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On the quest for piling’s Holy Grail
Chris Heath provides a UK perspective on the development of displacement piling systems

Without doubt, the most exiting developments in the early years of the new millennium, at least as far as piling is concerned, will be in displacement auger piling systems.

As is already evident on the Continent, the construction industry must take on board the environmental constraints of the future. But many years trying to develop a UK market for displacement auger systems has prompted me to contrast conditions here with the Low Countries, where the technique was developed.

Why should over 90 % of the auger piles in that area of Europe be formed by displacement methods whilst in the UK over 90% were formed by non-displacement methods – primarily CFA.

It certainly isn’t the ground – they even have their own version of London Clay! The root cause is the cost of disposal of spoil. Once it was established that spoil is not desirable the rest follows.

These factors are becoming more pertinent in the UK. The push to develop brown field sites in the urban environment and limitations on spoil disposal, especially when contaminated, will see the auger piling market in the UK follow that of our continental cousins.

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