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Volume2 Issue5

Knowledge Tree FillingManage the Menace

May 2010

From Editors
Dear Readers,

We believe Awareness is the key to success and we wish to spread the What is earth work ? Earth work is the base & first activity in any construction work. This involves both excava- knowledge through this tion , grading & filling activities. Careful planning , understanding & execution are the key Knowledge tree to enhance factors for successful completion of job. As in any work Quality of materials used deter- the readers knowledge & mines the quality of work being executed & earthwork is not an exception. thus improve the works quality being delivered to Earth work are involved in the following ( but not limited to )construction works customers. Building construction works : In this issue we are pre Site grading senting the article on Foundation excavations ( for small / medium or Heavy foundations ) earth work which is the primary work in any civil Backfilling in excavated trenches construction. Plinth filling inside the building & plinth protection. Many a times the impor Internal roads tance of this work is lost & many issues like settle Infrastructure works: ments / cracks / fail Construction of embankments in roads , rail , ponds , earthen dams Etc. ures / stability loss are Approach roads / intersections or retaining walls Etc. noted latter.

Why earth work ? Earth is relatively cheaper than any other manufactured materials Abundantly available in nature Easy to handle & compact. General construction machinery is sufficient & doesn't require high skilled operators
or workmen.

We have highlighted the importance of this work in the construction & gave details of what , where why & how of the earth work.

Apart from earth other materials like fly ash / pond ash sinters can also be used in con- We wish to inform you that readers views are bestruction. ing taken up for publica What kind of materials are suitable ? tion from this month. Please send your feed All soils except the one mentioned below are suitable for any embankment construction( for backs or comments & artirail / Road ) cles for inclusion.

As per MORTH
(For earthen embankment)

As per Railway Spec.

(For earthen Embankment )

General Construction works

for filling in plinth / area filling

With Best wishes KSV & TSRBR

Expansive soils ( Free Swell Index > 50 ) Soils / clay having Liquid limit > 70 & PI > 45 ( as per MORTH ) Materials from swamps or marshes or bogs

Organic clays / silts

Black cotton soils

Peat , chalk , dispersive Soils

Expansive soils

Poorly graded gravel & sand with uniformity coefficient < 2 Clay & silts of High Plasticity ( CH & MH ) in top 3 m of embankment.

Marshy soil

Flyash & any other Suitable material can also be used for filling.

Perishable materials like peat , log , stump ( OL , OI , OH , PT ) Materials subjected to spontaneous combustion Materials in frozen state Materials having salts subjected to leaching

Soils having LL > 70 & PI > 45

Soil from sea or dredged sand may often be used with due care.

Developed by KSV & TSRBR , for Internal circulation of L&T ECC DivisionE&GP OC. For any Suggestions or Queries Please write to or

How to select the materials?

Soil classification
Gradation analysis Atterberg limits Specific gravity Once at source a p pr ov a l & for e v e r y 5 0 0 0 cum or change of material source or layer

The materials are naturally occurring materials & vary in properties to a large extent based on its

! Formation !! Layer depth !!! Proximity to water bodies !!!! Geological History Etc.

Chemical tests
Sulphate / chloride

Compaction properties
Bulk density Maximum dry density optimum moisture content

Hence different properties of the materials shall be studied before finalizing the suitability for filling in foundations or plinth or embankment construction. Materials shall be selected based on the test results as per the table. Material shall be sampled from the source through trial pits / stacks. Representative sampling shall be ensured.

Shrinkage Limit tests

Once during source approval or change of source

Once per every 5000 cum or layer / source change

The properties of the soil shall be verified once at the time of Source Approval & regularly at every 5000 cum / change of source or layer change. Fly ash can also be used as filling material. The acceptance criteria for the same is as mentioned in table1 of IRC SP 58.

How to carry Filling ?

Before starting work During work

Table1 of IRC SP 58

For any filling Activity the following rules shall be followed. After filling

The area shall be made free from For Embankment construction: vegetation / grass / roots Mark the toe line with 500mm more than required width. Construction debris if any shall be removed. Water logging shall be removed & dried ( Except for sand filling ) Marshy materials hall be removed.

Conduct the FDD test at every 200 m2 for the top 1m of Subgrade & at every 500 m2 for below 1m. ( as per railway Spec ) One test for every 500m2 as per MORTH. Dress the side slopes of the embankment after completion of construction.

Fill the selected approved material from borrow areas in layers not exceeding 200- 300 mm as per trial stretch results. Check the NMC of soil & bring this to OMC before compaction. Compact the layers using 12T Vibro rollers with number of passes as per the trials.

For Area filling:

Area shall be demarcated using pegs.

Mark the layer thickness & spread the soil of thickness not more than 250 mm loose for 10 T Vibro roller or as per trials. Compact the surface with smooth wheeled rollers / sheep foot rollers.

Layer thickness & compaction equipments suitability shall be determined through trial Stretch tests.

For foundation side / trench Filling :

Remove all debris before starting any filling. Lay the soil in layers not exceeding 150 mm for plate compactor 100 mm for manual compaction

Take pre levels / NGL profiles

What are the compaction equipments & how they shall be used for better compaction ?
Based on the type of soil , thickness of layer the compaction equipment shall be selected. Trial Test for layer thickness , number of passes , equipment suitability shall be carried. As a general guideline the layer thickness & compaction equipment may be referred from table2 In no case hand compaction shall be carried.

Type & place of filling Foundation sides Over the foundation Plinth filling Area filling / embankmentsoil other than clayey soil Area filling/ embankment filling with clayey soil

Layer thickness 100mm 150mm 100- 150mm 200mm 100-150 mm 200-300mm

Compaction equipment Earth Rammer Plate compactor Plate compactor 3T Roller Plate compactor / 3 T roller 10-12T Vibro Roller

Smooth Wheeled Vibro roller

Sheep foot roller

150-250 mm

Sheep foot roller / tired roller

What are the important points to be followed during compaction?

All depressions or low pockets shall be filled in layers before starting the actual filling. 500mm extra width shall be made for ensuring edge compaction on all the works. After completion of all layers , The extra width shall be trimmed. For unidirectional slopes / super elevation areas the rolling shall start from lower edge & proceed towards upper edge.


For area filling / embankment construction :

Earth Rammer / compactor

For bi directional cross fall , the Rolling shall always start from the edge & continue towards centre of formation. Overlapping of passes shall be ensured by min. of 1/3rd the width of the roller for proper compaction & better surface. The speed of the roller shall not exceed 5km/Hr. The rolling shall start without vibration on the first 2 passes & then followed by vibration passes and end with no vibration pass. Top of the formation shall be finished to cross slopes & longitudinal slope as required per drawing. For railway embankments a cross slope of 1 in 30 shall be followed. Camber boards shall be used for checking the same. Layer thickness shall be marked on the foundation / column sides for better control. In case of deep foundations & small widths , sand filling shall be taken up instead of soil filling. For sand filling the layer shall be maintained with in 300400 mm & shall be saturated with water. For other works , the foundation sides shall be filled in layers & compacted using earth rammers or plate compactors.

For foundation side / top / plinth filling :

What testing's shall be carried & when ?

Every layer shall be tested for compaction achievement with respect to MDD & OMC. Core cutter / sand replacement / Nuclear density gauges ( NDG )shall be used for determining the compaction of layer. Sand replacement / NDG shall be used for cohesive less soils. As per railway spec. test shall be carried on each layer at every 200m2 for the top 1m of embankment & at 500m2 for rest . As per MORTH Spec, 1 test shall be carried for every 500m2. test shall be carried diagonally from one edge to other.

What are the defects & preventive methods in filling? Defects How to Prevent? How to rectify? Expose the surface to sun & bring it to OMC level before compaction Remove the debris & relay the fill.

Word Search

Filling car- Dry the area beried in fore filling slushy area Construction debris mixed in filling Educate the workers & remove the debris before starting the work

Black cotton soil used & Hand compaction No layer compaction , soil dumping

Test the soil before use & deploy correct machines for the compaction.

Remove the soil , use approved material & use plate compactors or rammers.

Mark the layer Remove the excess thickness on the layer & carry the near by structure compaction. or use pegs for the same.

Word Search :
14 words are hiding in this table Find out & send a mail to with your suggestions.


Select correct material for filling

works. Don't use highly expansive clays or black cotton soils for the filling. Test the soil from borrow pits before using them. If the soil is from excavated pit , don't stack it on the foundation edges. This leads to collapse of excavation sides & safety hazard. Clean the surface before starting the filling. Remove all debris , roots , plants / grass / vegetation / slush before starting the work. Mark the boundaries & carry the filling 500 mm beyond it in embankment for proper compaction of slopes. Trim the excess width only after completion of the full work. Don't allow any vehicle on the completed work. Start the compaction from edge and proceed to inside. Overlap the passes by 1/3rd the compactor width. Ensure correct Moisture content of the soil layer. Maintain the MC with in 2 % of OMC before compaction.

Your Voice:

Mr.Senthil kumar from MMHW

The way of presentation & contents are excellent in Knowledge Tree. Keep circulating. All the best.
Mr.SasisekarE&GP OC : Nice to go thru the content thru knowledge tree. It is a very good initiative and very useful for a person like me ,which creates more awareness. All the best!! V.M.Sundaram MMHW : Congrats Mr.Abdul ZubairGulf Operations : Im willing to write this Efflorescence article into my Tamil blog (simply translation). Please advise.

Keep writing. Your suggestions will improve this effort.

Disclaimer :

No part of this publication shall be reproduced without the written permission from the Editors. The views expressed here need not be the views of the L&T ECCD. L&T doesn't take any responsibility of what so ever for the views expressed by the Editors / Authors. This is for the internal circulation of L&T ECCD only.

t lity Dep ivil Qua C t c a t n me ts Con s / Com ie r e u q for any