Foundational Solutions With Aggregate Piers

A Quick and Reliable Ground Improvement Solution

When compared to deep foundation systems, vibro stone columns like this can be installed much quicker. This advantage saves time on project deadlines and creates a more efficient worksite.

Aggregate Pier Foundation Systems

CNC Foundations provides custom foundational solutions for your property and budget. One of these solutions is the use of aggregate piers, which are also called vibro- or vibratory stone columns, vibro-piers, VSCs, or rammed aggregate piers.

Aggregate pier installation is a ground improvement technique that constructs dense columns of compacted stone. The columns are installed in groups in soft soil to increase bearing pressure and mitigate settlement under structural footings. Although similar, VSCs and rammed aggregate piers are created slightly differently from one another.

Getting Started

Rammed aggregate piers are made by pre-drilling a hole into the soil of foundation, lifting the aggregates, and then tamping them into the hole. This lifting and tamping process is repeated until the void is filled with aggregate, and each additional ramming step creates a tighter, sturdier compact.

Improving the Soil Matrix

Vibratory stone columns create the compacted fill by way of a vibratory probe either in a pre-drilled hole or with custom rigging. These columns are compacted aggregate that is installed through existing soils to improve the geotechnical properties of the overall soil matrix. They are installed using a specialized vibratory probe called a “vibroflot.”

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Applications for Aggregate Piers

Vibratory aggregate columns have been used to increase bearing capacity, decrease settlement, and mitigate liquefaction potential for all types of planned structures, including industrial buildings, embankments, dams, agriculture structures, tanks, and towers. In terms of functionality, vibro-piers:

  • Amplify weight-bearing abilities:
    -Vibro-piers are an excellent solution for soil and foundations that are uneven, unpredictable, or made up of layers of varying material.
  • Minimize settlement:
    -As each pier is driven into the soil, loose granular particles are compressed, creating a more sound and compact foundation on which to build.
  • Deter liquefaction:
    -As non-liquefiable structures in potentially liquefiable foundations, VSCs are extremely effective in mitigating potential damage from water pressure, seismic movement, and
    general stress.
CNC Crew working on deep foundation projects 20

Aggregate Pier Projects Completed since 2010

Uses for Aggregate Piers

  • Strengthening foundations:
    Aggregate piers are a simple way to dramatically increase the strength and bearing pressure of site soils so that they can meet the requirements of the project.
  • Wall and embankment stabilization:
    Aggregate piers are often used in soft-, poor-, or mixed-soil environments to provide stabilization for large walls and embankments. The stress of the pillars being vibrated into the earth compacts the soil, making the ground stronger, increasing its weight-bearing capacity, and overall safety.
  • Agricultural, municipal, and manufacturing support:
    VSCs provide a solid, compressed foundation on which to build structures with heavy equipment and machinery.

Job Types and Special Aggregate Pier Design Considerations

Aggregate piers are extremely versatile in terms of project use. Whether they are leveraged to create a foundation on which to build or to fortify existing soil with unknown or mixed density, vibro-piers are an effective solution to create lasting strength. Regardless of slope or seismic activity, VSCs create foundations capable of accommodating extreme bearing pressure. Check out our aggregate pier installation comparison to GEOPIERS®.

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