However, the test has certain limitations:
• This method is expensive and requires drilling boreholes
parallel to existing piles.
• Parallel seismic testing is commonly used for estimation
of pile length, not pile integrity. The stress wave generated
by hammer impact travels through the pile and surrounding
soil. The soil profile may significantly affect stress
waves, resulting in a poor or misleading signal for
• Accurate data interpretation requires knowledge about
• The borehole should be longer than pile length. This
makes drilling challenging when there is no knowledge
about the pile length.
Alternative methods, such as removing soil, extracting core
samples and visual examination are generally expensive,
provide little information about other locations and create
significant delays in the decision-making process and/or in
the construction timeline. In addition, intrusive methods
such as extracting cores might negatively impact the safety
and reliability of an existing pile.
Non-destructive testing has widely been used for quality
control of deep foundations in new construction, as well
as forensic evaluation and condition assessment of existing
piles. NDT methods provide cost-effective and easy
to deploy tools for the evaluation of integrity in piles and
Some codes and guidelines strongly recommend performing
integrity tests of deep foundations either for new construction
or for comprehensive evaluation of existing structures.
Some other codes and guidelines consider integrity testing
as an optional quality control test. However, these codes and
guidelines authorize engineers and designers to increase the
superstructure loads should the integrity of piles have been
verified through NDT methods.
Low strain pile integrity testing, ultrasonic crosshole
testing, thermal integrity profiling and parallel seismic
testing are widely used for quality control of new construction
and integrity assessment of existing deep foundations.
Among these methods, PIT is very cost-effective, fast and easy
to implement for both new construction and existing structures.
It is recommended to evaluate integrity initially by the
PIT method, then proceed to use advanced non-destructive
integrity testing methods if PIT results are not conclusive or
PIT shows an integrity issue. Application of the PIT method
for existing structures is more complicated because access to
pile heads is often limited due to the presence of superstructures
or pile caps.
Moreover, it is recommended that non-destructive
integrity testing be performed by a trained technician in
order to collect reliable data during field work. Interpretation
of integrity test data requires basic knowledge on the concept
of non-destructive integrity testing. Complementary information
(i.e. knowledge of the construction record, design
documents, soil profile, concrete mix design, compressive
strength) help to interpret field data and analyze test results
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42 Q4 2019 www.pilingcanada.ca