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Foundation Engineering,  

Concrete Press Piles Foundation Repair: Building Code non-compliance Part 3

Here’s our third chapter on this type of foundation repair from the building code perspective (the “Bible” of Engineers and local governments); more specifically, proving that the concrete press piles foundation repair system doesn’t work, as evidenced by not meeting the requirements of the code. For those of you who are not technically inclined, please read our simpler and summarized version, Foundation Repair.


a) What the Code Says

b) Why this foundation repair doesn’t meet the code (Section 1810.4)

                        b.1) Lack of Test Data

                       b.2) Lack of Calculations

c) Conclusion: Don’t use Concrete Press Piles Foundation Repair


a) What the Code Says

The International Building Code (IBC), the code required to be used in San Antonio, Austin, San Marcos, Houston, Dallas, etc and many other cities in Texas, says the following about foundations on expansive soils. Below is a portion of the code which we’ll discuss in this Part 3.

1810.1 General. Deep foundations shall be analyzed, designed, detailed and installed in accordance with Sections 1810.1 through 1810.4.

Let’s start off with Section 1810.1.4 as it relates to deep foundation methods that are not explicitly mentioned in the building code:

1810.1.4 Special types of deep foundations. The use of types of deep foundation elements not specifically mentioned herein is permitted, subject to the approval of the building official, upon the submission of acceptable test data, calculations and other information relating to the structural properties and load capacity of such elements. The allowable stresses for materials shall not in any case exceed the limitations specified herein.

And just to be clear, there is no where in the code that has the words Press Concrete Piles, or Pressed Concrete push piles, or any description that remotely resembles what a concrete press piles are (The code does talk about driven concrete, wood, and steel piles, and the residential concrete press piles don’t even meet those requirements either… more on that later). Therefore, whether you are doing a new foundation or a foundation repair, the concrete press pile is considered a special type of deep foundation. Let’s go through the requirements that allow for a system not mentioned into the code to be allowed to be used.


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