Land: Less than $500,000 Peter Courtney Minto Island Bridge

The new Peter Courtney Minto Island Bridge is a steel arch bridge spanning the Willamette Slough, connecting the downtown Riverfront Park to the park on Minto-Brown Island. The new bridge provides access to over 1,300 acres of parks on both sides of the Willamette River for the community while, also linking more than 30 miles of off-street trails. 
The main span of the bridge is a 304.5-foot tied-arch span with four total approach spans, three at 50 feet and one at 35 feet. Combined, the bridge is a five-span bridge, totaling 489.5 feet long. The deck consists of cast-in-place components as well as precast panels for the main span. The supports are made of cast-in-place tapered columns that used a form liner for aesthetics. 
The foundation for the bridge consists of a combination of driven pile and drilled shafts. There are 12 driven piles for the end bent; eight for the Observation Platform and four for the East Approach. The Observation Platform piles were PP 12.75 x 0.500 x 35-feet in length, closed ended, and the East Approach piles were PP 12.75 x 0.375 x 40-feet in length, open ended. The Observation Platform piles were driven to 350 kips and the East Approach pile were driven to 134 kips. There are six drilled shafts for Bents 1-6. 
Legacy Contracting, Inc. was required to install a temporary work bridge as well as temporary support towers that supported the arches in place prior to installing the precast concrete panels. The temporary work bridge consisted of 46 driven piles and the temporary support towers consisted of 12 driven piles, all of which had to be removed once the construction of the bridge was complete. The work bridge piles were PP 22 x 0.375 x 60 feet in length, open ended, and the support tower pile were PP 18 x 0.500 x 100 feet in length, open ended. The work bridge piles were driven to 518K kips and the support towers piles were driven to 395K kips.
For the cast-in-place deck portions of the bridge, Legacy Contracting also drove piling for the falsework. Sixty 12-foot wood piles, two 22 x 0.375-foot and six 18 x 0.500-foot piles were driven for the falsework. Legacy Contracting had to pull all the steel piling as well as the wood piling they could reach after concrete was poured. 
All of this work was completed in an environmentally sensitive area and done during stringent in-water work timeframes. The existing material that the piles were driven into had a rock shelf that required Legacy Contracting to drive the piling in a matter that didn't cause the piling to cave in on itself.

Challenges
The Minto Island Bridge is a one-of-a-kind structure from the foundation up. Although there are only 12 permanent piles in the finished product, many more were required in order to build this beautiful bridge. Driving the work bridge, support tower and falsework piling in a very sensitive area and completing the work within the in-water work window was challenging. Legacy Contracting was able to use a vibratory hammer and impact hammer to drive the pile through the difficult subsurface conditions.

Posted in PileDriver Magazine. Tagged as Issue 5, 2018.

Land: $500,000 to $2 Million Silver Sands State Park Phase 1B Improvements

Silver Sands State Park is located on the Long Island Sound in Milford, Conn. During low tide, visitors can walk across to Charles Island, famous for being the site where Captain Kidd supposedly buried his treasure after he visited the island in 1699, before traveling to Boston where he was captured and later hanged. The island connects to shore via a tombolo (sand bar) at low tide.
The park is an area of approximately 300 acres of beach, sand dunes, marsh, woods and the 14-acre bird sanctuary of Charles Island. The State of Connecticut acquired Silver Sands after hurricane Diane came through in 1955, destroying 75 homes in the area. Today, the park is used for picnicking, saltwater activities, field sports, nature programs and more. 
Blakeslee Arpaia Chapman, Inc. (BAC) was contracted by the Connecticut State DOT to provide the foundation work for the park's phase 1B improvements. The improvements consisted of the installation of raised, pile supported bathhouse and concession area, several handicap accessible ramps to and from parking areas, boardwalks along the beach and a walkway across wetlands connecting to an existing boardwalk.
Challenges

Wildlife 
The project included many obstacles. The first of which was the sensitivity to the indigenous species and the need to minimize any impact on them. In late March, Connecticut beaches become the nesting ground for piping plovers, a small, sand-colored shorebird. Piping plovers are on both federal and state lists of threatened species. These migratory birds don't make nests, but rather use small depressions in the sand as their place to roost and incubate their eggs. 
In order to minimize any disturbance to the birds, it was determined all pile driving activities within 160 feet of their breeding ground (the beach) needed to be complete before their migration into the area. Approximately half of the 250 piles on the project fell within the buffer zone. Due to delays to the start of the project, BAC was left with just over a week to complete this first phase.

A walkway over the wetlands 
A second challenge in the project was how to install an eight-foot wide timber pile supported walkway through 290 feet of wetlands to meet and attach to another existing walkway. The walkway consisted of two pile bents every 14 feet with a split cap and cross bracing. The specifications precluded any equipment from entering or bearing upon the wetlands.
The solution was to have the pile driver drive the piles from on top of the walkway. The eight-foot walkway was neither wide enough nor sufficient to support the pile driver. To make a safe platform, the following changes were made:
Added temporary piles outside the permanent piles. 
Increased the size of the split cap and extended the split cap out to the added temporary piles.
Increased the size and quantity of the hardware connecting the split cap to piles.
Added longitudinal cross braces to the specified transverse cross braces.
Installed steel beams across pile bents.
Laid crane mats on top of the steel beams.
Installed safety railings for protection of all personnel working the temporary platform.

Since the walkway connected to an existing walkway, the team worked their way out two bents at a time. Once all the piles, caps and braces were in, they backed their way out, removing the temporary piles and cutting the extended split caps back to the eight-foot permanent walkway width.
This was an efficient method and BAC was able to complete the project on time and under budget, despite the numerous challenges encountered.

Posted in PileDriver Magazine. Tagged as Issue 5, 2018.

Land: $2 Million to $5 Million Naval Academy Cyber Security Studies Building

Corman Kokosing was awarded the Naval Academy Cyber Security Studies Building Concrete Piles contract in Annapolis, Md. The proposed building was constructed on a site that had undergone significant changes. Various bulkheads, building foundations and sea walls were constructed on the site over the years as the site had been expanded. Also, various miscellaneous buildings had been built and demolished at the site. Piles remained buried within the footprint of the proposed building. The land at the site was reclaimed from Dorsey Creek and has since required stabilization.
The overall scope of this project is to deliver the latest addition to the campus of the United States Naval Academy. This $114 million Center was a design-build of a 206,400 sq. ft. academic building dedicated to the education of midshipmen in all areas of cyber warfare and will include classrooms and lecture halls, teaching and research laboratories, a research and testing tank to support the engineering and weapons laboratories, an observatory, offices and multi-purpose collaborative space for students and faculty. Situated between Nimitz Library and Rickover Hall, the Center will be surrounded by elevated hardscape terraces continuous with those of the adjacent buildings.
Corman Kokosing Pile's experience and Atlantic Metrocast's SlickCoat piles process was the perfect combination to provide the pile foundation to build the premier educational and research facilities for the government's unique project. The design began immediately and construction on the Center for Cyber Security Studies began in late 2016 with an anticipated completion in the third quarter of 2019.

Techniques and equipment 
Since the piles needed to be 140 feet long, a mechanical splice (Emeca Splice) was used on all piles. A 200 TN Manitowoc would offload the piles from a barge and feed the 70-foot pile piece into the leads of the pile driving 165 TN Terex, which put the crane booms within a few feet of each other twice for every pile. 

Unique application of piles
Augering and probing was required for the 369 pile locations to locate potential obstructions, and concrete piles were driven (14-in. x 140 LF) with a slick coat application.
Design of the proposed building and foundation was coordinated to allow for continued access to the Nimitz Library foundation system. The contractor evaluated slope stability. Slope stability analysis was performed as part of the geotechnical investigation by the Geotechnical Engineer of record, in accordance with UFC 3-220-01 Geotechnical Engineering and EM 1110-2-1902 Slope Stability. Methods of slope stabilization included land-side solutions only. Loading the site was limited prior to and during construction in order to avoid adversely impacting slope stability. The evaluation and subsequent remediation of the site ensured slope stability prior to construction, during all phases of construction and for the long term following construction.
The pile fabricator's design team indicated that the concurrent tension/bending moment were well outside of what would be considered acceptable for a standard 14-inch concrete pile. It was necessary to maintain 14-inch concrete piles throughout the site so a superior concrete pile was engineered that would be able to withstand the stresses during driving. The information used was based on the provided:
Axial Compression 180 Tons (522 kips)
Axial Tension 40 Tons (128 kips)
Bending Moment 120 ft-kips

Construction problems and creative solutions
The site location was in proximity to the U.S. Naval Academy's Nimitz Library and Rickover Hall. Limited space in and around the project site required the piling delivery be supported by the marine group's tugs and barges, which required installing spud wells to protect the Naval Academy waterfront promenade.
The presence of bulkheads, seawall, piles, slope instability and miscellaneous buildings previously constructed at the site impacted the construction of the foundations. Available historical design documents from past construction projects did not accurately show actual conditions. The team prepared for many types of buried obstructions to be excavated and removed to make way for new construction work.
Alternatively, it was permissible to locate deep foundations to clear existing obstructions and construct bridging over the obstructions. This alternative complicated the foundation construction, but permitted some obstructions to be left in place.
Also, the piles had to be driven in a specific order so cranes could crawl out without interference.

Cost saving measures
Due to the extreme length of pile required, value engineering was used to incorporate the Emeca splice, which encouraged the use of concrete piles as a cost saving measure to the owner. 

Innovative project management
The piles were coated offsite to reduce down drag with Slickcoat, which allowed for a faster coating due to the limited space onsite. The piles were all loaded onto barges already coated and ready for use. Corman Kokosing chose to use a hydraulic hammer rather than a diesel hammer due to the close proximity of subcontractors. A special tray that the power pack could sit on attached to the crane and took the place of counter weights was fabricated. This kept the hydraulic hoses close to the rig and away from potential hazards.

Design changes 
Corman Kokosing deep foundations included provisions for locating equipment in areas that remained underwater. Buildings adjacent to the proposed site conduct research using equipment sensitive to vibrations. Vibration monitoring and coordination of work restrictions was paramount during foundation construction activities.

Management or mitigation of environmental considerations
The upper strata soils at the site (approximately 100 feet thick) were fairly weak and prone to settlement. A deep foundation system extending in excess of approximately 120 to 150 feet was required to support the building structure. The soil at the site was not suitable to support a slab-on-grade.
Noise and ground vibrations caused by construction equipment was monitored. All work met required compliance with Anne Arundel County noise ordinance and ground vibrations did not exceed the project's established threshold value.
Corman Kokosing Construction is proud to have been a part of this project.

Posted in PileDriver Magazine. Tagged as Issue 5, 2018.

Marine: Less Than $500,000 Terminal 3 Headline Dolphin

The new Terminal 3 Headline Dolphin is a concrete structure supported by steel piling with a mechanical capstan for vessels to use for their headline mooring line. A new 200-foot-long, two-span gangway was installed on the new dolphin to the existing terminal with one intermediate concrete cap supported by steel piling. Logging vessels that load on Terminal 3 can now utilize the new headline dolphin to keep the forward part of their vessel against the dock during loading operations. With the location of the dolphin being more than 200 feet from the existing terminal, Legacy Contracting was required to preform the work on a modular float barge.
Eight 24 x 0.625 x 123-foot piles painted with a marine grade coating system supports the concrete dolphin. These piles were driven full length at a 3:1 batter slope out from the center of the dolphin. With the steep batter, Legacy Contracting fabricated a driving template that was supported by one center pile and used to achieve correct spacing and batter to meet the tight tolerance required. The template also had to be designed so it could be easily disassembled to remove it after all the piles were driven. The piles were PDA tested to ensure they met specified bearing capacities of 600 kips in compression and 440 kips in tension.
Two 24 x 0.625 x 104-foot piles painted with a marine grade coating system supports the concrete intermediate cap, which in turn supports the gangway mid-span. These piles were driven at a 4:1 batter sloped out from the center of the cap. Legacy Contracting fabricated a different template to meet the tight tolerance required.

Challenges
This project had strict marine mammal monitoring and the permit only allowed a certain number of blows per day from impact driving, which proved challenging during the course of the project. Having to construct a template to drive within allowable tolerances while also making sure not to damage the coating was an added difficulty. Legacy Contracting also drove the pile full length without splicing them, to minimize construction time and environmental impacts. Legacy Contracting, Inc. was able to overcome these challenges and deliver the owner a great end product.

Posted in PileDriver Magazine. Tagged as Issue 5, 2018.

Marine: $500,000 to $2 Million Topsail Island Bridge Replacement

Balfour Beatty US is the general contractor responsible for the delivery of the Topsail Island Bridge Replacement project on NC 50/210, which is on schedule for completion 300 days ahead of contractual requirements. The high-profile bridge project involves the complete replacement of the existing steel truss swing-span bridge with a two-lane, fixed-span, high-rise bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) and associated approaches at beach end. The new bridge is currently under construction just south of the existing bridge. When it opens to traffic in 2019, Balfour Beatty will demolish the original structure. 
Originally built in 1954, the existing, functionally obsolete bridge is one of two bridges that provide access to and from Topsail Island. Traffic must be stopped and the bridge mechanically turned 90-degrees to allow large vessels to travel the ICW because of the bridge's low clearance a process that can stop traffic for as much as 30 minutes. 
The new 3,700 foot, 29-span, high-level Topsail Island bridge has a 65-foot clearance to accommodate marine traffic below without disrupting vehicle traffic above. 
Since the shallow depths of the wetlands and adjacent waters of the ICW prohibit the use of barges for material deliveries to the project area, the team had to put the trestle in place in its entirety to access the 3,700-foot bridge deck. By using drivel piles, Balfour Beatty was able to complete the 4,000-foot-long trestle within the in-water work window of October 1, 2016, to March 31, 2017, to begin construction on the bridge structure. If the team did not complete the trestle prior to the start of the fish moratorium on April 1, 2017, the delivery of the entire bridge could have been delayed by a year. 
Balfour Beatty made creative adjustments to the schedule to drive the piles and complete the trestle while meeting in-water work limitations. To start, the team worked double shifts seven days each week to drive approximately six 30-inch steel pipe piles per shift and installed the trestle structure to gain access to the next pile locations. With limited storage on-site, the team scheduled pile deliveries for on-time delivery staggering the deliveries of piles sourced from existing projects in Wilmington, N.C., Savannah, Ga., and Milledgeville, Ga., to exactly the right the amount of piles needed each day. 
In addition to this complex coordinated scheduling effort, the team had to work with the Coast Guard to redesign access across the ICW to solve inadequate access issues present in the original design documents. Balfour Beatty successfully completed the redesign and drove 39,870 feet of piles within the first six months of the project. Working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management, Balfour Beatty was able to complete the work using environmentally sensitive methods. Throughout it all, the team has not incurred any environmental violations, lost-time or recordable safety incidents. 
Originally contracted for completion by 2020, Balfour Beatty is on schedule to open the Topsail Island Bridge to traffic in 2018 300 days ahead of the contractual schedule. This extraordinary feat would not be possible without the use of driven piles. 
All eyes are on this critical infrastructure project as the new Topsail Island Bridge winds its way across the ICW. To date, the existing bridge, providing the only southern point of access to the island, is functionally obsolete and structurally inefficient. Its low clearance and swing-span design cannot simultaneously accommodate vehicle and marine traffic as it must be mechanically-turned every hour to allow marine vessel passage. Residents and visitors are anxiously awaiting the delivery of the new bridge, which will increase traffic capacity and allow for safe marine passage without affecting vehicle traffic flow. 

Special innovation in construction techniques, equipment and/or materials
Designing a temporary trestle to support pile driving and bridge construction is no easy task particularly when there are access and schedule restraints, and the trestle provides the only access to the bridge for construction. Upon the award of the project in August 2016, Balfour Beatty immediately recognized insufficient access at the ICW to build the trestle and the bridge. With only six months to complete all in-water work, including the 4,000-foot trestle and its 39,870-feet of driven pile, Balfour Beatty had to act fast. The team worked with the Coast Guard to redesign the access and commence pile driving efforts as quickly as possible. However, delayed right-of-way acquisition and regulatory issues delayed the team's access to the site even further. The team did not mobilize the pile driving and trestle installation effort until November of that year, which cut the already-tight, in-water work window by a third. To recover this blow to the schedule, Balfour Beatty engaged the team of 40 field employees to work two 12-hour shifts each day, seven days each week. 
The trestle is divided into two parts: one trestle extends to the ICW from the mainland side and another trestle extends from the island side. With the access issues resolved by the team's initial redesign and coordination with the Coast Guard, Balfour Beatty still had to maintain clearance through the waterway. To do so, the trestle does not meet in the middle. This allows marine traffic to safely move through the construction site on its way through the existing bridge. The team coordinates work on each side of the trestle each day to avoid delays associated with crossing the existing bridge to access the other side. 
The temporary trestle was the only point of access to construct the bridge deck, and the compact work site provided no material storage space. Looking ahead, Balfour Beatty designed the temporary trestle system to support immediate equipment traffic and subsequent use of two 275-ton cranes that would be necessary to set the 180,000-pound horizontal bridge girders in place in March of 2018. Balfour Beatty also devised a complex, staggered delivery schedule for the 90-foot piles to be driven in rapid succession. With daily deliveries of piles, the team had to move the 90-foot piles from the trucks to the trestle quickly and safely to drive them into the riverbed each day. If the team encountered delays in its daily pile driving quota, they would have no space to store additional piles on the compact work site. 

Construction problems and creative solutions
The annual fish moratorium and site access issues contributed to the challenging execution of this pile driving and bridge construction project. The team completes daily work on the bridge from two compact site locations and is further challenged by the large volume of vehicle and marine vessel traffic that interacts with the project area on a daily basis. 
Ranked number two on the ENR 2017 list of Top Contractors in the Southeast, Balfour Beatty regularly delivers complex infrastructure projects in challenging locations. The team used its lessons learned from similar roadway and bridge over water projects built throughout California to develop and adhere to a strict daily schedule of tasks for the Topsail Island Bridge replacement project. By following and adjusting the schedule as necessary, Balfour Beatty has been able to stagger deliveries for all construction materials to avoid storage issues. The team also avoids incurring time delays related to driving across the existing bridge to access the other side. At the start of each shift, after the job briefing and safety discussion, Balfour Beatty ensures that the correct field forces are in place on each side of the divided trestle and equipped with the correct materials to execute the day's work without wasting time traversing the site. This coordinated approach to on-time material delivery and an emphasis on lean construction enabled Balfour Beatty to drive piles as they arrived on site and ultimately expedite the entire project schedule. 
The new high-level bridge will be almost 4,000-feet long and 53-feet wide. Balfour Beatty is currently completing phase one of the project to construct the 29-span bridge, roundabout intersections, MSE walls and approaches that will connect the new bridge to the existing roadways on the mainland and the island. Once complete, the team will begin phase two, which involves tying in the roadways and switching traffic onto the new bridge. During phase three, Balfour Beatty will remove the existing swing bridge, reduce the roads from three lanes to two and add a new 10-foot-wide multi-use pedestrian path. Constant attention to the short-term and long-term schedules is a key component of the team's successful delivery of these multiple project components. 

Cost saving measures 
Expediting the overall project schedule enabled the Balfour Beatty team to avoid unexpected project costs. By meeting the initial in-water work window at the start of the project, Balfour Beatty is on track to open the high-level bridge to traffic nearly one year ahead of schedule. This type of achievement is nearly unheard of in infrastructure project delivery and it stands to infuse millions of dollars back into the local economy. With increased traffic capacity and improved commuter times, the new Topsail Island Bridge will bring tourists to the beach destination more quickly each day. It will make the area a more attractive destination for vacations, events and the retail businesses needed to support the increase in consumer traffic. 

Innovative project management
Led by Balfour Beatty's area operations manager Jay Boyd, superintendent Mike Ewell and project engineer Robert Mann, the team has worked together to coordinate multiple project components to keep the bridge project on schedule. The established team has worked together on many similar marine projects with restricted work windows such as the nearby Wilmington Bypass project in Wilmington, N.C., a previous PDCA Project of the Year Award Winner. These proven team relationships provided a strong foundation to implement similar strategies and methods to deliver a successful bridge project for the residents of Surf City and Topsail Island. 
Located just 30 miles northeast of Balfour Beatty's southeast region headquarters in Wilmington, N.C., the management team filled other critical staff and production positions with personnel familiar with projects with pile driving efforts of this magnitude. Coupled with the understanding and familiarity with the local subcontracting community, this team continuity has enabled Balfour Beatty to drive 37,980 feet of piles, install 4,000 feet of trestle and nearly complete the structure of the new bridge in record time. 
Additionally, for the complex operation to put the 180,000-pound horizontal girders in place in the spring of 2018, Balfour Beatty coordinated with the Coast Guard and law enforcement to shut down the ICW to get these girders across the channel. Teammates Mike McDermott, Mike Ewell and Robert Mann contributed to the in-house planning efforts to self-perform the lifts over a meticulously planned two-day operation. 

Management or mitigation of environmental considerations
Balfour Beatty is committed to delivering every project with Zero Harm to people and to the environment. Throughout the delivery of the Topsail Island Bridge Replacement project, the team has maintained that commitment and instilled a strong Zero Harm culture on-site. 
The team is familiar with the intent of fish moratoria and the adverse effects that large infrastructure construction projects can have on the environment when contractors do not exercise extreme care throughout project planning and delivery. From the moment of project award, Balfour Beatty worked closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management to learn about the environmental considerations specific to the stretch of the ICW running through the Surf City, N.C., area. They met all of the permit requirements for the six-month window that prohibits bottom-disturbing construction activities in the shallow water of the site's stretch along the ICW, and they have not incurred any environmental citations throughout the project's lifetime. 
Balfour Beatty has full-time environmental inspectors assigned to the project and the team coordinates monthly environmental inspections from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, North Carolina Division of Coastal Management and North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. These monthly inspections are instrumental in successfully minimizing delays and ensuring all environmental conditions in the permits are strictly followed. Team safety discussions at the start of each work shift include updates on environmental conditions and considerations for construction activities that could disrupt local wildlife or pollute the water in any way. As part of the project environmental mitigation plan, the team also carefully monitors operations to ensure that materials and trash have not fallen into the water.
Together, with this focus on Zero Harm and a consistent attention to detail, Balfour Beatty has met the permit requirements and maintained environmentally sensitive construction practices for the environmental health of the project area.

Posted in PileDriver Magazine. Tagged as Issue 5, 2018.

Start Planning for Next Year!

The PDCA Project of the Year Awards recognize excellence in driven pile construction projects completed by PDCA members throughout the year. 
Start thinking now about your entry into next year's Project of the Year Awards.
What you can do now: 
Choose an innovative or interesting project that your company is currently working on that may be worthy of a Project of the Year Award. Any PDCA member is eligible to submit an entry, whether you're a contractor, associate or engineering affiliate member!
Take photos and videos of the project site. Using a professional photographer, a drone, your own camera or even your smartphone, snap photos and record some videos throughout the foundation construction process. If using your phone to record videos, remember to take the video in landscape orientation (turn your phone on its side).
Write notes during the construction process highlighting any value engineering; challenges related to timing, logistics, the environment or others; unique or innovative techniques; and more. If it seems interesting, write it down!

If you start working on your entry for next year, once the call for entries opens, you'll already be ahead!

For any questions, contact PDCA:

904-4771-4771
info@piledrivers.org
www.piledrivers.org


Posted in PileDriver Magazine. Tagged as Issue 5, 2018.

Corman Kokosing Construction Company

Founded in 1920 as Corson & Gruman Co., the family-owned asphalt contractor in Washington, D.C., paved and operated asphalt plants in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., for its first 50 years. In the 1950s, Arthur Cox, son-in-law of William Gruman, took over operating Corson & Gruman. Arthur Cox, Sr. purchased the company eventually, becoming the new owner.
It was during the early 1970s when Corman Construction, Inc. was formed as a new company with an emphasis on utility construction.
"Then, in the 1980s, heavy civil road and bridge capabilities were added to our scope of services, along with an opportunity to enter into the pile driving foundation market to support the civil operations," said Corman president Chase Cox.
"Soon after, we branched out and formed two new divisions: bridge and utility. The company also moved from Washington, D.C., to Maryland in 1980 where we opened up a new corporate headquarter office in Annapolis Junction."
In the 1990s, Arthur Cox, Sr. handed ownership over to his sons, Arthur and Bill, who assumed leadership. Arthur's son, Chase, joined the company in 2003 and, in 2016, became president of Corman Construction and Corman Marine Construction.
Two vice president/general managers support Cox, each overseeing an operational group. These two groups are divided geographically: mid-Atlantic, which is between the Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia markets and includes the marine operations group; and Southern, which is between the North Carolina, Richmond, Tidewater and Central Virginia markets.
The 2000s and today
"In 2003, Corman purchased the assets of the Martin G. Imbach Company, a private marine construction firm who, since 1921, served in the Baltimore Harbor for clients, such as US Army Corps of Engineers, Maryland Port Administration, Exxon, U.S. Coast Guard, Dupont and Bethlehem Steel," said Cox. "This was our entry into the marine pile driving business."
Today, the company, which has been a PDCA member for many years, has 400 employees in four facilities corporate headquarters in Annapolis, Md., which houses the main equipment facility and support functions, including finance, IT, human resources, contracts and offices for the mid-Atlantic and marine groups. The southern group operates out of Colonial Heights, Va., with an equipment and yard facility and an office in Chesapeake, Va. The company's marine group has offices, equipment and port facilities in Baltimore, Md., on Curtis Bay.
Specializing in bridge, highway, marine, dredging, utility (water and sewer), underground and support of excavation construction, with an emphasis on self-performing pile foundation construction, Cox says the marine group also specializes in marine pile driving and dredging.
"We service up and down the mid-Atlantic region, including Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia and North Carolina. Our primary geography is Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.," said Cox.
The deep foundation industry has seen tremendous changes over the past century. In the last 20 years alone, Cox says upfront and foremost, safety has become a key value for the industry and PDCA.
"The difference isn't only in how we manage a worksite to keep everyone safe, but also enhanced pile testing techniques to avoid the pitfalls of failing piles," he said. "The quality of the materials has improved greatly from better steel to the use of pre-stressed concrete piles. And, environmental sensitivity considerations play a larger, significant role in how we design and construct the work as a means to protect the environment."
Cox says safety is Corman's most important core value and implementing safe work practices and ensuring employee and general public well-being is their highest priority.
"Our Corporate Safety and Health Program includes policies/procedures that govern safe work practices to prevent injury, occupational illness and property damage, outlines the safety and health responsibilities of all involved, implements plans for safety and health education, training and monitoring to promote identifying and eliminating hazards and/or unsafe acts and identifies and addresses environmental concerns."
Corman has an 11-core safety training class requirement for managers, engineers, superintendents and foremen catered to the transportation construction industry, including CPR, first aid, fall protection, excavation, rigging/signaling, manlift scissor/articulating, scaffolding, confined space, OSHA 30-hour, crane safety and guidelines for OSHA Inspection.
While the advancements in the industry are impressive, attracting and retaining dedicated and talented employees in all trades at all levels remains a big challenge.
"Even with increasing wages, there are not many up and coming individuals interested in pursuing a career in the foundation or construction industry. There is a stigma with many thinking the profession suffers from a lack of sophistication. With constant, major advances in technology, this is clearly not the case. As a group, we are not funneling this vision towards today and tomorrow's high school and college students. Changes need to be made as our industry presents opportunities and promise for tomorrow's leaders."
Notable projects
Corman has been involved in hundreds if not thousands of projects over its vast history. While all of them are notable for different reasons, Cox mentions two recent projects, the first one being the Main Pumping Station Diversions, Division I in Washington, D.C., which was completed this summer.
This DC Water | Clean Rivers design-build project provides control and consolidation of flow coming from combined sewer overflow structures and is immediately north of the Main and O Street Pumping Station. It is comprised of a 100-foot long below-grade surge tank, two sewage diversion structures, flow channels, vent and odor control facilities and internal flow elements inside an existing 100-foot deep tunnel shaft.
"We designed most of the excavation support, including 48-inch diameter secant piles and a combination king pile/sheet pile system with three levels of internal bracing," said Cox. "There was also a 72-inch diameter FRP sewer pipe excavated under an active arch sewer inside a liner plate tunnel."
Two reinforced concrete diversion structures were constructed atop active 100-year-old arch sewers (16 feet and 12 feet wide). Excavations for these structures were 25 to 30 feet deep.
"The diversion chambers take rising stormwater overflows over a series of weirs and into cast-in place concrete channels leading into a 100-foot deep shaft and tunnel for treatment at the DC Water Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant. Existing utilities, including water and electric services, were relocated and protected during construction."
The project is on a congested urban site in downtown Washington, D.C. There were strict dewatering standards, which required water to be quantified and tested for pH and turbidity prior to discharge. Designs for temporary excavation support were subject to restrictive load and ground movement criteria and geotechnical instrumentation devices were installed throughout the project limits to continually monitor ground movement throughout the project duration.
Another project that Corman is especially proud of is the Reconstruction of Berths 1-6 Phase 2, Berth 4, at Dundalk Marine Terminal in Baltimore, which was completed in October 2016.
This Maryland Port Administration project is at the Port of Baltimore, considered one the nation's busiest ports. After 80 years of being subjected to the harsh marine environment, Berth 4 (a general cargo receiver where goods are unloaded and stored onsite until transport) was failing and needed to be replaced. Railroad access to the wharf was no longer available due to weakening conditions, and the docking area needed to be deepened to accommodate the deeper draft ships transporting general cargo and paper pulp products.
"The new Berth 4 was constructed near an active storage facility," said Cox. "To keep it in service throughout construction and secure it from ground movements, a new 700-LF king pile retaining wall was driven in front of it. It was installed using 106 HZ10-80M beams placed seven feet apart and interconnected with 105 AZ14 x 770 sheet pile pairs. Ten-inch PVC pipe sleeves were built into the king pile concrete cap to house the 145 soil anchor tendons augered 125 feet deep and grouted into place prior to tensioning to secure the wall. After securing the king pile wall, the old Berth 4 was safely demolished."
The new wharf is 70 by 700 feet long and consists of 306 24-inch, pre-stressed concrete piles. Piles were driven in bents of six piles each to support 51 concrete pile caps and 350 precast deck slabs were set on top of caps and locked in place with a 10-inch concrete topping slab. The wharf fascia wall was constructed with cast-in-place concrete and incorporates 12 200-ton ship mooring foundations, new water and electric service and a fender system to protect it from ship traffic. The new wharf includes two new rail spurs and is topped with over 40,000 sq. ft. of 120mm interlocking concrete paving blocks.
Before constructing the berth, there were test pile procedures using seven 24-inch concrete piles, which were handled and driven with a 275-ton Terex crane on a barge. Corman dynamically tested seven piles to verify load capacity followed by a Statnamic test to determine the axial compressive load. An explosive charge was detonated in the Statnamic apparatus equal to 880-kips. They then measured the pile displacement and analyzed the deflection versus static load curve to determine failure load.
"Pile caps were originally cast-in-place," said Cox. "We proposed precast and worked through the design with the precast supplier and Maryland Port Administration engineers. The concrete pier caps were prefabricated offsite and then transported by barge and installed by Corman's 4100 Ringer Crane. By prefabricating the caps, we drastically reduced the amount of concrete placed in tidal areas and minimized the amount of concrete needing to be barged to placement sites."
What's next?
As for the what the future holds for Corman, Cox says that in the next two to five years, the company will increase its attention and strength on marine and water/sewer projects, expanding in the types of work within its markets and geographical reach.
"We will also continue to focus as a 'Best in Class' general contractor in our core mid-Atlantic territory as we have for nearly a century."

Posted in PileDriver Magazine. Tagged as Issue 5, 2018.

GeoStructures Inc.

GeoStructures Inc., based in Purcellville, Va., designs and builds foundation support and soil reinforcement for large commercial, industrial and residential structures throughout the eastern U.S. They joined PDCA earlier this year and couldn't be happier with the decision to become a member.
"We felt this was an important step to advancing the capabilities of our group in the U.S. since we had recently become part of the Terratest Group, which has a great history in deep foundations around the world," said Michael Cowell, PE, president and CEO at GeoStructures.
Cowell who previously was vice president of the Reinforced Earth Company and general manager of the Tensar Corporation formed GeoStructures in 1995 because he found that every time an innovative solution or product was developed, a contractor was needed who was willing to build it, or it wouldn't happen.
"I wanted to develop a design-build company that would challenge conventional solutions and provide customers with innovative solutions to their foundation and grade separation challenges. The test against which success was measured was that every solution needed to provide customers with value in terms of cost savings over conventional methods, a shorter schedule and a seamless project delivery by a team focused on customer service through the design/build delivery. It was believed that anyone can bid specs and plans, but real value occurs by improving the plan and providing a design that is easier to build, lowers cost, improves the schedule and is accomplished with great customer service."
History and today
GeoStructures began as a design and marketing firm selling tieback and cantilever pile solutions to contractors in 1995. In 1997, the company obtained the Geopier® license for the mid-Atlantic area and formed a construction arm GeoConstructors to design and build Geopier ground improvement systems. The growth of ground improvement in the region led to numerous contracts on projects in North Carolina through New York, including support of embankments for the 11th Street Bridge project in D.C., the I-495 HOT Lanes, Capital One Building in Tyson's Corner, Pittsburgh Penguin Arena, Tappan Zee Bridge Abutment and office buildings, data centers and warehouses along the I-95 corridor.
As the company grew, the company expanded into piling options to compliment the ground improvement. In 2010, GeoStructures worked with the Fluor-Lane JV on the I-495 HOT Lanes project designing and building all the sound walls, MSE walls and several soldier pile and tieback walls. Overall, this was a $45 million contract.
"It was in January of this year that the Geo Group was sold to the Terratest Group, which will enable Geo to expand its footprint in the U.S. and provide more design-build capabilities in piling, support of excavation, diaphragm walls and tunneling," said Cowell.
GeoStructures and its affiliated construction companies (including GeoConstructors) have approximately 90 employees serving customers in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina.
GeoStructures specializes in providing design-build construction services for foundation support (precast concrete piles, pipe piles, H piles, full displacement columns, ductile iron piles (DIPs) and diaphragm walls), ground improvement (aggregate piers, rigid onclusions and rapid impact compaction) and structures (microtunneling, diaphragm walls, SOE, sound walls, retaining walls, MSE walls, post and panel walls, concrete arches and bridges).
"These technologies are used to solve problems such as settlement control of buildings, tank and MSE wall foundations, liquefaction mitigation, support of load transfer platforms for walls and embankment, economical grade separation options and repair and replacement of utility tunnels," said Cowell.
He adds that over the past 20 years, a great deal of the design-bid-build work with drilled shafts and piles has switched to design-build with ground improvement.
"Recently, in the last three years, we have been promoting design-build for pile foundations and combinations of piles and ground improvement. This seems to be taking hold and allowing more innovation with piles."
Notable projects
While GeoStructures has a number of impressive projects under its proverbial toolbelt, two notable projects include the Adele in Washington, D.C., and Virginia Tech (Brodie Hall) in Blacksburg, Va.
The Adele is a redevelopment project that involved the construction of a new eight-story, mixed-use project located just three blocks north of the White House. The main challenge consisted of installing a cost-effective, low-vibration deep foundation on an extremely tight urban site.
"The geotechnical engineer considered numerous deep foundation options, including caissons extending to bedrock, auger cast piles and ductile iron piles," said Cowell.
"Ductile iron piles were selected because of the ability to work on the congested site, the modular and self-contained nature of the operation and the low-vibration levels during installation, which allowed us to work immediately adjacent to the property lines."
The piles were designed for a working capacity of 40 tons (compression). The DIP design consisted of a 4.6-inch diameter pile with a 0.3-inch wall thickness, which could develop a working capacity of 40 tons by driving through the terrace and residual deposits and terminated in partially weathered rock. In several locations, the piles were required to support 40-ton compression loads as well as five-ton tension loads. A modified installation approach was used on the tension piles using an oversized 8.6-inch conical grouting shoe, which allowed grout to be pumped through the pile and outside the pile to create a friction bond with the soil and weathered rock. The piles were driven to termination by achieving set in the weathered rock and resisted the tensile loads with a center bar inserted into the center of the friction pile.
"A compression load test was also performed at the site," Cowell said. "Deflection of the compression pile was less than a quarter-inch at the 80-kip design load. Following pre-production testing, a total of 145 piles were installed to terminate in rock at depths on the order of 25 to 30 feet below the working grade."
In Blacksburg, Va., the Virginia Tech Brodie Hall project included the construction of a new five-story dormitory with 234 dorm rooms with study and lounge space on each level. Project challenges included the following:
Heavily loaded mat foundations next to smaller footings
Excess settlement potential from adjacent footing stresses
Deep weak soil profile
Variable depth to a competent soil/rock layer
Tight settlement tolerances less than three-quarter-inch total
"A combination of systems proved to be the best method and consisted of Geopier rigid inclusions, Geopier Rammed Aggregate Pier® elements and Ductile Iron Piles," said Cowell.
"The DIPs provided an economical solution for areas where pier depths were 55 to 75 feet deep, which was beyond the depth capabilities for Geopier elements. The DIPs were able to transfer loads down to the weathered rock layer, thus eliminating adjacent footing stresses and controlling settlement to below less than three-quarter-inch."
What's next?
As for the near future, Cowell says over the next few years the plan is to move the needle on promoting design-build performance specifications for deep foundations.
"Currently, most deep foundation designs are prescriptive, with 'one size fits all' designs. Specialty contractors are only asked to provide a price for what is specified. By providing design-build specifications, we believe that owners and general contractors can benefit greatly from the many innovative solutions that specialty contractors can provide with pile foundations."

Posted in PileDriver Magazine. Tagged as Issue 5, 2018.

Creative Pultrusions Inc.

The story of the piling industry goes back 6,000 years back to those Neolithic forward-thinkers who pounded thick wood branches into the ground to elevate their homes against flooding and predators.
Over time, these rudimentary methods were replaced with piles made of treated wood, reinforced concrete and steel hammered deep into the earth by powerful machinery and sophisticated engineering design specifications.
This long history of innovation in the piling industry continues with fast-growing developments in the design and creation of composite materials.
With 45 years of experience in high-strength pultruded fiberglass-reinforced polymer (FRP) products, Creative Pultrusions, Inc. (CPI) brings a sophisticated level of innovation to the face of piling materials and design.
Founded in 1973 in Alum Bank, Pa., the company operates 16 pultrusion machines on its 17-acre site, delivering a variety of standard FRP products, as well as custom manufactured profiles and systems for markets including defense, transportation, oil and gas and civil infrastructure. "Creative" isn't just a pretty word in the name of this company. It stands for innovation in design, manufacturing and new applications in many industries, including marine infrastructure.
Proving the product first
"We developed our composite sheet piling about 20 years ago," said Dustin Troutman, director of marketing and product development at CPI. "Our SuperLoc® sheet pile system is a patented pultruded sheet pile retaining wall arrangement developed for waterfront bulkhead applications."
Troutman recalls how his team spent a lot of time and money early on developing the FRP sheet piling products line, working extensively with universities to understand how the products would perform in terms of mechanics of materials.
"We have our own test 'bed' at our plant involving a real-life simulation. We install the sheet pile wall outside; then the University of West Virginia comes in with strain gauges and we test the sheets in full sections in order to validate their capacities. This operation is performed to validate our finite element analysis (FEA) and mechanics of materials moment capacity predictions of our sheet pile sections."
The composite sheet piles have been evaluated based on creep rupture, compression strength and stiffness and shear capacity to name a few. The characteristic design strengths have been developed based on the requirements of ASTM D7290, a world recognized standard for pultruded profiles used for civil structures. The standard is intended to ensure that all manufactures publish their design data, so the engineering community can utilize the data for load and resistance factor design (LRFD) or allowable stress design commonly used today when engineers design bulkheads with legacy materials of construction.
"We developed not only the sheet piles, but also the wales and caps a complete system," said Troutman. SuperWale® eliminates the need for concrete, timber or steel wale sections. Since they won't rot, decay, rust or spall, these FRP wales can be installed above or below the waterline or in the transition zone. Sheet pile corner connectors, caps, wale splice plates and washers are also available.
The fender pile solution
Always looking for creative solutions to changing needs and ongoing issues, CPI next tackled fendering (bridge protection systems). FRP structural pipe piles have high strength, but less stiffness than steel, allowing for greater deflection of energy.
Troutman said, "We turned a perceived threat into the development of a system that absorbs a lot of energy."
In 2010, SUPERPILE® was made available a composite fender pile system that makes use of the material's superior performance in harsh marine locations with no corrosion or harmful substances leached into the environment.
The system is low maintenance, extremely long-lasting and installed with traditional pile-driving equipment. Troutman said, "Our piles are much lighter than concrete or steel 80 percent lighter than steel making them easier to use, not to mention the higher degree of safety involved in terms of handling."
SUPERPILES® can be driven twice as fast as solid wood, concrete or thermoplastic piles, can be field drilled and cut and have very low electrical conductivity. This excellent dielectric strength is an important safety factor when driving piles near underground electric lines.
Realizing they were ideal for docks and bearing piles, three years ago CPI developed the SUPERPILE® Legacy Dock Pile 10 inches in diameter with 3/8-inch thick walls. According to Troutman, the average Floridian wood pile lasts five to 20 years, depending on the environment, but these composite piles last over 50 years. The Legacy Dock Pile is more expensive than wood, developed for owners who want to install a dock and forget about the future replacements of the piles.
Moving up and out into the world
In 2008, recognizing these advancements in CPI's products and innovative applications, Hill & Smith Holding PLC, an international group involved in design, manufacturing and supply of infrastructure products and galvanizing services, took Creative Pultrusions under its wing as a subsidiary company.
"They saw a future in composites for infrastructure applications," said Troutman. "Since then they've been very supportive of what we're doing."
In turn, under its composite growth initiatives, CPI acquired three companies in the last two years: ET Techtonics (prefabricated pedestrian bridges), Tower Tech (cooling towers) and Kenway Composites in March 2017.
Kenway has been in the business of supplying composite products to heavy industry since 1947. Bringing them in as a subsidiary of CPI and expanding custom manufacturing and field services work was the next step towards the growing future of composites worldwide.
"It's a really good fit for us," said Troutman. "We wanted to add other manufacturing methods, such as vacuum infusion and filament winding, to our repertoire. They were already manufacturing and marketing HarborPile™, a composite pipe pile that can be made up to 78 inches in diameter with wall thicknesses ranging from a half-inch to two inches, and HarborCamel™, used as a log camel to dissipate vessel hull mooring loads across multiple dock fender piles."
With Kenway's product lines already in place, this allowed CPI to expand their product offerings in terms of fendering systems and bearing piles without making a major retooling investment.
Replacing old with new
In 2012, Hurricane Sandy caused extensive damage to Liberty Island, home to the Statue of Liberty. The surrounding docks sustained the worst of it and the pier used to bring heavy equipment onto the island was completely rebuilt using Creative Pultrusions SUPERPILE® pipe piles to replace the destroyed timber piles.
Corrosion-resistant and designed to withstand extreme weather, 198 FRP fender and bearing piles, 49 feet long, 12 inches in diameter, with walls half an inch thick were equipped with steel-pointed driving heads to protect the pipes from filling with dirt so they could later be filled with concrete.
The next year, CPI Supplied 230 SUPERPILE® fender piles ranging in length from 60 to 66 feet for a total rebuild of a U.S. Navy refueling pier near San Diego. Each pile carried a 20-inch HDPE sleeve designed to help mitigate abrasion from marine camels. They were installed using the APE 150 vibratory hammer with steel driving head.
"We've done quite a bit for the U.S. Navy," said Troutman. "That's because they want something that will stand the test of time. Although most of our business has been domestic, there have been some applications in Australia and the Caribbean."
The future is now
Word is getting out about the many advantages of using FRP composite products in the pile driving industry, and that means the CPI team spends a lot of time teaching engineers how to use these unique products in their design.
"We have experts on staff who test the structural integrity of our products all the time, supporting the development of design codes and specifications for the materials," said Troutman. "We are now ISO 9001:2015 approved for manufacturing and design."
"Eventually we are going to get into the foundation side of the Bearing Pile market wherever it makes business sense dealing with corrosion issues associated with our aging infrastructure."
Troutman talks about 200-plus great employees dedicated to the group's products, not only in terms of manufacturing, but also in development and sales. A strong safety department pays particular attention to all the moving parts in the factory, while the company works with the community, helping out wherever they can, such as the recent donation of piles for a local baseball field lighting project. As a member of PDCA for six years, CPI takes part in the larger community of the industry, participating in trade show events and networking with a variety of member companies involved in the marine industry.
Composites hold an important place in the future of pile driving, both in replacing old corroding and damaged infrastructure and in new projects. With its commitment to product design and manufacturing, and belief in innovative applications, Creative Pultrusions Inc. is taking its place in the pages of pile driving history.

Posted in PileDriver Magazine. Tagged as Issue 5, 2018.

Solution Revolution

For over 50 years, Japan's Giken Group of Companies (Giken Ltd.) has been making revolutionary advances in piling technology. Their aim has been to use their innovations to create dynamic, positive change that enhances efficiency and delivers social benefits.
Following the devastation of the Second World War, Japan had a lot of rebuilding to do. In fact, Japan's major cities were massive construction projects, with people living side by side with heavy equipment, clouds of dust and constant noise. This was the world in which Akio Kitamura, founder of The Giken Group of Companies, started his career as a builder and innovator.
Kitamura got his start in construction as an assistant equipment operator with the Kochi Construction Centre back in the 1960s. He learned much and was able to take this forward with the founding of his first enterprise, The Kochi Giken Engineering Consulting Company, a firm he launched in 1967. The company was busy, and Kitamura soon learned that citizens of the city were unhappy about the constant noise of vibration hammers that were pounding foundations into the ground as the country rapidly rebuilt. Following an incident where an angry resident, whose restaurant business was hampered by the construction noise, assaulted one his workers, Kitamura vowed to find a solution.
Solutions to the noise problem proved challenging. To make progress, Kitamura enlisted the help of Yasuo Kakiuchi, a construction professional with an engineering background. Together, the pair was able to create the world's first silent, vibration free piling machine in 1973, with the Giken Silent Piler making its local market debut two years later. In 1975, the Silent Piler was introduced to the world at the International Environmental Prevention Exhibition in Osaka. And, while the patent gave sole use of the Silent Piler to Kochi Giken Engineering Consulting Company, a fact that could have presented a strong business hand for the firm, Kitamura saw the benefit the device could have for society, so he agreed to allow the sale of the Silent Piler widely in Japan. By the 1980s, the Giken Silent Piler was in use globally, with Sweden taking the first European order in 1983.
The Silent Piler is a "reaction-based" hydraulic pile-jacking, non-vibratory machine that operates with a minimal noise impact to install steel sheet and tubular piles. This technology can be applied in both soft and hard ground conditions and for the installation of U and Z profile sheet piles in both singles and pairs. Unlike traditional impact hammer and vibratory systems, Giken's equipment utilizes forceful hydraulics to push the piles down into the ground in a manner that greatly reduces noise pollution. These systems are also compact, which means piling contractors can more easily access challenging sites.
With the Giken Silent Piler making positive advances in construction, the company began opening international offices to consolidate support for sales. The London, U.K., office opened in 1990, followed by another European location launched in the Netherlands the next year.
Driving Giken farther still has been the company's "Construction Revolution" concept, based on five core principles: environmental protection, aesthetics, safety, the economy and speed. Since 1993, Giken has advocated and promoted this "Revolution" to create a new standard that surpasses the conventions of the current construction industry. According to the company, "The 'Construction Revolution' breaks the shackles of convention and leads to a great paradigm-shift of the global construction industry."
A good case-in-point has been the development of EcoPark and EcoCycle, two examples from the 1990s of revolutionary design approaches to a city planning challenge. EcoPark is an earthquake-proof underground car parking facility that uses a robotized system to place vehicles in a silo-like below grade garage. EcoCycle offers a similar set up, but for bicycles. Behind this is Kitamura's philosophy that a culture of a city should be above ground for the people to enjoy, while the functionality of a city should be below ground and out of view. Both EcoPark and EcoCycle allow for greater harmony within the urban environment and conform to Giken's core principles. Both projects also demonstrated Giken's abilities to create complex underground structures that met the challenges of Japan's unique geology.
Working to further develop its press-in technology, Giken joined forces with Cambridge University in 1993. This initiative has led to the launch of the International Press-in Association (2007), a group tasked with research and development of the technique that has gained wide-global acceptance.
Internationally, Giken Ltd. has been able to grow its global market though an expanding network of sales offices. Already mentioned are the European branches that opened in 1990 and 1991. By 1996, Singapore had come on board and the U.S. joined the team in 1999, with an office in Orlando, Fla.
It was during this period in the 1990s that Giken announced it had sold its 2,000th Silent Piler machine. It also announced a major addition to the product line-up with the Crush Piler (1997), a press-in piler that featured a simultaneous auger to tackle hard subsurface jobs hampered with boulders and rock layers.
A major test of Giken's engineering came during Japan's earthquake of 2011. Using its press-in method, Giken had created a number of implant structures designed to withstand strong ocean forces following an earthquake. While other devices such as concrete buttresses were washed away in the post-earthquake tsunami, the Giken implants worked as designed.
Today, Giken has built and delivered in excess of 3,500 Silent and Crush Pilers. This success has generated real value for stakeholders of the company that is now listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
Revolutionary thinking
Giken reports that its growth has been steady and measured. The mission to challenge traditional methods has been consistent all along the road from 1967 to 1975 to 2018. An example of this thinking can be seen in how Giken looks at permanent structures. The traditional approach is to see functionality as never changing. Giken said, "In this decade, when the progress of technology development and cultural development is significant, we need to change our way of thinking regarding the 'permanent structure' that makes its purpose, location and functionality unchangeable. This endorses the need for society to demand a new approach to construction.
"In order for us to sustain our society, we need to adjust ourselves according to changes of time and development of culture. It will require us to flexibly manage the life cycle of functional [structures] such as changes in function of infrastructures, restoration of natural environment and re-cycle of construction material.
"The issue of how to demolish and re-use or recycle structures at the end of their life should be 'engineered' into every structure. This is the key to sustainable development and total design, incorporating flexible functional changes and end-of-life recycling processes."
Behind this thinking is a desire to discover solutions. Certainly, the provision of solutions to engineering challenges is what drives Giken forward. For example, in New York City, Hurricane Sandy hammered the 114-year old subway in 2012. Repairs have been fraught with challenges. To get on the right side of these challenges, the New York Transport Authority approved the use of Giken's Hard Ground Press-in Method to get around problems such as rock and buried metal, and limit damage to existing below grade infrastructure. The reports have been so positive on Giken's Press-in pilers in New York's subway repair that expectations are that these devices will make themselves better known across the U.S.
The path from a Kochi work site and an angry sushi chef that resulted in the development of the first Silent Piler has been a long one. However, the socially positive philosophies of Kitamura and the engineering prowess that sought those first solutions is one that promises to maintain the drive to innovate and push The Giken Group of Companies to even greater heights. Expect much from this company in its next 50 years. t
This article first appeared in Piling Canada and is reprinted here with permission.

Posted in PileDriver Magazine. Tagged as Issue 5, 2018.