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Proceedings of the 1st Marine Energy Technology Symposium

April 10-11, 2013, Washington, D.C.


Amir Rahim
NGI, Inc.
Houston, TX, USA


author: amir.rahim@ngi-inc.com

The Geotechnical Sub-Committee of the ASCE
COPRI Marine Renewable Energy Committee is
preparing a general guide for foundation design.
The content of this paper is a brief summary of
what would be included in the guide document.
Existing foundation concepts include gravity
bases, monopiles, jackets/tripods and more
recently, floating turbines tethered to the seabed
with anchor lines.
At shallow water sites with suitable soils, gravity
bases have proven to be successful. Monopiles,
consist of a single large diameter steel driven pile,
have proven to be an efficient solution in water
depths up to 35m and have formed 75% of
existing turbine foundations worldwide. These
piles resist lateral wind and wave loadings
through cantilever action. From 35m to 60m
water depths, jacket structures have been used to
support the wind turbine super structure. The
jacket consists of a steel lattice frame founded on
piles under the legs of the structure. For deeper
deep waters, floating turbines moored by mooring
lines attached to suction anchors or driven pile
anchors may be suitable.
Included in the proposed guide are procedures
recommended for computing the axial and lateral
capacity of driven and suction piles, the
installation of driven and suction piles, and the
bearing capacity and settlement of gravity base
Unlike offshore foundation of oil installation
which are governed by soil capacity, foundations
of wind turbines tend to be governed by the
lateral and rotational foundation stiffness, which
controls the dynamic response of the turbinetower-foundation system.
There are mainly four most widely used
foundation types for offshore wind turbines.
These are gravity bases, monopiles, jacket

Robert F. Stevens
Fugro-McClelland Marine Geosciences, Inc.
Houston, TX, USA
foundations and mooring anchors for deep water
floating turbines. See Figure 1. Jacket foundations
and mooring anchors may consist of driven piles
or suction buckets.
Increasing Water Depth



Gravity Base






E.g. Beatrice,
E.g. Nysted

E.g. Arklow

E.g. Hywind,



In addition to water depth and soil conditions,

design concepts are often dictated by limitations
to construction, transportation, installation,
structure design life, safety class/group.
This guide document covers the important design
aspects including required design soil parameters,
determining failure mechanism and foundation
capacity to resist applied environmental loads,
evaluating foundation response to long term cyclic
loading, foundation stiffness, settlement and tilt,
and foundation installation and removal aspects.

A review of the relevant design standards is

presented with emphasis on soil investigations
and safety concepts. Several industry standards
and guidelines are discussed. The IEC 61400-3
standard is generally formulated and refers to ISO
19901-4, 19902 and 19903 for a more detailed
design. The DNV-OS-J101 is a comprehensive and
specifically written standard for the design of
offshore wind turbine foundations. The API
standard may also be used, though care is needed

since the API p-y and t-z curves are not validated
for large diameter piles and high-cyclic loading.
The cost of the wind turbine foundations could be
up to 45% of the total development cost.
Therefore, its one of the primary areas requiring
improved efficiency.
The following main design requirements need to
be considered:

Establish the basis for the design such as

applicable codes and rules, soil parameters,
foundation geometry, design load cases,
detailed bathymetry, requirements for scour
protection etc.
Installation of the foundation e.g. skirt
penetration, need for grouting (for GBS), pile
drivability (for driven piles) need for scour
protection, soil reaction contact stresses
during the installation phase etc. Also address
possible removal of the foundation, e.g.
methods for removal, skirt uplift resistance,
soil plugging etc.
Establish the load dependent soil design
strengths and calculate the foundation
capacity. Evaluate sliding stability for GBS.
Loads used are ultimate- (ULS) and the
accidental- (ALS) limit states. This should
determine the required dimensions and
weight of the foundation
Calculate the settlement and other permanent
displacements) of the foundation during the
design lifetime
Establish the vertical, horizontal and moment
load-displacement (or rotation) relationships
or spring stiffnesses. This is to be used for
soil-structure-interaction (SSI) analysis, soil
assessment, soil support for FLS check etc.
Establish the soil-foundation contact stress
distributions for the relevant load cases. This
would be used for the structural design of the
Addresses the geotechnical earthquake
engineering issues such as seismic response
liquefaction potential etc.


The geotechnical design of the foundation
should meet the requirements of one or more of
the following set of international standards:

IEC 61400-3, 2009-02 / Ed. 1

DNV-OS-J101, Feb 2013
GL-OW, June 2005 / Ed. 2
ISO 1990x

ISO 19901-4:2003
API RP 2GEO-2011 Geotechnical and
Foundation Design Consideration, 1st Edition,
April 2011. This is aligned with ISO 199014:2003 (Modified)

The design is based on the LRFD (Load and

Resistance Factor Design) method. Applicable load
factors L and material coefficients M are used for
the various Limit States considered.
For axial capacity of jacket piles, the material
coefficient m is only applied to the terms that
involve soil strength.

The limiting values for temporary and permanent

settlements, displacements and rotations (tilt) in
the serviceability limit state (SLS) should be
provided. For a GBS structure, the requirements
on the rotational stiffness of the foundation during
environmental loading might be of particular
relevance since the foundation stiffness is an
essential input to the calculation of eigen
frequencies of the structure.
Design loads
The characteristic external loads which the
foundation shall be designed for should include
both permanent loads, variable functional loads
and environmental loads.
The different codes define different limit states.
The limit states are defined as the conditions
beyond which a structure or structural component
will no longer satisfy the design requirements. The
following limit states may be investigated in a
driven pile design.

Ultimate limit state (ULS)

Accidental limit state (ALS)
Serviceability limit state (SLS)
Fatigue limit state (FLS)

The specific design load cases to be considered

vary between the different design codes
Load history input will be needed if degradation of
stiffness and strength of the soil is considered to
be of importance for design.

For the lateral soil response of driven piles, the

standard practice is to use cyclic p-y curves to
account for cyclic behavior of the soil.

The definitions of average Fa, cyclic Fcy, peak Fpeak

and trough load Ftrough are shown in Figure 2.

A common foundation axis system should be

established. In general, loads at seabed level can
be collected in a 6 component vector F = [Fx, Fy,
Fz, Mx, My, Mz].



It is necessary to check different load

combinations and loading directions to find the
most critical load condition for the different
buckets. It is therefore also important to discuss
with the structural designers whether there is a
domination load direction with respect to the
orientation of the platform. A typical layout of
suction bucket jacket is shown in Figure 3.


The geotechnical investigation is generally
performed by drilling a borehole to pre-selected
depths and downhole equipment which is lowered
to the bottom of the borehole to perform sampling
and in-situ testing. Cone penetration tests (CPTs)
are often used in combination with drilling and
sampling techniques. Typical borehole depths
range from about 30 m (for jack-up leg
penetration analyses) to about 100 m (for
platform foundation pile studies).
investigation may consist of a single borehole with
alternating testing and sampling, separate
boreholes for testing and sampling, or multiple
The soil investigation shall comprise of:

Soil description and classification

Determination of shear strengths and
deformation properties
Determination of consolidation parameters
and soil permeabilities
Assessment of the stiffness and damping



The local moments on each bucket or pile are

calculated based on rotational foundation spring
stiffnesses for each bucket. Due to the non-linear
behavior of the soil, it is important that these
moments are calculated for springs that are
representative for the actual load level and load
history. In the verification of the bearing capacity
in ULS or ALS these local moments may be
reduced to zero if these local moments are not
required due to structural aspects.
The foundation loads may initially be established
from global analyses of the structure assuming
pinned footing, i.e. vertical and horizontal fixity
(no rotational fixity) at the bottom of each leg.
These analyses should later be repeated with
representative soil springs in order to check the
effects of the actual flexibility of the bucket
foundations. If the loads change significantly the
analysis should be repeated with high and low
estimates of the soil spring stiffnesses.

Geotechnical design parameters include for each

Total unit weight
Pore water pressure
Cone penetration tests (CPT) resistance
Sensitivity (clays), ie undrained intact and
remolded shear strength
Plasticity (clays)
In situ relative density and grain size
distribution (sands)
Angle of internal friction at representative
stress level (sands)
Water content and Atterberg limits
Over-Consolidation-Ratio, OCR
In addition, for the wider and shorter suction
buckets and monopiles, the following parameters
are needed:
Dilatancy angle at representative stress level
Permeability as function of void ratio
representative stress levels
Anisotropic static (monotonic) undrained
shear strengths.

Cyclic contour diagrams of strains (clay &

sand) and pore pressures (sand)
Cyclic shear strengths which account for:
o Effective stress level
o Drainage condition and load history
o Stress path direction
o Combination of average and cyclic loads
o Cyclic degradation
The cyclic shear strength is load and load history
dependent and is assessed on the basis of the
shear strain and pore pressure contour diagrams
in Figure 4 and Figure 5 as part of the bearing
capacity or horizontal sliding capacity checks.


It should be noted that the CPT-methods

recommended by API RP 2GEO are fundamentally
better and have shown statistically closer
prediction of pile test results than the traditional
methods in older API revisions for piles in sand.

The increase in pile skin friction with time is due

to at least three different processes listed below:



1%3% 15%=cy










Number of cycles

(d) 0.20

The consideration whether an open ended pile is

plugged during driving or not is based on the
general observation that open ended piles seldom
plugs during driving through homogeneous soil
profiles. Inhomogeneous and layered profiles
need case specific consideration.

Soil set-up effect may be evaluated based on

published methods such the NGI-05 method for



the CPT based methods use a different set of

formulae, and they make different assumptions in
order to determine if an open-ended pile is
plugged or coring.



0.5 re enve

up /



vc =0





1000 10000

Number of cycles




For single piles, axial compression capacity
may be evaluated by using any of the methods
detailed in Section C.8.1 of API RP 2GEO.
Some of these methods use the CPT resistance
near the pile tip to find the tip resistance. Each of

1) Thixotropic Strength Gain

2) Consolidation and Dissipation of Excess PWPs
3) Ageing Under Constant Effective Stresses

Other effects such as strain-softening should also

be considered.
The effect of cyclic loading is likely to be small. API
RP 2GEO expresses a similar opinion in the
commentary C8.3.2.3:
"For most fixed offshore platforms supported on
piles, experience has proven the adequacy of
determining pile penetration based on static
capacity evaluations, and static ultimate design
loads and commonly accepted factors-of-safety
that, in part, account for the cyclic loading
There is at present limited bases for similar
methods in sand. The effect of cyclic loading will
primarily be related to the wall friction capacity,
for two reasons: 1) on the tension side the wall
friction is the only contribution to the capacity
(plus the pile weight), and 2) wall friction is
mobilized for a significantly smaller displacement
than end bearing.

Lateral pile support may be modeled as non-linear

soil springs in a beam-column program (eg NGIs
SPLICE program). This models the p-y curves,
where p is the local lateral stress (kPa) against
the pile, and y is the lateral displacement (m).
The API recommendations may be used to
calculate p-y curves for both sand and clay layers.

Cyclic p-y curves are used for the in-place jacket

analysis. Static p-y curves are used for ship impact
Pile group effect should be considered when piles
are closely spaced. The capacity of a group of piles
may be smaller than the sum of the individual
piles. This is referred to as group efficiency.

cyclic shear stresses cy for triaxial compression

and extension stress paths.

In the Serviceability Limit State (SLS), the

maximum displacement of the foundation should
be checked. Characteristic loads (i.e. with all
partial load factors equal to unity) and material
properties are used. Soil response is normally
modeled by standard p-y, t-z and q-d curves.



Radiation and hysteresis damping should also be

considered in the FLS calculations.

The ratio for different elements along a potential

failure surface, see Figure 7, may then be found by
checking both equilibrium under the average
loads and the under the peak loads, and assuming
strain compatibility of the maximum average and
the peak (failure) shear strains. This procedure is
described in Andersen [2]. Even more accurate
ratios may be found by finite element analyses.

In the fatigue limit state (FLS), the structure is

checked against failure due to fatigue damage. To
check the effect of soil support or fixity on the
stress distribution in the above structure,
equivalent elastic high and low estimates of the
soil stiffness for a realistic load level should be
The capacity a bucket foundation may be
checked by either limit equilibrium methods,
bearing capacity equations or the finite element
method. It is essential to find the most critical
failure mode.
Clays can generally be considered as undrained
under the environmental loads, while sand often
can be considered as undrained during one single
cycle component of the environmental loads.

For clays the degree of drainage under the dead

weight of the platform (permanent loads) before
application of the design loads needs to be
checked in order to utilize the increase in strength
due to the weight of the platform. In this case it is
important to know whether the foundation base
should be considered as sealed or not for the
actual consolidation period.

In order to account for the correct ratio between

the average and the cyclic components of the peak
design load one may as a simplification assume
the same ratio between the maximum average and
the maximum cyclic shear stress as the ratio
between the average and cyclic loads. This ratio is
then used to find the cyclic shear strength, f,cy =
(a + cy)f, for compression, direct simple shear and
extension stress paths. This procedure is
illustrated in Figure 6 for a condition where the
average (undrained) shear stress a is equal to the




Triax ext.

Triax comp.





The effect of cyclic degradation before application

of the peak cyclic loads may be found by
calculating the equivalent number of cycles of the
maximum cyclic load components that gives the
same degradation as the actual loading history.


Checks of the foundation bearing capacity and
sliding stability are done for the environmental
loads in the ultimate limit state ULS and
sometimes for the accidental limit state ALS if that
load case may be governing. This provides a basis
for the assessment of the required minimum
submerged weight (on-bottom weight) W' of the
structure, the need for ballast, the need for skirts
and sometimes the foundation area.

Loads to be considered are the permanent loads,

the environmental or functional loads with
components of average and cyclic.

For most GBS foundations the soil will be

essentially undrained for at least one single cycle
and the bearing capacity/sliding check will then
be based on the undrained cyclic shear strength
f,cy using a total stress approach. The strength
definition and the laboratory data typically
required for establishing the strength is given in
Andersen [2]. The cyclic strength f,cy is defined as
f,cy = (a + cy)f, at Neq number of cycles. The
equivalent number of cycles Neq accounts for both
the degrading effect of increasing number of
cycles of load and the strengthening effect of
drainage through dissipation of pore pressure
with time for partial drained loading. Neq
expresses the number of cycles of the peak load
that would have the same degrading effect as the
total number of cycles N of the design storm at
different load levels.


The combined vertical and lateral capacity of
the monopile should be checked by 3D finite
element analyses. Preliminary checks can be
performed using an idealized beam soil spring
The shear strengths to be used in the capacity
analyses depend on whether the soil is drained
under the weight of the structure (permanent
loads), under the average operating and
environmental design loads or the cyclic
environmental design loads. Clays can generally
be considered as undrained under the
environmental loads, while sand often can be
considered as undrained during one single load
The effect of drainage may be checked by coupled
pore water flow and stress equilibrium
(consolidation) finite element analyses. This may
be done by using the material model including the
effect of accumulated pore pressure.
The effect of cyclic degradation before application
of the peak loads may be found by calculating the
equivalent number of cycles of the maximum
cyclic load components that gives the same
degradation as the actual design load history.

The equivalent number of cycles is found by a

pore pressure or cyclic shear strain accumulation
procedure, for example as described in Andersen
[2]. For sand it is necessary to take into account
the effect of drainage during the pore pressure

In clay the roughness or adhesion factor is

affected by the set-up effect after installation. This
adhesion factor along piles can for instance be
found in API RP 2GEO.
In sand the maximum shear stress at the steel-soil
interface can be taken as:
f,inf = K tan v

Where K according to API can be taken equal to

0.8 and is the interface friction angle which
depends on the relative density of the soil.


Settlements are usually not an important issue for
piled jacket structures, since the weight of the
structure is small compared to the vertical
loading. For other types of foundations, the
permanent and cyclic settlements, displacements
and tilt may need to be evaluated. This is done for
the serviceability limit state SLS. The
requirements and allowable values have to be
provided by the Client.

The settlements and displacements of the

foundations are obtained from the following





Immediately settlements during application

of additional weights after installation of the
Settlements during consolidation of excess
pore pressure after application of additional
weights after installation of the buckets
accumulated shear deformations during
cyclic loading.
Settlements due to dissipation of
accumulated pore pressure due to cyclic
Displacements during application of the
maximum average design loads
Cyclic displacement amplitudes during
application of the cyclic design loads

It is generally required to consider the entire lifetime of the platform.

The settlements and permanent displacement due

to volumetric strains can be calculated by using an
oedometer modulus M and a Poisson ratio
representative for the actual stress level and
stress changes. This also means that M and will
be different during virgin loading, unloading and
The displacements under the average and cyclic
loads can also be established from the foundation
spring stiffnesses established in the next section.

If displacements are found to be critical for the

design it may be necessary to calculate the
displacements by finite element analyses. Proper
material models for describing the stress-strain
relationship of the different soil layers are then
Severe earthquakes will also impose cyclic loading
on the soil and will result in additional


The global stiffness of the foundation will be
represented by soil springs connected to the
center point at seabed level. For general load
conditions the stiffness is represented by a 6x6
matrix, defined by 3 independent displacement
degrees of freedom (two horizontal and one
vertical) and 3 independent rotational degrees of
freedom (rotation about two horizontal axes and
rotation about the vertical axis). Due to the nonlinear behavior of the soil, the stiffnesses depend
on the actual load level.

To avoid coupling terms, e.g. coupling between

horizontal displacements and rotations, the
stiffnesses may be establish at a de-coupling point
instead of at the seabed. A de-coupling point is a
point where a horizontal load can be applied to an
individual caisson without resultant rotation of
the caisson.
Foundation stiffnesses can in general be evaluated
for all limit states (ULS, SLS, FLS and ALS) and
loading conditions based on the need of the
structural engineer for soil-structure-interaction
Typically, foundation stiffnesses are provided for
dynamic analysis, earthquake loading and fatigue
assessments. These foundation stiffnesses will be
established by non-linear 3D finite element
High/low estimates of stiffnesses should be
assessed and implemented when the results of the
analyses are sensitive for variation of foundation
stiffnesses. e.g. in a soil-structure-interaction
analysis intended used for structural checks of
ULS, or in an analysis used for assessment of
dynamic amplification of loads. Thus uncertainties
in soil properties are taken into account but
material factors are not used directly.
Generally low foundation stiffnesses are critical
for offshore structures subjected to wave loading.
However, high foundation stiffness can be
governing as they are subjected to lower period
(2-5 sec) loading from wind and turbine. A high
stiffness with no cyclic degradation may therefore
be critical and will also be evaluated.


The current state of the art hydraulic
hammers can handle pile diameters with up to 6m
diameter using anvil-connector sleeve. These
hammers have rated energies of up to 2000 kJ.

Determining an appropriate hammer for each site

is a complex process that requires the
geotechnical engineer to determine the likely
blow counts and driving stresses for a given
hammer-pile-soil configuration. If the predicted
response is within acceptable limits then the
hammer is appropriate for the task. Part of this
process involves predicting the soil resistance to
driving (SRD), which is calculated using empirical
design approaches such as Toolan and Fox [3],
Stevens et al. [4] and Alm and Hamre [5].
Pile self-weight penetration is estimated using the
lower bound coring case for clay and the lower
bound plugged case for sand computed using
Stevens et al. [4].

Alternatively, the pile skin friction for clay layers

will be taken equal to the measured remolded
strength. In case reliable test results are not
available, the -value (= skin / su intact) to be used in
clays will be calculated based on the SHANSEP
model as detailed in API.
In case well documented experience that involves
similar piles and soils exist, the results found by
the above methods will be adjusted to reflect such
The pile tip resistance acting against the pile wall
is 9 su in clay layers, where su is the undrained
shear strength.
Effects due to any special conditions, e.g. an
internal pile driving shoe or internal pile surface
treatment, may be taken into account.
The assessment of expected pile self-weight
penetration will be carried out without and with
the hammer placed on the pile. The time between
pile stabbing and docking of the hammer on top of
the pile may cause a set-up effect on the pile skin
friction that will be taken into account.
Several methods are available for calculating the
pile tip resistance and skin friction in sand layers,
e.g., the methods listed in API RP 2GEO.
Program GRLWEAP, Pile Dynamics [6], may be
used for the pile driving analysis. The purpose of
this analysis is to:
Demonstrate that piles can be driven to
required tip depth by the selected hammers.
Determine pile steel stresses and blow count.
These stresses/blow counts will be used by
the jacket designer to assess the pile fatigue
damage caused by pile driving.

The outside skin friction force equals the value

calculated by the API code, multiplied by an
empirical factor , i.e. = dynamic skin friction /
static skin friction. For assumed values of one
may use the GRLWEAP program to find a
predicted pile driving resistance. The value of
needs to be determined from back-analysis of
relevant practical experience, i.e. observed driving
resistance from jacket pile or anchor pile
installations with similar soils, piles and hammers.
Such back-analysis may typically result in an range of 0.35-0.85, highest for soil profiles with
mainly sand.
Input on damping and pile tip quake are to a large
extent based on literature references.
Common values from the literature are as follows:

The skin friction damping J is calculated as J

=0.2+0.4Q clay/Q skin (sec/m), where Q clay is the
static skin friction force from clay layers, and Q skin
is the total static skin friction force.

The skin friction and pile tip quake are both taken
as 2.5 mm (0.1 inch), where quake is the
displacement needed to fully mobilize the
The pile tip resistance acting against the pile wall
is 9su in clay layers and 0.5 times the measured
CPT tip resistance qc in sand layers. If the tip
resistance qc exceeds the capacity of the
equipment used, qc is taken as the maximum of
qc measured and 100 MPa.
Alternative methods for calculation of soil
resistance during pile driving are given by Stevens
et al. [4], Dutt et al. [7] and Alm & Hamre [5].
These methods may be used as a supplement.

Pile Hammer Data

The GRLWEAP program contains a library of
standard offshore hammers. In addition the user
can specify particular hammer properties, if

Presentation of Results
Pile driving resistance is expressed as number of
blows / 25 cm. Calculated pile steel stresses along
the pile are presented for the selected hammer,
efficiency, soil type (Best estimate and "High
estimate) and pile tip depth. The results may also
include effects of pile set-up due to a hammer
Detailed results from the GRLWEAP runs that
include plots of steel stresses versus time during a
single hammer blow will be provided for the
jacket designer to assess the fatigue damage due
to pile driving.

Pile removal
Different requirements may apply with respect to
removal and disposal of offshore structures.
For instance in the North-East Atlantic Sea
regulations have been established by Convention
for the Protection of the Marine Environment of
the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) with respect to
removal and disposal of offshore structures.


In order to check the feasibility and the
required suction to install the skirt to the required
penetration depth the following calculations
should be performed:

Calculation of penetration resistance;

If the penetration resistance is larger than the
available weight (vertical load) at the top of
each bucket, the maximum required suction to
be applied inside the skirt compartment in
order to achieve the target penetration depth
must be calculated;
If suction needs to be applied, calculate the
maximum allowable suction, ie maximum
suction before unacceptable soil heave inside
the skirt compartment or piping channels
around the skirts develops;
Calculate the soil heave inside the skirt
compartment, ie soil displaced upwards
inside the bucket due to penetration of the
steel structure into the ground. The total skirt
length must take into account the effect of soil
heave inside the bucket;
For sand layers, estimate the change in relative
density due to the penetration of the skirts.

These analyses will be carried out for the Best

estimate and a High estimate soil strength
profiles. For skirt penetration in sand with applied
suction, the effect of pore water flow is taken into
account. This gives reduced friction inside the
buckets and reduced tip resistance and somewhat
increased friction along the outer skirt walls.
The penetration resistance of internal stiffeners, if
present, needs to be considered.
Layered soils are a challenge with respect to
installation of skirted foundations by use of
suction. In such case special attention must be
given to water flow from outside the bucket and
possible internal soil plug heave. The penetration
rate and pump performance may be crucial in this
The skirt penetration resistance is calculated as
the sum of side shear and bearing capacity as
given below:
Qside + Qtip
Qtot =

The procedures for computing Qside and Qtip

depend on the soil conditions, ie clay or sand.
Required suction
The required suction to be applied within the skirt
compartment is calculated using the expression:
ureq =

(Qtot V) / Ain

Required suction
ureq =
V = Effective vertical load (weight) at the
top of the bucket
Plan view inside area where
Ain =
suction is applied.

Allowable suction
Clay layers
In order to reduce the possibility of large soil
heave inside the bucket, and to include some
safety margin against penetration refusal, the
maximum allowable suction, ua, that may be
applied within the bucket, is given as:
ua = Nc su,tipAV + Ainside su DSS /Ain

where the utilization factor, , controls the degree

of mobilized average shear stress along a critical
failure surface involving soil flowing into the
bucket. The bearing capacity factor, Nc, is taken as
9 at penetration depths larger than 2.5 times the
bucket diameter.
Sand layers
When the critical gradient is reached and the
vertical effective stress inside the skirt is reduced
to zero, there is a potential for piping and
channeling to occur. Piping and channeling would
make it impossible to increase the suction and
inhibit further skirt penetration. There is also a
potential for loosening the sand giving reduced
density and increased permeability of the sand
inside the skirt compartment.
The soil heave inside the skirts during installation
may be estimated by assuming that the clay
replaced by the skirts and stiffeners goes into the
skirt compartment:
Removal of suction buckets
If relevant, the design will include an evaluation of
geotechnical aspects related to the removal of the
structure and foundation.


Generally a check of the foundation bearing
capacity/sliding stability is performed for loading
in the installation phase, e.g. prior to assembly of
tower and turbine and before the turbine is set
into operation. It takes some time to get all the
ballast in place, and for clay soils it take time to
obtain the strengthening effect of full
consolidation for the weight. Full strength may not
have been obtained, however usually a less severe
load case can be considered for this phase. For oil
and gas structures the 10 year return period
storm is sometimes used. Grouting of the
underbase to fill the soil voids may be needed.
Scour protection may also be necessary. It should
also be noted that installing the GBS will affect the
soil properties strength and consolidation
parameters. The design may also include steps for
potential removal of the GBS.
Monopiles are driven piles and the procedure
for installation is identical to that in Section 10
above. The only difference is that a monopile is a
single and no jacket is used with a monopile


Soil reactions against the structural members
(e.g. base plate and skirts) should be evaluated.
These reactions are used for structural design of
the foundation and in general all design conditions
and limit states should be considered. In practice,
the governing design conditions will be identified
in collaboration with the structural designer.
The soil reactions magnitude and distribution will
be estimated from conservative variations in
strength, stiffness, seabed unevenness, soil
variability and accounting for installation effects.
Conservative idealized distributions will be
established and based on engineering judgment,
elastic theory, limiting equilibrium and finite
element analyses. Examples of such idealized
stress distributions are shown in Figure 8 or pure
drained vertical loading. High and low estimates
of the different stress components must be given
in order to account for uncertainties in the actual

The skirt resistance for uplift will be calculated

using the same procedures as for skirt
penetration, however, including the actual time
dependent setup strength. The possibility of soil
plugging in-between the skirts and the added soil
weight during uplift will be evaluated.

floating platforms tethered to the seabed with

mooring lines. Design procedures are summarized
for computing the axial and lateral capacity of
driven and suction piles, their installation, and the
bearing capacity and settlement of gravity base
structures. References are made to published data
and relevant industry codes.

Effects of earthquakes should be considered
for foundations intended to be installed in areas
that are considered seismically active.
Appropriate foundation stiffnesses for this
purpose should be used. In addition, if it turns out
that the soil damping has a significant effect on the
response, it would be computed by using
analytical methods or special-purpose computer
codes such as SASSI (1981) or SUPELM (1982).
The site specific earthquake motion may be
described by the peak ground acceleration and the
response spectra specified in the applicable code.
Usually, earthquake acceleration records histories
are given at the deep bedrock below seabed.
Therefore, site response analyses would be
needed by using an equivalent linear method, such
as in program SHAKE in order to compute the
earthquake design motions on the seabed.
The foundation performance, including bearing
capacity or sliding resistance, should in general be
checked for the Extreme Level Earthquake (ELE)
under ULS criteria and the Abnormal Level
Earthquake (ALE) for ALS conditions.
If the soil is prone to liquefaction, then this should
be assessed based on the type of available data.
The methods include those based on field test data
such as CPT and SPT, and those based on lab
It is recommended that instrumentation and
monitoring systems be installed to check the
foundation performance for the installation and
operational phase. Such systems may monitor the
vertical and lateral displacement of the
foundation, tilt, pore pressures inside suction
bucket foundation and verification that the valve
system remains sealed in such foundations.
Marine renewable energy foundations include
gravity bases, monopiles, jacket structures, and

The writers wish to express sincere thanks to
NGI colleagues for their valuable contributions,
particularly Karl Henrik Mokkelbost, Hans Petter
Jostad, Lars Andersen, and Morten Saue.

[1] Houlahan, G., Doherty, P., Stevens, R.F.,
Identifying Some Knowledge Gaps in Marine
Foundation Practice - A Design and Construction
Perspective OTC 23635, May 2012

[2] Andersen K.H. (2009)

Bearing capacity under cyclic loading-offshore,
along the coast, and on land. The 21st Bjerrum
Lecture presented in Oslo, 23 November 2007.
Can. Geotech. J (46), pp. 513-535.

[3] Toolan, F. E. and D. A. Fox (1977)

Geotechnical planning of piled foundations for
offshore platforms, Proceedings of the Institution
of Civil Engineers, London Part 1(62).

[4] Stevens, R. F. Wiltsie, E.A., and Turton, T.H.

Evaluating Pile Drivability for Hard Clay, Very
Dense Sand, and Rock, Proceedings, 14th Offshore
Technology Conference, Houston, Vol. 1, pp. 465481.

[5] Alm, T., and Hamre, L. (2001).

Soil model for pile driveability predictions based
on CPT interpretations.
Proc., The 15th Int. Conf. on Soil Mech. and
Geotech. Eng., Istanbul, Vol.3, 1297-1302
[6] GRLWEAP (2005)
"GRLWEAP, Wave Equation Analysis of Pile
Driving, Procedures and Models, Version 2005".

[7] Dutt., R.N., Doyle, E.H., Collins, J.T.

A Simple Model to Predict Soil Resistance to
Driving for Long Piles in Deepwater Normally
Consolidated Clays. OTC, 1 May 1995, Houston,
Texas. ISBN 978-1-61399-090-2
Geotechnical and Foundation Design
Considerations, 1st Edition, April 2011