Concerns about vibrations during the use of driven pile foundations across the United States have been raised by promoters of cast-in-place foundations such as auger cast piles and drilled shafts as their way of gaining market share. Typically, these concerns regarding vibrations and/or noise generated during driven pile installation are mostly used in urban environments. However, experience has shown that vibration and/or noise concerns are often overstated and distract from the advantages of driven piles, such as known integrity as noted in the PDCA slogan "Driven Piles are Tested Piles". The following picture of driven pile installation around a brick masonry façade for a historic building in Charleston, SC illustrates this point. Proper precautions allowed driven piles to be successfully installed in extreme close proximity to the unreinforced façade on this project, which was part of a teaching hospital complex with many older historic homes also nearby.
Although experience has shown that noise and vibration concerns can be managed, it is difficult to illustrate this concept based on the available information. Therefore, the PDCA, in conjunction with the Citadel and WPC, has developed a pile driving vibration case history database. In addition, a bibliography of technical literature relating to driven pile vibrations has been compiled. Both the database and bibliography are intended to assist pile driving contractors, project engineers, developers, and owners with regards to these environmental issues and aid in future research.
As driven pile noise case histories become available, the database will be expanded to include this data.