(INEWS)With Guyana currently undergoing a construction boom, a local construction company has brought a new and innovative pile-driving technology that is not only time and cost-saving but it is also environmentally friendly.
This unique “plug and drive” method to install Ductile Iron Piles (DIP) removes the need for cumbersome, expensive, labour-intensive concrete and steel piles. The DIP technology is an innovative deep foundation solution that can address a wide range of geotechnical and construction challenges.
St Lucia-based CMS Group is the leading specialist installer of DIP for building foundations in the Caribbean, working on major projects such as hotels, schools, bridges, docks, and even offshore.
In 2018, the company expanded its operations here with the establishment of CMS Construction Services Guyana Inc (CMSCS) in partnership with local construction company, GSK Inc.
Together, CMSCS/GSK has introduced the DIP technology to the local construction industry. In fact, the joint venture was subcontracted by NABI/KCL – the company that is currently constructing the US$160 million headquarters for ExxonMobil Guyana at Ogle, East Coast Demerara – to pile the foundations for the building.
According to CMS Country Manager in Guyana, Kevin Jewanram, “The kind of piling we do is a modern technology kind of piling that is already being used in other continents. However, in Guyana, everybody uses either timber piles or precast concrete. A few places are doing CFA (Continuous flight auger) piling but it’s expensive and a lot of mobilising is involved.”
“So, we offer something that is similar to the CFA piling but with 40 per cent less hassle… DIP is cost-effective and very time-effective as well. We pile on average 180 metres per day, which is less than 22 minutes per pile. Traditionally, installation of one timber pile would be over an hour and then you will have to dismantle and move to another part. But we do it faster, using one rig. So, [DIP] uses less equipment, less manpower and less time. Also, it’s little to no noise and little to no vibration so it would not be a noise nuisance,” he explained.
This, according to Jewanram, is an advantage for projects that are required to adhere to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stipulations for low/no noise nuisance and vibration.
Moreover, the CMSCS Manager also highlighted that the DIP technology is suitable for Guyana’s soil conditions.
Since, completing their contract with NABI/KCL, interest has been growing locally in the DIP method. CMSCS/GSK has already been contracted for two other major projects in Guyana.
The joint venture is also bidding for several national projects that are being executed by the Guyana Government in the infrastructure and energy sectors.
Meanwhile, the CMSCS/GSK has also been looking to further share this technology with industry operators. Consequently, the company held a piling demonstration back in March for an invited audience that comprised engineers, developers, and construction personnel – from both the private and public sectors.
The demonstration was led by experts from CMS Construction Services Ltd, the CMS Group parent company.
During the exercise, participants witnessed three sections of 5-metre (49ft) grouted annulus pile pipe being installed in 13 minutes using a high-frequency vibration hammer mounted on the boom of a 30-ton excavator, virtually soundlessly and without any vibration a metre from the pile.
It was explained that during this process, the foot of the pile carries an inverted conical “grout shoe” with a radius greater than the radius of the pile which, while driving, creates an annulus (a larger hole) around the pile. Grout (cement) is simultaneously and continuously pumped down the centre of the pile and is reflected back up the outside of the pile by the grout shoe to fill the annulus.
This results in the installed pile being encased in concrete, creating a strong friction bond with the ground material.
Coming out of that exercise, serious interest was shown by the participants. In fact, Jewanram disclosed that they are currently in talks with a number of State agencies as well as private developers who are interested in utilising this DIP technology for major projects.
“We have issued over a dozen quotes since and we’re just awaiting some design confirmation and decisions from those [potential] clients,” the Country Manager stated.
Since operating in Guyana over the past few years, Jewanram said CMSCS/GSK has participated in several exhibitions including the Building Expo and Agri Expo to promote the DIP technology. He related that the feedback from those events has been fruitful.
The St Lucia-based CMS Group has undertaken quite a number of large-scale construction projects around the Caribbean using the DIP method. These include the Harbor Club Hotel and Dive Centre, the Royalton Hotel, the reconstruction of the Thomazo Bridge, and the Courts Showroom – all in St Lucia as well as the Coco Point Beach House Hotel in Barbuda and the Koi Hotel & Residences in St Kitts, among others.