboratory
tests have shown13 that for London Clay E , is approximately 60% greater in
the horizontal direction than in the vertical direction; hence the Moorfields
results arereasonablycompatible with those derived fromthe piled-raft
analysis. I n this connexion, it is not considered that the anisotropy of the
clay will significantly affect the results of the piled-raft analysis, in which
vertical loading predominates and where vertical stresses and displacements
are of principal interest.

Construction loads
35. Considering the excavation stage, the net weight of material removed
on completionof the concrete raftwas 85 M N (i.e. the weight of soil, 107 MN,
less the weight of the raft, 22 MN), which corresponds to an average vertical
uplift pressure of 137 kN/ma. If the combined operation of excavating the
soil and casting the raft were carried out instantaneously, this uplift pressure
would be directly applicable to the analysis. In reality, several months were
required to complete thiswork, thus giving rise to some reduction in the
uplift pressure acting on the foundation. In the analysis the uplift pressure
was assumed to be uniformly distributed and, by comparing computed raft
contact pressures with those measured during the early stages of construction,
was assumed equal to 96 kN/m2, i.e. 70% of the maximum (instantaneous)
36. The horizontal stresses imposed on the sides of the model excavation
were equal to theestimated horizontal stresses in the groundbefore excavation.
For this KOwas taken as 0.4 for the top 5 m (fill, sand and gravel) and 2.0 for
the excavated depth of London Clay. However, in this problem accurate KO
values were not required as thevertical stresses and displacements beneath the
foundation were insensitive to the magnitude of the horizontal stresses.
37. The estimated net downward load acting on the raft is 206 MN, i.e.
the total building weight, 228 MN, less the weight of the raft, 22 MN. Con-
cerning the distribution of this net applied load, it was estimated that the
vertical structural loading throughout construction was higher in the central
region of the raft than at theedges. In the analysis it was assumed that for a
given downward applied load, one half was applied uniformly over the raft
area and one half was symmetrically distributed in parabolic form; this was
considered to provide the best all-round fit to the actual load distribution.

Eflect of substructure and superstructure on foundation stiffness

38. To obtain a realistic assessment of foundation performance, it is
essential to include the additional stiffening effect of the structure above raft
level. In relation to the present building, for example, it is evident from Figs
3 and 4 that the main corewalls, together with the raft and groundfloor slab,
constitute a comparatively rigid box-type structure.

1 Computed !draincd)

\ I.


- 500 L

, Mea,ure;

, , , , , ,
Time : months

, ,
7 -
, ,
, ,

Computed iundrainedl

Computed !drained)
, , ,

s o 8 16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72
Time : months
Fig. 9. Measured and computed values of pile load PI and contact pressure C,

39. As a means of providing a quantitative assessment of foundation stiff-

ness, it is convenient to introduce the parameter equivalent raft thickness,
denoted by t , and defined as thickness of monolithic concrete raft having
thesame bending stiffness asthe combined raftand adjoiningstructure.
From an examinationof the sizes and layout of the main structural members it
became clear that the additional stiffening component was of an orthotropic
form, with an average t , value of approximately 3.3 m ; this represents a tenfold
increase in bending stiffness relative to the basic 1.52 m thick raft.
40. In calculating t , it was assumed that most of the additional stiffness is
derived fromthe basement substructure, withonlyacomparativelysmall
contribution from the superstructure;specifically, the calculated average value
of t , for the substructure was approximately 3.0 m, equivalent to 75% of the
total estimated stiffness. This implies that as far as differential displacements
of thefoundationare concerned, almostthe full structural stiffness was
mobilized atan early stage of construction. For the numericalanalysis,
therefore, it was considered reasonable to base computations on a 3.3 m thick
raft for both uplift and downward load cases.

Results of analysis
41. The computed results for pile load and raft contactpressure at specific
locations are shown in Figs 9-1 1 ; they are presented in the form of upper and
lower boundsandrelateto undrained and fully drained conditions. The
corresponding measured values taken from Table 1 are also plotted.
42. At any stage of construction the proportion of vertical load taken by
the piles and on thebase of the raft can be estimated by summating individual
Computed (drained)

5 2000 Camputediundrained'


Time : months
Computed !undrained)
Measured Computed idrained1

# L

" 0 a 16 14 32 , 40 40 56 64 72
Time : months

Fig. 10. Measured and computed values of pile load P, and contact pressure C z

Computed (drained)
3000 -
Computed (undrained)
3- 2000


1000 -

040 32 16 24 4a 56 64 72
Time: months

Computed (undrained)
L--..---- Computed (drained)

0 0 16 24 32 40 4a 56 64 72
Time : months

Fig. 11. Measured and computed valuesof pile load P, and contact pressure C,


I 32 , , 1 I , I I --.
~i L
72 0 64 5616 24 40 40
Time 1 months

Fig. 12. Distribution of building weight at soil-raft interface


Time : months

24 1 (a) Centre of raft

Time : months

a -

Measured(average of A, C , L and 0)
(b) Edge of raft
Fig. 13. Measured and computed raft displacements
measured values acrosstheraftradius.Furthermore,thetotalloadsthus
estimated can be directly compared with calculated vertical loads imposed by
the structure, andtherefore provide a useful check on theoverall accuracy and
performance of the instrumentation. The results of this exercise are shown in
Fig. 12. Values of calculated building weight relate to the sum of dead load
plus live load (excluding wind load).
43. Measured and computed values of raft displacement are shown in Fig.
13. Measured results relate to F at the raft centre and to the
average at points
A, C, L and 0 near the edge of the raft (Fig. 3). The computedresults, which
and of the raft, are again
relate to points at the centre edge given for undrained
and fully drained conditions.

Interpretation of results
44. There is ageneral pattern of loaddistribution within a piled raft
whichemerges from the presentinvestigation. Duringthe earlystages of
construction the foundation is subjected to substantial net uplift forces which
result from the excavation of the soil. These forces manifest themselves in a
fairly rapid build-up of pressure on the base of the raft, which in turn must be
resisted by tensileforces inthe piles. Then,as vertical structuralload is
applied, the raft contact pressure increases relatively slowly and the forces in
the piles changequiterapidlyfrom tensile to compressive. Theload dis-
tribution between the piles and the raft at the end of construction will there-
fore depend on the ratio of uplift force to downward structural load.

Computed (undrained)
I I l l
0.2 08 r,n 1.0


:: 150
5 100
02 04 06 08 r,n 1.0

Computed (undrained)
Measured (N-S and dlagonal axes)

p 20
Measured (€-W m i r )
Computed (drained)

r Radial co-ordlnate
Y Raft radius

Fig. 14. Variation of pile load, contact pressure anddisplacement across raft at
40 months
45. Both computed results and field measurements suggest that the distri-
bution of pile loads across thefoundation of the completed structure is
reasonably uniform. After 40 months (Fig. 14), for example, measured pile
loads for P3 (centre) and P1 (edge) were 3410 kN and 2790 kN respectively.
However, measured contact pressures were significantly higher at the edges
than at the centre (i.e. at 40 months approximately 175 kN/m2 for Cl and
109 kN/m2 for C3),whereas computed pressures are nearly uniform over the
entire raft area. The differences in pressureoccur at the excavation stage;
for theremainder of the constructionperiod the computedbuild-up of contact
pressure closely matches measured values.
46. The magnitude of the uplift force acting on a piled-raft foundation will
undoubtedly depend on such factorsas the method of installing the piles and
themethod of excavating the soil and constructing the basement. In the
present case the piles were installed from the original ground surface and thus
had a marked restraining effect on the soi1,beneath the basement. The sub-
sequent excavation was well strutted and was carried out during a relatively
dry summer period; in addition, the clay at raft base level was exposed for the
minimum length of time. Under these circumstances, a comparatively high
uplift force was to be expected, and by matching computed and measured raft
contact pressures during the initial stages of construction it was deduced that
the uplift force actingon the piled raft was approximately 70% of the maximum
possible net uplift force.
47. The probable effect of consolidation of the clay on load distribution is
indicated by the computed curves (Figs 9-1 1) relating to undrained and fully
drained conditions. The general long-term effect is that pile loads increase
and raft contact pressures decrease. The results suggest, for example, that
the proportionof the totalapplied structural loadcarried by the piles increases
by approximately 6% because of consolidation, with an overall reduction in
raft loading of the same amount. The measured transfer of load from the
raft to the piles during the three-year post-construction period was about 3%
of the total applied load. These load changes are comparatively small in the
present case, chiefly because of the unusually thick clay layer beneath the foun-
dation; far greater increases in pile loads might be expected if the clay layer
were much thinner and if a very stiff stratum were located close to the pile
48. Figure 13 shows the close agreement between measured and computed
foundation displacements, taking into account thedifferent time datum for the
two sets of results. Furthermore, the general form of the measured displace-
ment curves strongly suggests that the settlement of the building is almost
complete only six years afterthestart of construction.Plottingthe con-
solidation displacement components for F (the centre of the raft) on a semi-
logarithmic time scale indicates that more than90% of the primary consolida-
tion has already taken place. This in turn suggests that field values of c , are
much higher-possibly by one or even two orders of magnitude-than the
typical values (Fig. 2) obtained from laboratory oedometer tests, presumably
because of the presence of fissures and laminations within the clay mass.
49. From the structural viewpoint, it is the differential displacements which
are normally of prime concern; these are shown in Fig. 15. Linearinter-
polation was used to estimate the relevant missing values in Table 2. The
measured differential displacements are of the same order of magnitude as the


T-& L T i m e : months
Measured (€-W axis1

Computed (drained

(diagonal axis)

Fig. 15. Measured and computed differential displacements (negative values indicate
upward curvature of raft)

overall measuring accuracy of a level survey; hence greater emphasis shouldbe

attached to the general pattern of results than toindividual values.
50. Thecomputed differential displacementsrelating toundrainedand
fully drained conditions are almost identical, and are represented by a single
curve in Fig. 15. However, throughout the consolidation phase there will be a
continuous re-distribution of load within the foundation, which in turn is
bound to give rise to perturbations in differential displacement.
51. During the initial stages of construction the results indicate an upward
curvature of the raft, corresponding to theuplift forces acting on the founda-
tion. As the building progressed, the raft soonassumed an opposite curvature
and the measurements showed that, in general, the differential displacements
increased throughouttheremainingconstruction period. Thecomputed
results show similar increases in differential displacement during this period,
although the orthotropic natureof the foundation precludes the possibility of
close agreement with measured values. At 40 months, for example (see also
Fig. 14), just before the building was occupied, the measurements taken along
the diagonal axes (i.e. the difference in level between F and the average of
A, C , L and 0) indicated a differential displacement of 4.6 mm. This value
relates to the most flexible axis of the foundation; along the slightly stiffer
north-south axis the corresponding value is 4.1 mm (based on the average
levels at B and N), and along thestiff east-west axis it is 1.3 mm (based on the
average levels at D and G ) . By comparison, the computed differential dis-
placement at 40 months is 3.8 mm.
52. It is evident from Fig. 15 that, following the completion of the struc-
ture,the differentialdisplacements havecontinuedto increasewith time.
Moreover, these increases have been nearly the same along all three principal
axes; between 40 and 70 months, for example, the measuredincrease was
approximately 1.9 mm.However, it seems likely thatthe differential dis-
placements have now reached the levelling-off stage, although further readings
are required before a definite trend can be determined.
53. In any event, the differential displacements are small; even based on
the maximummeasured value of 6.8 mm, the ratioof differential displacement
to raft radius(i.e. the angular distortion)is only lj2000. As might be expected,
a recent examination of the structure atbasement and ground floor levels did
not reveal any deterioration in the finishes.

54. It has been possible, by means of a detailed finite element analysis, to
deduce the approximate variation of E , with depth for the soil beneath the
present building. This relationship is particularly useful in view of the com-
parative uniformity of the London Clay stratum and the considerable diffi-
culties which are encountered in determining E , experimentally, either by
laboratory testing or by in situ plate testing. Furthermore, the analysis has
resulted in encouraging agreement between measured and computed values of
load and displacement, despite the geometrical complexity of the foundation.
55. The ability of the load measuring instrumentation to functionsuccess-
fully for several years, often under arduous site conditions, has been clearly
56. The presence of a basement has a marked influence on the load dis-
tribution within a piled-raft foundation.Duringthe initialstages of con-
struction, upliftforcesresulting from the removal of soil can induce sub-
stantial pressures on the base of the raft, together with tensile forces in the
piles. Subsequent downwardloading imposed by thestructure slowly in-
creases contact pressures and gives rise to a comparatively rapid build-up in
compressive pile loads.
57. For the present building, the magnitude of the uplift force acting on
the piled-raft foundation was estimated to beapproximately 70% of the
maximum possible net uplift force.
58. The load distribution between the piles and the raft at any stage of
construction depends on the ratio of uplift force to vertical structural load.
For the completed structure this ratio is approximately 0.3, and based on field
measurements the estimated proportions of the total applied load carried by
the piles and the raft at the endof construction are60% and 40% respectively.
59. Concerning thedistribution of load across thefoundation,both
measured and computed results suggest that all piles within the group are
carrying approximately the same load. Computationsalso predicta reasonably
uniform distributionof contact pressure acrossthe raft, but measured pressures
are significantly higher at the edge than at the centre.
60. In assessing foundation performance, attention should be given to the
distribution of applied structuralloads.Uniformload distributions are
normally assumed in foundation analyses, but some form of continuous, non-
uniform representation may be more realistic, as in the present case.
61. It is essential to take account of the structure above raft level when
determining the overall bending stiffness of the foundation. For the present
building it was estimated that the foundationstiffness is ten times greater than
that of the raft itself. Most of this additional stiffness is derived from the
substructure; the contribution made by the superstructure is relatively small.
Hence, for tall buildings with basements the foundation may already be very
stiff when only a small proportion of the structural load has been applied.
62. Computations indicate that the long-term effect of consolidation is to
increase the load carried by the piles and to decrease raft contact pressures.
In thepresent analysis the predicted transfer of load from theraft to thepiles,
expressed as a proportion of the total downward structural load, amounts to
only 6%. Hence, even in the long-term, it is probable that the raft will be
carrying a significant proportion of the applied structural load.
63. The observed rate of settlement (i.e. total downward displacement) of
the building has been far greater than might be expected on the basis of
laboratory c , values. Measured values of displacement indicate that primary
consolidation is almost complete only six years after the start of construction.
64. The results of the finite elementanalysis showthatalthoughtotal
foundation displacementsincrease as a result of consolidation, differential
displacements relating to undrained and fully drained conditions are almost
identical. The computations also show that, except when uplift forcespre-
dominate, differential displacements should progressively increase throughout
the construction period. The measured differential displacementsincreased
during construction; they also continued to increase after completion of the
building, but subsequently appeared to have stabilized.

65. The work described forms part of a general investigation into founda-
tion behaviour and soil-structure interaction being carried out by Ove Arup
and Partners.
66. In the present project the cost of manufacturing andinstalling the load
cells was met by the Departmentof the Environment and for which the support
of Mr L. R. Creasy, CB, OBE is gratefully acknowledged. Thanks are also
due to the Architect, Sir Basil Spence, OM, RA and to the main contractor,
Sir Robert McAlpine and Sons Ltd, for their co-operation during installation
of the load cells.
67. The initial impetus for the present investigation was provided by Mr
F. G . Butler and Mr E. Happold of Ove Arup and Partners, and subsequent
discussions with Mr J. C. Blanchard and Dr G. Treharne have been helpful.
The computer programs used in the finite element analyses were developed at
the University College of Swansea; inthisconnexion, the advice given by
Mr D. J. Naylor of the Civil Engineering Departmentoncomputational
matters is greatly appreciated.

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