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EARTHWORK AND TIMBERING

CHAPTER 3: EARTHWORK AND TIMBERING


3.1 INTRODUCTION

Very few sites are level, and therefore before any building work can be commenced the area covered by the building must be leveled. In building terms this operation is called reducing levels. Three methods can be used, and it is the most economical that is usually employed. Cut and fill Cut Fill 3.2 Sloping Sites Cut and fill The usual method because, if properly carried out, the amount of cut will equal the amount of fill (figure 1c) Cut This method has the advantage of giving undisturbed soil over the whole of the site, but has the disadvantage of the cost of removing the spoil from the site (figure 1a) Fill A method not to be recommended because, if the building is sited on the filled area, either deep foundation would be needed or the risk of settlement at a later stage would have to be accepted (figure 1b) The amount of fill should never exceed a depth of 600 mm.

Figure1a: Cutting

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Figure 1b: Filling

Figure 1c: Cut and Fill 3.3 Excavations and Timbering The types and amount of timbering required will depend upon the depth and nature of the subsoil. Over a short period many soils may not require any timbering, but weather conditions, depth, type of soil and duration of the operations must all be taken into account, and each excavation must be assessed separately. Excavation may be classified as shallow, medium or deep Shallow up to 1.5 m deep Medium 1.5-3.0 m deep Deep over 3 m deep Method of excavation and timbering will depend on: The nature of the subsoil can determine the type of plant or hand tools required and the amount of timbering necessary. The purpose of the excavation can determine minimum widths, minimum depths and the placing of support members to support members to give a reasonable working space within the excavation. The presence of groundwater may necessitate the need for interlocking timbering, sump pits and pump; large quantities of groundwater may prompt the use of de-watering techniques.

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3.3.1 Supporting Excavations Consequently trenches are usually cut having vertical sides or faces. A vertical face can under certain conditions, collapse, whether it be earth, rock or any other natural material. Hence, support is necessary and this may be in the form of timbering or steel sheeting. 3.3.2 Reason for Collapse of Face There are numerous reasons for collapse and it is often a combination of two or more factors which bring about this dangerous situation. The usual reason are: Failure of the soil to support its own weight. Steeply angled bedding planes which encourage slips (figure 2a) Water sheds or seepage (figure 2b) Breakdown of cohesion of the soil by heavy rain. Changes in the types of soil such as weak material underlying sound rock or layers of sand and clay (figure 2c) Vibration due to the close passage of vehicles and plant. Failure due to loads placed too near the edge of the face. Impact of heavy loads such as pipes, striking the sides of a trench when being lowered . Inadequate timbering in supporting a face.

Figure1.2 (a), (b), (c): Types of collapse

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3.3.3 Supporting a Face The method used and the amount of support necessary must depend on: The ground being excavated The depth of working Other factor such as: o water o Vibration due traffic flow surrounding area Clearly, a competent person having considerable experience together with the appropriate training, should make decisions as to the type and extant of trench support to be used in any given situation. A trench having a vertical face must be timbered or sheeted where the depth is greater than 1.2m. However, even shallower trenches could need support if in poor ground. Any timbering or other support that is used should be of good construction and adequate strength for it purpose Again, a competent person should direct the erection and dismantling of all timbering. Experienced workmen should be employed as far as is possible, in this operation.

3.4

Three Type of Timbering Light timbering this is used in shallow trenches in firm ground (figure 3) Open timbering - this is used in moderate firm ground (figure 4) Close timbering - This is used in deeper trenches with variable ground conditions (figure 5)

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Figure 1.3: Light Timbering

Figure 1.4: Open Timbering

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Figure 1.5: Close Timbering Steel Sheeting This techniques is used both for deep excavations and also where poor ground is likely to be found such as running sand. The sheet are sometimes driven before excavation commence. Various section profiles are available in trench sheeting in figure 6. The lap-jointed section can be supplied in standard mild steel (3.57mm thickness) or high tensile steel (2.64nmm thickness) or high tensile steel (2.64mm thickness) and lengths are 2-6 m.

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Figure 1.6: Steel sheet trench support Steel trench sheeting can be driven and withdrawn much more easily than timber sheeting. It also provides reasonable water-tightness when under pressure. A special driving cap may be used to protect the top of the sheeting when driving by hand or by automatic hammer. Timber pads must be used between adjustable steel trench struts and the steel trench sheeting to prevent slipping. The trench strut has replaced timber struts for general work in trenches as it is easily adjustable and quickly placed (figure 7)

Figure 1.7: Trench strut 3.5 Protective Box

If the box is lowered into the excavation then a man can work from inside it to erect waling and struts whilst the poling are positioned by men standing on the surface (see figure 8&9). Narrow excavations make it difficult to use such a box.

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Figure 1.8: Protective Mesh Box

Figure 1.9: Protective Mesh Box 3.6 Backfilling For backfill up to a level 1 foot ( 300mm) over the top of pressure pipeline and 2 feet (600mm) above the top of gravity pipelines, only selected material shall be used. Selected materials shall be finely divided material free from debris, organic material and stone. The backfill shall be placed in uniform layers not exceeding 6 inches (150mm) in depth. Each layer shall be moistened and carefully and uniformly tamped with mechanical tampers or other suitable tools. The reminder of the backfill material shall then be placed and compacted above the level specified above.

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In areas not subjected to traffic, the backfill shall be placed in 12 inches(300mm) layers and each layer moistened and compacted to a density approximating that of the surrounding earth. Under roadways, driveways, paved areas, parking lots, along roadway shoulder and other areas subject to traffic the backfill shall be placed in 6 inches(150mm) layers and each layer moistened and compacted to density at least equal to that of the surrounding earth.

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