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Reuse of Existing Piles – How NDT Can Help

Safety, reliability and satisfactory performance of structures require a well-planned maintenance program, as well as remedial actions in short and mid-term. Existing structures that are designed in accordance with older design codes or were built by older construction practices may need to be extensively repaired, rehabilitated, or replaced within the next few years. The remedial actions may include structural and/or foundation upgrade or replacement.Reuse of existing pilesand foundations is asustainable,cost-effective,andtime savingsolution in the repair or replacement of existing poor infrastructure. In this article, we will briefly discuss how NDT can provide useful information about existing piles and deep foundations.


When it comes to choose between replacingexisting piles, or reusing them for the new in the project, certain questions should be asked. Does the capacity of existing piles meet the requirements of new projects? Or, what would be the consequences of removing existing piles? For some projects, replace existing piles and foundations is a challenging task in terms of project timelines, technical issues and budget. A great example is replacement of existing substructures in urban areas, surrounded by high-rise buildings and infrastructure facilities. Reuse ofexisting pilesprovide a more cost-effective, sustainable, and efficient solution. However, the reliability of piles and foundations should be evaluated prior toreuse of existing piles.

Reuse of Existing Piles

Other considerations would be:
+ The locations of applied loads and the existing foundations should be compatible in new structure with that of old structure;
+ Sufficient verification should be performed on the reliability of existing foundations and piles (e.g. pile length, pile integrity and pile capacity testing);
+ Pile and foundation remaining service life will fulfill the new structure requirement.

How Can NDT Help?

The access toexisting pile元素通常是具有挑战性的。现有的桩或foundations are generally covered up by cap or superstructure (not exposed). In overpass structures (e.g. bridges, viaducts), substructure is placed underwater that makes the inspection and evaluation process very challenging. Suitable solutions should be adopted for pile length and integrity testing. Nondestructive testing methods provide a great alternative for evaluating the length and integrity of existing piles.NDT methodsare extensively used for evaluating pile length andintegritytesting. However, there is no unique NDT solution that covers answers all questions. A combination of NDT methods will provide useful information on the re-usability of piles. The testing method may be selected based on the following criteria:

Concrete Piles Learn more+ Type and material of foundation (e.g. timber, reinforced concrete pile, steel pile, composite system)
+ Structural system of substructure (e.g. pile, foundation, or a combined system of foundation and pile)
+桩康迪特ion (exposed or covered up by pile cap)
+ Pile surrounding area
+ Pile configuration in the layout
+ Ground water level
+ Foundation geometry

A Spotlight on Pile Integrity Testing – PIT

Pile Integrity TestThe test method based onASTM D5882(Standard Test Method for Low Strain Impact Integrity Testing of Deep Foundations), generally referred to asPile Integrity Testing (PIT), is mostly used for concrete piles with access to pile head and top surface. The test results can be used for evaluation of the pile cross-sectional area and length, the pile integrity and continuity, as well as consistency of the pile material; It is noted that this evaluation practice is approximate.

4 thoughts on “Reuse of Existing Piles – How NDT Can Help”

  1. Tarek Aly Elsayed

    Thanks a lot for that valuable issue and that great and good work and effort. Does this approach applicable for all types of piles, bearing pile, friction pile, driven piles, and bored piles?

  2. I liked that you had mentioned that reusing what you can when piling can help a lot, I hadn’t thought about that. Recently I’ve been needing to fix a piling that I had done a while ago and while some of them would need to be removed and replaced, the option to reuse some of the other ones will save me a few dollars. I’ll start looking for a company to handle my pilings to make sure that I can have it as safe as possible.

  3. Thanks for this interesting article. However, I cannot find durability assessment aspect.
    A pile is generally very long, and can be through several layers of exposure conditions, for example, some proportion of pile in backfilled soil layer, some in ground water variation zone, some permanently in ground water. The soil properties in each layer may also be different. The assessment at the top tends to be only valid for that particular zone. It will be very much appreciated if you could provide some thought on the issues listed above.

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