Piling is an essential construction technique that dates back centuries. It helps support most of the buildings and structures you see today, making sure that they have a stable foundation.
Piling construction is often done when the job site has weak soil conditions that cannot bear the structure’s weight.
So, what is piling construction, and how does it work? Read on to learn more about this process and why it is important in construction work.
Understanding Piling Construction
To understand how piling construction works, you should first understand what piles are. Piles are cylindrical columns or long poles made of strong timber, reinforced concrete, steel, or wood.
Since they provide the foundation for buildings, they need to be sturdy and stable, explaining the materials used.
Piling construction essentially involves inserting or driving these piles into the ground until you reach strong strata underground, such as a compact soil bed or bedrock.
The banks will then have pile caps, or flat surfaces, attached on top to support the base of the building. This way, the piles can transfer the load of the building or structure to the underground strata.
That said, piling requires complex preparation before it can be done. Before getting started, building engineers and contractors need to examine job site conditions like the soil and climate.
From here, they can select between different piling types to determine what will be most suitable. For example, driven piles work well in granular but silty soils.
When is Piling Used in the Construction Process?
Piling is often used even before building infrastructure to ensure a strong foundation to work with. Generally, engineers and contractors perform this technique in construction sites with a solid foundation.
However, other scenarios could be for building structures near bodies of water or offshore structures with weak soil conditions.
More specifically, here are common situations when piling is used in construction:
- Other kinds of the foundation are not feasible or more expensive
- Heavy structures need extra support or have non-uniform loads
- Not possible to excavate the soil to a certain depth due to the soil conditions
- Soil is compressible at a shallow depth
- High groundwater table under the building or structure
As you can see, some situations already have an existing structure when piling is done. So, while the process is ideally done in pre-construction, it may sometimes also be done in underpinning, which entails strengthening a building’s existing foundation.
Benefits of Piling in Construction
It should go without saying that piling offers several benefits in the construction process, considering how long it has been around. Here are the main advantages of using the technique:
Piles have extremely high load-bearing capacities that provide a stable foundation for buildings and other structures. In addition, given that they are made of sturdy materials, you can be assured that they will serve as an effective ground base.
If you expect a lot of foot traffic in your building, you will need extra support to maintain a stable structure. Piling will help keep your facility safe and prevent it from collapsing.
Not Visible When Finished
For some, aesthetics are important for their building. Fortunately, piling construction will not be visible when finished since the piles are driven into the ground.
Piling has long been a standard in the construction process as it provides a solid foundation for buildings and other similar projects. No matter what you plan to build, you naturally want it to stay sturdy for many years to come. Thus, piling construction will be a great way to achieve that longevity.