Shoring is a common technique used to reinforce below-ground excavations during construction projects, as well as to provide temporary reinforcement for above-ground structures which are in the process of being renovated or permanently reinforced by other means. It’s a popular technique which has existed for decades, however new advancements in both method and materials have meant that modern shoring allows us to create and maintain buildings which are grander and more complex than they ever have been before.
Shoring is often used in building construction to provide support to party walls whilst other load-bearing structures are being removed and/or replaced. The larger the building the more intensive the shoring system required, especially if a large portion of the building requires reinforcement. Proper shoring installation will ensure the building remains structurally sound throughout construction.
Excavating is by its very nature unsafe and reinforcement helps to ensure that lateral walls remain intact, thereby preventing cave-ins and other dangerous circumstances. Because excavations get progressively more dangerous the deeper you go, it’s a legal requirement for any excavation of more than 5ft to have some kind of support structure put in place.
Types of Shoring Methods
Common shoring methods include:
- Soldier Pile and Lagging
- Pressure / Chemical Grouting
- Soil Nails and ShotCrete
- Hydraulic Shoring
- Pneumatic Shoring
- A choice of Timber or Aluminium materials
The most common shoring methods are hydraulic or pneumatic. Each method has its particular advantages and disadvantages, however hydraulic tends to be preferred because it is the safer option. Construction teams also have a choice between using timber or aluminium for their shoring, with aluminium being the more popular choice thanks to its lightweight, durable properties.
Shoring Health and Safety
Installing shoring should always be carried out under the supervision of an experienced, accredited excavation professional. This is to ensure that all shoring is installed and maintained correctly and to the highest standards. This ‘competent person’ will be ultimately responsible for making sure that safety checks are carried out and that all risks are attended to before they develop. It’s unfortunately the case that shoring cannot prevent all excavation accidents, many of which occur as a result of poor soil quality, earth vibrations and inclement weather. Nevertheless, the better your shoring is and the level of training the team has had, the safer and more efficient your excavation project will invariably be.