be some rotary bored pile, but it’s the less favoured method.
So, we have two very different approaches,” Hague said.
“Even within Europe, we’ve got different types of driven
piles, different sizes which are accepted and also different
design philosophies to drive the different pile types. For
example, in the city of Gothenburg in Sweden there’s something
called 'Gothenburg pile,' which is a timber pile with a precast
top. And it’s because of the specific ground conditions there
that we only really see that in Gothenburg.”
Shah says there are regional differences within Canada too
in terms of what piling solutions are the most prevalent.
“In the east, people use drill shafts and secant pile walls
a lot more,” he said. “Some of this is driven by geological
conditions and the technical needs and requirements of a
It’s perhaps not surprising that such differences exist in
a country such as Canada, which comprises a vast area and
has a wide range of environmental and climatic conditions.
However, Shah contends some of this may be driven by personal
or institutional biases as well as a lack of information.
“If some people are not aware of what different options
exist and what can be done differently, then obviously they
will be resistant to it,” he said.
Shah says one example is the how continuous flight auger
piles, which have been used in Canada for 20 years, still aren’t
accepted by the Alberta Department of Transportation.
“If the need for one option is driven by Mother Nature,
that’s no problem because people need to respect Mother
Nature and treat it accordingly,” he said. “But if the decision
is made because of a lack of information, then different
options should be examined in a neutral way.”
Skilled trades shortage
Hague acknowledges that his company, like so many others
in the European construction sector, often struggles to find
good caliber skilled individuals to fill positions.
“It’s very difficult to attract the right kind of person or a
quality stream of people because many people who work in
factory conditions or wherever else are used to working inside
for good money without the travel,” Hague said. “People just
prefer to be a little bit warmer and not as wet; I suppose. We
see that daily.
“We need to attract more young people because the
average age of our workforce is increasing and that’s not
necessarily a bad thing. But, you know, we’ve got to look at a
succession plan,” he added.
Hague notes that many construction companies in the
U.K. will rely on career and trade fairs as well as structured
training programs to recruit and retain workers, which is
something Aarsleff Ground Engineering offers.
Hague says his company is considered somewhat of a
trailblazer when it comes to trying to appeal to the hearts
and minds of young people.
“What we’re trying to do now is a little bit unique. We’ve
developed a virtual reality construction world to try and
appeal to the younger generation in the gaming world,” he
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