Leading Thoughts: 1/11/18 Geopier GeoConcrete® Column System replaces traditional Piles

The Geopier GeoConcrete Column system is a “Rigid Inclusion” alternative to conventional deep piling due to its simplicity and cost and it is more robust than “aggregate piers.”

We discussed the Geopier GeoConcrete® Column system with Aaron Gaul, P.E. He designs ground improvement projects in Colorado, Missouri and Oklahoma.

 The Geopier GeoConcrete Column system is a “Rigid Inclusion” alternative to conventional deep piling due to its simplicity and cost. This system allows structural engineers to design conventional spread footings over extremely soft and compressible soils. The GeoConcrete columns (GCC) provide high stiffness and support capacity.  They require a compacted granular pad to transfer the loads from the foundations to the GCC elements.

Our installers can build GCC elements very rapidly; this helps with client schedules. Plus, there is no structural tie-in between the footing and the ground improvement element. This eliminates thick, heavily reinforced pile caps.

Quality control is extremely important as would be for any conventional piling approach for soft and weak profiles. During Geopier GCC installation, a full-time Quality Control (QC) representative is present on site to verify and report all QC installation procedures and prepare Daily Geopier Progress Reports.

The Geopier GeoConcrete system is most suitable for soil profiles with compressible soil up to 50 feet below grade with a stiff layer below the compressible material. Depending on the geology, this system could be used anywhere in the United States.


The Residences – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Project Description:

The Residences is a 334 unit urban mixed-use development with retail, dining, and office space in the film row district of downtown Oklahoma City.  The project consists of six separate structures spanning three city blocks.  Two five-story wood framed apartment buildings make up the largest percentage of housing, along with a five-story concrete and wood frame clubhouse building with a rooftop pool and fitness center.

Parking is handled by multistory cast in place “Podium” parking as well as two precast parking garages over six stories tall.

This project will totally transform the west side of downtown Oklahoma City for years to come, creating an entire new community around the Historic Fred Jones Manufacturing Plant (currently the 21c Hotel).

Subsurface Conditions:

The site had a deep soft soil profile which consisted of  lean clay and sandy lean clay overlying sandy silt, silty sand, and sandy lean clay layers. Bedrock was about 45 feet below grade.


Aaron Gaul, P.E. with Ground Improvement Engineering (GIE) designed the Geopier GeoConcrete Column system as an alternative to conventional deep piling parking garage.  Geopier Rammed Aggregate Pier® systems were used to support the lighter structures.

Learn more about the GeoConcrete® Columns System.