Even the sturdiest office building is only as stable as the foundation and surface it rests on. Soil stabilization is essential for structural integrity whether you are talking about roads, skyscrapers or industrial facilities. Property and business owners who are willing to invest in an office building should also be ready to invest in improving the stability of the site before and after construction.
Installing Foundational Piers
In the context of construction, piers are strong metal rods that are inserted alongside subsurface foundational structures. They are usually composed of strong alloys that resist corrosion and pressure. Piers can be added to structures during the building phase or years afterwards to correct or prevent further deterioration. While piers aren’t a perfect or permanent solution, they are often cost-effective and have minimal impact on normal operations in the building.
Grouting to Stabilize Soil
Piers and other structural modifications are effective at reinforcing a physical foundation, but they don’t do much to improve the actual quality of the soil. Most initial site assessments contain a thorough survey of the soil, including its exact composition, density and other properties. Soil grouting, or the injection of stabilizing chemicals into the soil, improves the load-bearing capacity and stiffness of the soil to provide a firmer foundation for the structure above. In most cases, site owners have a choice between cement and chemical grout for their project.
Reinforcing Structures with Micropiles
Micropiles work on a similar principle to piers, except on a much smaller scale. These narrow metal rods are drilled into many different points throughout the foundation to reinforce the structure and improve foundational capacity. The piles are held in place with cement grouting or another bonding element. Site owners should consult with qualified environmental engineers and builders to determine what type of micropiles or piers are suitable for their situation.
Preparing for Natural Disasters
Every office building needs strong soil and a reliable foundation, but these features become even more important in areas prone to certain natural disasters. Earthquakes are a serious threat in some areas of the country, so buildings in these areas are usually subject to higher requirements to pass inspection. Areas prone to flooding or prolonged soil saturation also need special considerations when it comes to stabilization, especially when there is a risk of landslides or sinkholes.
There are several ways that engineers can reinforce an existing structure, but it’s almost always better to account for soil stability before construction. That’s why site owners should always invest in complete site and soil assessments before they start planning or building anything.