Piles are a common feature of many large structures, they are usually made from concrete, timber or steel. Used underneath bridges, off-shore structures like piers and docks and other large-scale utilities, they provide essential support to the structural integrity of the asset. Unmonitored, damage to these structures can have disastrous results, with bridge collapses causing logistic and transport delays, personal injuries and worse. It’s important that structural piles are regularly inspected and any damage is repaired to avoid these costly and dangerous situations in the future.
A pile’s primary purpose is to support the structure that sits on top of it. Multiple piles are placed evenly apart to transmit the weight of the supporting load throughout their system evenly and safely. There are different types of piles used for different applications however, generally, a concrete pile is used when there is a poor quality of soil or ground underneath the structure, providing not enough support.
Often used in marine environments, concrete piles can come up against regular and severe natural forces. The impact of waves, chemical substances found in the water and all sorts of aquatic organisms act to aid in the destruction of these concrete structures.
The solution to this ongoing problem is pile encapsulation. This advanced technique of concrete encapsulation functions as an additional material around the concrete pile. Strengthening its overall structure by repairing broken down areas and preventing further damage from occurring by adding an additional exterior protective layer to the pile.
Encapsulations can be made from a variety of different substances and formed in different fashions. These range from concrete and rebar cages around the pile to custom made fibreglass and epoxy shells. All repair materials used present a high resistance to corrosion and decay and can repair varying levels of decay. If applied properly, these pile encapsulations can provide a life expectancy of up to 50 years. Extending the lifespan of the bridge or structure sitting on top of it by restoring its foundation and stability. Pile encapsulations are innovatively engineered products. They’re used in situations that require unique and specific solutions that take into consideration the surrounding conditions and all of the local legal requirements.
First, the damaged concrete has to be removed. This is jackhammered away whilst leaving the structural integrity of the pile unaffected. The concentre pile is still able to perform its function of holding the structure’s weight during all repairs. The concrete surface also requires a good clean prior to this, as marine growth and general waste is prone to collecting in these areas. After the surface has been suitably prepared, the encapsulating shell can be applied. Once secure, the inside of the shell is filled with the grout mixture that will strengthen around the pile and set beneath the casing.
Raw Worx are the specialists in all things structural. From concrete repair to bridge remediation, our experience in the industry has allowed us to learn about the best solutions for a range of different structural repairs. Efficient, affordable and effective, Raw Worx services the entire east coast of Australia from Melbourne all the way up to Queensland.
Contact us today to find out how we can help with your pile encapsulation repair, or any other structural repair services you require.