Sheet piling is a construction method where large sheets of materials are driven into the ground. It is typically used to provide support while excavation is taking place but in some cases, it also becomes a permanent part of the structure.
The sheets themselves are made from various different materials such as steel or vinyl, and there are a few different methods of driving them into the ground, but the principle is rather straightforward.
There are structures all around us that utilise sheet piling in their construction, but many people may not realise it.
Here are three things you never knew sheet piling was used for, that you probably see on a regular basis!
Underground car parks
Sheet piling is often used in the construction of basements, and you will probably see it used in many underground car parks.
As detailed in this case study from Sheet Piling UK, sheet piles are driven into the ground and then welded together to create a watertight basement area.
Sheet piling is the perfect solution when excavating underground as there is naturally a high risk of large amounts of soil falling into the building site. The sturdy steel sheets that are typically used prevent this from happening, and then also act as a permanent part of the structure.
The durable sheets used will last for years and years to come, and will provide a great level of water tightness to protect from both groundwater and flood risks.
When you have extreme weather conditions to contend with, sheet piling is the perfect solution and as such, it is often used in the case of flood defences.
Particularly when erecting defences along the coast where the sea must be considered, sheet piling offers a number of options, such as the use of vinyl sheets rather than steel to minimise the risk of erosion from the salt water.
It is both cost efficient and quickly installed, so works equally well as an emergency defence or as protection during the construction of another type of defence.
If you commute to work by rail then it is likely you may well see sheet piling construction on a daily basis. Since railway lines often have to pass through hillsides or banks of earth, it is of the utmost importance that the earth is properly contained to ensure there is no risk of a landslide, and sheet piling lends itself perfectly to this cause.
As railways are often constructed near to other pre-existing structures, you will often find that a vibration-free method of driving the piles into the ground will be used to ensure there is no damage to anything in the vicinity.
You can find out more about the construction of railways here, and in particular how sheet piling comes into play.
We hope that this has given you a little bit of insight into the versatile construction method that is sheet piling, and how valuable it is in the construction of the everyday structures that most of us see all around.