What does it take to drill 200 augercast piles 130 feet below grade? Two cranes with over 150 foot of boom each, over 2,800 cubic yards of grout, and a crew with a whole lot of patience.
The Griffin is being developed as a mixed-use retail and apartment complex on Woodward Avenue off I-696 in Royal Oak, with a completion date slated for mid-2020. The final project is expected to have 245 luxury apartments over first-floor retail space. The site started as a vacant lot on 4.4 acres of undeveloped space and like most of our other jobs, we were one of the first contractors on site.
This project ended up holding a couple of firsts for us. The 130 foot piles were the longest augercast piles we've installed to date, which required utilizing the heaviest crane with the longest length of boom we've ever used on an augercast job. From start to finish the crew was at the site for eight weeks.
One of our greatest strengths as a company is the ability of our team in the field to not only work extremely hard, but to also work smart and solve problems. Not long after drilling and filling the first pile the crew found they needed to change their approach. The ground at the site ended up having a loose sand component which sat on top of hard clay. When drilling the piles the grout was easily contained in the clay portion of the soil, but once the auger hit the sand the grout ballooned out.
The soil issues coupled with the hot, humid weather everyone experienced in the field this summer are not ideal conditions for drilling augercast piles. During the first two weeks a normal day consisted of drilling 6 piles. However, by adjusting the drilling method to utilize air through the different soils, productivity increased and the crew ended up averaging 9 ½ piles per day over the last 15 days of production. Even with the challenging soil and unknown issues that can come with most firsts, the job was completed on time.
A huge thanks to everyone who kept “keeping on” not only at The Griffin, but at all of our sites this summer. We appreciate all of you!