Have you seen those cylindrical structures that are placed deep under the ground level? Those are called pile foundations. If a construction site has a low bearing capacity, then deep foundations are essential to transfer the load to the deeper areas of the earth.

What is pile foundation?

Cylindrical structures that look like a long or elongated tube, made of sturdy substance, that are inserted deep into the soil to support large buildings or structures that are built above it.

 Pile foundation is deployed under the following cases:

  • Poor earth conditions.
  • High rise structures.
  • When withholding the complete load from the superstructure is required ( eg: Bridges, water tank )
  • An issue faced due to water level.
  • Cost.
  • The time constraint of the project.
  • Noise or Vibration sensitivity.

The pile foundation is primarily categorised into 2 types, based on its structural behaviour:

The first type is A:

  1. End bearing piles. 
  2. Friction Piles.
  3. Compaction Piles.
  4. Tension Piles.
  5. Anchor Piles.
  6. Fender Piles.
  7. Batter Piles.
  8. Sheet Piles.
  1. The End bearing piles comes into action when the type of soil is weak, they here act more like a column, wherein the load of the building rests on the stronger soil, These long cylindrical structures are inserted deep through the weak soil, until it hits the strong type of soil layer, to avoid the load-bearing onto the former. 
  1. The Friction piles work on a different type of principle, The entire weight of the building is distributed evenly onto the soil across the full height of the pile, in this way the weight of the building it supports is directly proportional to its length.
  1. Compaction piles primarily work on loosely packed soil, to increase their bearing capacity, and they do not carry any load by themselves. Sand piles are used as compaction piles. 
  1. When the structures are subjected to uplift due to overturning or hydrostatic pressure, that is when the tension piles or uplift piles come into the picture. 
  1. Anchor piles just like its name suggests can come into picture when there is a need to provide anchorage against the opposing forces.
  1. Fender piles act as a protection for waterfront structures from ships or other floating objects of any kind. 
  1. Batter piles work mainly as resistance from tilted/inclined or opposing forces. 
  1. Sheet piles just like its name are generated from steel, that obstructs it from bending and it comes into use to reduce seepage or uplift in case of the hydraulic structure. 

Now comes the second type B: These pile foundations are strictly based on the type of construction method and materials.

  1. Timber Piles.
  2. Concrete Piles.
  3. Steel Piles.
  1. Timber Piles: These rectangular or circular piles are mainly used under the water level and have a lifespan of 30 years. For a weight of 15 to 20 tons, these timber piles should suffice.
  1. Concrete Piles: These piles are of two types- Pre-cast concrete piles and Cast in place concrete piles.

In precast concrete piles, the piles are cast at a particular area and then transferred to the desired location and for Cast, in place, concrete piles, freshly mixed concrete is prepared and cured at the desired location.

  1. Steel Piles: Steel piles are pipes that are generally hollow and that can be filled with concrete as and when required, these piles mainly come into use as end-bearing piles.

A well-experienced piling contractor will help you know the right piles required for your construction. If you wish to know more about piles and its types, feel free to contact us. We are Sheppard Piling, one of the leading piling contractors in London. Our experts will be of help happy to serve you with their best expertise and knowledge. Contact us here