Leading Thoughts: 10/31/16 Does anyone really want to be "Surcharged!?"

Sometimes grade-raise fill to create a building pad creates the potential for unacceptable settlements from underlying soft soils.  One geotechnical tool for this situation is to surcharge the pad with more weight than that from the required fill plus the building loads.  A surcharge height/duration depends upon site-specific conditions but you could be looking at substantial construction delays.




Well, what if your project can’t handle a long delay?  What if you could install Geopier® ground improvement to reduce or eliminate a surcharge so you can get rolling?  A Geopier approach could be tailored to both increase compressible soil stiffness and increase the radial drainage, a two-pronged attack on the problem.

For example, let’s look at a recent project in Watford City, North Dakota.  The geotechnical engineer found 15 to 20 feet of soft soils in the exploration; to compound the problem 5 to 8 feet of grade raise was necessary.  The engineer estimated 2 to 3 inches of settlement from the new fill and another 1 inch from the building loads; this was not acceptable to the design team. 

The geotechnical engineer looked at a surcharge approach and figured it would take 3 to 9 months of wait time before building construction.  That did not fit the schedule so the team looked into a Geopier solution.  Ground Improvement Engineering designed the Geopier GP3® system to be installed before grade-raise fill placement; the design needed only a short time delay (2 weeks) after grading before the contractor could start foundation construction.  This shaved a number of months of downtime off the schedule compared to the surcharge method.

So, let’s avoid getting “surcharged” and forge ahead with construction.  We are here to help; please contact your local GIE engineer.

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