Static load testing of piles is considered by many proponents to be the panacea, in comparison with results obtained from dynamic testing. The technology of using a reaction frame, a system of steel beams anchored to the ground by reaction piles is several decades old. The system has effectively replaced the use of kentledge which was cumbersome and slow to erect. Past and present codes of practice have recognised the advantages of the static load test, however, in one facet of the piling industry static load testing has been difficult if not impossible to undertake and this is particularly so today in the wake of health and safety related legislation. This niche area of the piling industry is that undertaken in restricted access, mini or micropiling as it is now known, an increasingly important sector with today's emphasis on existing building refurbishment, conversion and re-use. Eurocode 7 introduces new challenges for the piling industry and as will be shown advantages are available to those who undertake static load testing. An important new development seeks to assist with these soon to be imposed changes and bring the static load test and all its advantages into the basement, the quadrangle or the isolated hilltop.
Stuart Bradshaw, BSc(Hons), MSc, DIC, CEng, MIStructE, MASCE, FGS
Terrain Geotechnical Consultants Ltd