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A Case Study of Foundation for a

High Rise Building in Coral formation


at Corniche, Jeddah
Authors:
Mr. Hamid Ismail (Regional Manager-WP),
Mr. Shahzad Shafiq, Mr. Ehtesham Mehmood,
Mr. Muhammad Qasim

Introduction
The project consists of
two high rise towers each
of 81-floors with four
storey
podium.
The
towers may be as high as
240 meters above road
level
with
partial
basement. The site is
situated on the West cost
of KSA. The project site
measures approximately
68,000 sq. meter.

Purpose of Investigation
The purpose of the present investigation was to
assess the prevailing geotechnical conditions at
the site and to verify the geo-engineering
properties of the deeper subsurface soil strata
that will significantly affect the foundations
behaviour at Tower-1 & 2 location.
Also included in the scope was performance of
pressure-meter tests, Cross-hole and Down Hole
seismic tests to accurately determine the static
and dynamic stress-strain response of the
underlying coral formation.

Scope of work
Item

Description

For field investigation several boreholes were driled with


a depth ranging from 60.0 meters to 200.0 meters below
Borholes
the existing ground level.
It was used in intact coralline formations in the borehole
by using 101 double tube core barrel and measurement of
Core Drilling
core recovery and rock quality designation (RQD) for each
1.5 meters core run was made.
Cross Holes Performed down to maximum depth of 120 meters.
Down Holes Performed down to maximum depth of 100 meters.
Pressure meter Performed using Bx & Nx size probes for Tower 1 & 2
tests
down to a depth of 120 meters.
Laboratory
testing

Index property tests, unconfined compressive strength,


point load test, bulk density and chemical tests were
performed.

BH information
Boreholes
depth

Tower-1

Tower-2

120m

100m

60m

200m

CAVITY PROBING USING DIAGRAPHY


Diagraphy (cavity probing) was performed using a fully
hydraulically operated drilling rig with necessary sensors
fitted on the equipment to monitor the Rate of Penetration
in soil, Thrust, Pressure, Torque and Rotation etc.
These parameters were continuously measured during
drilling. After drilling hole with measurement of the
required parameters down to the required depth, the drill
tools were retrieved to surface and then moved again
downwards inside the same void of the hole with no stress
on the tools like moving through a cavity.
The downwards movement in the open hole simulates a
cavity and the equipment records the above parameters as
moving through a cavity. This is called ECL procedure. Four
(4) cavity probes in Tower-2 area, 3-probes to 80 meters
and 1 to 120 meters.

PRESSURE-METER TESTING
Pressure-meter tests
were performed in
four (4) boreholes
for both tower 1 & 2
down to a depth of
120 meters at 10.0
meters
intervals.
These tests were
conducted
in
accordance
with
ASTM D4719-87.

DOWN-HOLE PS LOGGING SEISMIC SURVEY


Four Down-hole seismic tests (2 for each tower) for PS wave
measurement were conducted using twenty-four channel Seistronic
RAS-24 Remote Acquisition System in the designated boreholes at
each 1.5 meters depth interval down to the depth of 100 meters.
Purpose of the seismic down-hole tests is the determination of the
compressive and shear velocity of the layers as well as the
determination of the dynamic parameters of the subsoil.
The Down-hole seismic survey was carried out using a single hole at
each location cased with a uPVC plastic pipe.
The gap between the pipe and the boreholes was backfilled using
slurry cement.
A long wooden plank placed under both front tires of a mediumsize truck is repeatedly hit with the 7-kg sledge hammer from both
directions for generating P & S waves.

CROSS HOLE SEISMIC TEST


Three (3) cross hole tests (one for
tower-1 and one for tower-2)
were performed at 1.5 m interval
to a depth of 120.0 m.
The Cross-hole seismic test was
conducted using a twenty-four
(24) channel Seistronic, RAS-24
Remote Acquisition System.
Two receiver holes and one shot
hole were drilled down to a depth
of 120.0 m from the existing
ground surface.
The distance between the
receiver holes to the shot hole
was 3.0 and 6.0 meters,
respectively.
A PVC pipe with closed bottom
was grouted in each of the
receiver holes.

Trial pits
Trial pits were excavated at
the site using a mechanical
excavator.
The trial pit was excavated
down to a depth ranging
from 1.5 to 2.0 meters
depth.
The soil layers were
identified visually, logged
and representative bulk
samples from each layer
were
retrieved
for
classification, compaction
(modified proctor test).
The pits were backfilled
after necessary inspection,
sampling and photography.

Laboratory Testing
Index property tests
including sieve analysis,
Atterberg's Limits and
hydrometer
analysis
were done on the soil
samples collected form
field.
Unconfined
compression tests were
performed on coralline
rock core samples.
Point load tests were
performed on coralline
rock core samples.

Regional Geology
Jeddah sity is located with the Makkah Quadrangle in the southern
art of the Higaz geographic province. A flat low lying coastal plain
Tihamat Al-Hijaz is succeeded eastward by the rugged Sarawat
mountains that culminate in a major erosional escarpment that has
results from uplift associated with Red Sea rifting.
Our knowledge and history of the area have shown that the surficial
soil at the site consists of silty/gravelly SAND and sandy silt as well
as some areas with loose Sabkha conditions. The subsurface soils
below the top cover invariably consist of heterogeneous soil
formations of coralline origin.
It is known from our own experience on similar soils along the Red
Sea Coast that the variation in subsurface conditions below the
surficial soil cover may vary from a tight skeleton of coralline
formation to highly decomposed debris of coral material occurring
as very loose and soft silty/sandy and some times clayey beach
sand with very poor load carrying capacity.

Site Geology
Based on the boreholes information, the existing subsurface soil profile at
the site is illustrated below:
TOP SOIL (Layer-1)
Top soil layer (1.0m - 3.0m) at the site consists of overburden material
consisting of light brown to dark brown, sand / silty sand intermixed with
little gravel, shell fragments with traces of garbage.
CORALLINE LIMESTONE / REEF LIMESTONE (Layer-2)
Layer-2 comprised of marine sediments which consist of successive layers
of brown to light brown to cream or greyish brown to off-white, pinkish
brown, very weak to weak or moderately weak, slightly to highly
weathered, closely to widely spaced horizontally to sub-horizontally
fractured CORALLINE LIMESTONE with very small cavities and voids filled
with coralline sedimentation.
Coralline limestone can vary from a tight coral skeleton structure to the
abrased or completely decomposed coralline detritus material.

Site Geology
In general, the TCR values ranged from 0 to 100% denoting very
weak/disintegrated to weak rock-like conditions, while RQD values
obtained between 0 to 99%, are considered as very poor, poor to
excellent RQD values. Such variations in TCR and RQD values are
observed at different depths, which are the basic characteristics of
the coralline deposits in general.
Loose pockets and cavities in the coral formation measuring from
0.5 to 2.0 meters thicknesses were observed at some boreholes at
different depths as indicated in the following table. Cavities were
indicated after increased drilling speed or a sudden drop of drilling
rods. These loose pockets are believed to be cavities filled with
coralline sediments. Such pockets are formed due to disintegration
of coral reefs as an inherent character.
The unconfined compressive strength of core samples retrieved
from intact coral limestone have very wide range and the same
trend appeared with the pressure-meter test results. The values
ranged between 0.6 and >5.0 MN/m2 denoting very weak to weak
or moderately weak rock. Only in BH P-03 this value comes as
moderately strong to strong from 9.0 down to 30.0 meters depth.

Pump-out test
A full scale pump-out test in deep wells
constructed at site, data analysis and estimating
the Hydrogeologic characteristics of the sub-soil
layers which is defined as gravity aquifer
according to the previous & the present
geotechnical investigations.
A 40-meters deep well of 450 mm diameter was
drilled at the site complete with installation of
315 mm Dia PVC casing, submersible pump and
delivery pipes, etc.

Pump-out test
Pump out test were performed in three stages
Productivity test,
Step draw down test for 8-hours &
Constant Rate pumping test

Initial static reference readings were taken at the


beginning of the test in the well as well as in the
Piezometers (using digital loggers & electrical-dip
meters).
The piezometers were located at 3.0 & 8.0 meters
distance from the pumping well.
standpipes were installed inside the well casing &
outside the well within the gravel pack.

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS of pump out


test
The pump-out test was conducted at the well
location in Tower-2 site yielded slightly variable
range of well discharge. The minimum and
maximum discharge was 171.0 & 203.90 m3/hr.
The estimated in-situ permeability value of subsoil was ranged between 2.13 x 10-4 to 8.18 x 10-3
m/sec. These values are based upon an aquifer
thickness ranging from 40.0 meter t0 120.0
meters based upon max depth of the boreholes
performed at site.

Es ( Kpa)

SPT
0

100

200

300

400

500

600

700

20

0.00

10.00

10

20

30

20.00

30.00

40

Depth ( m )

40.00

50
50.00

60
60.00

70
70.00

80
80.00

90

90.00

100

110

120

100.00

110.00

Pressuremeter testing results

40

60

80

100

Wave Velocity (m/sec)

Dynamic Shear Modulus (MPa)

V (m/sec)
500

1000

Es (MPa)

G (MPa)
1500

2000

500

1000

1500

0.00

0.00

5.00

5.00

5.00

10.00

10.00

10.00

15.00

15.00

15.00

20.00

20.00

20.00

25.00

25.00

25.00

30.00

30.00

30.00

35.00

35.00

35.00

40.00

40.00

40.00

45.00

45.00

45.00

50.00
55.00
60.00

50.00
55.00

3000

55.00
60.00

65.00

65.00

65.00

70.00

70.00

70.00

75.00

75.00

75.00

80.00

80.00

80.00

85.00

85.00

85.00

90.00

90.00

90.00

95.00

95.00

95.00

100.00

100.00

100.00

P-Wave

2000

50.00

60.00

S-Wave

1000

Depth (m)

0.00

Depth (m)

Depth (m)

Dynamic Young,s Modulus (MPa)

Dynamic Shear Modulus

Down-hole seismic test results

Dynamic Young,s Modulus

4000

Dynamic shear Modulas

Wave Velocity (m/sec)


0

300

600

900

1200

Es (MPa)

1500

1800

200

400

600

800

1000

1200

0.00

0.00

15.00

15.00

30.00

30.00

30.00

45.00

45.00

60.00

Depth (m)

75.00

1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500

15.00

60.00

60.00

500

0.00

Depth (m)

45.00

Depth (m)

Dynamic Youngs Modulas

G (MPa)

V (m/sec)

75.00

75.00

90.00

90.00

105.00

105.00

120.00

120.00

90.00

105.00

120.00

S-Wave

P-wave

Dynamic shear

Cross-hole seismic test results

Dynamic Youngs

Draw down curve from the pump test


0.01

0.10

1.00

10.00

100.00

1000.00
0
-0.5

Drawdown ( m )

-1
-1.5
-2
-2.5

-3
-3.5
-4
-4.5
-5

Distance ( r ) from well ( m )

O-Cell test

Net Load is the load obtained form the O-Cell

Conclusions
According to API procedures, the allowable pile capacities for skin friction
should be assigned with great care. Skin friction piles are being widely
used in the west coast of Saudi Arabia where the sub-soil strata are
dominated by carbonate soils.
Therefore, low skin friction values are assigned with a safety factor of 2.
The sub-soil condition encountered at site generally comprised of coral
formation described as silty sand/gravel. The consistency of the coral
layers was loose to dense.
Therefore, all pile foundations are generally penetrated through the coral
formation. For the design of friction piles in coral formations such as
prevailing at the current site, a conservative value for the skin friction is
used.
Moreover, the adequacy of the designed pile capacity should be verified
by performing Pilot Pile Load Tests on test piles as well as working piles.
Further, Pile Integrity Tests (PIT) and sonic tests must be performed on
selected piles to ensure the good quality of pile construction.

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