Parking is a four-letter word to an owner of a mixed-use, commercial or residential project. Driven by occupancy and operational requirements, parking is a necessary evil. In spite of the inherent value underground structures bring such as cover from the elements, a more secure parking area and not taking valuable above ground square footage, these benefits are often overshadowed by traditional excavation costs. From temporary shoring, excavation and dewatering, to wet trades, waterproofing and casting the concrete tub, conventional below grade structures can be more than two times the cost of above-grade parking decks. It is no wonder subterranean parking is viewed negatively by owners.
For the past decade, JD Fields and the piling industry have been promoting to owners, architects and engineers the innovative use of hot rolled steel sheet piles as a permanent foundation wall element in these below-grade parking and basement structures. Already used for temporary shoring in excavation, the concept of converting the sheet piles to permanent use is a short leap once you reveal the reduced material costs and critical path schedule. Throw in the potential for top-down construction and the project team quickly realizes how this sheet pile application can recoup those added benefits of below-grade parking while radically changing the economics of traditional subterranean foundations. Whether 2,3 or 4 levels below grade, sheet piles continue to demonstrate significant ROI.
This unique sheet pile application has been in practice throughout Europe and Asia for over 50 years. Since the early 2000s, domestic pile manufacturers and distributors have influenced North American designers and contractors on more than 40 projects ranging from midrise stick frame residential housing and 30 story mixed-use podium tower structures to municipal buildings and entire city block shopping developments. From geotechnical, structural, fire engineering, and durability analysis, to water stop, waterproofing and installation, JD Fields offers guidance through the technical aspects to all project team members.