Drilling & Excavation

Keller employed the ‘Jet Grouting Soilcrete’ technique at the Al Khobar project.

Keller employed the ‘Jet Grouting Soilcrete’ technique at the Al Khobar project.

Keller tackles major geotechnical challenge

Keller has provided its ‘Jet Grouting Soilcrete’ as an innovative solution to address a major problem with settlement and cracks experienced in a new villa development in Saudi Arabia.

October 2019

Keller, one of the largest global independent geotechnical contractors, has used its jet grouting solution for a large residential compound project in Saudi Arabia – one of the first using the system in the country.

Keller’s ‘Jet Grouting Soilcrete’ is a potential solution to all geotechnical challenges. “It’s a versatile and valuable tool for soft soil stabilisation, enhancing load-bearing, underpinning, excavation support, tunnelling and groundwater control,” Mohammad Munawar, Keller’s branch manager for the Eastern Region, tells ABDULAZIZ KHATTAK of Gulf Construction magazine.

He says jet grouting is an erosion/replacement system that creates an engineered, in-situ soil/cement product known as Soilcrete. It’s effective across the widest range of soil types, and suitable for use around subsurface obstructions and in confined spaces.

Munawar ... offering innovative solutions.

Munawar ... offering innovative solutions.

The Saudi project consists of 22 large villas located in Al Khobar in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, on the Arabian Gulf coast. It was undertaken in collaboration with Keller Poland.

Munawar says the villas showed signs of excessive settlement and cracks during the construction phase.

“Under the circumstances, the developer was forced to take quick action by using various methods to reduce settlement. Some of these earlier methods included using lightweight blocks and changing the slab level; unfortunately, none of these methods could control the settlement,” he explains.

The geotechnical solution proposed by Keller was Soilcrete, initially an out-of-the-box proposal for the developer as all the competitive bidders proposed micro-piles, Munawar says. To back its proposal, Keller had to tailor an efficient value-engineered approach, which reduced the cost by 30 per cent and speeded up work on each villa by 35 per cent.

Due to the height limitations inside the villa, 50 per cent of the grouting columns were executed from outside using a bigger KB0 rig, which enabled the successful completion of the project one month ahead of schedule.

Commenting on the challenges, project manager Kamil Górnicki says: “With challenging temperatures reaching nearly 50 deg C and humidity at 80 per cent – something we are not used to in Poland – I’m proud that we still managed to double our efforts and handover the project to our client five weeks ahead of schedule.”

Due to the height limitations inside the villa, 50 per cent of the grouting columns were executed from outside.

Due to the height limitations inside the villa, 50 per cent of the grouting columns were executed from outside.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Ali, key accounts manager Keller Saudi Arabia, says the project was a win-win situation for all the three parties involved. “It was the first intercompany venture between Keller Polska and Keller Saudi, where they were successful in launching a new product and learn a new technique.”

Munawar says using jet grouting columns for settlement control for the first time in the Middle East has not only opened new doors in the regional market but also confirmed to clients that Keller can offer innovative solutions that are both economical and highly effective.

Naming some of Keller’s key clients in Saudi Arabia, Ali says Keller has gained a reputation in Saudi Arabia with companies like Saudi Aramco, Sabic, Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) and Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) projects since 1976.

The company has offered its services on almost all Aramco refineries, Sabic chemical plants, and SEC power plants and SWCC water plants across the kingdom, he adds.

For 155 years, Keller has been a renowned name worldwide in geotechnical solutions with operations in more than 40 countries across six continents, and sales of £2.1 billion ($2.76 billion). The company offers its services through its main operating divisions – Keller Grundbau in Germany, Keller Group in the UK and Hayward Baker in the US.

“With a full range of technologies and strong engineering capability, Keller offers design and build solutions to meet specific project requirements. Depending on the nature of the soil and specific requirements, the company offers the most suitable geotechnical solutions from its wide range of products for infrastructure, industrial, commercial, residential and environmental projects,” concludes Yehia Itani, general manager of Saudi Arabia.  




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