Piling is a construction method where rods or tubes are driven into the ground to increase the bearing capacity of the foundation. Its main advantage is the ability to ensure a robust structure, even in normally inadequate conditions for heavy construction.
This diverse and cost-effective technique has been used in foundations for thousands of years. Since the 4th Century BC, piling has been recorded as being used for constructing homes near rivers, where the soil was moist and weak. The piled foundations of these ancient homes also provided increased protection from attackers, giving the people living there a considerable height advantage.
Roman structures are a more famous example of piling, as they used this structure as the foundation for many bridges in Britain, using wooden piles driven into riverbeds. The Romans are seen as the precursors to modern-day piling, with many cities like Venice still using old Roman piling from ancient times.
While the methods of piling have far surpassed ancient examples due to technology developing, it was originally done using timber, trimmed to the ideal length, and driven into the ground using rams, mauls, and drivers. As time progressed, piling methods developed further to make piling easier, more practical, and stronger, relying more on machines rather than manpower.
Different materials have also been introduced for piling, such as steel and concrete. These materials are far superior to past materials, capable of carrying a much heavier load and being able to sustain more intensive compressive, bending, and tensile force.
As well as new materials being introduced in the modern day, many new techniques and types of piling have been created to further improve on this cheap, strong foundation method. Even today, piling techniques are often used and improved on. Instead of simple rods being driven into the ground, more modern variations of piling have been introduced, such as H-piles, tubular piles, and screw piles, making piling even more dynamic than ever before.