Of the various ways to strengthen a building’s foundation, piling is the most versatile. Piles come in a wide range of types, but in recent years mini piles have increasingly become the most popular choice, especially for domestic properties.
Piling is used for projects from building large structures to adding a basement to your home. In particular, it’s become a popular choice for underpinning an existing building to counter problems like subsidence or heave.
The two main ways of inserting piles are driving, where the pile displaces the soil rather than removing it first, and boring, where you create a hole for concrete or grout to be poured into. The biggest advantage of piling, which makes it suitable for everything from underpinning to building bridges, is that the piles can go right through weaker soil, transferring the load to the more robust soil or bedrock below.
Mini piling is a variation on this, using piles with a narrow diameter. This makes them light and inexpensive, but still able to support a considerable load.
For the most common type of mini piling, a hollow steel shaft is either screwed or drilled into the ground. Grout or concrete can then be poured in to form the pile, with the soil supported throughout by the steel shaft. This means that, unlike the traditional boring method, no extra supports are needed, even in weak soil.
Alternatively, especially if there’s limited headroom, sectional auger mini piles can be used. This involves boring down and adding multiple flight sections as you go. Depending on the soil’s stability, the sections can either be removed or left in place while pouring the concrete in.
Is Mini Piling Best?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this. All the various piling techniques have their place, as do other approaches like mass concrete underpinning, and the decision of which to use has to be taken on a job-by-job basis.
There’s no doubt, though, that mini piling has advantages in many situations. This particularly includes cases where the piling has to be carried out in a confined space, since the equipment is significantly smaller than what’s required for traditional piling. It’s also good for built-up areas, since it causes less noise and vibrations, while still producing secure foundations. On the other hand, mini piling has also been used successfully for major structures such as bridges and offshore wind farms.
If you think mini piling may be the answer to your needs, feel free to get in touch with us for more information.