Piling Canada

The Significant Value of Seeing Piling Techniques and Equipment in Action

EBS Demo Days 2022 delivers experience and learning
Written by Deb Draper
July 2022

Photos: courtesy of EBS Geostructural

This past May, EBS Geostructural, Inc., provided not one, but two successful Demo Days out of its location in Breslau, Ont. Almost 300 participants from 70 companies enjoyed a full day of learning, witnessing piling and soil grouting equipment in action under different circumstances and applications.

EBS Geostructural provides in-house, design-build deep foundation services, specializing in the design and installation of helical piles, micropiles and geotechnical grouting applications, and has developed Demo Days in an effort to strengthen the understanding of what they can do.

“Back in 2015, we came up with the idea of Demo Day as a way for structural and geotechnical engineers to see how things actually go into the ground,” said Dino Vito, president of EBS Geostructural, “but it was problematic bringing them out to a worksite. We have a large lot in front of our facility, so [we] decided to set up our equipment and materials out there and demonstrate installation and load testing of helical and micropiles, and give a good feel for the equipment.”

That first year, 115 participants, geotechnical and structural engineers, developers and constructors took the opportunity to explore first-hand the technologies and how EBS uses them to solve many building challenges. Its popularity has only grown with this year’s session – the fourth session – expanded in demonstrations and attendance.

Vito said, “In 2019, we had to cut off attendance at 150 – it was all we could handle. So this time we held it over two days with the same agenda on each day in order to accommodate more people.”

A full day of learning and networking

The format was a set program with everyone splitting up into groups. Pictures of case histories were set up in the back of the event tents, and after some discussion, participants went outside for demonstrations to understand the different scenarios. The presenters for each demonstration took part in panel discussions at the end of the day answering questions in further detail.

EBS featured the installation of micropiles and Chance helical piles in cobbles along with geotechnical/soil grouting. Vito said, “The grouting demonstration was new for us and brought a lot of attention, but putting the piles through 14 feet of cobbles and small boulders was also of great interest.

“This year, as in 2019, Turnkey Site Solutions took part in the demonstrations, showcasing their earth retention techniques by completing a caisson/secant pile wall with tie backs to show how it all works – something engineers don’t often get to see. And for the first time, we were joined by GeoSolv as they demonstrated their ground improvement techniques. We work closely with these two companies and thought it was a good idea to broaden the spectrum of interest for the attendees.”

The demos continued throughout the day, with a break for lunch, and networking and panel discussions beginning later in the afternoon.

What’s next

Vito said, “We host this event every two years, and I’m thankful that we have such a great team here at EBS because it takes a huge effort to make it all work. The questionnaire about the event was just sent out, and we’ll follow up on comments to try to continue delivering an event that makes sense for everyone.”

Judging by the increasing attendance and the comments from those who attended the Demo Days event, EBS is on the right track. This is a unique opportunity to see different applications and equipment in action – a year’s worth of reading and watching videos condensed into one educational and stimulating day.

We came up with the idea of Demo Day as a way for structural and geotechnical engineers to see how things actually go into the ground.”

– Dino Vito, EBS Geostructural, Inc.

From the attendees

Kyle Maynard, M.Eng., structural designer, Atkins + Van Groll, Inc.

“As someone who has worked with piles before, I found the GeoSolv ground improvement panel the most informative. I am accustomed to ground improvement techniques being only applicable for low-loading structures (a few storeys at most), but the achievable ground strengths from the compacted soil piles was impressive, and seems like a great option among piles and CMCs where ground improvement is needed, but concrete is difficult to source,” said Maynard.

“Overall, the testing, shoring, helical piles and micropiles demonstrations enhanced my knowledge about the construction process, design capabilities and best-case uses of the technologies, and it will help me better advise my clients on cost-effective solutions.

“Any exposure to construction techniques in action is valuable, most especially for our junior engineers who learned a great deal from the demos in action.

“The panel discussions/ following the demos cemented the learning experience, since the demos moved rather quickly and many people need time to ruminate on things before asking their questions.

“During the networking opportunities, it was pleasant to chat with other engineers and trades in the industry and hear their sides of similar issues. I’m a bit more aware of the things that cause problems for [general contractors], geotechs, etc., and I can avoid those things better in the future.”

Any exposure to construction techniques in action is valuable, most especially for our junior engineers who learned a great deal from the demos in action.”

– Kyle Maynard, M.Eng., Atkins + Van Groll, Inc.

Weston Morlock, M.Eng., P.Eng., geotechnical engineer, CMT Engineering, Inc.

“I believe these live demonstrations bring value to my work; there is no better way to learn something new than having an expert show you and answer questions,” said Morlock. “It is interesting to learn about the advantages and limitations of different deep foundation techniques, and allows me (as a geotechnical engineer) to provide better informed recommendations to our clients with difficult sites. One new thing this year was the injection grouting machine presentation by EBS that I thought had interesting applications.

“All the presentations were excellent, especially an interesting one by Chad Smith of Turnkey Site Solutions on the advantages and disadvantages of different types of shoring and tie back solutions with a demo on caisson wall drilling. After his presentation, we had a discussion about the limitations of longer-term shoring solutions and how segmental retaining walls could be used in combination with the existing/modified shoring structures for long-term retaining solutions.

One new thing this year was the injection grouting machine/presentation by EBS that I thought had interesting applications.”

– Weston Morlock, M.Eng., P.Eng., CMT Engineering, Inc.

“I enjoyed EBS Joe Heinisch’s presentation on load testing and how a relatively small upfront cost of completing load testing at a site can result in significant savings in pile layouts. And with the panel discussions, it was interesting to hear concerns/questions from different perspectives: developers, owners, general contractors, and how deep foundation designers and contracting experts answered them.” Piling Canada

Category: Business

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