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LIMITATION FOR MAXIMUM SPACING OF PILES

Bridge Data : There is a Bridge of two Span , each Span of 18.3m ,

being Constructed . The SuperStructure is PSC Girders and the PIERS


and Abutment are of Mass Concrete. The height of Bridge is 3.7m.
The Foundation is Proposed with Piles of 1m diameter. The Piles are to be
designed as END Bearing Piles and to be socketted into Hard Rock.
Soil Data :
GL
CLAY
4m
SOFT DISINTEGRATED ROCK
15m
HARD ROCK

As Shown in the Figure the Soil is clayey in Nature upto 4m, and
Soft Disintegrated Rock upto 15m. Hard Rock is available at a depth of
15m beneath the Abutment as well as Piers. And the nature of soil for
Abutments and Piers are same.
Proposed Pile arrangement beneath Pier : The Proposed Piles of 1m
Diameter beneath the Pier are as follows .
0.8m

2.5m

2.5m
0.8m

0.8m

2.5m

0.8m

The Length of Pile Cap is 6.6 m in either direction . The spacing of Piles
is 2.5m in either direction and therefore 2.5d where d is the diameter of
Pile ( 1m dia Pile).
The Maximum Load on Pile is 185t .The arrangement has been adopted
from that of another Bridge constructed 2 years back about 100Km
away. .The Spans of that Bridge is Similar but the height of that Bridge is
6.5m and it was constructed with RCC trestles. The Piles were Designed as
End Bearing Piles and Socketted into Hard Rock but the Max Load there
was only 175t.
PROPOSED PILE ARRANGEMENT BENEATH ABUTMENT WITH
SQUARE RETURNS
0.8m

2.5m

2.5m

2.5m

0.8m

2.5m

2.5m

2.5m

The Length of Pile Cap is 9.1m in either Direction. The Spacing of Piles
is 2.5m i.e 2.5d .
The maximum Load coming on Piles is only 103 tonnes.

To optimize and reduce the number of Piles the following arrangement


is Proposed since the Load on Piles is much less than that of Load on
Pile below Pier (both socketted in same nature of Hard Rock)
9.1m

3.75m

3.75m

2.5m

2.5m

2.5m

Spacing in one direction = 3.75m = 3.75d


Spacing in other direction = 2.5m = 2.75d
Maximum Load on Pile = 137.5t

9.1m

To optimize further the following arrangement is Proposed


9.1m

3.75m

3.75m

3.75m

3.75m

Maximum Load on Pile is = 183.5t


Spacing in both directions = 3.75d

This arrangement would reduce 7 Piles compared to the Proposed


arrangement of Piles beneath Abutment and the Load on each Pile would
become equal to the Load on Pile beneath Pier.
It is seen that there is no change in Pile cap Design even if 9 piles
with spacing of 3.75d is adopted instead of 2.5d
The objection being raised is about spacing of Piles which is 3.75d
The IS Code for Pile foundations mentions that spacing of Piles
for Piles resting on Hard Stratum is to be 2.5d. If the End bearing of
Pile is on Rock the spacing can be 2d. The minimum spacing of piles in
Cohesive Soils where friction piles are laid is 2.5d to 3d.

9.1m

There is no mention about maximum spacing.However Guidelines


issued by RDSO says that maximum spacing be limited to 4d.
Since two Bridges are being constructed the total saving in Piles
can be 28Nos if the Pile arrangement with 9 Piles can be adopted
beneath the Abutment with Square Returns instead of 16 Piles Which
saves 70 Lakhs of Rupees.
Are there any Limitations to maximum spacing of Piles ?
Since the Load on Piles is far below the Safe Bearing Capacity of
Rock( SBC of ROCK assumed between 250t to 400t) , can we not
adopt spacing of 3.75d for piles beneath the Abutment.
Please give your views .
The following are some of the views I received .
View 1
Dear Mr K.V. Rama Meher
Thank you for your email.
As you have correctly guessed, the IS code does not stipulate the
maximum spacing between the piles in a group. Only the minimum
spacing is critical and is recommended to avoid overlap of (i)
pressure bulb along the length and end bearing of the pile; and (ii)
large reduction of pile group efficiency. There are other advantages
in using large pile spacing to minimise shadow effects of the outer
piles in a group if the pile group has to take lateral loads as well.
Therefore, there is no reason for you not to adopt greater pile spacing
as long as the thickness of pile cap/structural beam is designed to
take care of the additional moments at the top.

Regards

Ashish Juneja

Dr Ashish Juneja
Assistant Professor
Department of Civil Engineering
Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
Powai, Mumbai 40 0076
Tel. 2576 7327
Fax. 2576 7302
View 2
04.01.2006
Dear Mr Meher,
Received your e-mail. I have to inform you as follows :
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

For Pier 6 pile configuration appears Okey


For Abutment 9 pile configuration appears Okey However please
check Lateral Pile Capacities considering passive resistance of Soil
offered.
For Pier and Abutment above the Pile cap thickness will be minimum
1.50 M.
Design the Pile Cap both by Bending Theory as well Truss Theory.
Apply pile group coefficient of minimum 0.9.
Adopt ductile detailing at the Socketting and at pile cap junction.
Provide minimum socketing of 1.5 to 2 times the diameter of pile in
hard rock as per recommendations of foundation expert.

As far as Pile Spacing goes I have to inform you as follows :


1.

Refer IRC:78-2000 Clause 709.1.5.1


Spacing of Piles : The spacing of piles should be considered in
relation to the nature of the ground, their behavior in groups and the

overall cost of foundation. The spacing should be chosen with regard


to resulting heave or compaction and should be wide enough to enable
the desired number of piles to be installed to the correct penetration
without damage to any adjacent construction or to the piles
themselves.
The cost of a cap carrying the load from the structure to the pile head,
or the size and effective length of a ground beam, may influence the
spacing, type and size of pile.
The spacing of piles will be determined by :
a. the method of installation, eg driven or bored;
b. the bearing capacity of the group
Working rules which are generally, though not always, suitable, are as
follows
For Friction Piles, the Spacing center shall be not less than the
perimeter of the pile or, for circular piles, three times the diameter. The
spacing of piles deriving their resistance mainly from end bearing may
be reduced but the distance the surfaces of the shafts of adjacent piles
should be not less than the least width of the piles.
2.

Refer Foundation Design and Construction by MJ Tomlinson:


7.13.2 The Code of Practice for foundations (CP2004) requires a
minimum spacing center to center for end bearing piles of twice the
least width of the pile, and where piles carry the greater part of their
load in skin friction, the spacing center to center should not be less
than three times the least width of the pile.

3.

Refer Foundation Analysis and Design by JE Bowles:


18.2 --- Optimal spacing s seems to be on the order of 2.5 to 3.5 D or
2 to 3 H for vertical loads; for groups carrying lateral and/or dynamic
loads, large pile spacings are usually more efficient. Maximum pile
spacings are not given in building codes but spacings as high as 8 or
10 D have been used on occasion.

4.

Refer Pile Design and Concrete Practice by MJ Tomlinson:


5.2.1- CP2004 recommends a center-to-center spacing of friction piles
of not less than perimeter of pile and for end bearing of twice the least
width.

5.

Refer Concrete Bridge Practice by VK Raina :

7.4- Spacing of Piles


a. Friction Piles spacing, center to center, not less than perimeter of
pile
b. End Bearing - spacing, center to center, not less than twice the
least width of pile
c. Generally 2.5 times the bigger dimension of pile section.
I am not able to get more details on Maximum Spacing of Piles except
produced above. However I feel you can provide the spacing of piles of
3.75 to 4 times the pile dia. I have provided for Road Bridge Pier spacing
of 5 times the pile diameter.

V.T.SHELAR
B.E.(Civil), MIE
Chartered Engineer
(Bridge Designer)

View 3
From: pkbd@iitk.ac.in
To:

Add to Address Book

"konatam meher" <kvrmeher@yahoo.co.in>

Dear Mr.Meher,
Wish you a HAPPY NEW YEAR! Sorry for delayed
reply to your enquiry.
In a group piles act independently if the spacing
is at about 6D. 3.5D in that sense not very large
when the piles would act independently. There
will be some interference and most probably the
piles would act as a group. Thus, group efficiency
need to be estimated. As the piles would be
socketed in rock that would have large bearing
capacity.
Hope this clarifies your doubt.
Yours sincerely,
Basudhar
VIEW 4

Dear Rama Meher:


Thanks for your query. I am presently in
Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Kota
spacing of 3.75d is
acceptable provided that the following are OK.
1. The design of pile cap should be accordingly
done.
2. The total horizontal force per pile should not
exceed 5% of the
vertical load (Please check the IS Code).
3. If it is a short pile ,no tensile load is
allowable.
4. Torsional moments if any should be taken care
of.
5. Max spacing as per IS codes may please be
reverified (I think it id 6 d).
If you need more clarifications, please let me
know. Best wishes.
Kameswara Rao
Professor N.S.V. Kameswara Rao |Tel:60-88-320000
Ext: 3045(O),431746(R)
School of Engineering and IT
|Fax:60-88-320348,
HP: 016-8432466,8440784
Universiti Malaysia Sabah
|email:
http://in.f86.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?
To=nsv@iitk.ac.in&YY=76157&order=down&sort=date&pos
=0&view=a&head=b,http://in.f86.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Co
mpose?
To=nsv@ums.edu.my&YY=76157&order=down&sort=date&pos
=0&view=a&head=b
88999 Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia |URL:
VIEW 5

I have spoken on Telephone to Nihar Ranjan Patra, Faculty at


IITK and he expressed that 3.75 d Pile Spacing can be adopted for the
above Problem.

It appears that you have referred the question of maximum permissible spacing of
piles to several I.I.T. professors.
In Railway design office, normally codes and manuals are available. Kindly refer to "Manual on
the design and construction of well and pile foundations (1985)" issued by R.D.S.O., in which,
on page-5 para 2.3 it is mentioned that maximum spacing of pile is 4d and minimum spacing
of pile is 2.5d, where d is the diameter of pile.
I hope this Indian Railway Codal provision will help in clearing your doubt.
Sir,
I am aware of the maximum spacing of 4d given by RDSO . However the justification for this is
not known . There are no such restrictions in IRC . I interacted with a consultant from
Maharashtra who provided 5 to 5.5 d pile spacing for highway bridges . I have not gone
through the provisions in other country codes but I came to know through interactions that 5
to 5.5 d spacing is provided in Germany and Russia . In some old drawings of 1980 approved
by scr I have seen that spacing of 5 d was provided .