Automated Pile Load Test Monitoring

Volterra, Joel L.
Organization: Deep Foundations Institute
Pages: 11
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2008
Since 1910, Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers (MRCE) has regularly provided professional engineering services including inspection of pile load tests. Historically, such services included on-site inspection of the driving of test piles and subsequent static load tests by qualified Geotechnical Engineers. Load testing procedures are specified by local or State Building Codes, locally the 1968 Building Code of the City of New York (1968 BCCNY). Between 1968 and 2008, the 1968 BCCNY required a minimum 48-hour hold period for standard loads per pile type, an extended 96-hour hold period for higher capacity piles, and a settlement criterion that the pile maintain a test load equal to two times the design load with less than 0.012 inches of settlement over the last 48 hours of the hold period. Effective July 2008, the new 2008 BCCNY shortened the hold period and relaxed the settlement criteria to that which is more similar to other governing codes and standards such as the International Building Code (IBC 2006) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). MRCE implemented an automated load test monitoring system to reduce costs and to alleviate or minimize overnight and off-hour staffing for load test readings. Initially, a series of linear variable differential transformers (LVDTs) and data loggers were included in the Contractor?s load test setup to electronically record pile head settlement and where applicable, settlement of telltales installed to varying depths in the pile. A pressure gage was subsequently added in the hydraulic line, then a load cell, strain gages, and remote access using modems. The ease of the setup and modular adaptive nature of this system have proven it to be a useful tool and improved our ability to better serve our clients and manage our pile load testing services.
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