Pile load testing

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Pile testing

To understand how piles behave, what better than by carrying out a full-sized test? This involves applying substantial forces to the pile head and measuring how it responds.

Using high precision instruments and computer-controlled systems, we have carried out thousands of tests over the last 20 years including the UK’s largest to date, with a maximum load of 50.5 MN [5,050tonnes]. We offer solutions from compact beams for smaller diameter piles and confined sites to high-capacity modular systems for large diameter pile tests.

Drawing on the strength of our in-house steel fabrications facilities as well as our geotechnical design team, we can tackle any load testing requirement from start to finish; creating, collecting and analysing the data to both validate the design and provide best value for our clients. We also use our accumulated knowledge to better understand how soils respond and to push the boundaries of pile design in certain UK soils.

High-capacity testing – up to 60MN

In 2022, our new 60 MN maintained load test system (MLT60) added significant capability in pile load testing. Three years in the making, MLT60 is the UK’s highest capacity load test system.

Depending on the size of load test needed, the new design can be used with different sized test beams up to a maximum of 60MN. Its modular design means it can be assembled, disassembled and transported for use anywhere in the UK and beyond.

The extra capacity of MLT60 means foundations can be tested to much higher loads - ideal for major infrastructure and large scale, high-rise commercial and residential projects.

Knowing precisely when the biggest and deepest piles will fail means we can validate effectiveness and improve efficiency. The extra data on ground behaviour and materials failure on foundations of this scale, enables scope and designs to be rationalised offering potential saving in cost and carbon.

MLT60 was fully designed, developed and built by our in-house teams with bespoke data capture, processing and instrumentation incorporated using fibre optic sensing technology.

As well as the structure and technology, safety is a central feature of the design. Manual handling and working at height have been virtually eliminated and temporary works designs cover every part of its safety and stability while being assembled and dismantled.

Load Test Plus

Load Test Plus is our complete pile load testing service. Available for tests of any size up to 60 MN, this service includes:

  • pile installation (if required)
  • instrumentation of test piles
  • maintained load testing (up to 60MN)
  • comprehensive data collection (stress, strain, displacement, failure…)
  • analysis and interpretation of data by our experienced engineers.
Last updated: 17/10/2023