Improving Africa’s piling practices

Improving Africa’s piling practices

Sub-Saharan African construction industry could be losing hundreds of millions of dollars in project maintenance costs due to poor piling practices. What most project developers ignore is that there is still no alternative to good piling practices.

It is incredible how far construction companies can go to save costs.Even to the extent of sacrificing the quality of piling – literally, the very foundation of construction.

In the course of doing this, the quality of the construction project is greatly compromised. It all starts from the foundation; if it is mediocre, the end product is most likely to be mediocre; there are no two ways about it. Penny-pinching companies have more to lose and virtually nothing to gain.

Doing things the right way does not cost much at least in the long run.The most basic approach and the decision has to be made and determined by the soil profile. The mistake which construction companies make is that they utilize wrong piles in situations which they are not recommended for. The driven displacement pile can be used in many different soil conditions and restricted areas.There are also other methods of piling by which the soil is removed by means of augured piles.

Procurement due diligence

When contacting piling contractors, the customer should consider the following

  • The feasibility of the system used
  • How accessible the terrain is for the piling companies and their machinery
  • Time restraints should be reasonable and achievable
  • An open mindedness to new systems and procedures
  • Availability of the piling company
  • The cost effectiveness of the piling operation
Selecting the best piles

Doing the right thing also involves choosing the best piles for the job. The following are some factors to consider when selecting the right piling for your project:

The site

Foundations are successful only if the soil strata, to which the structural loads are transmitted, can support the loads without failure or excessive settlement. Except for end-bearing piles founded on rock, piles depend upon the surrounding soil or that beneath the pile tips for support.

Groundwater conditions often dictate the type of piles that must be used and influence the load-carrying capacity of piles. Adequate soil exploration, testing, and analysis are prerequisites to the successful design and construction of all except crude, hasty pile structures.

Installation professionals

Lastly, quality piling do not mean much without those who know how to put them in. Choosing the right team for the job is just as important as picking the right materials for the piles. Project owners must do the research, and speak with trained professionals to understand everything that will be involved in their deep foundation. It is important to find a company that has the experience, expertise, and resources it takes to get the job done right.


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