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Why Piling May Be Better than Compaction

Your building designer may choose to specify piles or have the soil compacted in case he or she discovers that the soil isn't capable of supporting the weight of the proposed building. Each of these options has its own advantages and disadvantages. This article discusses some situations when piling may be a better option than having the soil compacted.

No Additional Soil Tests Required

Geotechnical surveys are usually performed to determine the load-bearing capacity of the soil at a proposed construction site. Further tests are normally needed in case the designer is considering soil compaction as a way to increase the weight-bearing capacity of that soil. Those additional tests create extra costs which the project owner must incur. The tests also take time. This delay can affect other project schedules, such as when site clearing can begin. Piling doesn't require any additional tests. This saves the money and time which would have gone to performing the necessary tests before soil compaction can start.

Suitable for All Types of Sites

Some construction sites, such as landfills which are no longer in use, may be contaminated. Soil compaction methods can spread the contaminants to the surrounding areas. For example, a jet of water may be deployed to increase the moisture content of the soil before vibratory equipment can be used to compact that soil. The excess moisture can seep into the surrounding areas and contaminate them too. Piling eliminates that risk of spreading contaminants since no moisture is used during the process of installing the piles.

Reduced Risk of Subsidence

Sites where the soil has been compacted still run the risk of subsiding. This is because the organic matter content of the compacted soil can decompose and create a void within the soil. Differential settlement can then occur following this decomposition. Piling again comes out as a superior option in this regard. This is because the piles are installed after assessing the magnitude of support which is needed for the building. The piles provide this needed support for the entire expected life of the building.

Soil compaction does have its own benefits. For example, it is a more affordable alternative to piling. However, piling delivers more reliable results over time. It is therefore worthwhile for you to incur that extra cost associated with piling so that you can enjoy the added benefits of this method. Find an experienced piling contractor so that no mistake is made during the installation process.