The company’s ground engineering division has developed the machine which works by cutting precast concrete piles above the ground with diamond tipped blades and then using the trimmed section of the pile as the lead part of the next pile.

The system meets all requirements for compressive strength and can also cut piles to within 100mm of ground level, so providing fewer obstructions to other trades and enhancing access to a site.

Before the introduction of the new system, Balfour Beatty had been able to reduce its precast piling waste from 1.6m per pile down to 0.8m per pile. However, this new system will allow even further reductions, with significant cost and sustainability benefits.

A recent project to build a supermarket in Scotland requiring the use of 4,500 piles saw the cutting system save up to 3,600m of pile waste that would otherwise have been produced.

The process also has a strong carbon advantage as each metre of precast pile manufactured and delivered to site in the UK produces around 40kg to 60kg of CO2. The reduction in pile utilisation has the potential to save up to 2,000 tonnes carbon emissions per year.

Maxine Perella

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