Sheet piling is one of the methods of construction that you are likely to see in the world all around you on a fairly regular basis, but unless you actually work in the construction industry you may not know it.
Sheet piling is used in the construction of all sorts of things, particularly those that need to be protected from water or heavy surrounding soil. It’s extremely useful in a whole number of different applications and enables us to do many of the things we take for granted in our modern lives a little bit more easily.
We thought we’d take a look at some of the ways in which sheet piling is used in construction, to give you a little bit of a better idea of what it is and how it impacts the world around us.
What is sheet piling?
If you’re completely in the dark on the subject, you may be wondering what sheet piling even is. Essentially, it involves sheets of material (usually steel or reinforced concrete) which are interlocked and driven into the ground to create a robust, watertight barrier.
Once in the ground, they are sometimes left there permanently as part of the final structure itself or are removed once construction has been completed and their protection is no longer required.
For more in-depth information on what exactly sheet piling is and the advantages and disadvantages of using it, check out this article from Civil Engineering Basic.
One common use of sheet piling is in the construction of flood defences and marine structures. Its durability and water tightness lends itself perfectly to protecting structures, riverbanks, and harbours from the force of the sea and waterways.
Often it will be used to protect canals and river banks from erosion, in flood defences such as cofferdams and to support the expansion of harbours as demand grows for goods to be shipped around the world.
Due to the fact that steel can often erode due to salt water, special vinyls are often used in underwater constructions.
Railways and motorways
When it comes to the construction of railways and motorways, often they need to pass through hillsides, and in order to do so safely, protection is required from the surrounding earth to prevent landslides from falling onto the tracks or road.
Sheet piling is used to enable the digging of these trenches or tunnels and often the piles will be driven into the ground using a vibration-free method to avoid damaging the line or any nearby structures.
One of the most common uses of sheet piling is in the construction of underground structures. A strong foundation is required to ensure that the huge amount of surrounding soil around the excavation site does not fall into the build site and protection from groundwater is also important.
Sheet piles are used in the construction of basements and underground car parks and sometimes are even left to form part of the final structure. You may even be able to spot the sheet piles in some underground car parks where they have been left exposed.
Check out these case studies from Sheet Piling UK to see how vital this construction method is in the construction of safe underground structures.