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Best Practice

SABP-A-073 15 June 2016


Dynamic Compaction Design and Quality Control
Document Responsibility: Geotechnical Standards Committee

Contents
1 Introduction........................................................... 2
1.1 Purpose............................................................. 2
1.2 Scope................................................................ 2
1.3 Disclaimer.......................................................... 2
1.4 Conflicts with Mandatory Standards.................. 3
2 References............................................................... 3
2.1 Saudi Aramco References................................ 3
2.2 Industry Codes and Standards.......................... 3
2.3 Other References.............................................. 4
3 Dynamic Compaction Ground
Improvement Concept......................................... 4
4 Dynamic Compaction Process................................. 5
5 Material.................................................................... 7
6 Dynamic Compaction Design................................... 8
6.1 Depth of Treatment.......................................... 8
6.2 Number of Drops............................................. 8
6.3 Spacing............................................................ 9
7 Performance Control.............................................. 9
8 Key Features of Dynamic Compaction...................10
9 Specifications Compliance..................................... 10
9.1 Bearing Capacity Due to Vertical Load............11
9.2 Load Induced Settlement of Foundations........ 11
9.3 Liquefaction Analysis....................................... 12
10 Procedures for Dynamic Compaction.................... 12
10.1 Before Dynamic Compaction........................... 12
10.2 Dynamic Compaction Installation.................... 12
10.3 Dynamic Compaction Trials............................ 14
10.4 Surface Compaction........................................ 15
10.5 Compaction Evaluation.................................... 15
11 Quality Control and Quality Assurance.................. 15
11.1 Responsibilities................................................ 16
11.2 Quality Procedure............................................ 17

Previous Issue: New Next Planned Update: TBD


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Saudi Aramco 2016. All rights reserved


Document Responsibility: Geotechnical Standards Committee SABP-A-073
Issue Date: 15 June 2016
Next Planned Update: TBD Dynamic Compaction Design and Quality Control

Contents (cont'd)
12 Quality Control (QC) Documents........................... 21
12.1 Documents Before Dynamic Compaction........21
12.2 Documentation During Dynamic Compaction..21
12.3 Documentation After Dynamic Compaction.....22
12.4 QA/QC Method to Minimize Re-Compaction... 22
12.5 Reporting......................................................... 23
12.6 Reporting Sequence........................................ 24
13 Acronyms............................................................... 25
14 Appendix 1: Dynamic Compaction Daily Report.... 26
15 Appendix 2: Example of Inspection Test Plan........27

1 Introduction
1.1 Purpose

This Best Practice establishes guidelines and recommendations of the design and
quality control activities required for dynamic compaction ground improvement
works. This Best Practice is intended for Saudi Aramco engineers (mostly
Project Management Team and Project Inspection Team) and engineers working
on Saudi Aramco projects.

1.2 Scope

This Best Practice provides the recommended requirements for quality control
and quality assurance plans which are vital for a successful dynamic compaction
ground improvement program. The quality control process is ensuring the work
shall deliver a ground arrangement that should meet the requirements.

The plan performance program summaries the measures for the dynamic
compaction work, quality control documents these measures as well as the
testing conducted, and quality assurance involves evaluating the work and
testing and addresses any conformance issues.

1.3 Disclaimer

Using this Best Practice to monitor the dynamic compaction ground


improvement works for Saudi Aramco does not relieve the contractor from his
responsibility to verify the accuracy of any information presented or from his
contractual liability to provide safe and sound designs that conform to
Mandatory Saudi Aramco Engineering Requirements. The use of the
information herein does not guarantee that the resulting product will satisfy the
applicable requirements of any project. Saudi Aramco assumes no

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Document Responsibility: Geotechnical Standards Committee SABP-A-073
Issue Date: 15 June 2016
Next Planned Update: TBD Dynamic Compaction Design and Quality Control

responsibility or liability for any reliance on the information presented herein or


for designs prepared in accordance with this document.

1.4 Conflicts with Mandatory Standards

In the event of a conflict between this Best Practice and mandatory Saudi
Aramco engineering requirements such as procedures and standards, the
requirement documents shall govern.

2 References

This Best Practice is based on the latest edition of the references below, unless
otherwise noted.

2.1 Saudi Aramco References

Saudi Aramco Engineering Procedure


SAEP-383 Approving Third Party Testing Laboratories,
Geotechnical Engineering Offices and Batch
Plants

Saudi Aramco Engineering Standards


SAES-A-112 Meteorological and Seismic Design Data
SAES-A-113 Geotechnical Engineering Requirements
SAES-A-114 Excavation and Backfill
SAES-Q-007 Foundations and Supporting Structures for Heavy
Machinery

Saudi Aramco Construction Safety Manual

2.2 Industry Codes and Standards

American Society for Testing and Materials


ASTM D1556 Standard Test Method for Density and Unit Weight
of Soil in Place by the Sand Cone Method
ASTM D1586 Standard Test Method for Standard Penetration Test
(SPT) and Split-Barrel Sampling of Soils
ASTM D1587 Standard Practice for Thin-Walled Tube Sampling
of Soils for Geotechnical Purposes
ASTM D5778 Standard Test Method for Electronic Friction Cone
and Piezocone Penetration Testing of Soils

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Document Responsibility: Geotechnical Standards Committee SABP-A-073
Issue Date: 15 June 2016
Next Planned Update: TBD Dynamic Compaction Design and Quality Control

Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA)


CIRIA C573 A Guide to Ground Treatment
CIRIA C572 Treated Ground Engineering Properties and
Performance

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)


FHWA-SA-95-037 Dynamic Compaction

Institution of Civil Engineers


ICE Specification for Ground Treatment, 1987

2.3 Other References


Ground Improvement (1993) by M. P. Moseley

3 Dynamic Compaction Ground Improvement Concept

Dynamic compaction (sometimes referred to as heavy tamping, dynamic pre-


compression or dynamic consolidation) is a soil improvement technique densifying
natural soils and fills by means of a drop weight. The method comprises of repeated
lifting and dropping of a heavy weight from a pre-determined height on the points of a
grid pattern. The drop weight, either concrete or steel (usually about 2 m), is lifted by a
crane and repeatedly dropped on the ground surface. The points are typically positioned
on a grid pattern the spacing of which is determined not only by the subsurface soil
formations but also on foundations loading and geometry.

The process of dynamic compaction achieves deep ground densification using the
dynamic effects of high energy impacts resulting from the drop of large pounders.
The basic principle behind the technique consists of the transmission of high energy
waves through a compressible soil layer in order to improve at depth its geotechnical
properties. The improvement of soils when dynamic compaction is utilized based on
the soil type and energy input.

Dynamic compaction applications revealed that:


Within dry granular soils exhibits great performance.
Dry cohesive soils are also respond relatively well to dynamic compaction.
Treatment of granular soils below the groundwater level demonstrates a well
response efficiency but limited compared to that of treated soils within a dry state.
Soft natural clayey soils or clay fills below the water table display insignificant
improvement through the dynamic compaction treatment process.

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Document Responsibility: Geotechnical Standards Committee SABP-A-073
Issue Date: 15 June 2016
Next Planned Update: TBD Dynamic Compaction Design and Quality Control

This technique has been used for achieving the following:


To improve the bearing capacity/stiffness of the subsurface soils
To reduce total and differential settlements
To decrease liquefaction potential

In summary, substantial improvement to extensive depths can be accomplished by the


usage of dynamic compaction (especially for non-cohesive soils) often with significant
cost saving when compared to other soil mitigation measures.

4 Dynamic Compaction Process

Dynamic compaction typically is undertaken from a working platform consisting of


granular fill having a thickness ranged from 0.5 m to 1 m. This technique is carried out
by numerous compaction phases followed by a final ironing pass which is performed
with reduced drop height to ensure a homogeneous surface compaction. The dynamic
compaction procedures are established through trials based on which the optimum
compaction parameters are defined.

The deepest sub surface formations that require treatment benefit by the first tamping
phase through the utilization of a comparatively wide grid spacing as well as appropriate
drop numbers from the maximum crane height. An intermediate grid is then utilized for
taking care the treatment of the middle sub surface layers. The intermediate grid is
defined as the mid-point of the first tamping phase where improvement works being
undertaken with reduced both of drop height and number. Finally, an ironing pass is
undertaken on a continuous pattern for treating shallow/surface soil formations by
utilizing reduced drop heights. The tamping phases referred to deep and intermediate
layers can be sometimes combined/divided based on site-specific circumstances.

Dynamic compaction is using pounders with weights ranging from 10 tn to 40 tn


which are released in free fall from heights ranging from 10 m to 30 m. The grid
arrangement of the dynamic compaction points and the other parameters of the
treatment (e.g., energy, phases, passes, number of drops per point) depend on the
characteristics of the soils and the improvement required to support the future facilities
within the settlement tolerances. The repeated weight drops resulting on ground surface
depressions (or prints). Such depressions, up to 2 m in depth, are then backfilled by
granular material either on-site or imported. Induced settlements are measured by
monitoring soil quantities utilized to fill the depressions.

The dynamic compaction technique is capable of improving soils on various degrees


depending on their type and groundwater presence. Therefore, the following soil
categories are identified:

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Document Responsibility: Geotechnical Standards Committee SABP-A-073
Issue Date: 15 June 2016
Next Planned Update: TBD Dynamic Compaction Design and Quality Control

Granular Soils

When non-cohesive soils are concerned soil properties which are reinforced by
utilizing the dynamic compaction method are density, friction angle, and stiffness.
Dynamic compaction provides optimum results at soils which exhibit low saturation
and high permeability. Within such a scheme soil void ratio is reduced leading to an
increase of the relative density; hence, providing improved bearing capacity and
enhanced settlement characteristics.

Densification effects are fast enough at cases where the loose granular formations
are located above the groundwater table. Soil grains attain a denser state of packing
due to the repeated tamping effects. An element which usually develops within
coarse materials is the development of a hard plug beyond the prints which provides
significant settlement performance characteristics.

In case of granular soils presence below the groundwater table, then, densification
is also quick; however, not as fast as in the case of dry granular materials.
More specifically, the impact of heavy weights hitting the ground resulting on an
immediate dissipation of the excess pore water pressure, especially, when the
granular materials exhibit a high permeability. Generally, saturated non-cohesive
formations require an increased number of tamping passes as well as a higher
applied energy for achieving the required compaction specifications compared to
those corresponding to dry granular materials.

Granular materials that can densified through the dynamic compaction are usually
sand, gravels, and rarely building debris, waste fills, etc. Care shall been given to
the calcareous sand formations (which dominate within the Middle East region)
below the groundwater since excessive tamping results on particles crushing which,
in turn, leads to fine development.

Cohesive Soils

Cohesive materials behave different (more complex) during the dynamic


compaction method compared to the response that granular soils display.
The dynamic compaction technique is not applicable when cohesive materials
(either natural or fill) below the groundwater are concerned since either slight or
none improvement is observed. This is attributed to the low permeability (10-8 to
10-9 m/s) that those soils exhibit. A minor degree of improvement can be achieved
through a long time period which is; however, not practical when an immediate
compaction effect is required.

Soils in between Granular and Cohesive

There is a range of soils including silts of either clay or sandy nature where the
dynamic compaction technique can be applicable by using additional efforts in terms

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Document Responsibility: Geotechnical Standards Committee SABP-A-073
Issue Date: 15 June 2016
Next Planned Update: TBD Dynamic Compaction Design and Quality Control

of phases and passes. Such soil formations are, generally, exhibit permeability
ranging between 10-5 to 10-8 m/s. At such values the excess pore water pressure is
dissipated, however, on a lower rate. Therefore, sufficient time should be provided
for such action to be completed in between the various phases/passes. It is common
that a combination of soil treatment schemes are utilized at such cases for accelerating
the consolidation process through additional drainage paths, e.g., vertical drains.

5 Material

Dynamic compaction technique is mostly suitable for densifying non-cohesive soils.


This is attributed to the low permeability of material with excessive fines which not
allows the quick dissipation of pore water pressure.

The densification degree is monitored through the settlement of fill that it is occurred.
Normally, compaction is much more effective at the center of the developed
compaction point and decreases with radial distance. Depths which dynamic
compaction is applicable reaching not more than 15 m.

Before proceeding to the dynamic compaction treatment a suitable granular layer of


0.5 m to 1 m thickness is recommended to be placed over the site to provide a firm dry
working surface particularly in the case of very soft ground. The thickness of the
platform layer should be as less as possible for keeping the merits of effectiveness for
deep densification but at the same time providing the necessary support which is
required. At some cases for avoiding mixing of this platform layer with the ground
beneath usage of a geotextile layer at the interface can be employed.

The working platform granular material should have the following characteristics:
Hard, inert, free of clay and organic materials, and well graded
Containing not more than 10% by weight passing the No. 200 sieve
Have a maximum particle size of 200 mm

Additional fill may be required to maintain the level and thickness of the working
platform during the execution of dynamic compaction works. Both the thickness and
bearing capacity of the working platform should be sufficient enough to support the
compaction equipment.

Within the dynamic compaction technique additional granular soil materials which can
be either in-situ or imported should be supplied. Such material should comply with that
used within the granular platform. Above mentioned laboratory tests should be
undertaken following the corresponding ASTM standards.

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Document Responsibility: Geotechnical Standards Committee SABP-A-073
Issue Date: 15 June 2016
Next Planned Update: TBD Dynamic Compaction Design and Quality Control

6 Dynamic Compaction Design

Design of the dynamic compaction method should be addressed by the following:


Grid pattern spacing
Number of phases/passes as well as number of drops per treatment point
Treatment depth
Weight of the pounder mass
Drop height
Energy to be applied

Above mentioned parameters may be altered depending on the trial test results.

6.1 Depth of Treatment

Characteristic depths that can be improved by the application of dynamic


compaction are up to 10 m. Larger depths can be enhanced (up to 15 m) but
dedicated tools (weights>30 tn, drop heights>30 m, cranes>120 tn) should be
necessary.

The depth of treatment that can be reached by dynamic compaction can be


assessed from the succeeding relationship:

Where D = depth of improvement in meters


W = mass of pounder in tn
H = drop height in meters
n = empirical coefficient typically ranging from 0.35 to 0.80

For saturated pervious coarse grained soil to semi-pervious fine grained soils, a
value of n=0.5 is considered.

As the depth of treatment can differ across a project location above mentioned
parameters can be changed accordingly. Dynamic compaction should also be
prolonged to at least the distance of the compressible layer or depth of
compaction outside the facility area.

6.2 Number of Drops

The number of drops at each explicit drop place can be calculated as:

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Document Responsibility: Geotechnical Standards Committee SABP-A-073
Issue Date: 15 June 2016
Next Planned Update: TBD Dynamic Compaction Design and Quality Control

Where E = energy applied


N = number of drops at each specific drop point location
P = number of passes
A = grid spacing

6.3 Spacing

The improvement degree is mostly governed by the spacing of the dynamic


compaction works. Main objective of the dynamic compaction method is
satisfactory strength-density-incompressibility at places in between compaction
points with the least number of points (maximum spacing) to be undertaken.

The spacing of dynamic compaction points is based on the soils to be treated.


Loose soils are require smaller spacings compared to soils exhibit an initial
denser state of compaction.

The circular area of effective compaction from the point of treatment is depends
not only on soil properties but also on specific characteristics, e.g., applied
energy, pounder weight, drop height, etc.

Dynamic compaction is undertaken on a pre-determined point alignment usually


following a square grid pattern with points spread out at various distances
usually ranged between 3.5 m to 5 m. Determination of the optimum grid is
decided having completed trials where different spacings are tested.

7 Performance Control

Soil densities are increased when the dynamic compaction is utilized. The technical
requirements are measured by the level of densification achieved against the specified
project targets.

The degree of improvement depends on a number of factors such as existing soil


density, soil grading, equipment characteristics, and experience of personnel during the
execution. In-situ penetration tests should be used for verifying compliance to project
specifications. Such tests should be undertaken on treated ground between dynamic
compaction points and may include one or more of the following (in accordance to
ASTM standards):
Standard Penetration Test (SPT)
Dynamic Penetration Test (DPT)
Cone Penetration Test (CPT)
Pressure Meter Test (PMT)

Before proceeding to main production works within a dynamic compaction scheme,

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Document Responsibility: Geotechnical Standards Committee SABP-A-073
Issue Date: 15 June 2016
Next Planned Update: TBD Dynamic Compaction Design and Quality Control

trial(s) is undertaken for specifying optimum parameters to be utilized leading to


considerations of proper compliance of the project specifications at a most favorable
cost. Such trials usually include few grid spacings to be tested supplemented by both
pre/post quality control tests for verifying densification of the treated soils to adequate
limits. The degree of improvement achieved for each different spacing can be utilized
for design optimization.

Control of performance within dynamic compaction works is also determined through


the trial procedures. Such control is acquired by utilizing standardized procedures
establishing pounder weights, drop heights, number of phases/passes, and number of
drops per treatment point. Those parameters can be further adjusted within the main
production works being area soil-specific.

The grading of the materials to be used for filling the depressions should be tested in
accordance to ASTM standards.

8 Key Features of Dynamic Compaction

The key features within a dynamic compaction scheme are:


Effective on natural/fill soils above the groundwater table and a wide range of
saturated non-cohesive soil formations.
Not applicable for soft cohesive saturated deposits.
Should not be undertaken to a distance of, at least, 30 m from the closest existing
structure.
Increases in situ density and collapses voids.
Increases bearing capacity, reduces settlements, and mitigates liquefaction.
Spacing of the compaction points is a major factor of dynamic compaction design.
Penetration tests can be made before and after treatment to monitor the effectiveness
of the method.

9 Specifications Compliance

Design of dynamic compaction shall include the following items:


Objectives to be achieved in relation to technical requirements such as increased
bearing capacity, reduced settlement, and reduced liquefaction potential.
Improved soils geotechnical properties to be achieved including density, shear
strength, stiffness, and permeability for fulfilling above mentioned technical
requirements.

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Document Responsibility: Geotechnical Standards Committee SABP-A-073
Issue Date: 15 June 2016
Next Planned Update: TBD Dynamic Compaction Design and Quality Control

Criteria for acquiring dynamic compaction parameters such as pounder weight,


treatment depth, grid spacing, drop height, number of phases/passes, and number of
drops necessary to accomplish project technical requirements.
Based on improved soil properties as retrieved from the post quality control tests
technical requirements of bearing capacity, settlement, and liquefaction should be
justified through calculations for each specific case/post-test. Alternatively, goal
performance lines based on properties of the treated ground can be initially
established for skipping calculations at every single post quality control test
(optional).

9.1 Bearing Capacity Due to Vertical Load

The performance requirement will be checked by calculating the allowable


bearing capacity for a shallow foundation as provided within the project
conditions. The allowable bearing capacity will be derived from the ultimate
bearing capacity by applying a relevant safety factor.

In general the parameters used in the calculation of long-term bearing capacity


in non-cohesive soils are the cohesion and friction angle. The first is
conservatively considered to be zero in non-cohesive material. The effective
friction angle can be derived from laboratory testing or from relations with the
data acquired from the penetration tests.

9.2 Load Induced Settlement of Foundations

Overall settlement comprises of the various settlement elements. These settlement


elements, namely, static and dynamic, are taken from the contributions of vertical
imposed load upon a shallow footing and induced settlements due to liquefaction
potential failure, respectively. Static settlements are further elaborated to
immediate, primary consolidation, and, creep settlement components.

In general, both the primary consolidation and creep components are mostly be
existent in cohesive soils. Within soils having low permeability and substantial
thickness characteristics those settlement contributions are fairly important
compared to immediate settlement component. This is attributed to the
procedures of slow dissipation of the excess pore water pressures induced by the
static load.

For granular soils with a moderately high relative density (after the dynamic
compaction treatment) the static load induced settlements will be relatively
small. Moreover, in that case there will hardly be any long term settlement
(primary consolidation).

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Document Responsibility: Geotechnical Standards Committee SABP-A-073
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Next Planned Update: TBD Dynamic Compaction Design and Quality Control

9.3 Liquefaction Analysis

Liquefaction assessments are, in general, based on approaches defined within


the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (NCEER) reports
accompanied by international criteria/codes and supplementary
recommendations. The analysis is based on the estimation of cyclic resistance
ratio (CRR) corresponding to the soil strength, and cyclic strength ratio (CSR)
which relates to the induced seismic actions.

10 Procedures for Dynamic Compaction


10.1 Before Dynamic Compaction

The subsequent steps should be followed prior of the execution of dynamic


compaction works:
Based on the trial(s) results engineering detailed shop drawings of the
dynamic compaction layout demonstrating the position of every grid point
with an exclusive reference number, the applied compaction energy
(corresponding mass, drop height), and number of drops through each pass
should be provided.
Appropriate benchmarks and level control should be preserved for the
duration of the works. Survey of the location of tamping areas should be
conducted as follows:
Setting up of benchmarks out of tamping area
Assessing settlement and heaving around the crater/depressions
Measuring diameter and width of crater
Surveying of level after tamping

Setting of the equipment by means of the crane and pounder. The equipment
will be set up on each tamping point.
Dynamic compaction points shall be located in the field within 100 mm
tolerances of the positions shown on the shop drawings.
Working platforms shall be developed providing appropriate safety of the
dynamic compaction crane (if required).

10.2 Dynamic Compaction Installation

The procedure of dynamic compaction consists of the following steps:


Positioning and Lifting (First Phase)

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Document Responsibility: Geotechnical Standards Committee SABP-A-073
Issue Date: 15 June 2016
Next Planned Update: TBD Dynamic Compaction Design and Quality Control

Before proceeding to the dynamic compaction treatment a suitable


granular layer of 0.5 m to 1 m thickness is recommended to be placed
over the site to provide a firm dry working surface particularly in the
case of very soft ground (optional depending on soil conditions).
Compaction points within the first phase of dynamic compaction are
marked/placed.
Cranes are transported to the specific positions and weight pounder is
placed at each compaction point.
Elevation on the top of the pounder point is surveyed before starting of
first drop.
Pounder is lifted to the intended height.
Dropping and Monitoring (First Phase)
The pounder is freely dropped and be removed from the crater created.
In case of inclined crater bottom then a levelling should be carried out
before proceeding to the next drops.
Number of drops per compaction point should be determined within the
trial verification tests.
The crater depth/diameter should be measured.
The average settlement should be measured after each treatment phase.
Crane shall be moved to the next compaction point and above mentioned
steps shall be repeated until all the points of the first phase are
completed.
Depressions developed within the first phase should be filled with suitable
non-cohesive material. Based on the dynamic compaction trial(s) a second
phase of compaction may be necessary. The method and procedures of the
second phase should be the same as the first phase.
Second phase is usually undertaken on an intermediate grid defined as the
mid-point of the first tamping phase utilizing reduced both of drop height
and number.
Second pass at each phase should be employed if the required performance
criteria have not been met after application of first pass.
An ironing pass is finally undertaken on a continuous configuration for
treating shallow/surface soil formations by utilizing reduced drop heights.

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Document Responsibility: Geotechnical Standards Committee SABP-A-073
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Next Planned Update: TBD Dynamic Compaction Design and Quality Control

Prior to the performance of the ironing pass the ground surface should be
graded.

10.3 Dynamic Compaction Trials

Dynamic compaction trials should be carried out to verify the compaction


process/compaction design parameters, the suitability of the proposed equipment
and accessories, and to confirm the competence of the soil treatment scheme.

Upon trial(s) completion a trial report should be developed including the


following:
Narrative of the treatment accomplished at the trial area.
Assessment of the treatment test results including both the pre and post
stages.
Confirmation that project specifications have been met.
Determination of the compaction parameters to be utilized.

Before proceeding to the trial dynamic compaction a suitable granular layer


of 0.5 m to 1 m thickness is recommended to be placed over the site to provide
a firm dry working surface particularly in the case of very soft ground.
Dynamic compaction should be undertaken according to the approved trial
method statements and associated drawings.

The objectives of the trial installation are the following:


Calibration of several parameters that should be used during production
phase (grid spacing, drop height, the pounder weight, the number of blows
per print and the number of phases/passes).
Measurement of the compression of the treated soil layers (crater depth and
average surface settlement).
Establishment of production control criteria based on penetration test results
and crater depth measurements.
Alteration of the dynamic compaction procedures, if needed, to achieve the
specified compaction parameters.

The dynamic compaction trial scheme will be as follows:


Systematic study of the existing soil investigation information.
Control the trial location based on worst soil profiles.
Pre-treatment penetration tests within the trial area should be undertaken.

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Document Responsibility: Geotechnical Standards Committee SABP-A-073
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Next Planned Update: TBD Dynamic Compaction Design and Quality Control

Execution of dynamic compaction within grids having different spacings


(usually square).
Post treatment penetration tests should be undertaken between dynamic
compaction points.
The test results and assessment will be compiled into a report and conclusions
should be obtained regarding increasing or decreasing the trial grids.

10.4 Surface Compaction

The superficial soils should be compacted with conventional rolling techniques


at specified lifts to meet the design requirements. Fill placement, compaction,
testing, etc., should be undertaken as stipulated within SAES-A-114.

The following actions should be performed:


Prior to the commencement of the surface rolling the site shall be free of
roots, trash, debris or other unsuitable material and in addition shall be
evenly graded.
Surface compaction shall be consisted of a rolling procedure including an
optimum number of passes which to be defined within a trial section.
Within such a trial subsidence monitoring for certain number of passes shall
be monitored.

10.5 Compaction Evaluation

The assessment of dynamic and surface compaction treatment will be as follows:


Through the dynamic compaction works the site superficial level is
depressed due to the reduction of the soil void ratio. This induced settlement
is used as pointer to assess the compaction success.
After the dynamic compaction the achievement of the treatment is confirmed
by the post penetration tests, results of which are being involved within the
essential calculations of settlement, bearing capacity, liquefaction (if
applicable).
After the surface conventional compaction works, testing shall be
undertaken for the upper soil material to determine the degree of
compaction.

11 Quality Control and Quality Assurance

The quality control (QC) process ensures the work will deliver a ground arrangement
that will meet the requirements.

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Document Responsibility: Geotechnical Standards Committee SABP-A-073
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Next Planned Update: TBD Dynamic Compaction Design and Quality Control

The plan performance program summaries the measures for the dynamic compaction
works, and the QC program documents these measures as well as the testing
accompanied. The quality assurance (QA) program describes the evaluation of aspects
of the work and testing and addressing any conformance matters.

The subject QA/QC procedures cover inspection and relevant quality records related to
dynamic compaction works.

11.1 Responsibilities

Actions related to dynamic compaction works shall be carried out by


experienced and proficient people.

Title or organization
Action or task
accountable

Overall responsibility of the project.


Responsible for the implementation of safety measures and
Project Manager procedures.
Focal point for all interfaces and other communications as
required before and during execution of all related activities.
Determines the compaction procedure and parameters for
Geotechnical the site.
engineer Supervises and approves all compaction testing
verifications and documentation.
Monitors the works to ensure full compliance with HSE
HSE engineer
requirements and procedures.
Ensures that all inspections and testing procedures are in
full compliance with specifications.
QA/QC engineer
Reviews all compaction QA/QC verifications and
documentation.
Ensures that all workforce and operators are inducted prior
Site engineer to execution of the relevant compaction works.
Ensures that safe work procedures are strictly followed.
Ensures compliance with notes on compaction operation.
Explains method statement and quality requirements to the
Site supervisor workforce.
Ensures compliance with any site-specific safety
requirements.
Responsible for sampling and testing in accordance with
Saudi Aramco third
project specification. To be included within SA approved
party
list of geotechnical contractors.
Responsible for setting-out, checking level before and after
Surveyor
conducting compaction.

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Document Responsibility: Geotechnical Standards Committee SABP-A-073
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Next Planned Update: TBD Dynamic Compaction Design and Quality Control

11.2 Quality Procedure

An appropriate quality control procedure should be established for supervision


and monitoring. The supervision of the ground treatment through dynamic
compaction should be carried out by appropriately capable and qualified persons.

The quality procedure on the dynamic compaction comprises of the following


steps:
Assessment of existing geotechnical information
Trial explicit method statements and installation
Compaction Process
Post treatment geotechnical Investigations
Receipt of accepted treatment works

Working Platform

The following items are to be periodically checked:


Working platform thickness.
Gradation of platform material.
Erection of the platform should be directed so as to cause a minimum
amount of disturbance to the underlying soils.
If a geotextile is vital beneath the imported material, fabric it should meet
specifications containing material type, manufacturing procedure, material
weight and strength.

Before Dynamic Compaction

Before commencing any soil treatment scheme a survey of the site should be
undertaken followed by pre-treatment penetration tests as well as appropriate
soil sampling. Depending on the field/lab geotechnical results, the suitable
treatment method (Dynamic Compaction) and parameters (Grid-Spacing,
Weight Pounder, Drop Height, Number of Drops, and, Number of
Phases/Passes, etc.) are assigned through a preliminary soil improvement design
which to be tested within the treatment trial.

Prior of carrying out any ground improvement in a concerned area, the


following survey/geotechnical investigations are recommended to be performed:
Survey of existing ground levels shall be, initially, carried out within the
area of concern without which no ground improvement can be initiated.
Pre-treatment penetration tests, usually cone penetration tests (CPT), are

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Document Responsibility: Geotechnical Standards Committee SABP-A-073
Issue Date: 15 June 2016
Next Planned Update: TBD Dynamic Compaction Design and Quality Control

undertaken in the middle of the corresponding area before beginning of any


ground treatment development to determine the nature of the subsoil and the
essential improvement method to be utilized.
It is also recommended that above pre-treatment scheme is also reinforced
by undertaking additional exploration boreholes within the weak soil
formations. Standard penetration tests (SPT) shall be undertaken at those
boreholes with frequencies as stipulated in SAES-A-113 and in addition
associated soil samples shall be retrieved, especially, in the presence of
cohesive nature materials where undisturbed samples are required.
Corresponding field and laboratory testing shall be carried out in accordance
to relevant ASTM standards. Pre-treatment frequency of the exploratory
boreholes shall be decided upon the area to be improved and applicable
project specifications.
Lab tests on samples retrieved from the exploratory boreholes shall include,
but not limited to, wet sieve analysis/hydrometer, minimum/maximum
density, strength, and carbonate content tests.

Dynamic Compaction Trial

For the areas where soil treatment is to be executed trials are scheduled in
consideration to the intended dynamic compaction works. Different dynamic
compaction elements should be tested to define the ideal parameters:
Calibration of numerous parameters that should be used during production
phase (grid spacing, drop height, pounder weight, number of blows per print
and number of phases/passes).
Establishment of criteria which can be used to assure that the required
treatment depth has been achieved.
Measurement of the compression of the treated soil layers (crater depth and
average surface settlement). As part of the trial, a site-specific relationship
should be developed between the number of pounder drops and the
compaction crater depth.

The soil treatment at the trial area should be performed as per the succeeding
arrangement:
Placing/levelling of the working mat.
Carrying out survey and pre-treatment penetration tests to determine the pre-
compaction soil conditions.
Positioning the dynamic compaction points for first phase (initial grid).

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Document Responsibility: Geotechnical Standards Committee SABP-A-073
Issue Date: 15 June 2016
Next Planned Update: TBD Dynamic Compaction Design and Quality Control

Implementation of dynamic compaction within the first phase should be


carried out.
Depressions formed shall be surveyed, properly backfilled and levelled.
Dynamic compaction points of the second phase (intermediate grid) should
be located and dynamic compaction activities within the second phase to be
carried out.
Second tamping pass at each phase shall be undertaken if the required
performance criteria have not been met after application of first pass.
Craters after each pass/phase to be backfilled and levelled.
Carrying out an ironing pass on a continuous arrangement for treating
shallow/surface soil formations by utilizing reduced drop heights.
Final survey and post-treatment penetration tests shall be undertaken.

Dynamic Compaction Production Works

The subsequent agenda aids as an overall guide for inspection employees


to thoroughly monitor dynamic compaction performance/construction.
Execution of dynamic compaction should only be carried out by contractors
skilled in this type of activities.

When the trial has confirmed that the designated practices and procedures are
effective and meet the requirements, the ground improvement by dynamic
compaction is commenced.

The subsequent matters should be checked throughout the performance of


dynamic compaction production works:
Working platform should be accurately placed/levelled.
Survey and pre-treatment penetration tests should be undertaken to
determine pre-compaction soil settings.
Compaction points within the first phase should be adequately positioned
upon the leveled ground.
Performance of dynamic compaction with satisfactory parameters elected
within the trial should be carried out. More specifically, weight pounder
shall be lifted to the planned height and thereafter it will freely fallen
followed by its removal from the resulting crater at each point.
Above cited stages should be repeated for fulfilling to the required point
compaction which heavily depends on the amount of drops as stated within
the trial.

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Document Responsibility: Geotechnical Standards Committee SABP-A-073
Issue Date: 15 June 2016
Next Planned Update: TBD Dynamic Compaction Design and Quality Control

Crane shall be moved on a subsequent point location and above mentioned


steps should be re-undertaken. Such procedures should be carried out until
the first phase compactions is accomplished.
Depressions formed should be backfilled with the suitable granular fill, and,
thereafter, second phase activities should be commenced. Technique and
measures of implementation within the second phase will be matching to
those identified within first phase.
Second pass at each phase shall be employed only if the mandatory
performance criteria have not been achieved after application of first pass
(such information to be retrieved from the verification trials).
An ironing pass on a continuous arrangement should be carried out.
Digital and contour plans of soil subsidence should be developed.
Post-treatment penetration tests should be undertaken.

Testing Procedures

Proposed Testing Procedure for Dynamic Compaction


Survey and pre-treatment geotechnical tests to determine the initial soil
levels/properties.
Post treatment quality control tests including penetration and Plate Load
tests.
Post cone penetration tests (CPT) are recommended to be taken at
frequencies of 1000 m2 of worked surface (unless otherwise provided
within the specifications) between two successive dynamic compaction
points.
Post treatment cone penetration tests (CPT) should be undertaken within
two weeks after execution of dynamic compaction works for
comfortably allowing the dissipation of excess pore water pressure.
Cone penetration tests (CPT) equipment is recommended to have a 20 tn
capacity, be self-anchoring, having a cone diameter of 45 mm, and, a
penetration velocity 2 cm/sec.
The raw American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII)
data of the post treatment cone penetration tests (CPT) should be
submitted for review and approval.
Digital and contour plans of ground settlements/heaves should be
developed.

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Document Responsibility: Geotechnical Standards Committee SABP-A-073
Issue Date: 15 June 2016
Next Planned Update: TBD Dynamic Compaction Design and Quality Control

Based on above mentioned testing and subsequent evaluation the


necessity for either undertaking supplementary post treatment tests or
additional/alternative treatment method(s) should be decided.

Proposed Testing Procedure for Surface Compaction

The following testing should be undertaken for the superficial soils at


specified lifts where the conventional rolling techniques are applied for
determining the degree of compaction achieved:
In situ density tests shall be carried out following guidelines provided
within SAES-A-114. Those tests shall be taken either on the final
ground surface or at a determined depth (within a trench) for identifying
the achieved compaction within respective soil horizons based on the lift
heights placement.
Identification of the optimum moisture content / maximum dry density
relationship using a 4.5 kg hammer (Modified Proctor Test) shall be
provided through laboratory tests. It is recommended that samples for
such laboratory testing to be retrieved from specific locations where the
in-situ density tests are carried out.
Above mentioned field/laboratory tests (within both dynamic and surface
compaction works) should be undertaken following the corresponding
ASTM standards.

12 Quality Control (QC) Documents

The QC documents should include the following:

12.1 Documents before Dynamic Compaction

An outline program with the following statement should be provided before the
commencement of the dynamic compaction works:
Dynamic compaction layout/shop drawings based on results/analysis
acquired within the trials.
Trial reports with suggested dynamic compaction parameters.
Comprehensive plan indicating personnel/equipment details as well as
working hours to be followed.

12.2 Documentation during Dynamic Compaction

Updated drawings/records presenting the improved sections should be provided


on a daily basis. The records should, at least, comprising of the following
information:

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Document Responsibility: Geotechnical Standards Committee SABP-A-073
Issue Date: 15 June 2016
Next Planned Update: TBD Dynamic Compaction Design and Quality Control

Improved locations with compaction points identified.


Date/time of specific dynamic compaction point execution including
identification of weight pounder utilized/point developed as well as
shift/personnel undertaken.
Pre-treatment surface elevation should be recorded.
Both start and end time of the treatment at each dynamic compaction point.
Information in relation to grid spacing, weight pounder, drop height,
phase/pass numbers, number of drops should also be provided for each
compaction point.
Crater depths which have been developed after each corresponding pass.
Post treatment surface elevation achieved should be monitored.
Number and types of pre and post treatment tests undertaken.
Quantity and type of crater filling materials.

12.3 Documentation after Dynamic Compaction

After completion of a soil treatment area a report should be provided compiling


the following information:
Details of soil treatment methods utilized (with appropriate parameters)
including data of both the pre and post treatment testing.
As-build drawings including:
o Dynamic compaction point identification, grid spacing, weight pounder,
drop height, phase/pass numbers, number of drops, UTM coordinates.
o Pre and post treatment survey assessments.
o Pre and post treatment quality control tests.
Verification that specifications criteria (e.g., bearing capacity, settlements,
liquefaction) has been met through calculations where results of post quality
control tests are utilized.

12.4 QA/QC Method to Minimize Re-Compaction

The excellence of dynamic compaction works be mainly governed by the


features of workmanship, equipment, and soil properties.

The workmanship is positively influenced when the following measures are


undertaken:
Dynamic compaction points are precisely located within the field following

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Document Responsibility: Geotechnical Standards Committee SABP-A-073
Issue Date: 15 June 2016
Next Planned Update: TBD Dynamic Compaction Design and Quality Control

the UTM coordinates provided within the shop drawings.


The elementary controls on workmanship are in positioning and careful
dropping of the pounder.
Checks should be made to note and record the energy (number of drops)
transferred at each location and the amount of imported fill for achieving the
final level required.
Information both written and verbal are adequately provided to the
operators/banksmen in relation to the working procedures to be followed
including grid spacing, weight pounder, drop height, phase/pass numbers,
number of drops.

Prior of any site activities the relevant soil treatment equipment shall be checked
for the following:
Dynamic compaction equipment should be compatible to the information
provided within the specifications.
The compaction result rest on the well-organized application of the
compaction energy which is subjective to the type and use of the pounder
release system. Such system shall guarantee free fall of the pounder
resulting on flat depressions on the ground surface, and avoidance of
pounder rotation prior to or during pounder release.
The pounders should be weighed on the site prior to the start of the works.

Soil properties should be adequately assessed prior, during, and after the soil
treatment scheme including the following measures:
Pre-treatment geotechnical campaigns should be undertaken for accurate
evaluating the initial soil properties.
Based on such initial soil properties/type and by bearing in mind the required
criteria to be achieved, then adequate treatment methods/parameters are to
be selected.
In case of unexpected soil conditions then additional field/laboratory
assessments should be carried out.

12.5 Reporting

Reporting of the overall soil improvement scheme should contain construction,


quality control, and safety records as follows:
Construction reporting will include:
o A daily site report in relation to any site activities undertaken.

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Document Responsibility: Geotechnical Standards Committee SABP-A-073
Issue Date: 15 June 2016
Next Planned Update: TBD Dynamic Compaction Design and Quality Control

o A daily construction report including man power/hours as well as


equipment utilized.
Quality control reporting consisting of:
o A dynamic compaction daily report including points undertaken with
information as previously provided.
o A dynamic compaction daily/weekly/monthly working progress report
for identifying the advancement of the soil improvement scheme.
o Quality reports where the post quality control tests and their analysis
should be included for verifying that project specified criteria have been
achieved.
Safety report including any safety incident, and confirming full compliance
with HSE requirements and measures.
As-build drawings including dynamic compaction identification points, grid
spacing, weight pounder, drop height, phase/pass numbers, number of drops,
etc., should be provided.

12.6 Reporting Sequence

The following documents should be developed before beginning dynamic


compaction soil treatment:
Preliminary dynamic compaction design including calculations of
settlements, bearing capacities, and liquefaction (if needed) of both the
pre-soil treatment and the post-soil treatment stages.
Trial/Calibration reports including post treatment calculations based on the
actual post quality control tests in relation to bearing capacity, settlement,
and liquefaction on site-structure basis.
Method statements of main works of soil improvement (including quality
procedures and inspection tests plan) including various areas to be treated
and corresponding methods to be applied (e.g., shop drawings showing
layout, etc.).
On completion of overall soil improvement program, detailed reports
(corresponding to each different area/method used) including post quality
control tests and their analysis.

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Document Responsibility: Geotechnical Standards Committee SABP-A-073
Issue Date: 15 June 2016
Next Planned Update: TBD Dynamic Compaction Design and Quality Control

13 Acronyms

Acronym Definition of Acronym

CPT Cone Penetration Test


SPT Standard Penetration Test
PMT Pressure Meter Test
PLT Plate Load Test
NCEER National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research
CRR Cyclic Resistance Ratio
CSR Cyclic Strength Ratio
UTM Universal Transverse Mercator
QC Quality Control
QA Quality Assurance
HSE Health Safety & Environment
SA Saudi Aramco
ASTM American Society for Testing and Materials
ASCII American Standard Code for Information Interchange

Revision Summary
15 June 2016 New Saudi Aramco Best Practice that establishes guidelines and recommendations of the
design and quality control activities required for dynamic compaction ground improvement
works.

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Document Responsibility: Geotechnical Standards Committee SABP-A-073
Issue Date: 15 June 2016
Next Planned Update: TBD Dynamic Compaction Design and Quality Control

Appendix 1 - Dynamic Compaction Daily Report

Date Shift Rig Grid Spacing


Start End Duration Pounder Drop Soil
Point Phase Pass Drop
Order Zone Time Time Weight Height Feeding
ID (h/m/s) Number Number Number
(h/m/s) (h/m/s) (kg) (m) (m3)

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Document Responsibility: Geotechnical Standards Committee SABP-A-073
Issue Date: 15 June 2016
Next Planned Update: TBD Dynamic Compaction Design and Quality Control

Appendix 2 - Example of Inspection Test Plan

Inspection Responsibility
Item Activity Remarks
Third Party Contractor SA

1 Document Review
1.1 Dynamic Compaction
H R
Method Statement

2 Material Inspection
2.1 Material sampling and H R
testing inspection

3 Ground Improvement Pre-Testing


3.1 Survey H R
3.2 Penetration tests H W S/R
3.3 Laboratory tests H W R
3.4 Pre-treatment Geotechnical H R
Report

4 Trial
4.1 Trial Report H R

5 Ground Improvement Post-Testing


5.1 Dynamic compaction layout H R
5.2 Post survey H R
5.3 Post Quality Control Tests H W S/R
5.4 Laboratory tests H W R
5.5 In situ density tests H R

S Surveillance Inspection
R Review
H Hold for Inspection
W Witness of Inspection

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