Monday, 16 April 2018

A John Lawrie guide to Piling - by Iain Bell, Tubulars Sales Co-ordinator

Over the past three decades, piling has been increasingly used in the construction of foundations for a wide range of different structures in the civil engineering and building sectors such as housing, skyscrapers, bridge piers, dams and windfarms.

The construction industry is heavily reliant on the use of piling because it brings safety and stability for the construction of these structures over weak or poor-quality soil however, this isn’t a modern-day innovation.

It’s incredible to think that the use of piling can be traced back to Neolithic and Bronze Age times when post-like foundations were used to build dwellings at the shores of most large lakes across central Europe in countries such as Switzerland, Italy, France and Germany. In the UK, a fantastic example of a reconstructed prehistoric pile dwelling is ‘The Crannog’ on Loch Tay in Perthshire. At that time, people needed to ensure a dry and secure living area, therefore large poles were dug into the ground and the dwellings built on top.

The benefits of using piling in today’s world have really changed very little since pre-historic times.

John Lawrie Tubulars has been purchasing and supplying high-quality new and used pipe and casing to the UK, USA and European piling and micro-piling markets for over 25 years, making it one of the industry’s largest suppliers. 

 

What are Pile Foundations?

There are two types of foundations: shallow and deep.

Pile foundations are deep. Broadly speaking, they are used when the bearing capacity of the surface soil is insufficient to support the loads required from the structure. A pile transfers the load from the structure through the weak surface into the harder more compact soil or rock.

 

When are Steel Tubulars used in Pile Foundations?

You can use many different types of material to make up piles.

The material used depends on several factors, including; ground conditions, accessibility, cost, noise and vibration.

When all the factors have been considered, a preferred method of piling will be chosen.

 

What are the different types Steel Tubular Piling?

Within the steel tube pile foundation, there are different types of pile.

Top Driven – Using a hydraulic hammer to hit the top of the tube into the ground

Bottom Driven (Micro Piles) – Closing one end of the tube and using the hammer inside the tube

Screw Piling – The steel tube has a helix near the bottom that screws into the ground

 

What role does John Lawrie play within the piling industry?

John Lawrie is one of the largest stock holders of steel tubulars for piling in the UK. This means we play a very important role within the supply chain for piling nationwide. Annually, we supply over 300,000 metres of steel tubulars for all types of construction work with in the UK. We supply tubulars for everything from house building through to large construction work like the new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC).

John Lawrie Group recently supplied more than 20,000m of piling pipe to Northern Piling Limited (NPL), a ground engineering company, for use in the construction of the new AECC.

The piling operation included a large double-storey subterranean car park, which involved large-scale excavation works, and hotel and centre foundations.

 

How long has John Lawrie been supplying the piling industry?

John Lawrie has been supplying the construction industry with high quality products and service for more than 25 years. During this time, John Lawrie has developed a reputation for having knowledgeable staff and a strong work ethic to ensure the correct material arrives on time and is prepared the way the client requires.

 

How is John Lawrie helping the environment?

 

In 2017, John Lawrie won the VIBES Award for Circular Economy. This award is for companies which have developed new uses for products with a minimal need to modify the product.

This award really sums up what we have been able to achieve using steel tubulars -that are no longer of use within the oil and gas sector - and finding a new use for them in the construction industry.

We reuse 100% of the steel tube when put into the piling sector.

 

How does John Lawrie Tubulars process the tubulars?

The tubulars arrive at our yard mainly by lorry but we can also unload containers. The loads go across the weighbridge before being taken into the yard to be unloaded. The tubulars are then visually inspected for any noticeable defects or excessive wear. Wall thickness is then checked to make sure it meets our specification. Material is then split into carbon steel or %CR material. Any material which requires cleaning is put to our high-water pressure cleaner before going to storage bays awaiting an order. 

 

What services do John Lawrie offer?

There are several services which John Lawrie Tubulars offers to customers. We operate two fully automated saws for the cutting of the tubulars to the customer’s specifications. The tubulars require cutting for many reasons including access at the site or the pitch of the rig. We have also had custom made machined spud joints manufactured for use with plain end pipe.

For the safe unloading of the material we can bundle the pipes using fully certified slings.

 

Delivery to Site?

For any construction project, the most important stage is getting out of the ground. There can be many factors under the ground that can lead to delays. These can lead to down time with problems needing to be addressed quickly and efficiently.

John Lawrie Tubulars work to have pipe on site the next day and we can achieve this by having the stocks ready to load. We also have a close working relationship with our haulage companies. Both these factors mean that when clients call us because they need to change their job requirements from Concrete Piles to Steel Piles due to ground condition, we would aim to have the steel piles on site the next day.

For the safe and easy unloading of steel pipe at site, we offer customers the option of having the pipe slung with fully certified slings prior to departure from our operations yard. For orders where shorter material is required - 2.5meters and under - we palletise the load.

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