Engineers and councils urged to rethink emergency storm repair methods

Published on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

Mainmark specialists strengthening ground

Following the wild storms that have lashed the eastern seaboard, we at Mainmark are urging councils, engineers, builders and insurers to think outside the box as remediation works begin.

Large washouts have created serious ground problems, including coastal erosion, flooding and sinkholes. Innovative ground engineering techniques can help to stabilise ground issues quickly and economically to facilitate faster and safer access for emergency repair crews in this critical period.

Permeation grouting, void filling and resin injection are often overlooked or misunderstood, yet are proven methods for strengthening or stabilising the ground quickly and cost-effectively, because no large equipment or excavation is required.

Permeation grouting, a proven low-pressure injection system is ideal for stabilising slopes. Coastal erosion has left buildings literally hanging, undermined by steeper gradients which threaten safe access for repair crews.

Permeation grouting injects specifically-engineered grouts and inert chemical solutions into the ground. These combine with the porous or sandy soils to reduce permeability and create a cement-soil matrix that stabilises the ground. Depending on the site, this can be completed in a matter of days. When compared to more traditional methods, such as deep foundation repair that typically requires excavation, it is a cost-effective solution.

Sink holes are also posing a threat to safety and can impede the repair of public infrastructure after the storms.

Higher levels of water infiltration have caused soils to move, creating cavities in the ground. This creates a higher risk of sink holes if surface ground collapses into the voids.

A multi-stage approach can quickly repair sinkholes. Existing holes can be stabilised using permeation grouting. Voids and washouts can then be filled with Terefil, a lightweight and environmentally inert cementitious filler, to strengthen the ground. Finally, water or sewerage assets can be restored internally using a corrosion protection system, such as ENCAP6.

Once emergency repairs are completed, we anticipate significant work in re-stabilising and re-levelling infrastructure. Heavy rains will have caused soils to become oversaturated and subside, weakening them to the point they’re unable to support buildings and public infrastructure.

Early intervention in ground subsidence is always recommended, and innovative resin injection technologies, such as Uretek, provide fast, clean and cost-effective solutions.

For more information, contact Mainmark’s engineering experts.

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By James O’Grady

James O’Grady is the Sales and Business Development Manager at Mainmark. He is a civil engineer with 25 years’ experience in structural engineering, construction materials and ground treatment.

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