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Advanatages and disadvantages of driven preformed piles (after Tomlinson,1986)


  • Material of pile can be inspected before it goes into the ground.
  • Stable in "squeezing" ground
  • Not damaged by ground heave when driving adjacent piles
  • Construction procedure unaffected by ground water
  • Can be readily carried above ground level, especially in marine structures
  • Can be driven in very long lengths


  • May break during hard driving causing delays and replacement charges, or worse still may suffer major unseen damage in hard driving conditions
  • Uneconomical if amount of material in pile is governed by handling and driving stresses rather than by stresses from permanent loading
  • Noise and vibration during driving may cause nuisance or damage
  • Displacement of soil during driving piles in groups may damage adjacent structures or cause lifting by ground heave of adjacent piles
  • Cannot be driven in very large diameters
  • End enlargements not always advantages
  • Cannot be driven in conditions of low headroom

Choice between different types of driven preformed piles:


Suitable for light loads or temporary works. Unsuitable for heavy loads. Subject to decay due to fluctuating water table. Liable to unseen splitting or brooming if driven too heavily.


Suitable for all ranges of loading. Concrete can be designed to suit corrosive soil conditions. Readily adaptable to various sizes and shapes. Disadvantages: additional reinforcement must be provided for handling and driving stresses; liable to unseen damage under heavy driving; delay between casting and driving.


Suitable for all ranges of loading. Can be readily cut down or extended. Cut off portions have scrap value and they can be used for extending other piles. Can be driven hard without damage. Can be driven in very long lengths by welding on additional lengths. Some types have small ground displacement. Structural steel bracing can be readily welded or bolted on. Resilience makes it suitable for jetty or dolphin structures. Disadvantages: subject to corrosion in marine structures and requires elaborate paint treatment and/or cathodic protection; long and slender piles liable to go off line during driving.

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