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Soil stabilization

The use of lime, cement or other binder materials to geotechnically improve areas of weak soil into a construction material is an established and extremely cost-effective construction method. Virtually any soil found on site can be improved for bulk fill applications and to build roads, pavements, embankments, reinforced earth structures, railways, housings and industrial units. By rehabilitating natural materials in situ, construction can be carried out cost-effectively and quickly. Many years of experience has confirmed this technique as the only viable option for treating weak soils and it has been endorsed by the Highways Agency since 1976. Rising landfill costs have made this option a must for all contractors. Benefits Cost In situ treatment is typically much more cost-effective than traditional dig and dump methods, which incur the cost of vehicle movements, landfill taxes and the importation of virgin aggregate. Treated soils can typically be designed to be stiffer than conventional granular materials, leading to reduced thickness designs for foundations and/or subsequent pavement layers. Time Soil stabilisation can shorten construction periods by minimising site preparation requirements, tipping and import activities. The process also enables wet ground to be dried and strengthened, ready for immediate use. The addition of quicklime, for instance, instantly dries up wet clays and allows extended working in wet conditions and into the winter. Wastage Importation of large quantities of valuable resources to site, such as Type 1 sub base materials, can be completely avoided by treating in situ soils, using a quick and simple treatment process, to achieve equivalent or higher levels of structural stiffness. Environmental impact Conventional ground improvement techniques involve the excavation and removal of inappropriate materials, followed by the importation of large quantities of virgin aggregates. Associated construction activities and vehicle movements which can run to hundreds or even thousands for large projects can be replaced by the importation and in situ mixing of small quantities of cementitious powders. The result is lower cost, lower congestion and less neighbour conflict.

Avoidance of landfill tax Soil stabilisation uses in situ soils already available on site. These are improved to give the properties required for construction. This can vary from a simple process to enable use in landscaping or embankments right through to use in structural applications. As all available soils can be used, tipping is virtually eliminated as well as associated tipping charges.

Both in-situ and precast piling systems can be used to provide fast and effective foundation solutions. In-situ techniques available include:

Bored piling with permanent or temporary casings Continuous Flight Augered Piles (CFA) Continuous Helical Displacement Piling (CHD) These piling techniques are regarded as non-displacement meaning there is less risk of ground heave. The length of in-situ piles can be readily varied to suit ground conditions and they can be installed with very large diameters or long lengths. An additional advantage is the low level of noise and vibration produced during piling.

Precast concrete piles are used in the construction of foundations for a wide range of different structures in the civil engineering and building sectors. As precast piles are suitable for all applications and ground conditions, they provide a very cost-effective piling solution. They are quick to install without producing spoil or arising material in the process, providing a further saving on waste disposal costs. Factory production techniques, using high performance precast concrete and rigid reinforcement cages, means that precast concrete piles can tolerate high loadings. Generally, design safety factors for piling are taken to be loadings in the range of 2.0 to 3.0. It is normal to use safety factors at the lower end of the range for precast concrete piles because of the:

Enhanced quality control procedures operable in the factory manufacturing environment. Availability of a full product inspection to ensure that no defects are present prior to installation of the pile.

Precast piles are generally top driven into the ground using hydraulic drop hammers. Sound levels from modern drop hammers are comparable to other piling systems such as continuous flight auger (CFA). Noise during piling can be further reduced by shrouding the drop hammer. The variety of segment lengths available, along with specialist piling equipment, makes precast piles particularly suited to restricted access and low headroom sites.

Mini piles Precast mini-piles and precast concrete beams can be used for underpinning existing wall foundations to repair and improve the stability of housing and other structures. Specialised installation techniques and equipment have been developed to enable underpinning to take place in areas of difficult and restricted access with minimal disruption to the building occupants, and to any neighbouring buildings. Steel Sheet piles and Accessories Steel sheet piles are used in a variety of applications from temporary or permanent cofferdams and retaining walls.

Sheet piles are extensively used in permanent and temporary works and Piletec are able to offer a full range of pile sections. The pile sections are designed to be as light as possible without compromising strength and durability. The design of the interlocks offers a good degree of watertightness and aid pitching and driving. The choice of pile is very dependent on the steel strength, soil type and required penetration and these must be considered well in advance of the driving operation to ensure best results.

Diaphragm wall
A diaphragm wall is a reinforced concrete wall that is made in situ. The trench is prevented from collapsing during excavation, reinforcing and casting by the use of supporting bentonite slurry. The slurry forms a thick deposit (the cake) on the walls of the trench which balances the inward hydraulic forces and prevents water flow into the trench. A slurry made of polymers can also be used.

Trench stability is maintained by the use of panels of a length not exceeding about 7 m, although this can vary according to the type of soil and the neighbouring ground. When existing buildings are alongside, the minimum distance between the main surface of the building, including its foundations, and the external panel of the wall being built will be equal to the thickness of the guide-wall. When a panel has been excavated, the reinforcing cage is lowered into the trench, which is filled with slurry that has been pre-treated to minimise ground particles in suspension. To make the panels, the trench is then filled with concrete from the bottom up, using tremie pipes. .The joint between two panels can be constructed in two different ways: - using a CWS steel formwork section that will provide a sealing system between the panels and will provide guidance for the excavation grab. - With the hydrofraise, it is possible to bite into in the concrete of the adjacent primary panels, thus making a direct concrete to concrete interlock.

The conventional widths of diaphragm walls are: 0.50 m, 0.60 m, 0,.80 m, 1.00 m, 1.20 m and 1.50 m.