Blog

Advantages and Disadvantages of Drilled Piers

08/12/2020

Drilled piers are already common deep foundation systems for bridges, oil platforms, lighthouses and other structures with extremely heavy loads. With excellent base and side resistance plus good distribution of axial and lateral loads, this type of deep foundation system makes it ideal for heavy applications.

Advantages and disadvantages of drilled piers

Aside from the excellent support, drilled piers have become a practical engineering choice because of the flexibility in the design and excavation. For example, changes can still be made during the project’s progress. Also, this foundation system is applicable to a wide variety of soil conditions. This makes the equipment useful and cost-effective when spread over different applications (although customisation is still beneficial to maximise efficiency and save on time and costs). During the planning, we can decide on any size and length of the resulting pier. This provides virtually a limitless set of options for our infrastructure project. Execution is also a bit quick and efficient because the necessary equipment for foundation drilling and building is readily mobile.

On the other hand, there are still drawbacks to the choice of drilled piers. For example, the lack of support in the deep excavation can cause significant damage and subsidence (either gradual downward settling or sudden sinking of the surface). The adjoining structures might be heavily affected during or even long after the excavation activity. Performing load tests in the drilled piers can also be difficult. In addition, engineers should keep a close watch on the quality of concrete being poured to build the cylinder.

Fortunately, the challenges in the subsurface and the immediate surroundings of the project site can be addressed through proper planning and implementation of safety measures. Geotechnical challenges are present in all construction and excavation projects. The key here is to know those challenges beforehand and mitigate the risks. It’s also crucial to make the entire operation efficient and cost-effective so that the infrastructure project will be completed according to the agreed timeline.

Here at TEBCO we use our expertise and knowledge in foundation pier drilling gained from our more than 35 years of experience and history to provide custom-made augers, buckets, drives and other tools and attachments. The solution is always tailored according to the requirements of the site. This way, the drilling and excavating equipment will help speed up building the foundation and save on costs overall.