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Shoring Techniques in the Vancouver Construction Industry

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Excavations are an integral part of construction projects but pose significant risks to worker safety. During deep excavations, shoring acts as a protective measure, preventing the overturning of soil for a safer working environment. Temporary structures, such as scaffolding and formwork, require proper shoring to ensure stability and prevent accidents or failures that could result in serious injuries or even fatalities.

Piling is a related term that describes driving long, slim columns (piles) into the ground to provide additional foundational support for buildings, bridges, and retaining walls. It is usually a permanent technique in construction work but may also serve shoring objectives.

North Construction in Vancouver is familiar with best shoring practices for jobs of every scale.

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Ensuring Worker Safety During Excavation

Standard techniques and popular terms for supporting an unstable structure include: timber shoring, hydraulic shoring, rake shore techniques, dead shore (or vertical shoring), sheet piles, and diaphragm walls. Methods are chosen based on soil type, job size, and adjacent structures.

For deep excavations, where the surcharge load is high, soldier pile shoring or secant pile shoring may be used.

Soldier pile shoring involves driving prefabricated I or H steel beams into the ground and installing concrete panels between the beams to form a complete shoring wall.

Secant pile shoring, on the other hand, involves intersecting reinforced and unreinforced piles to form a continuous wall.

By implementing proper shoring techniques and ensuring excavation support, construction projects can protect workers from the risks associated with unstable soil and prevent accidents or injuries during the early excavation stage of construction.

Poor planning can have disastrous results.

Shoring Techniques Commonly Used in Vancouver

North Construction is involved in tricky excavation projects. Our shoring techniques are chosen based on the project’s specific requirements, including soil conditions, surcharge load, and the presence of adjacent structures.

Timber Shoring

Timber shoring involves using timbers to support a structure or retain soil.

Hydraulic Shoring

Hydraulic shoring involves pistons that pump outward to press against the trench walls. This technique enhances worker safety as the construction crew doesn’t have to enter the trench physically to install this temporary shoring solution.

Raking Shores

A raking shore is a temporary support structure for lateral reinforcement against horizontal forces. It is advantageous when dealing with bulging, cracking walls.

Dead Shore (Vertical Shoring)

Dead shores are primarily used to carry vertical loads from walls, roofs, and floors. It is especially beneficial when an opening for a doorway is made along a wall.

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Pile Shoring

Another commonly used shoring technique is pile shoring, which involves driving prefabricated steel piles into the ground to provide support and stability. Pile shoring can be further divided into different types:

Soldier Pile Shoring

Soldier pile walls, also known as H or I beam shoring, are a common shoring technique in Vancouver. It involves driving steel I or H sections into the ground to provide lateral support and stability to excavations and structures. This typically requires a diesel or vibro hammer.

One of the advantages of H or I-Beam shoring is its versatility. It can be used for excavations with depths ranging from 1.2 metres to 5 metres, and even beyond, as long as the design accounts for the surcharge load along its perimeter.

Using prefabricated steel sections in H or I-Beam shoring offers several benefits. These sections are readily available and can be easily driven into the ground. The connection between the beams and the installation of concrete panels create a complete shoring wall, providing the necessary lateral support.

H or I Beam shoring is suitable for a wide range of construction projects in Vancouver, including basements, tunnels, and deep excavations.

Secant Pile Shoring

Secant pile shoring is another technique used for complex soil conditions. This shoring technique involves intersecting two types of piles to form a continuous wall.

In secant pile shoring, a combination of reinforced (secondary) and unreinforced (primary) piles is used. The piles are constructed so that they interlock with each other, creating a continuous wall that provides lateral support and stability.

One of the main advantages of secant pile shoring is its ability to be used in areas where open excavation is impossible or where existing structures are close. This makes it suitable for construction projects in densely populated areas or sites with limited space.

Secant pile shoring is particularly useful in clay soils, where the stability of the excavation is a significant concern. The design of the secant piles takes into consideration the surcharge load due to the nearby structure, ensuring the stability and safety of the excavation.

By utilizing secant pile shoring, construction projects in Vancouver can overcome the challenges posed by complex soil conditions and ensure the stability of their structures.

What is Shoring in Construction?
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Contiguous Pile Shoring for Tight Spaces

The next type of shoring to discuss is contiguous pile shoring (tangent pile shoring). It is a commonly used technique for construction projects involving tight spaces or areas with limited access.

In contiguous pile shoring, closely spaced piles are driven into the ground, lying tangent to each other. This process creates a continuous wall that provides increased lateral support and stability for excavations and structures.

Contiguous pile shoring is particularly useful in clay soils or areas where water is not a significant concern. It can effectively retain dry granular material and provide stability to the excavation.

However, in water-bearing granular soils, contiguous pile shoring may allow water seepage through the gaps between the piles. In such cases, grouting the gaps in the piles can create a watertight wall and prevent water seepage.

When considering contiguous pile shoring, it is essential to consult with a company familiar with structural engineering. A proper assessment of the soil conditions is necessary to determine whether this shoring technique is suitable.

The Use of Sheet Piles in Water-Rich Areas

In Vancouver, where water-rich areas are common, sheet piles are a popular shoring technique. Sheet piles are prefabricated steel sections driven into the ground to provide lateral support and stability to excavations and structures.

One primary use of sheet piles is in areas where the excavation needs to be isolated from bodies of water, such as creeks, ponds, or seasides. Sheet piles can effectively retain the soil and prevent water from infiltrating the excavation.

Sheet piles are commonly used in constructing ports and harbours, where water pressure and a high water table are significant concerns. The installation of sheet piles creates a barrier that prevents water from entering the excavation, ensuring the stability and safety of the construction project.

By utilizing sheet piles, construction projects in Vancouver can effectively manage water-rich areas and ensure the stability of their structures in challenging environments.

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Diaphragm Walls: Deep Excavation Support

Diaphragm walls are often the preferred shoring technique for deep excavations and large-scale construction projects. They are constructed using reinforced concrete and designed to provide extensive lateral support for the excavation.

Diaphragm walls are flexible and can be adapted to suit the specific requirements of the project.

Diaphragm walls are commonly used to construct basements and tunnels, where the excavation depth requires a shoring technique that can provide substantial lateral support.

How to Select the Right Shoring Method?

Choosing the proper shoring method is vital for the success and safety of the construction project. Factors like soil type, surcharge load, and adjacent structures influence the selection. Geotechnical engineers play a crucial role in assessing soil conditions, and structural engineers play a crucial role in evaluating the project’s needs.

Factors Influencing Shoring Technique Choice

Several factors influence the choice of shoring technique for a construction project. These factors include soil type, surcharge load, and the presence of adjacent structures.

Soil type plays a significant role in determining the most appropriate shoring technique. Different soil types have varying characteristics and require specific shoring methods. For example, clay soils may require secant pile shoring, while granular soils may be suitable for sheet piles.

The surcharge load, which refers to the additional weight or load imposed on the shoring system, also affects the choice of shoring technique. Higher surcharge loads may require more robust shoring methods, such as soldier pile shoring or diaphragm walls.

Another important factor to consider is the presence of adjacent structures. The proximity of existing structures may limit the available space for shoring and require specialized techniques, such as secant pile shoring or contiguous pile shoring.

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Experienced Shoring in Construction for Vancouver Crews

Shoring techniques are crucial for construction safety and structural integrity in excavation projects around Vancouver. Choosing the best option and consulting with experts can mitigate risks and ensure success. If the project involves digging, North Construction will ensure it is conducted in the safest manner possible. Speak with a member of our crew to learn more about our shoring practices and the type of shoring your project requires.

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