The Importance of a Good Piling Platform

Piling is a construction process which requires a good working platform for piling contractors to work from. The recent incidents of rigs falling over, despite having been properly designed and constructed, highlight that the industry must redouble its efforts to improve the safety of piling platforms.

Pile foundations transfer loads through weak compressible soil or water to stronger, more compact and less compressible earth or rock at depth. The piles themselves are slender columnar elements that are either driven or replaced (bored). In all cases a well-designed and maintained platform is required to distribute the load from the tracked plant, avoid ground bearing failure and minimise settlement and movement in use.

The design of a piling platform must be undertaken by a competent engineer using actual soils and piling rig loading data for the specific site. The platform should then be constructed according to the design and regularly inspected and maintained by the piling contractor.

Creating a Solid Base: The Significance of Piling Platforms in Construction

A key issue is the quality of the material used for the platform. It should be suitably graded and stable and not prone to deterioration through trafficking. This can be achieved by a good quality aggregate, or by a layer of geogrid within the platform. The use of a grid layer often reduces the thickness of the piling mat and can offer significant cost savings.

The FPS Members have developed the WPC to raise awareness of the importance of a good working platform and the need for it to be regularly and properly inspected and maintained throughout the contract. The WPC does not seek to transfer responsibilities – the Principal and the Piling Contractor have their own responsibilities under CDM and health and safety law.

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