The General Design Procedure for Soldier Pile Walls

When soil instability stands in the way of developing a piece of property, drilling and excavation companies are often called in to remediate. These companies have a variety of techniques at their disposal that can help transform an undevelopable piece of land into the perfect foundation for construction. One of the techniques that may be used, depending on the conditions, is the creation of a soldier pile wall.

The process involved in building a soldier pile wall is time-tested, dating back decades. This technique is helpful for retaining soil through the use of vertical steel piles with horizontal lagging. H-piles are driven or drilled into place at regular intervals along the excavation. Lagging, which involves the use of wood, steel or concrete panels, is then placed behind the front pile flanges as the process proceeds.

Soldier pile walls have been used since the 18th century to shore up land for construction in such cities as Berlin, London and New York. The method is also sometimes called the “Berlin Wall.”

When soldier pile walls are indicated, the piles are generally set at 6 to 12-foot intervals. Excavation will take place in small stages as the lagging is installed. Once this is done, backfilling and compacting takes place to fill the void behind each lagging.

Benefits of This Type of Wall

The soldier pile wall is a preferred stability technique for a number of reasons. The benefits of this technique include:

  • Affordability – These walls are considered to be among the most inexpensive types of retaining walls to create.
  • Speed – The creation of these walls tends to be very fast, enabling construction to stay on schedule.
  • Versatility – If conditions in the field don’t match up to the design, this type of construction is easy to change on the fly.

While these walls deliver lots of advantages, extensive dewatering may be required if the water table tends to be high. It’s also important to ensure proper backfilling when the process is performed.

Soil instability doesn’t signal a piece of property cannot be developed. Drilling and excavation companies do have many techniques at their disposal that can transform property and ready it for use. The creation of a soldier pile wall may be indicated in some instances, but drilling experts do have many other options at their disposal for creating retaining walls to lend stability to a site.

About the Company

DMI Drilling Construction has been providing Washington State residents access to expert services since 1991. The company specializes in such techniques as soldier pile wall construction to assist clients in preparing their land or shoring it up if instability becomes a concern.