A pile, in the construction trade, is a cylinder that is long and strong, made of a material similar to concrete. It is inserted into the ground to provide stability and support for larger structures. Therefore, a pile foundation is used in the following conditions:

  • When a structure has concentrated and heavy loads, such as a water tank, bridge, or skyscraper.
  • Where a weak layer of soil is featured at the surface. Because the layer cannot support a building’s weight, the loads must be transferred to a layer of stronger rock or soil beneath the weakened tier.

As a result, a pile foundation is able to take on heavier loads. If you discuss your foundation needs with a piling contractor in Chelmsford, he or she will tell you that a pile foundation is represented by two basic types. Each of these foundations work in specific ways to accommodate the structural attributes of a building.

End Bearing Piles

End bearing piles represent piles where a pile’s bottom end lies on a layer of rock or strong soil. The load of the structure is transferred by way of the pile and onto the stronger layer of rock or soil. The pile, in turn, acts similarly to a column. The main idea behind this type of construction is to rest the bottom end of the pile between the stronger and weaker layers. The load is therefore transferred to the stronger layer, bypassing the weakened layer entirely.

Friction Piles

Unlike end bearing piles, friction piles transfer the load of a building to the soil over the entire height of pile. This is done by friction. In other words, the cylindrical pile’s surface is designed to convey the forces to the soil.

In order to envision how this is accomplished, pretend you are inserting a 4 millimetre rod into frozen ice cream. Once it has been placed into the ice cream, the rod can support some of the load. The more expansive the embedment depth, the higher the load support. Therefore, when a friction pile is used for building a foundation, the load amount the pile can support is proportionate to the pile’s length.

Traditional Piles

For traditional construction purposes, piles were made of wood in spots where the soil was weak. A good example of a city that was constructed with timber piles is Venice, Italy. The city was built on a foundation of wood piles that rested over the sea.

When concrete piles are used, they are constructed at ground level before they are driven into the ground. Steel H-piles are also driven into the ground. These types of piles can assume heavy loads, and therefore save on building times. In areas marked by corrosive soil, concrete piles are normally used.