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Impact of deep excavation on nearby urban area

Linfluence dune excavation profonde sur le terrain urban voisin

Department of Geotechnics and Applied Geology, Gda sk University of Technology, Poland

G.A. Horodecki & E. Dembicki

ABSTRACT The design and execution of deep excavations in urban areas require knowledge of the expected environmental impact which includes two types of the influence: changes of stress state in a subsoil and technological influence. Unloading and reloading of a subsoil is induced by the excavation and loading by the construction. Technological influence is related to the methods of construction processes and depend on the type of braced wall assumed and the method of installation, type of wall support, wall stiffness, dewatering, soil improvement under nearby structures, change of stress state caused by installation of diaphragm wall, vibrations induced by sheet pile wall installation and the some others. As the results of these influences displacements of braced walls, surrounding ground surface and adjacent constructions are observed. The examples of deep excavations braced by diaphragm walls localised in city centres in various subsoil conditions are described. Vertical displacements of the soil surface around the excavation and adjacent structures as well as horizontal displacements of braced walls were monitored during construction process. RSUM Le projet et lexcution des excavations profondes dans les cits urbaines exigent des reconnaissances des interactions denvironnement attendus qui contiennent deux sorts dinfluences : le changement dtat de la contrainte dans le sous-sol et linfluence technologique. Les dcharges et les recharges du sol sont cres par les excavations et les charges de la construction. Linfluence technologique est lie avec les mthodes dexcution du procssus de la construction et elle contient : le type de la paroi et la mthode dinstallation, la rigidit de la paroi, le rabattement de la nappe deau, des vibrations provoques par linstalation des palplanches et dautres. Les rsultats de cettes influences des dplacements des parois, qui entourent la surface du sol et les constructions sont observs. Les exemples des excavations profondes renforces par des diaphragmes et des parois de pieux qui sont localiss dans les centres des cits et dans diffentes conditions du sol sont prsents. Les dplacements verticaux de la surface du sol entourant lexcavation et des immeubles voisins ainci que les dplacements horizontaux des parois ont t enregistrs pendant le procssus de la construction. Keywords: deep excavation, influence zones, displacements, urban area, geotechnical engineering 1 INTRODUCTION Deep excavations in urban areas require special measures due to the buildings and other engineering constructions existing nearby. They must be designed in such a way that the elements of bracing system and neighbouring structures meet both ultimate and serviceability limit state requirements. In the first case, there are no major difficulties to meet these requirements whereas in the serviceability limit state, especially for the nearest structures, there are some specific demands which have to be fulfilled by geotechnical engineering. On the one hand, in case of any damage caused, it is related to possible claims of the owners of neighbouring buildings and on the other, to the legal requirements and necessity for determination of impact zones and their environmental influence during execution and operation stages including surrounding constructions. The environmental impact is usually related to displacements and strains caused by deep excavations. The most common are displacements of retaining structures and settlements of the adjacent buildings together with zones where they occurred.

In the literature one can find also detailed problems related to the displacements caused by the installation of diaphragm wall (Symons & Carter, 1992; Ng & Lei, 2003), corner effect on excavation behaviour (Chang-Yo & Bor-Yuan, 1998), three-dimension effect of deep excavations (Moormann & Katzenbach, 2002a; Zdravkovic et al., 2005), influence of geometrical parameters, zone of displacements caused by deep excavations (Hsieh & Ou, 1998), the influence of the constitutive assumptions on FEM predictions (Viggiani & Tamagnini, 2000), influence of wall stiffness and technology of execution (Long, 2001), unloading of subsoil due to deep excavations (Chan & Morgenstern, 1987; Nash et al., 1996; Chang-Yo et al., 1998), influence of excavation dewatering in urban area (Moormann & Katzenbach, 2002b). 2 ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT TYPES AND EFFECTS We can distinguish two types of environmental impact: natural influences (unloading, reloading and additional loading) and technological influences (related to technology applied and solutions assumed). Displacements are the most important effects of these influences. They are usually measured in the frame of monitoring system and correspond to global response of the structure being the effect of all the influences. Separation of the particular influences is usually very difficult and mostly impossible.

groundwater conditions, strength and strain parameters, initial stress state in a subsoil), foundation depth and planar dimensions of the structures (excavation volume the magnitude of unloading of the subsoil), height of the structure (number of storeys the magnitude of additional loading).

Figure 2. Vertical and horizontal displacements due to loading and unloading of a subsoil

Values of displacements resulting from unloading of the subsoil and the range of zone where they are observed, depend on geotechnical parameters of the subsoil and geometry of excavation (depth, width and length). Thus the unloading effect for small excavations has negligible influence on displacements and most often is not taken into consideration. However, during the execution of deep excavations (Chan & Morgenstern, 1987; Nash et al., 1996; Bolt et al., 1997; Horodecki et al., 2004), positive vertical displacements (heave) of the excavation bottom, retaining walls and first of all the subsoil surface and adjacent constructions are observed (Fig. 2). These displacements significantly contribute to the total values of vertical displacements. For this reason through reduction of extreme settlements they have their impact on safety of neighbouring constructions and their conditions. Unloading of the subsoil and connected with it displacements do not depend on the type of bracing system. Depth of unloading zone depends on geometric parameters of excavation and can be estimated as 23H (H excavation depth) below the excavation bottom (Chan & Morgenstern, 1987; Nash et al., 1996). 2.2 Technological impact Technological impact depends on assumed solutions which influence the changes of stress state such as: type and technology of bracing system which define its stiffness, execution method of bracing, changes of stress state during the deepening process for diaphragm wall; type of support or anchoring (initial prestressing or strutting); vibrations during driving/vibrating of sheet pile wall; technology of excavation deepening; influence of excavation dewatering, disturbance of groundwater flow,

Figure 1. Types of influences

2.1 Natural impact Natural impact includes changes of stress state in a subsoil as a result of unloading process, and then loading by the structure. These influences are basically irrelevant to solutions used and technology of works applied. They are defined under following design assumptions: location of investment geotechnical conditions of a subsoil (arrangement of soil layers,

soil improvement under neighbouring structures, influence of vehicular traffic. 2.2.1 Type and parameters of bracing system A choice of a type and parameters of bracing system is essential for its predicted displacements. The displacements of the bracing protecting the deep excavation have direct impact on the settlements of the subsoil observed behind the bracing. The stiffer braced wall and less flexible support, the smaller displacements and deformations of the bracing and subsequently the subsoil around the excavation and the influence zones. The way of bracing supports is also of great importance in case of top-down method, the stiffness of the structure is greater than at strut or anchored excavation and in consequence the displacements observed are smaller. At the same time, stiffer bracing system with smaller displacements causes higher values of earth pressure acting on the bracing, which in turn forces a necessity to dimension the construction for greater inner forces. 2.2.2 Excavation of trenches The excavation of trenches supported by bentonite slurry for installation the diaphragm walls causes stress state changes in the subsoil and can induce settlements of the neighbouring constructions. Due to that, the length of braced walls sections, sequence and time space should be chosen in such a way to secure stability of the subsoil under foundations of the nearest structures. 2.2.3 Dynamic impact Application of the methods causing dynamic impact within the subsoil, e.g. during vibrating-in the sheet pile wall may also cause some damage for the nearest buildings therefore during these works it is necessary to measure the vibrations, enabling to control and secure against exceeding of acceptable values (Adam, 2002; Borel & Guillaume, 2002; Horodecki, 2003). 2.2.4 Technology of excavation Technology of excavation (open excavation, topdown methods), as well as the sequence and rate of works influence the values of displacements and the range of its presence. 2.2.5 Dewatering Dewatering in terms of wells localised inside the excavation may cause drawdown of groundwater table around the excavation which may result in changes of stress state in the subsoil. The effect is even greater in case of location of wells outside the excavation. If changes of groundwater table are within the range of natural periodic fluctuations thus they do not significantly influence the value of settlements of neighbouring structures. In case of

drawdown of groundwater table significantly below the natural fluctuations, additional, relevant settlements can occur as it was observed e.g. during execution of excavation for Deutsche Bibliothek and under the Main Tower sky-scraper in Frankfurt (Moormann & Katzenbach, 2002a). The settlements occurred directly after drawdown, whereas one month after completing the dewatering there were positive displacements which almost entirely reduced previous settlements. Similar effect reduction of settlements after dewatering process was also observed during execution of excavation under Kwiatkowski Centre in Gdynia. In a case, when values of settlements caused by drawdown of groundwater table would exceed the acceptable values, one can improve the soil under the nearest buildings or abandon dewatering process and sealing the bottom instead (e.g. by jet-grouting) in case of small surface of excavation. 2.2.6 Flow disturbance and the groundwater rise Execution of permanent or temporary bracing system and structure in case of flow of groundwater can cause its disturbances and rise. This kind of impact may be limited by installation of drainage system under the structure and by the use of temporary bracing. 2.2.7 Soil improvement In order to significantly reduce predicted displacements (regardless of the impact) of structures situated nearby, which are susceptible to settlements (old buildings without foundations, historical buildings) one can improve the subsoil underneath. 3 DISPLACEMENTS CAUSED BY DEEP EXCAVATION Rational effect of impact are both vertical and horizontal displacements of (Fig. 2): bracing system, excavation bottom, site surface and structures nearby, underground infrastructure around the excavation. Displacements actually observed are a sum (resultant) of displacements caused by individual types of influences which occur in specific situation. Detailed selection of the impact of particular displacement components is rather difficult issue and the measured values are assumed to be resultant values. 4 IMPACT RANGE The range of all impact zones and displacements resulting from them is defined empirically or semiempirically on the basis of measuring data. Most of-

Displacement d/H [x 10 %]

5 4 3 2 1 0 -1 0 1 2 3 4

Displacement d/H [x 10 -2 %]

ten the ranges of the given zones correspond to resultant displacements caused by technological impact related to braced wall stiffness, type of support and subsoil conditions. It is mainly related to the fact that the displacements of the soil surface around the excavation caused by wall deformation contribute to the total displacements, the most. However, in the case of relatively stiff bracing system (diaphragm walls) and supports (top-down method), which restrict the values of these displacements, their part definitely decreases at an increase of the significance of the displacements resulting from other influences. In Peck' method the values of vertical settles ments of the soil behind the wall are between 1%H to over 2%H (where H is a depth of excavation), and for Clough and ORourke method from 0.15%H to over 2%H. Hsieh and Ou (1998) define maximum value of ground surface settlements behind the wall equal to 0.5 0.75 of maximum value of the lateral wall movement. Only for very soft clay the maximum value of ground surface settlements behind the wall may be larger than maximum value of the lateral wall movement. In turn, the values of ground surface settlements are equal to 0.5 0.7%H. The impact zones for above mentioned methods worked out on the basis of great numbers of measurements amount from 2H to over 4H. They are defined as a function of excavation depth H as they basically apply to the settlements connected with displacements and deformation of bracing system. In Polish recommendations two impact zones of excavation are given (Kotlicki & Wysoki ski, 2002): zone I in the direct vicinity of the excavation, where the displacements may threaten the safety of the structure; zone II where the occurring displacements can cause visible damages of the buildings, which however do not threaten its safety. Definition of the range of impact zones generated by vibrations during installation the sheet pile walls is however a separate and complex problem and requires further theoretical works and empirical studies in natural conditions. In any particular case, it requires individual analysis and monitoring of vibrations during works in order to adjust parameters of vibrations to the boundary values. 5 SOIL- STRUCTURE INTERACTION ANALYSIS Analysis of soil-structure interaction should be carried out during whole the investment cycle both at the design stage, execution phase as well as after the back analysis. Calculation analysis of environmental impact of deep excavations can be done with a use of FEM

(Zdravkovic et al., 2005) for 2D or 3D problems. It allows to estimate forces and displacements of bracing system, excavation bottom and the ground surface for specified stages of execution. For standard data, the important role play numerical code applied and first of all assumed soil model together with respective soil parameters as well as an experience of the person who makes the calculations (Schweiger, 2002). In numerical calculations of the displacements, of great significance are stiffness parameters of the soil especially the modulus of unloading and reloading, thus its reliable determination is very important. 6 EXAMPLES OF DEEP EXCAVATIONS 6.1 Manhattan Trade Center in Gda sk.

The excavation was carried out using the top-down method (floor ring at the level 1) of dimensions 80 x 90 m and depth 12.5 m (with local overdepth dredging up to 13.8 m) in gravel, clay sand, sandy clay and fine sand, braced by diaphragm walls.

-0.5 -1.8
II I NF LU EN CE ZO NE 2.1 2.0 4.2 2.2 1.1 3.0

3.0 2.0


0.5 6.5 3.3 1.0 1.1 4.9 7.1 3.5 2.0 -0.1 -0.4 3.5 0.5

2.5 6.0 1.8

80 m





MEASUREMENT POINT (displacement in mm) (+) - heave (-) - settlement

Figure 4. Excavation layout with indicated observation points, impact zone II and maximum vertical displacements isolines (Horodecki et al., 2004)
6 5 4 3 2 1 0 -1 0 -2 1 2 3 4

Distance from wall L/H [-]

Distance from wall L/H [-]

Figure 5. Examples of positive and negative vertical displacements measured behind the wall on two different axis

Three impact zones were distinguished. The isolinies of maximum vertical displacements were shown in Fig. 4, and example of the vertical displacements measured, in Figure 5. Vertical displacements were observed in the range of 5 6H (where H depth of excavation). Figure 6 shows the



1.3 3.9

movement (heave) of ground surface behind the diaphragm wall measured in different distances from excavation.
8 7 6 Vertical diplacements [mm] 5 4 3 2 1 0 -1 -2 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

the greatest lowering of groundwater and resulting from it settlements (Fig. 9).
0.5 0.0 -0.5 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800

Settlement [mm]

-1.0 -1.5 -2.0 -2.5 -3.0 -3.5 -4.0 -4.5 -5.0

measurement points





Time [days]

Figure 9. Settlement during compensation of settlements after dewatering

0mC 0mA 5mC 0mB 20 m C 20 m B 41 m C 20 m A 27 m A 5mA

10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Stage of excavation

6.3 A-13 Warsaw Underground Station Excavation anchored at five levels, with the dimensions 45 x 215 m and depth 17.8 m, made in quaternary formations (uncontrolled embankments, moraine sandy clay and clayey sand, locally layer of silty clay and silt, sandy sediments, fluvioglacial sand, locally clay and sandy clay, fine sand and medium sand) braced by diaphragm walls. Due to earlier lowering of groundwater table within the site excavation did not require to be dewatered. Example of ground surface displacements around excavation resulting from the ground unloading effect are presented in the Fig. 10. During the execution process of the station, values of positive displacements of the ground around excavation reached 10 mm. Due to too small measurement range around excavation it is difficult to define the actual range of impact zones.

Figure 6. Vertical displacements at points of 0 m, 5 m, 20 m, 27 m, 41 m distant from the wall

6.2 Kwiatkowski Center in Gdynia Excavation carried out by the top-down method (floor at the level 1) with dimensions 33 m x 65-75 m and depth about 7.5 m with local overdepth dredging up to 8.5 m in medium sand, fine gravel and sandy gravel braced by diaphragm walls.
Measurement point P6 Piezometer


P3 P2






Figure 7. Excavation layout with three impact zones and measurement points

Vertical displacemets [mm]

3.0 2.5 2.0 1.5 1.0 0.5 0.0 -0.5 0 -1.0 -1.5 100

measurement points




Figure 10. Examples of ground surface displacements behind the wall

12 10 8 B/H = 0,5 B/H =1 B/H =1,5 B/H =2 B/H =2,5 4 2 0 0 -2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 B/H =3

z/H x 10 -4








Time [days]

Figure 8. Vertical displacement effect of unloading of the subsoil


Dewatering has been carried out inside the excavation. Three impact zones were assumed zone II at the distance of 4.5H (Fig. 7). Actually the displacements occurred at the distance over 5H. Clear compensation effect has been observed after completing the dewatering process on the opposite side to the groundwater flow where there was

Figure 11. Vertical displacements (z) at various distances from the excavation edge (x) for various width of excavation (B) in a function of excavation depth (H)

Back analysis made for the above case showed acceptable compatibility of displacements measured and calculated. On that basis the calculation analysis has been carried out by the PLAXIS numerical code for various excavation widths. The relation of verti-

cal displacements calculated at different distances from the edge of the wall in the function of excavation depth is presented in Fig. 11. 7 CONSLUSIONS Environmental impact of deep excavation on surroundings in urban areas includes natural impact (connected with unloading, reloading and additional loading) and technological influence (including impact of technology assumed on possible displacements of the excavation bottom and braced walls, ground surface and structures around excavation), and the resulting displacements are the sum of all mentioned factors. Basic problem in those cases are conditions of serviceability limit state. While analysing the specific design or execution situations one should take into consideration individual influences, which can occur, as well as corresponding to it impact zones. These zones must consider all the limitations resulting from: conditions of serviceability limit state for bracing system with supports and neighbouring structures, character of nearby urban infrastructure and the impact on inhabitants and installations: vibrations (rate, frequency amplitudes), vertical displacements, horizontal displacements, difficulties for inhabitants. Defining the range of impact zones as well as possible ground surface displacements behind the wall (especially positive displacements) one should take into account individual influences such as local conditions and experience. Since the methods defining range of impact zones and values of displacements are mainly based on measurements of various specific structure, it is appropriate to carry out back analyses together with the analysis of measurement results for existing structures. It may be a basis for verification and improvement of these methods both for local and national conditions. However, it requires to carry out the monitoring with the use of more and more advanced measurement methods and within the range appropriate for a structure. It is intentional then to consider the impact zone including the area monitored, where displacements can occur. Application of FEM analysis for estimation of possible displacements at various distances from excavation requires reliable geotechnical parameters of the soil, adequate constitutive model, reliable numerical code and experience in this type of calculations. REFERENCES
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