Minipiles In Soft Marine Deposits Rescue Sinking Warehouse

Gemmi, Bruno
Organization: Deep Foundations Institute
Pages: 10
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2011
A new warehouse built with prefabricated components over an area underlined by soft marine soil deposits started showing differential settlements well before its completion. Its 103 spread footings carrying up to 4,000kN (450t) axial loads had been cast on jet-grouted columns extending and penetrating a layer of sand at a depth of 10m (33ft). Investigations performed to assess the wholeness and consistency of the jet-grouted columns revealed a state of loose jet-grouted masses and uncontrolled, off target migrations of the jet-grouting. Most of the jet-grouting itself was settling. The following remedial solutions were suggested: 1. Construction of new and better controlled jet-grouted columns. 2. Cement-based soil grouting. 3. Expanding resin injections. 4. Minipiles drilled-through the existing footings and reaching into a denser layer of sand existing at 23m below grade. Remedial solution 1. was immediately discarded due to cost and the possibility of a repeating failure in this non-granular and highly compressible soil. Tests of remedial solutions 2. and 3. were carried out. The outcome of the grouting was monitored by Electro Resistivity Tomography (ERT) (Bares et al., 2003), an innovative 3D electro tomography procedure showing where grout had been actually placed and its migrations off target. A successful 4,000kN (450t) load tests confirmed the validity of the solution. Finally, upon the completion of a successful load test, solution 4. was chosen. It supplied the highest degree of reliability thanks to the ease of controlling the final and actual location of the minipiles and to the higher safety factor provided. All remedial work to install the minipiles was eventually performed inside the building. Additional load tests and settlement measurements confirmed the adequacy and success of the chosen solution.
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