Reduce Risk by Bringing Deep Foundations to the Planning Table

By Kelly Wolf, Vice President of Estimating – Deep Foundations

Want to reduce risk on your next piling project? Bring your deep foundations team to the planning table. Early involvement of an expert team is one of the best hedges against risk an owner can make on a capital project.

Deep foundations work is highly specialized, especially along the Gulf Coast. Soil type, location, project needs, and other factors can all influence the best piling type for the job. Sometimes, those factors are overlooked in pursuit of other priorities, like budget or perceived expediency. Unfortunately, that does not always play out to the owner’s benefit. 

For example, an auger cast pile may appear to be the most economical and constructable solution for some applications. But when other factors are considered — such as pile spacing, cage designs, or contaminated soils —that pile type can actually end up costing more than other options. 

Aligning Solutions to Priorities

Subsurface work can easily derail a project’s budget and schedule without proper due diligence. Consulting with experts during preconstruction can mitigate risk and even shave time and costs from the project.

Finding the right partner makes all the difference. Maximizing value and minimizing risk requires a specialized team with the expertise and drive to:

  • Serve as an extension of your engineering team. At BGCI, we work side by side with our clients’ engineers to evaluate geotechnical data and propose the most economical and constructable solution based on soils, budget, needs, and goals.
  • Reduce costs through value engineering. Reducing pile sizes by even a fraction can produce significant savings across hundreds or thousands of pilings.
  • Mitigate delays through improved constructability. Our team understands all the factors that affect the success of subsurface work. Consulting with our experts during design can significantly reduce field-generated change orders.
  • Improve site safety. We can assist with planning site logistics to develop the best, most efficient routes for heavy haul trucks and deliveries to improve traffic flow and safety.

When it comes to solutions that are both smart and economical, the capabilities of your deep foundations team are just as important as their expertise. BGCI’s solutions aren’t limited to one or two types of piling. We offer a suite of deep foundations disciplines. You get the right pile, of the right size, in the right place, every time. 

Greater Value Through Better Planning

How big of an impact can your deep foundations team have on a project?  

Recently, a major refinery required ACIP pilings for a sulfur reduction unit expansion. However, the limited quantity of piles, pile spacing, static load test requirement, and accelerated completion date would have resulted in premium costs to the owner. BGCI used historical data and testing information from a previous project in an adjacent area, value engineered an alternate pile design, and reduced both project cost and schedule by more than 20%.  

Given the soil conditions and pile spacing, precast piles provided an accelerated installation rate over ACIP. As a result, our team was able to reduce the overall schedule. In addition, BGCI’s solution eliminated: 

  • The need to stockpile, manifest, and dispose of spoils
  • The challenges associated with logistics and access required for daily concrete truck deliveries within an operating refinery
  • Quality concerns related to expired batched concrete/grout
  • Installation issues (pile necking, mining, loss of concrete)
  • Unforeseen additional charges due to concrete/grout overages

On another project, we evaluated proposed pile types based on unique soil conditions. The exercise revealed that the proposed pile size was not required throughout the site. Our team used this information to optimize pile lengths throughout different WBS areas to meet the loading conditions, resulting in a 10% savings for the owner on a multimillion-dollar project.

The number one goal for any deep foundation project should be designing the most economical and well-constructed pile for the project. The best way to achieve this is to partner with our clients as early in the process as possible so that together, we can build a better plan for flawless execution. Regardless of when we are brought on board, our target is to deliver superior project outcomes on projects of all sizes and complexities — on land, over water, or with limited access.

Contact us today to discuss how we can bring more value to your next deep foundations project.