Quality Control Measures for Sheet Pile Installation
Through many years of pioneering as a global piling company, ESC has developed a comprehensive sheet piling guide obtained from vast theoretical research and extensive practical experience that adheres to various standards such as EN 12063-1999. This European Standard covers the implementation of special geotechnical engineering work which is also known as the “Execution of Special Geotechnical Work – Sheet Pile Walls”.
ESC treats every sheet piling operation as a unique activity that depends ultimately on distinct parameters dictating the set of necessary quality control measures for sheet piles as individual material and as an integrated sheet pile wall or system. However, basic quality control requirements can be categorized as follows:
Prior to the physical works/ installation of the sheet piles, construction methodologies should be in accordance with the design of the sheet pile and various components of the retaining wall system. During sheet pile installation works, the following factors shall be considered and checked at different stages of the project:
1. Levels and tolerances for filling and excavation
2. Levels and tolerances for groundwater and surface/free water
3. Properties and quality of the backfill material at the retained side of the sheet pile wall
4. The displacements along the sheet pile that resulted at different phases of the driving/installation works
5. Limits on surcharge loading, as defined during the analysis/design phase of the project
Should the established construction methodologies cannot be implemented straightforward, a revision shall be made to meet the proper installation of sheet piles based on actual site conditions. In addition, each sheet pile shall be referenced.
Stacking & Handling
Sheet piles shall be stored in such a way that the individual sheet piles can easily be lifted, depending on the sheet pile type to be installed for a particular construction phase. Sheet piles shall be stacked with spacers to prevent any damage and/or distortion to the individual sheet pile wall panels. Special care shall be taken to account for sheet piles with paint/coating applied to the surface.
For vinyl, ESC-V series Omega Piles, the most effective stacking configuration is making 2 columns of
sheet piles are stacked together. The Female ‘C’ connectors are kept on the inside and the male ‘T’ Connectors are orientated to the outside. For Z shape sheet piles, the piles are typically stacked diagonally, with alternating connectors. This also makes driving more straightforward as the piles are progressively picked up from one side and are in the correct orientation.
During the lifting and positioning process of the sheet piles, special equipment and accessories should be included by the pile installer’s tool set. Quick ground release shackles (GRS) enable the pile installer to release the connection between the sheet pile and the crane at the ground level. The use of GRS provides a safe lifting procedure by eliminating the need for the technician(s) to climb ladders to release the lifting device from the sheet pile.
ESC recommend that all piling operations are performed using a vibratory hammer. Vibratory hammers have long been proved the most efficient and common method of pile installation Diesel hammers perform especially well in cohesive or very dense soil layers. Under normal site it is usual to select a ratio of ram weight to weight of pile plus cap of 1:2 to 1.5:1. Driving caps of flat anvil blocks are necessary to protect the pile heads during driving.
The hydraulic hammer can operate at any angles, above and below water level and is suitable both for driving and extracting piles. Under normal site conditions it is usual to select a ram weight that is in the ratio 1:1 to 1:2 with the weight of the pile plus driving cap. A heavy hammer with short drop is always preferable to minimize pile head damages.
The elimination of the noise of sheet driving, which had for years been accepted as a nuisance to be tolerated, was the original purpose of the development of sheet pile presses as an alternative to the classical methods. Originally developed to drive piles silently, the machines are also widely recognized for their vibration-free operation.