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Structural Engineering Services: Taking a Closer Look at Pile Foundations and Its Functions

05 August 2021

One aspect of construction project sites that must always be considered by contractors is the presence of adequate soil bearing capacity. Soil bearing capacity is the capacity of the soil to support the load of elements that are being placed above the ground without expecting shear failure. It likewise describes the maximum average contact pressure between the soil and the elements’ load. Some elements that are often applied above the ground are building foundations, cranes, and retaining walls.

Various qualities of the soil can affect the overall soil bearing capacity. The type of soil present underground can determine the said aspect. Other qualities of the soil that are used in finding out the soil bearing capacity are its shear strength and density.

An Overview of Pile Foundations

Given the significance of having an adequate soil bearing capacity, contractors should ensure that their project site can support the load of the aforementioned elements. If there is, however, an insufficient soil bearing capacity for the project, then contractors have to do everything to improve the ground. They can likewise spread the load of the elements to a larger area so that the concentration of applied stress to only one ground area is reduced to a tolerable value.

This is where pile foundations can come in.

Pile foundations are needed whenever the soil bearing capacity cannot handle the load of a structure. The piles of these foundations are often drilled, driven, or jacked into the ground to effectively sustain the load from the structures and transfer it to the soil containing hard bearing capacity, hard strata, or rocks. These elements can be effective in filling in the needs of soil with low bearing capacity since they are comprised of steel, concrete, or wood. The piles are then attached to the pile caps.

Vital Functions and Applications

Pile foundations carry out various functions to construction projects.

For one, this type of foundation can easily transfer inclined or vertical loads of a structure or building through weak and compressible strata onto stronger and more compact ground soil layers and foundations. Pile foundations can likewise provide improved safety to buildings that have heavy loads. They can also provide great control and influence over the surrounding settlements.

The primary composition of pile foundations makes them great for construction projects in the water. Dams and bridges can all take advantage of pile foundations. Aside from underwater construction projects, pile foundations can also be maximised in superstructures like multi-storied, heavy buildings.

Know More about Pile Foundations

To find out more about pile foundations, you can contact us at Fairdinkum Technical Services. We are a boutique organisation with operation centres located in New South Wales and Queensland, with over 35 years of experience in engineering design and construction, providing technical engineering design. We also offer construction support for small scale domestic improvement projects for homeowner builders.

Our structural engineering consulting services include design and inspection during construction of access structures, machinery platforms, walkways, ladders and gantries, beams, and support frames in reinforced concrete.

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