Ground Improvement Services

What Is Ground Improvement?

Ground Improvement is a method of strengthening site soils through displacement and densification for the purpose of allowing greater building loads, increasing drainage speeds for pre-loading, and/or reducing pore pressure and liquefaction risks. There are a number of methods for ground improvement such as stone columns, displacement concrete piles, and timber piling. Each method has its own merits and benefits.


Types of Ground Improvement

Stone Columns

Vibro-Replacement Stone Columns are a type of deep foundation technology designed to improve the site soils so shallow foundations can be used. 

The process involves the vibratory installation of engineered stone in compacted layers to densify, strengthen, and provide drainage to the surrounding soils. This foundation technology is used extensively throughout BC. 

TerraCana stone columns are installed using the more reliable and consistent bottom feed method to ensure a more even distribution of aggregate and minimize site disturbances. 

TerraCana utilized excavator mounted stone column technology designed to operate at the base of excavations. This helps to reduce the quantity of stone required for a project and speed up the overall construction schedule. In addition, the utilization of excavators over traditional heavy piling machines often means less prep of the working surface is required to get started. 

These types of piles would be used in the event increased drainage is desired in the poils. 

Displacement Piles

Utilizing one of our masted drill rigs, TerraCana can also install reinforced or unreinforced concrete piles. Unreinforced piles are generally used solely for ground improvement whereas reinforced piles are generally designed to combine ground improvement and building piling into one system.

While this type of soil improvement is often a bit more than standard stone columns, the overall project cost can often be lower if piling was still to be considered a necessity.

Timber Displacement Piles

Treated or untreated timber piles can be utilized for soil improvement through the process of vibratory or driven pile installation. Piles are forced into the ground displacing the soils around them and thus increasing the soil’s capacity.

Advantages of Ground Improvement

Rapid soil improvement process

Strength compressible soils

Lower cost deep foundation alternative for cohesive soils.

Improves liquefaction response in earthquake zones.

Improves soil drainage

Use a raft slab or strip footings where piling would otherwise be required.

Can be combined with helical or other tension anchors to provide buoyancy resistance or seismic tiedowns.