I wrote about British firm Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering last month. That post focused on their use of geothermal in drilled piles. This month, I want to take a look at a precast pile cutting method the company says has the potential to reduce waste to zero.

“We are totally committed to driving down waste and improving the efficiency of our service and this new technique for precast pile cutting is a highly effective way to do this,” said Balfour Beatty Managing Director Malcolm O’Sullivan.

Waste from the cutting of precast piles pales in comparison to the carbon dioxide emissions from manufacturing, moving to site and installation. But, smart cutting minimizes the overall feet (or meters) of pile used and that adds up.

Balfour Beatty says its smart, diamond-cut system added up to 3,600 meters of pile saved on a recent project in Scotland. A meter not used is a meter not manufactured, and the company says each meter produced creates between 40 and 60 kilograms of CO2 emissions (between manufacture and delivery to jobsite). For those on the United States side of the Atlantic, that’s almost 160 short tons.

If you’re curious, check out this white paper that talks all about construction waste. It says the typical pile generates 0.16 kilograms of CO2 during construction, and another 1.37 tons of CO2 in installation. Much of that is attributed to the crawler crane and auger.

Waste is waste and I commend the company and Finnish partner Junttan, which developed the cutter, for finding a way to work smarter.

“I am delighted at the help that our key suppliers Junttan have been able to provide, working closely with our innovations team to ensure we can provide a leading service to our customers which meets their sustainability objectives while delivering value for money,” O’Sullivan said.

Balfour Beatty developed and tested the new system at its main factory in Bottesford, United Kingdom. The patent-pending system is in use on two of the company’s piling rigs. For more about the company, visit their website.

What do you think, foundation people? Are similar methods in use elsewhere? In the United States? I’m always interested to hear about the latest innovations. Email me at verduscoj@bnpmedia.com

 Stay safe out there, drillers.