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We need some piles. Into every life a  little rain must fall.

I know nowt about piles. So, onto YooChube, onto the architect, onto the SE, and I have some outline advice. 

Use screw piles. Why? Here

OK, so now what?

I know the cost will be significant, and when my bank balance is about to get hit, I get cautious. So, I've decided to blog about it in a good deal of detail. Because there's one process that makes me more jangled than anything: how does anyone compare like with like?  

Reducing risk is the key thing I think, but I still feel damn nervous about it. And one way of reducing that horrible feeling that grips at 5 in the morning - what the Hell have I missed out now ? - is by turning that fear (yes fear) into some sort of creative, positive action. Hence the blog and this post.

So, I'm putting all of the information on line (suitably edited - no emails, no phone numbers, no company names, no addresses) so you can all have a look and comment 

Please come with me, linger, lurk, laugh, look, learn with me. And comment, poke, challenge, ask. Please!

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The first plot we were buying (before the purchase fell through) needed a piled foundation.  I had loads of quotes, did a lot of research and ended up concluding that screwpiles were far and away the best solution.  They were quick to install (just fit a drive head on a digger and away you go) and could be set to accurate levels.  The design used a ring of screw piles on to which a steel ring beam was bolted.  This was at ground level, but the ground level was created by digging out 150mm and filling with stone, so the undercroft was well drained (reduces the corrosion risk at the soil/air junction) and the ring beam rested on the stone.

I was reassured about screw pile longevity when I found out that Brighton pier is supported on Victorian cast iron screw piles, driven into the sea bed, and that they are very commonly used to anchor motorway gantry signs.

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Firstly, my condolences to you and your bank account. I had piles last year and it was (financially) painful! Secondly, it's worth getting as many quotes as you can as some firms will take the pi55. You don't want to get screwed. I ended up going to about 25 companies in the end. With that piling calcs doc, I would just send that to each company - it's very detailed and they can't deviate from that too much. Once you have short-listed, maybe run them by your structural eng folk - probably worth an extra 1-2hrs review in case they see any issues with the quotes/details you get back. I was lucky in that my old man is a geologist, so we were able to choose accordingly.

 

I had 'std' piles, not the screw type ones, so imagine yours will be a bit easier on the wallet!

Most piling contractors work nationally as it's pretty $pecilia$t. I can PM you the two that I short-listed/used.

Edited by oranjeboom
extra info

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3 hours ago, oranjeboom said:

Firstly, my condolences to you and your bank account. I had piles last year and it was (financially) painful! Secondly, it's worth getting as many quotes as you can as some firms will take the pi55. You don't want to get screwed. I ended up going to about 25 companies in the end. With that piling calcs doc, I would just send that to each company - it's very detailed and they can't deviate from that too much. Once you have short-listed, maybe run them by your structural eng folk - probably worth an extra 1-2hrs review in case they see any issues with the quotes/details you get back. I was lucky in that my old man is a geologist, so we were able to choose accordingly.

 

I had 'std' piles, not the screw type ones, so imagine yours will be a bit easier on the wallet!

Most piling contractors work nationally as it's pretty $pecilia$t. I can PM you the two that I short-listed/used.

Thanks very much. Would you PM me the details, please?

Thanks for the nudge about asking our SE: wouldn't have thought of that.

Ian

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I must admit to a few days of squeaky-bum time prior to piling last month, but as it turned out it was painless (apart the kick in the budget).  Don't know anything about screw piles (we had end-driven case piles), but here's what I learnt:

- quotes varied by as much as 50%

- big piling rig equals big mobilisation cost and big vibrations, but a quicker job.

- quoted pile depth is a best guess based on soil survey and local knowledge.  Make sure you compare like for like regarding depth, and on-costs per extra metre to achieve a set.

- don't forget the Party Wall Act if you're close to neighbours (piling within 6 metres)

- if you have close neighbours, you probably need to give your piling method some thought with respect to Jct 21.2.1 insurance, but that's a whole new headache...

- piling was cheap compared to the ring beam; get a cost breakdown for each element

We had 24 x 10m piles put in by a local (regional) contractor with a small rig (£200 mobilisation fee), in just over a week without pi$$ing the neighbours off.  He was the only quote that offered a refund if a set was achieved at less than quoted depth, and we got nearly £500 back (plus £25 beer money from weighing in the cut-off steel casing he left behind!?).

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