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Morris-Shea Completes Deep Foundation for Ascend Apartments Birmingham High-Rise

Morris-Shea Completes Deep Foundation for Ascend Apartments Birmingham High-Rise

Geotechnical Contractor Installs High-Capacity H-Pile Foundation for 17 Story Student Residence

BIRMINAHAM, Ala., May 30, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Morris-Shea, a leading geotechnical contractor headquartered in Irondale, AL, has completed installation of driven H-piles for the deep foundation of the new Ascend Apartments in downtown Birmingham. The 17 story residential building’s mixed-use design includes 198 student occupancy units, ground floor retail space, a second story parking garage, and a rooftop swimming pool. Morris-Shea installed 261 high-capacity H-piles as a value engineered alternate to the original specification for drilled shafts with rock sockets. The original foundation design raised budget concerns that impacted the project’s feasibility.

The Morris-Shea team completed H-pile load testing and production pile installation in only 20 work days. Subsurface conditions varied considerably from pile-to-pile with dolomite rock pinnacles and crevices requiring piles be driven to depths as shallow as 40-feet and as deep as 120-feet. Morris-Shea installed high-capacity 12×74 H-piles with a 200 ton working load, rather than typical 12×53 H-piles with a smaller 50 ton load. The high-capacity piles were driven in 60-foot lengths to rock refusal with a PVE 50 rig using a 5 ton hydraulic hammer. The contractor performed a static load test to 400 tons prior to commencing installation to verify load capacity.

The Ascend Apartments jobsite sits atop the Knox Group Formation, a subsurface mineral deposit dominated by Copper Ridge dolomite. The H-piles are installed through residual clays to refusal at the dolomite bedrock. The depth of the piles is highly varied due to cavities and fracturing commonly found in this type of subsurface.

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