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Piling - Contiguous, Interlocking and Secant

Bored cast in-situ piles are often used as an efficient and cost effective means of constructing temporary
or permanent retaining walls. Typically used in the construction of new build basements, substructures in
close proximity to existing structures requiring restraint and where working space is limited. The
techniques avoids excessive excavation and assists in the control of ground movement.
Typically there are three types of bored pile in current use.

Typically this technique is suitable to retain stiff and cohesive subsoils and where ground water levels are
below the eventual depth of excavation.
Pile diameters range between 450mm and 900mm and are generally installed at pile centres of between
500 and 1000mm respectively thereby leaving gaps between the piles between 15 and 100mm.
Interlocking Piles

This type of construction is in many ways similar to the contiguous bored pile method, except the gap
between the primary piles is filled with a secondary soft pile consisting an unreinforced weak concrete
mix constructed to a depth just below the depth of final excavation. A sequence of secondary piles are
constructed followed by a sequence of primary piles constructed to the full design depth, cutting into the
secondary piles and reinforced in the usual manner. This form of construction ensures that water entry
into the subsequent excavation is greatly reduced.
Secant Piles

The procedure for constructing secant piles is similar to interlocking piles, save that the secondary pile is
not soft but constructed of concrete similar to the primary pile and reinforced in a similar fashion to the
primary pile. The equipment used to construct secant piles generally comprises a heavy duty CFA auger
with rotary cutting heads.
A secant pile wall when completed is a cost effective alternative to diaphragm wall construction.

Secant Piles
What are Secant Pile Walls?
Secant piles are constructed so that there is an intersection of one pile with another. The usual practice is to
construct alternative piles along the line of the wall leaving a clear space of a little under the diameter of the
required intermediate piles. The exact spacing is determined by the construction tolerances which can be
achieved. These initially placed piles do not have to be constructed to the same depth as the intermediate
piles which follow, depending on the way in which the wall has been designed and reinforced.
Concrete is added and before it has fully set the intermediate holes are drilled along a parallel, but slightly
offset, line so that the holes cut into the first piles. The intermediate piles are placed through a heavy casing
whose cutting edge is toothed and enables the casing to cut into the concrete of the initial piles on either
side. Subsequent concreting results in a continuous wall. The concrete chosen will often have a slow rate of
setting in order to ease the problem of cutting one pile into another.
What Are Applications For Secant Wall Constructions?
Secant walls are utilized to transfer lateral, vertical or a combination of both loads through weak soil layers
to a suitable bearing layer. They can be drilled in all types of configurations that can form a interlocking
watertight wall, or provide for a structural overlapping wall. Secant walls are mainly used for foundation load
transfer and earth retention systems. They are used in land-based structures, top-down tunnel, cofferdams
and subway structures where the surface soil layers cannot provide the required load-bearing capacity. They
are also used in marine-based structures and dams.
Secant piles are one of the most economical methods of creating an effective water control barriers for
building structural walls, top-down tunnel and dams, when water tables and dewatering are major problems.
Various drilling techniques are used to construct overlapping concrete cylinders through saturated soils,
rock, extending well below the water seepage elevation. Sequenced drilling and concreting of the individual
cylinders that make up the finished barrier allows the concrete to cure, ensuring a tight seal between the
cylinders for complete water cutoff. Secant piles can be constructed to depths that exceed 150 plus feet,
depending on the units Kelly bar/ auger length.
Typical applications for secant walls include:
Groundwater barriers
Retaining walls
What Methods are used in Secant Wall Construction?
Secant piles can be constructed either with conventional drilling methods or through the use of CFA
techniques. Secant pile walls typically include both reinforced secondary and unreinforced primary piles. The
secondary piles overlap the primary piles, with the primary piles essentially acting as concrete lagging. The
reinforcement in the secondary piles generally consists of rebar cages or steel beams. The normal diameter
of the secant piles are 36in/1.0 m and center to center distance between the piles are 30in/0.8 m.
Therefore, each pile overlaps with the adjacent piles.
Secant pile wall formed by the primary (female) and secondary (male) piles by drilling the piles to the
specified diameter and required depth. The secant pile wall is constructed in two stages. The primary piles
will be constructed at Stage 1 with the specified strength of mass concrete and the secondary piles will be
constructed at stages 2 with the required concrete strength after the reinforcement cage is lowered into the
bored holes. The secondary piles are positioned between the primary piles and secant with the primary piles
in order to form the interlocking joint.
Schematic Plan View of a Secant Pile Wall

A. Primary Pile (Female Pile)
The female pile will be constructed as the primary piles for the secant pile wall. The primary pile will
be filled with the specified strength of mass concrete without any steel reinforcement.
B. Secondary Pile (Male Pile)
The secondary pile will be constructed in between the primary piles and overlap with the primary
piles with the specified strength of concrete after the reinforcement cages are lowered into the
bored hole. The secondary pile formed by cutting into the primary piles to form the interlocking joint
by using the specified coring tools. The boring process for the secondary pile shall only commence
upon initial set of the primary piles.
A secant wall is made up of several steps:
1. The initial step is to construct a guide wall to set up the positioning of the secant pile wall.
2. Drill and Installation of the 1 meter temporary casing.
3. Drilling of the Primary Columns, 1,3,5,7, etc etc.
4. Concreting of Primary Columns.
5. Drilling of the Overlapping Secondary (Reinforced) Column, 2.4.6. etc, etc.
6. Install the Steel Cage or I-Beam.
7. Concreting of Secondary Column.
8. Repeating the above steps.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Secant Piles?
Secant pile walls are formed by construction intersecting reinforced concrete piles. The piles are reinforced
with either steel rebar cages or with steel beams. They are constructed by either casing the columns, drilling
under mud or auger drilling. Primary piles are installed first with secondary piles constructed in between
primary piles once the latter gain sufficient strength. Pile overlap is typically in the order of 3 inches (8 cm).
The main advantages of secant pile walls are:
1. Increased construction alignment flexibility.
2. Increased wall stiffness compared o sheet piles.
3. Can be installed in difficult ground (cobbles/boulders).
4. Used in high water table conditions without excessive dewatering.
5. Properly placed columns can be as close as 3 to 5 from existing buildings.
6. Less noisy construction
The main disadvantages of secant pile walls are:
1. Verticality tolerances may be hard to achieve for deep piles.
2. Total waterproofing is very difficult to obtain in joints.
3. Increased cost compared to sheet pile walls if depth is less than 40 feet deep.
4. Noise and vibration are generated, if casing is driven in lieu of hydraulically pushed and retrieved
What are the costs associated with secant wall construction?
The secant pile wall costs vary considerably with configurations, rebar/I-beam requirements, water tables,
depths, and access. We suggest you using our FREE budgetary estimating service to get an order of
magnitude figure.
Secant Wall Conclusion
Secant walls are an economical, commercially available solution for many civil structural shoring walls
providing unequaled support of existing foundations and environmental groundwater control problems. The
method has many civil applications including using the walls as a structural wall, shoring and dewatering

With building costs
rising, owners wishes to maximize the available spaces and in congested inner city areas this means that
large and deep excavations are more frequently required. The problem is that as a result of varying
conditions of adjacent structures, several different solutions may be required on the same site in order to
remain competitive. Here we are introducing our Secant Piled Wall system of retaining which can also be
called overlapping piled diaphragm wall, which grants a rigid, waterproof and considered one of the most
economical retaining wall for both temporary and permanent use for supporting excavations to medium or
deep depth.

Secant Piled wall construction procedures:
1. Disposition of the wall location with the proper piles center-to-center distances (the spacing,
center to center, of Secant piles is a matter for judgments by the piling contractor).
2. Guide walls are advisable for the formation of Secant Piles construction to secure the wall
alignment and reduce the construction costs and timing.
3. The overlapping pile diaphragm wall is carried out by boring and concreting the primary (female)
plastic piles, with the proper center-to-center distances.
4. Secondary (male) piles are then bored at mid-distance between the female piles, the boring
equipment cutting a secant section from them.
Male piles are bored through Female piles before the concrete has achieved much of its strength; should
this operation be delayed, wear on the cutting edge to the casing is likely to be much increased.
1. When the whole area is completed; the pile diaphragm wall thick is about the pile diameter for
maximum and 80% of the pile as minimum (subject to the overlapping distance).
2. Excavation starts and inner guide wall is demolished.
3. Spaced anchors or struts may be used to support Secant Piling using steel waling members or
in-situ concrete bearing pads.
When this case occurs, the excavation stops at these levelsto execute the proper strutting (by means of
anchors or horizontal struts etc.)

Advantages of Secant Piled wall construction:
Secant Piled wall owes much of its later popularity to its many advantages that will be pointed out.
1. Low costs and speed of construction for temporary and permanent soil support where drilling
conditions are conductive.
2. Clearness and comparative quietness of the installation process; low level of vibration during
piles installation.
3. Wide range of soil conditions in which CFA piles can be used ; soft clay, granular soils, cohesive
soils, intermediate (c-) soils and soft rocks; e.g. soft marls and chalk and although mudstone
as are suitable.
4. Inclined walls in secant pilling may also be installed at a small inclination to the vertical line.
5. The internal side of Secant Piled wall may be lined to have a uniformity of finishing.
6. The Secant Piled method also provides a waterproof wall, which can be built to a considerable
depth, in the range 30 to 40m, and can cope with various types of obstruction.
7. Junction with the floor and raft slabs can be made with Secant Piled walls using bend-out bars
or bar connectors and polystyrene block work secured to the reinforcement cage.