18 Apr How to Find the Best Piling Contractors for Your Project
Piling is one of the most versatile construction techniques. It can be used for anything from strengthening the foundations of your home for an extension to major infrastructure work like bridges or oil rigs. So how do you tell which contractor is just right for your particular project?
What Are Different Types of Piling Used For?
Piling consists of either driving steel columns into the ground or boring a hole, then filling the shaft with concrete. These columns can be used to support structures, transferring the weight down to a strong level of subsoil.
Piles used for building bridges, oil rigs and other major structures are large, but mini-piling can be used for domestic construction. For example, if you’re building an extension, it’s likely that your home’s existing foundations will need to be strengthened to take the extra weight. Similarly, if you’re constructing a basement, you’ll be excavating down through the current foundations, making it necessary to add new support lower down.
Perhaps the best-known use for mini-piling, though, is to underpin a building against subsidence. For example, if the soil below the structure is weak or water-logged, or if there are cavities such as mine-working underneath, mini-piling can take the foundations down to a level that will be able to support the weight.
Consider the Whole Project
If your project is underpinning your home, it’s no good hiring a contractor whose speciality is piling for major infrastructure. You need to consider the needs of the location and what disruption the process might cause. For example, in a limited, enclosed space, boring causes less vibration than driving, so check what methods the contractor offers.
The fewer contractors you use in a project, the better, so find out whether a contractor can handle the whole job. For instance, if you’re having a new basement built, a firm that can both create the basement and insert the mini-piling might be better than getting two separate contractors. However, the most important thing is to find a firm that can carry out the job to the highest standard.
How to Identify the Best Piling Contractor
That’s all very well, but how do you, as a layperson, identify which is best? Well, here are some things to consider:
- Make sure the company has a dedicated piling division, rather than being a general construction firm that “can do piling”.
- Do they have the expertise and equipment in-house? You might get a good job done if they have to hire it in, but they’ll pass on the extra costs to you.
- Do they offer at least a 10-year Defect Insurance guarantee? If not, it doesn’t say much about their confidence in the work they do.
- Check out customer comments and reactions, especially those that aren’t on their own website.
- Compare prices. The cheapest isn’t necessarily the best, but nor is the most expensive. Ask for a broken-down quote, rather than just trying to assess a single figure.
It’s important, of course, to compare a number of contractors, but we at U&M are pretty confident you’ll conclude that we’re perfect for most of your domestic mini-piling projects. Give us a call today to get a quote.