History of Piling

Our colleagues at A E Yates Ltd, Civil Engineers, think that they have been in business a long time - since 1870 - but the history of piling as a technique goes back much further than that. In fact the first documented historical reference to piling can be traced back to the 4th century BC and Herodotus, the Greek writer and traveller who is sometimes referred to as the father of history. He records how the Paeonians lived in dwellings erected on lofty piles driven into a lake bed.

Ancient Piling

Other references to ancient piling include the Swiss lake Dwellers who, around 6000 years ago, are thought to have built structures on piled foundations to elevate dwellings to protect the occupants against attack.

Greek and Roman engineers used piles for the shore works at many places along the Mediterranean coast. In Britain a Roman bridge spanned the Tyne at Corbridge, about 20m West of Newcastle on Tyne, using piles to support the structure and a bridge across the Thames, in AD60, was built on timber piles.

Much evidence exists elsewhere, testifying to the skill of the Romans in solving difficult foundation solutions. The cities of Ravenna and Venice are fine examples of the Romans' use of piles.

Refusal Piling

Early records show that piles were formed by using timber branches, which were trimmed down with a small diameter at the bottom. They were driven into the soil until penetration stopped. This condition known as "refusal" was a combined function of the soil strata and the limits of the driving mechanism. Driving was probably by hand mauls, hand operated machine mauls, treadmill drivers, water wheel drivers and gang operated rams. Whilst the equipment might have moved on, the term Refusal is still used in the piling industry today.

Piling Today

Although piles are often made of steel or concrete today and most of the equipment used to drive piles belongs in this century rather than in Roman times, piles continue to be used today as deep foundations to support many types of structures and in many types of ground conditions.

Whilst we at Tritech Ground Engineering Ltd. respect the history of piling our designs and installations are carried out using modern techniques and to the exacting standards that clients in the construction industry expect today.

Contact Tritech Ground Engineering to discuss your project requirements


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