Ground Improvement Uses Diverse and Innovative Techniques to Change the Engineering Properties of Soils for More Efficient and Cost-Effective Design Options

Why Ground Improvement?

Rapid growth across Canada, specifically in recent decades, has seen high-quality land become scarce or unusable. Weak and highly compressible or collapsible soils often create serious negative consequences for a project if they are not significantly improved. Modification or improvement of soils plays an important role in terms of foundation stability, particularly in situations relating to load-bearing soils under new or existing structures. Ground improvement has distinct advantages when compared to overexcavation or ground replacement.

What is Ground Improvement?

Ground improvement is the stabilization of soils to increase their bearing capacity, provide stability, control seepage, and provide liquefaction resistance. GeoSolv’s Geo-Structural Engineering Team provides sound recommendations for ground improvement that include rigorous analyses of site soils and applied structural loads, along with the use of specialized equipment and construction procedures for modifying the ground’s character, with or without the addition of engineered material. Technologies to do so include: GP3® System, Impact® System, Rampact® System, Armorpact® System, X1® System, Densipact® System and Rapid Impact Compaction.

How is Ground Improvement Achieved?

The feasibility of a ground improvement approach for your project can be assessed based on the available geotechnical information and an understanding of the proposed structure and site works. Having a complete picture of the geology and geotechnical conditions of the site, a clear understanding of the planned structure, loading conditions, planned structure elevations and site grades−along with the clear identification of compressible or other weak soils prior to completing a detailed design is critical to project success.

Ground Improvement Applications

  • Building Foundations and Floor Slabs
  • Retaining Walls, Slopes and Embankments
  • Tanks and Power Plants
  • Transportation (Rail, Roads, Airports)
  • Geotechnical/Geological Hazards
  • Seismic Risk and Liquefaction
  • Underground infrastructure

Ground Improvement Delivery by GeoSolv

GeoSolv’s specialized teams of ground technicians and technical experts work in partnership with their clients.  In early stages or due-diligence exercises, GeoSolv can provide free advice to owners and their consulting team to help them understand if there are more cost-effective options to dealing with difficult soil conditions.  If GeoSolv does not have the right solution for the project, this will be clearly identified early in the process, and other options outside the GeoSolv suite of solutions will be suggested to assist the owner in finding the right solution, not just the GeoSolv solution.

Ground Improvement Systems Comparison

Ground Improvement Systems Comparison Rammed Aggregate Pier Systems Rapid Impact Compaction Armorpact Stone Columns Vibro Compaction Dynamic Compaction
Suitable for Misc. Fill Soils?
Suitable for Sand?
Suitable for Silt/Clay? *
Suitable for Peat/Organics?
Massive Lateral Stress Increase?
Vertical Ramming Energy?
Clean & Dry Construction?
High Shear Strength for Global Stability?

*The horizontal vibration used to install stone columns can negatively impact the existing silt and clay soils. Care should be taken when considering stone columns in these soils, and reduced capacities are likely.

GeoSolv provides a turnkey solution from the beginning of the design process right through to the construction and certification phase to ensure that every project is successful. Our design/build operations allow us to select from a wide variety of custom soil reinforcement techniques, including the following:

Geopier Rammed Aggregate Pier System (RAPs)

The Rammed Aggregate Pier system is a ground improvement method that resists very high bearing pressures, provides superior settlement control, is environmentally friendly, and can be installed very quickly. Rammed Aggregate Pier systems comprise a series of piers constructed of uniformly graded aggregate installed using specialty equipment.  Rammed Aggregate Pier systems are constructed using several installation methods, depending on the nature of the soil to be reinforced. For soils that will stand open to drilling, replacement methods are selected whereby aggregate is place within the drilled cavity and rammed into lifts with a specially designed, high frequency vertical impact hammer. In soils prone to collapse, or where high ground-water levels or handling of contaminated soils are a concern, full displacement techniques are used to install Rammed Aggregate Pier elements. Displacement Rammed Aggregate Pier elements are installed driving a specially designed hollow mandrel with stone value attached to the desired depth, and by ramming out lifts of aggregate by raising and re-driving the mandrel.  These techniques are used to increase overall bearing capacity and to decrease settlement for planned structures, embankments, tanks, buildings, towers and other structures on soils with insufficient natural strength. Rammed Aggregate Piers by any other name are not the same: Insist on quality Rammed Aggregate Piers by GeoSolv.

How Can GeoSolv Do More with Geopier (RAP) than Other Ground Improvement Techniques?

GeoSolv’s Ground Improvement Systems involve heavy vertical crowd force, massive vertical ramming energy and significant lateral stress increase. This action, along with the vertical ramming and heavy crowd pressure with lateral cavity expansion with lateral stress buildup, is unique to GeoSolv and creates unsurpassed system performance.  These three factors are essential, as they result in a more highly engineered system with improved performance over other soil reinforcement approaches.  GeoSolv can work with the worst soils, not just sandy soils. To find out more about how our systems are installed, contact us today

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GP3® System
Impact® System
Rampact® System
Armorpact® System
X1® System
Densipact® System
Rapid Impact Compaction (RIC)