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Up-Down Construction Utilizing Steel Sheet Piles and Drilled Shaft Foundations

The John Ross Tower (Courtesy of TVA Architects)

The John Ross Tower (Courtesy of TVA Architects)

The use of steel sheet pile walls and drilled shaft foundation elements to enable up-down construction methods has been used successfully on recent high-rise structures with multi-story below grade parking. The John Ross Tower and The 3720 Tower in Portland, Oregon each make use of this system and are discussed in-depth. Up-Down construction involves the simultaneous construction of the building levels above and below grade instead of the standard construction technique of excavating and shoring the below grade construction before being able to build upward from the base of the excavation.

Advantages of the up-down system include a shortened overall construction schedule, permanent basement walls that double as the temporary shoring walls, elimination of the typical continuous wall footing or grade beam at the building perimeter, increased use of recycled material (steel) while maintaining an over all decrease in total materials, elimination of wall forming costs, decreases in forming costs for slabs, decreases in waterproofing costs for walls and elimination of pile caps and/or footings for the building columns. Lessons learned during the construction of both buildings include the need for more extensive geotechnical boring information, descriptive sheet pile and drilled shaft specifications, a clear understanding from the design team on finished appearance of sheet pile and shafts, and careful consideration of the connection between both slabs and the sheet pile wall and slabs and drilled shafts.

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Nathan A. Ingraffea, P.E., S.E.
Associate, KPFF Consulting Engineers, Portland, Oregon, USA

JD Fields Construction Group

JD Fields Construction Group

Prior to founding J D Fields & Company, Jerry Fields gained decades of experience in construction products and piling applications managing equipment rentals, material sales, and product operations. Coupled with his oil and gas experience, Jerry built a rock solid foundation of industry knowledge and relationships that allowed him and his partners to start the company in 1985. Incorporated in Houston, Texas, JDF quickly diversified into multiple construction markets and applications. Today, it is a premiere international source for natural gas pipe and piling products. Strategically positioned at the Port of Houston corridor, our flagship stocking facility has 40 acres of laydown area with steel processing and fabrication capabilities. We carry more than 50,000 tons of pipe and piling inventory throughout the states to serve North America, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and other international markets.