Pile Driving Monitoring (PDM) is often overlooked on projects until something goes wrong, but why not make it part of the schedule from the beginning? In this article you’ll discover 6 common issues that can occur when driving piles on site and how PDM can help solve them.
1. The tip of the pile could buckle
No project wants to incur delays or additional costs, so for an installation contractor, premature pile refusal is one of the most unacceptable risks that can happen on site. It happens when the pile doesn’t reach its target penetration depth and so the anticipated design can longer apply. This occurs with steel piles, in both onshore and offshore projects due to their diameter and wall thickness, which can make them more susceptible to pile tip buckling as they’re driven into hard soils or soils with an unexpected structure (like rock layers or boulders).
Often, these problems are addressed retrospectively and the G-Octopus team have experience assessing in-situ pile capacity in case of premature pile refusal. But instead of trying to fix an issue once it’s already occurred, why not include it early?
Carrying out numerical analysis to simulate the buckling conditions can lower the construction risk considerably.
2. There may be damage along the pile
Whether you’re driving a concrete or a steel pile, damage can occur along the pile shaft including cracks and other anomalies. If the integrity of the pile is damaged, it’s likely to cause problems with the remaining structure installation.
Pile driving monitoring and specifically using fibre optic sensors, is a reliable method of monitoring the integrity of an entire pile. When compared to standard pile driving monitoring which only provides an estimate of the distribution of resistance along the shaft, fibre optic sensors allow stresses to be measured during driving over the entire length of the pile, providing more accurate results from top to bottom to help inform the installation process.
3. The soil profile is different to what was expected
What starts out as a simple project can become more complicated and construction can even be suspended if there are concerns with the attainable pile capacity because the soil profile is different to what was expected.
Pile monitoring and acceptance procedures can help to overcome issues like unusual soil profiles and long-term creep behaviour without the need to bring in longer, or shorter piles, saving a project both time and cost.