Deep Foundations

Deep foundation elements are required when structural loads cannot be supported in shallow soil layers and have to be transferred into a deeper soil stratum well below existing grade, and often into bedrock. Such structural support elements can have a wide range of sizes, from 4 to 12 inches in diameter for Micropiles, 16 to 48 inches for CFA piles, and 16 to 24 inches for Displacement piles. Larger round elements (also called Drilled Shafts or Piers) can range in diameter from 2 feet to exceptionally large sizes of 12 feet or more. Rectangular elements called Load Bearing Elements (LBEs) can be installed to sizes of 10 by 5 feet or more. Large-diameter Drilled Shafts or LBE’s can reach depths in excess of 300 feet and can support vertical loads of up to 20,000 tons when socketed into competent rock.

Deep foundation elements are designed to withstand a wide range of loading conditions, from compression, tension, lateral to dynamic loads, and are typically structurally connected to the superstructure (bridge or building). Available construction techniques and equipment are well-suited to coping with a variety of ground conditions, ranging from very loose cohesive or soft non-cohesive soils to hard rock. Expandable clays, as well as caving sands, gravels, cobbles, and large boulders, can be drilled utilizing state-of-the-art high torque and crowd pressure drilling rigs and employing temporary or permanent steel casing for further support of the borehole. Modern polymers and bentonite support fluids enable a very cost-effective installation when soil conditions are favorable.

Malcolm’s expansive fleet of modern equipment, utilizing the most advanced drilling techniques, ensures that projects can be constructed in highly variable ground conditions.


Drilled Shafts (also known as bored piles or caissons) have been used as deep foundations elements for over 100 years. They have been developed for the transfer of high vertical and lateral loads and as a vibration less alternative to driven piles, which require larger pile...

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Omega piles are a full displacement cast In-situ pile system developed in Belgium in 1998. The unique drilling tool allows the lateral displacement of the soil during pile installation. This method increases the lateral stresses in the surrounding soil, enhancing…

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Continuous flight auger piles (CFA piles) are also commonly called augercast, augered cast in place piles (ACIP) or auger pressure grouted piles (APG). They are predominantly used in unstable soil conditions with a high ground water level when conventional drilling…

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Micropiles are small-diameter (usually less than 12 inches in diameter) drilled and grouted foundation elements with design loads ranging from 50 to 400 tons. The structural load is principally carried in steel reinforcement and transferred by friction into the…

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Mega Bearing Elements (MBEs) are comprised of a number of similarly sized CFA Mega Piles placed tangentially or in groups to meet various column and sheer wall loads on a project. The number of combinations is endless to ensure the different...

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Load Bearing Elements (LBEs), also known as Barrettes, are used as a deep foundation solution when high loads need to be transferred to deeper geotechnical formations. LBEs utilize the same installation methods and equipment as those used for Diaphragm Walls...

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