New Rowing Club a Model for Advanced Pile Foundation Technology

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We recently spoke with Matthew Conte, of Conte Company, about a foundation project they completed for a 2-story rowing club in Norwalk Harbor. Rowing clubs often prove especially difficult to build due to their proximity to the water, and the ground on which they are built. Building near or above water brings its own set of challenges for pile foundation technology, along with strict guidelines to which builders have to adhere.

In the case of this building, the ground floor of the rowing club is to be used for storage of the boats and equipment, while the upper floors are used for meetings, offices and social areas. Crew has always been a mainstay in the Connecticut area and rowing clubs are an important piece in the community, serving as both an athletic and social gathering place. Matt and his team were eager to finished this project quickly and efficiently, in order to get the general construction started on the 6,000 sqft, pre-fab, metal butler building, so it will be ready for the upcoming season.

In order to build this rowing club, Conte Company installed 56 27′ Drivecast piles. They tied those piles to a grade beam grid, on which a heavy slab of concrete was poured. The soil conditions, which were waterlogged every time the tide came in and composed of organics, fill and silty material, were not suitable for traditional building. The engineering team ultimately determined that there were only a few cost-effective pile foundation technology options for a site plan like this. The only other alternatives to Drivecast were helical piles, or H-Piles.

According to calculations and field tests, utilizing helicals would have maxed out at around 40-50 kips (1 kip = 1,000 pounds of force), whereas each Drivecast pile supported a staggering 120 kips! Matt explained to me that the other alternative, using H-Piles, would require pile lengths of up to 75ft in length, and would’ve taken significantly longer to install. For starters, H-Piles typically come in 50 foot lengths, so each pile would need to be spiced together to produce the full 75′. What’s more, when you’re talking about driving piles of this enormous length, you need some enormous equipment to do the job. In this case? A massive crane would be needed to drive each of the H-Piles deep, deep into the earth. By contrast, Conte Company’s Drivecast piles only required a 14 ton excavator to get the job done. Matt explains it best:

“A 14-ton Ex looks like a toy, sitting next to a crane like that. We pulled up our machine on a trailer and were in-and-out of the job site quickly.”

Matt and his team installed all of their Drivecast piles within 5 days; start to finish, and had no issues installing them. The grouted columns were allowed to dry for 5 days before testing, and again had no issues, even in the salty, waterlogged silt. As an added bonus, the site was located on property owned by a chemical plant, regulations for which are far more stringent than other environmentally regulated industries. Again, no worries, Conte Company sailed through all requirements with ease. The entire project went off without a hitch.

The building Matt and his team recently built is located on Norwalk Harbor, and will be a great addition to the community. Matt and his team, along with the revolutionary pile foundation technology called Drivecast from Hubbell-Chance, allowed this project to be done faster and cheaper with less work, and smaller equipment than H-piles or helical piles.

What more do you need? Download the official Drivecast brochure below:

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