Element - - Cover Story - James Rus­sell

“Al­most 100 build­ings con­structed in Christchurch over the last decade are built on our foun­da­tions. All have sur­vived the earth­quakes hand­somely.” So says James Wood, com­mer­cial man­ager of screw pile spe­cial­ists, Piletech. The re­sult is that the com­pany is see­ing “the lead­ing edge of the wave” in terms of re­build work in the city. Wood says one rea­son the piles have stood up well to the earth­quakes is their duc­til­ity – the abil­ity to flex with the earth. Stan­dard piles for large build­ings have tra­di­tion­ally been con­crete re­in­forced with steel, which can crack with lat­eral ground move­ment. Wood says a unique fea­ture of the piles is that they are self tap­ping, and are screwed down un­til they hit solid sub­strate. At the end of a build­ing’s life they can then be ‘un­screwed’ and re-used.

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