Cutting of Concrete Piles
Breaking down of concrete piles has traditionally been carried out using hand-held pneumatic breakers. This method of work potentially exposes workers to significant health hazards associated with exposure to Hand Arm Vibration (HAV), dust and noise and it slow and costly.
Nowadays there are numerous alternative methods available for the breaking down of concrete piles that remove or significantly reduce these health hazards. These methods are discussed in more detail below and where appropriate the advantages and disadvantages of each are explored.
Traditional ‘Mechanical’ Methods
The most basic method of breaking down piles is to utilise either hand held (Light) breakers or plant mounted pneumatic (Heavy) breakers. This method may be the easiest to specify and takes little initial planning. However if not carefully controlled it can produce unacceptable health and safety risks and cause unnecessary damage, particularly to small diameter piles. This type of breaking is applicable to all types of concrete piles and the key points to consider in the implementation of this method are as follows;
- A suitable and sufficient assessment has must be carried out and specific control measures implemented to reduce worker exposure to associated health hazards.
- Piles should be allowed to cure for at least 5 days before excavation and trimming. For high cement replacement mixes the curing period is likely to be extended.
- Pneumatic breakers should not be used to penetrate the pile vertically as this is likely to split the pile shaft and shear the concrete below cut-off level. The tool should be worked from the pile perimeter towards the centre.
- Heavy impact breakers should not be used on small diameter and lightly reinforced piles, or on piles in soft ground.
- This type of pile breaking can increase the risk of integrity test failures.
Hydraulic Pile Breakers
Specially designed ‘Pile Breakers’ are available in a range of sizes and capability.
Hydraulic pile breakers are available to cater for a wide range of concrete pile shapes [ square & round ] and sizes range from 300mm to 1800mm , both cast in place and precast, including contiguous wall piles and small secant wall piles. These systems are not appropriate for some of the larger pile diameters or for use on diaphragm walls.
Plant manufacturers and suppliers should be consulted for further details of the capability and limitations of particular pile breakers.
If you need assistance please contact Groundwork at [email protected] for further details of the capability and limitations of particular pile breakers for your project.