KOPERNIK in special construction project: DIY. Driving piles to refusal.

October 16, 2013

  A special construction project was introduced at the Yekaterinburg internet portal in the beginning of summer 2013. A 66.ru journalist and a photographer had to drop everything to work as volunteers at the construction site and go through all the stages of construction process: from preparation to interior decoration and landscaping. This was the main idea of the project.

In one of the episodes 66.ru representatives arrived at the Yekaterinburg construction site where they saw with their own eyes the KOPERNIK SD series pile driving rig at work.

KOPERNIK in special construction project: DIY. Driving piles to refusal.
KOPERNIK in special construction project: DIY. Driving piles to refusal.
KOPERNIK in special construction project: DIY. Driving piles to refusal.
KOPERNIK in special construction project: DIY. Driving piles to refusal.
KOPERNIK in special construction project: DIY. Driving piles to refusal.
KOPERNIK in special construction project: DIY. Driving piles to refusal.

DIY. Driving piles to refusal

We took a few steps back with our project to get the foundation stage. This was intended to test this huge machine and experience the tremors ourselves.

A few months before the start I and Igor, the photographer, learned how to quickly find the way to construction sites (they usually don’t have an exact address). Having made arrangements with workers over the telephone, we usually go, at best, to the corner of a street. And then we try to guess the location walking over broken terrain and using tower cranes as landmarks.

This time we were guided by vibration and noise. The closer we were to the site the bigger were tremors. Anyway, you should take care of your ears. And we are going to drive concrete piles.

It just happened that we somehow missed this stage. We have been to two construction sites so far both being at the foundation stage. However, we have never seen the pile driving rig at work.

So we went to the corner of Pekhotintsev st. and Bebelya st.

Two high-rise apartment buildings are to be constructed here. And at the moment foundation works (driving 8- and 12-meter concrete piles) are being conducted.

The pile driving rig towering above the foundation pit makes neighboring concrete slabs jump up with every single blow.

There are three people at the bottom of the pit: the machine operator, his assistant and a man taking some notes (who is actually our today’s guide. It’s Andrey Menshikov, the chief site engineer).

Andrey took us aside to conduct an introductory briefing and gave us an overview of the scope of work.

Andrey Menshikov, Chief Site Engineer:

— Piles hold the foundation, they provide bearing capacity. We can sometimes go without them. But under these soil conditions we have to drive piles. First, we carry out a geologic survey. And geologists have already identified the bedrock depth. We drive test piles basing on the provided layout design to determine the required length and proceed to mass driving.

800 piles are planned to be driven at the site. According to our guide, neighbouring residents have to put up with the situation until 15 November.

Andrey Menshikov:
— We certainly do understand the situation. The works are quite noisy. We strive to finish them as soon as possible. However, the soil conditions are rather difficult. It’s not like working on Khrustalnogorskaya st. where piles were easily installed to the bedrock. Here we have 900-1200 blows for each pile. And it lasts for about 20-30 minutes. It’s a lot.

The bedrock that the piles have to be driven to lies at different depths across the site. At one end of the pit it lies deeper than at the other. For that reason the pile length also varies (12-meter piles are used where the bedrock lies lower, and 8-meter long ones where it is higher). But the pile length can change because the piles that rise above the ground are not levelled. Piles have to be cut later so that their length completely complies with the project requirements. The detailed information concerning pile length in different areas is to be handed over to designers. It will help save time when the mass pile driving begins as workers will use the piles with the required length.

Test piles are driven under constant control. While the machine operator and his assistant drive piles through the soil, the chief site engineer puts all the necessary notes in a special form. These regard the number of blows to drive a pile to the desired depth per each meter or per each decimeter when piles nearly reach the bedrock. They do this until the refusal.

The pile reaches the bedrock. The rig stops with smoke billowing from it.

The smoke was curling from the wooden cushion between a hammer and a pile.

Taking the advantage of this pause we have a quick word with the operator.

The control panel inside the cab stands out from all the rest. It is much more sophisticated than in, say, a loading truck or a tower crane. I don’t even think of having a ride. I won’t make it, it’s obvious.

Mikhail, Machine Operator:

— Of course, it’s difficult. What did you expect? But you can easily operate it when you gain some experience. The rig does everything itself: it lifts the pile, fixes it under the hammer, sets the pile at the driving point, and drives it. That’s it. But firs thing’s first.

The pause has ended and the rig approaches to the piles lying on the ground. It really does everything itself. This rig is self-sufficient. However there is still a need in assistant. For example, he lashes the pile and checks verticality.

After an hour in the pit, I and the photographer seemed to lose hearing a bit as we did not get used to these works. There was constant and quite annoying ringing in our ears that continued for the whole day. I can hardly imagine how people work near the pile driving rig for weeks from 8 a.m. till 8 p.m. But they themselves never complain about noise.

After shouting ‘Good bye!’ to our guides we left the site to get back to the routine. We’ll continue visiting the city construction sites and going through all the stages of the process until the issue of a Certificate of Occupancy.

Source: 66.ru. Photos: Igor Cherepanov

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