Manchester Based Piling Expert


Careers and development opportunities with Rhino Piling

The construction industry is currently in the middle of an upswing after a huge lull caused by the recession 10 years ago. Now, millions of new houses are being built all over the country, boosting the needs for piling companies like us.

With a positive rise in new builds, there is also a huge boost in the number of extensions people are building on their current properties in order to create more living space without the upheaval of moving home. This means that now is a great time to get involved in a career with the team at Rhinopiling.

Current professionals are of course encouraged to apply. We are always looking for the best skilled and hard-working individuals looking to join our team here at Rhinopiling to help boost our business. But we are also here to help those looking for a change of career or are looking to get involved in the industry through our training schemes, continuing professional development, work placements and graduate opportunities.

Trainee opportunities

We are always looking for individuals interested in developing a career in engineering, plant maintenance, electrical or commercial oriented roles as well as many more. Successful candidates will be able to take part in many different training schemes, earning a competitive salary alongside their training role as they develop the skills necessary to succeed.

Undergraduate opportunities

For those studying towards a degree in a related course we offer developmental roles for students to gain practical skills to support your education. We offer a competitive salary, course funding and contributions towards exam fees and course literature and paid leave to attend college.

Continuing Development

For those who have completed their qualifications and are looking to further develop their skills in a professional setting we also provide ongoing professional development programmes.

We help provide assistance with study leave, grants and even payments for professional subscriptions.

For more information on developing your skills and creating a career in the industry, contact the team at Rhino Piling in Manchester and Chester right now via the website.

Is it possible to build a house without foundations?

It has become customary for all building work to begin with deep foundations being excavated and installed before any construction takes place above ground. We know that foundations are an essential part of any building if we want it to stay upright for any extended period of time.

Looking back through history to the dawn of modern buildings, it was very clear that the lack of adequate foundations meant that homes were very unstable and were destined not to last long. Unstable homes lacking foundations were also the cause for a high rate of deaths due to collapses.

What do foundations do?

Buildings are able to support the downward force they project onto the ground without foundations, but unfortunately it cannot accommodate the sideways motion a building experiences. Along with the constantly fluctuating shape of the ground underneath due to expansion and contraction caused by temperature and weather changes, walls will soon start to fall into newly created gaps.

Foundations bypass the movement of the soft ground the building is built on by reaching down to more stable ground deep in the earth. This base rock is strong enough to support the weight of the building without any movement occurring, even with seasonal changes.

Are there any buildings without foundations?

Foundations are seen as the norm when it comes to any construction these days, but there are times when building designers have bypassed the need for foundations by finding alternate methods for supporting their buildings. Salisbury Cathedral is one well-known, substantial building constructed without adequate foundations. Salisbury Cathedral was built on marshy ground and uses a foundation positioned at just four feet to support its massive spire. This is accomplished by building on a raft within the soft ground; a technique which is able to provide enough support to large weights but is very difficult to install successfully.

For piling in Cheshire contact the team at Rhinopiling today for more information.



Building an extension in winter

Obviously, summer is the most ideal time to have an extension built on your house; the long daylight hours, warmer temperatures and minimal rainfall provides much better conditions for building work, especially when it comes to piling foundations. Not to mention, extensions generally involve taking out large sections of your home’s outer wall, leaving you vulnerable to the elements and making it very difficult to heat your home properly.

Winter construction does throw up some obstacles, but with the right know-how the work doesn’t need to be put on hold; its all about mitigating the issues that winter weather brings.

In this blog we will take a look at some of the most common problems building an extension in winter causes and run through the ways in which the team at Rhinopiling tackle those obstacles.

  1. Freezing Temperatures

Cold snaps can set in at unpredictable times. Rather than close up shop and wait for weather to warm back up again, its important that certain jobs, like brickwork, for example, is finished as the water content in mortar can freeze and prevent it mixing through the cement. As frozen water expands it can cause cracking to brickwork which can mean an area needs to be demolished and rebuilt.

To prevent this disruption in the process we must try and anticipate the best times of the year to begin projects. As we cannot always be completely able to say when weather may take a turn for the worst we have to go by the seasons. We try to avoid starting a project that will mean important parts of the piling process won’t be completed before winter is here.

  1. Shorter Days

With limited daylight hours to work with, its inevitable that for jobs to be completed on time, teams will have to work in the dark at some point. When the sun goes down it isn’t just light that we have to deal with; as the sun falls, the temperature also drops. This is why we will install floodlighting and heating to ensure a full day’s work can be completed without having to be cut short.

  1. Security

Unfortunately for teams working on small sites, theft is something we have to be wary of. With scrap metal, expensive building materials and high-value tools on every building site, they become a target for thieves looking for an easy target. Large construction sites can afford a full-time security, but smaller sites need to be extra vigilant.

Increased darkness around winter means that it is easier for thieves to walk away with expensive equipment without being seen. For this reason, the site manager needs to enforce extra security and awareness by staggering deliveries so nothing is left unattended, different contractors are also staggered when visiting site so there aren’t big groups of people entering and exiting all at once and double checking that all high-value items are securely packed away each day.

Rhinopiling provides piling in Manchester and the surrounding areas. For more information or for a no-obligation consultation, contact the team today.



How bridge piling is installed

Piling for a residential or commercial building is not without its obstacles. But what happens when the obstacle you are facing is building a huge bridge over a watercourse? Placing piles into solid ground is a challenge. So how do companies find a way around the problem of installing piling foundations underwater into the soft silt of a riverbed or lake?

Construction of a bridge over a body of water has been a slowly evolving area of construction that has had engineers scratching their heads for generations. Without stable foundations, a bridge can soon become a very dangerous place to be.

But over the years, engineers have found new ways of installing piling for bridge systems that is safer, more economical for construction companies and quicker than ever before. Constructing over water has always had its own unique challenges; for example, waterbeds have a tendency to shift and change quickly, and increased rainfall can cause watercourses to become much stronger than usual. These are all key aspects that have to be taken into consideration, but the biggest obstacle of all is figuring out a way to install the piles underwater in the first place.

Types of underwater foundation construction

  1. Battered Piles

This approach to piling is generally reserved for small bridges built over shallow water. Before the piles are driven they are constructed to the correct size before being placed. Instead of a single beam, battered piles use numerous beams twisted together. When this is driven into the soft mud they are able to distribute weight in several directions.

  1. Cofferdam

A cofferdam is a temporary structure that is as watertight as possible. When lowered and drained, they create a dry area for construction to take place. Some cofferdams will not be completely watertight but restrict waterflow enough so that any water that does enter the area can be pumped out safely. The dams themselves are constructed of numbers of sheet metal fitted together.

  1. Slurry Drilling

The soil needing to be drilled into will be extremely weak due to the saturation of water. Therefore, drilling will, more often than not, result in the hole caving in before the piles can be set. To counteract this, a mixture of mud is poured on top before drilling commences.

For piling in Chester, contact the team at Rhinopiling now.





Mini Piling methods

For a selection of underpinning needs at restricted access sites, or sites with poor ground conditions, Mini Piling or Micro Piling is used. These are alternatives for regular piling methods that have been adapted for specific purposes where regular methods are insufficient.

Mini piling is not just utilised for home underpinning either; they can also be used on roads, bridges and tower projects that have difficult or restricted access, which is becoming more and more common in inner city expansion plans where space is at a premium. They are also more efficient in areas where there are environmental issues and the full depth of regular piles can cause disruptions.

Mini piling has the benefit over regular piling solutions due to the fact that they can be installed in sites that are subject to both width and height restrictions, even when the restrictions are as low as 2.3m.

Common methods in mini piling

Bottom driven steel cased

These mini piles, built up of a closed-ended thin walled steel tube, are driven in lengths of 2-6m. They are hammered into the soil using an internal drop hammer on to the dry concrete plug. The tubes are then joined by a full but non-structural fillet weld before being filled with high slump concrete or grout and a singular bar or cage is inserted for strength.

Open Hole Auger

For applications of cohesive soil such as firm stiff clays or soils susceptible to ground heave as well as ground with low water tables but can allow the pile bore to stay open, open hole auger is used. In these cases, a plastic-coated liner is installed to depth. This is then filled in with concrete from the top as the casings are removed.

Top Driven Steel/Precast

If piles are required in an area with poor ground conditions and restricted access a technique known as top driven mini piling is used. These are used as they can replace bottom driven piles which are unsuitable for the location whilst offering a high load capacity.

Rhinopiling specialises in mini piling in Manchester, contact the team now for more information.






Types of Shallow Foundations

Building foundations fall into two main categories; shallow foundations and deep foundations. These categories simply refer to the depth at which the building’s piling foundations need to be driven to provide adequate support for the completed structure.

Shallow foundations are generally those that are wider than the overall depth and deep foundations have a smaller width when compared to the depth. But each category contains a number of different types of foundations.

Here we take a look at the different types of shallow foundations available:

Isolated Spread Footing

Also known as Pad or, simply, Spread footings, isolated footings are one of the most common shallow foundation types used to spread the weight of concentrated loads. Columns and pillars are the most common loads; these bare down on a relatively small surface area and can hold considerable weight above them so require stable foundations consisting of either reinforced or non-reinforced material. For non-reinforced material, the footing height has to be enlarged to provide the necessary spreading of the load.

Wall Footing

A wall footing does exactly what it says on the tin. A continuous slab strip that runs the length of a wall, generally two to three times the width of the wall in question, providing enough support and weight distribution for the load-bearing walls above. These types of supports link the foundation of a building to its vertical walls.

Combined footing

Similarly to Isolated Spread footings, these foundations support columns and pillars. Where they differ is that isolated footings can only be used when the columns are spaced well apart. When the columns are close together and their foundations overlap, a different technique (combined footings) is necessary. These can also be used if the bearing capacity of the soil is low.

The foundations themselves are usually rectangular, tee-shaped or trapezoidal. They work to distribute the loads evenly to coincide the centre of gravity of the footing area with the centre of gravity of the total load.

Cantilever or Strap Footing

Strap footings work in a similar fashion to combined footings, however, strap footings under the columns are built individually and connected together using a concrete beam known as a strap beam. This is used to help evenly distribute heavy or unusually placed loads. A cantilever footing is usually used in conjunction with columns located along a property line.

Raft or Mat Foundation

These are the best options for when all other shallow foundations or pile foundations are unsuitable. Raft foundations consist of a reinforced slab of concrete or T-beam slab placed over the entire surface of the structure. This slab acts as the building’s basement slab and supports the whole weight of the structure spreading the weight evenly.

Rhinopiling provides piling in Manchester and the surrounding areas for both domestic and commercial properties. Get in touch with the team today to find out more information.

How to prevent subsidence

A common problem that can affect homes across the country, and a problem that we see a lot of, is subsidence. It mainly affects older homes but can easily start to become a serious problem for new homes too once it begins.

Subsidence affects the structural integrity of the building, turning your nice safe bubble into a potential death trap. Subsidence occurs when the ground underneath a building collapses or sinks lower than it should and takes away some of the building’s foundations.

The affects may not be that noticeable until it is too late. This is why it is important that homeowners know what to look out for and importantly, what to do to prevent their home from succumbing to subsidence.

Signs of subsidence

  • Cracks in the masonry that are thicker than a 10p coin (3mm)
  • Diagonal cracks which are wider at the top than the bottom
  • Visible cracks on the outside and inside of the building
  • Cracks close to doors and windows
  • Crinkled wallpaper
  • Doors starting to stick and jam in the frame
  • Cracks where extensions join the house

Keys to prevention

If you start to notice the beginning signs of subsidence affecting your home, there are steps that should be taken immediately to reduce the damage:

  • Don’t plant any trees too close to your house. There is a rough guide, published by The Association of British Insurers (ABI), which suggests that apple trees be given a 10m buffering distance from your home, plane trees be given 22m and Willow trees given 40m at least.
  • If you do have trees that are in close proximity to your home, don’t dig them up! The roots from the trees may be part of the problem but may also be holding parts of the foundations in place. Removing large trees can also cause water logging or instability. Instead, regular pruning of trees can help reduce the amount of water that they absorb from the surrounding soil.
  • Maintain your external guttering and drainage to prevent any leaks.

If you think your house is suffering from subsidence, contact the team at Rhinopiling today. We provide underpinning and mini piling in Manchester.




Tips for planning permission success for your extension

For certain extensions to get the go ahead, you will need planning permission from your local council. The application process can be a little intimidating and can be frustrating to get over the line. But here are three steps you can take to make sure your application is carried out successfully.

Choosing the right building control surveyor

It is important that you choose the right building control provider for your individual needs. Known commonly as building inspectors, without a building control surveyor your planning permission won’t be confirmed. They are impartial building professionals with in-depth knowledge of site conditions, issues and expertise in building regulations, and an understanding of the British and European standards code of practice.

Most people use local council, non-for-profit building surveyors but there are also others who operate as individuals or with a partnership with others who may be more experienced with your particular extension plans.

Submitting your building regulations application

There are a few ways you can submit your application to your local building control authority.

Full Plans Application – where you submit all your paperwork and plans which will be checked by a building control team to avoid the risk of contravening regulations and avoiding delays.

A Building Notice – is when the application is accepted when building regulations have been met on site but there is a risk of work already carried out may need altering to meet requirements.

Agree in advance the building inspector checks

Regardless of the type of application you submit, they all require the building inspector to visit the site at different stages of the construction. On each visit they will give advice and guidance to your builders as well as giving the owner peace of mind that everything is moving forward properly, and no problems have arisen. It isn’t uncommon for people to want to deviate from their initial plans once work has begun, which is why repeat visits are important for the building inspector who can talk you through any changes you wish to make.

If you are considering an extension and need piling in Chester, contact the team at Rhinopiling today.


Types of deep foundations

In our last blog post we took an in-depth look at the common types of shallow foundations that you commonly see on most structures. And, as we discussed, piling falls into two main categories, Shallow Foundations and Deep Foundations.

For jobs where shallow foundations aren’t enough, piling installers need to turn to deep foundation methods and techniques. In layman’s terms, deep foundations are any foundation where the depth is more than the width, but there is a collection of piling types that fall into that bracket:

Pile Foundation

One of the most cost efficient and commonly used type of deep foundation is a pile foundation. Consisting of a long cylinder – constructed from either wood, concrete or steel, depending on the size of the structure it is supporting – pushed into the ground to act as a steady support. These types of foundations are most commonly used when shallow foundation methods are unable to reach any deeper, stable soil or rock strata. They distribute loads either by bearing or by skin friction on soil with deeper bearing capacity, when there are chances of construction of irrigation canals nearby and when it is too expensive to provide raft or grillage foundations.

Pier Foundations

These foundations are constructed using a large diameter cylindrical column which supports the superstructure and transfers large super-imposed loads to the stable strata below. The weight is transferred using an end bearing pile; unlike a pile foundation, pier foundations can only transfer load by bearing and not skin friction as they are generally shallower than pile foundations.

Pier foundations fall into two categories:

  • Masonry or concrete pier – used if a good bearing stratum exists up to 5m. The nature of the soil as well as the depth of the bed will dictate the size and shape of the piers required.
  • Drilled caissons – These usually refer to the cylindrical foundations. A large compressed member is subjected to axial load at the top and reaction at the bottom.

Caisson Foundations

When constructing bridges, dams, or any other construction beneath water sources such as rivers or lakes, these watertight retaining structures are used. These foundations can literally be floated to the desired location before being sunken into place. To do this the foundation is ready made in a cylindrical hollow column which is depressed into the soil up to the desired level. This tube is then filled with concrete, converting into a foundation once dried. You will see these most commonly used for bridge piers.

For more information on piling in Chester, contact the team at Rhinopiling today and speak to one of our seasoned engineers.

What sets residential and commercial construction apart?

Every structure requires solid foundations at its base, regardless of its size. Here at Rhinopiling we understand the necessity of quality piling and underpinning for constructions of all shapes and sizes – from small housing projects to the biggest skyscraper constructions – all need piling to ensure stable foundations, or risk building upon unstable ground with potentially life-threatening results.

Let’s take a look at the main differences between residential and commercial constructions:

  1. Materials

It isn’t just the amount of materials required for residential and commercial projects that are the biggest difference. It is also the materials themselves that differ. Most commercial structures are of a size that only strong steel frames are able to withstand the heavy weights of the final building whilst residential properties can rely on timber frames.

Steel and timber require different piling solutions in order to withstand the different weight loads and both will result in varying costs; steel is expensive and can be justified by big commercial builders whilst small scale projects require more affordable materials.

  1. Use

Commercial construction usually covers offices, industrial facilities and other large-scale establishments. Residential construction, on the other hand, are smaller in scale and usually consists of apartments and houses. Both projects will be ordered and instructed from different areas; residential will be instructed by property owners or tenants with one point of contact whilst commercial construction will come from business decisions who liaise with multiple people or a board of stakeholders.

  1. Equipment

Commercial developments are of a much larger scale than residential. This results in the necessity of much larger scale equipment. Typically, commercial properties require high-powered machinery, large cranes and other lifting equipment as well as more specialist equipment whilst residential projects require much less extensive machinery. Most commercial properties can afford to use more specialist equipment due to higher budgets. Residential properties could benefit from these specialist tools, although they require trained personnel to operate which tends to put them outside of most residential budgets.

If you require piling in Manchester, contact the team at Rhinopiling today for a full quotation.