Piling quicker and quieter with a sonic

Located on the north bank of the Fraser River, the city of New Westminster was once the original capital of British Columbia (the capital is now Victoria). Named by Queen Victoria herself, New Westminster was often referred to as the “Royal City.” Fittingly, the new Dominion condos, by developer Ledingham McAllister, sit regally on Royal Avenue.


Because of the slope of the site, this condo project required a number of holes at different depths,” says Bill Fitzgerald, operations manager for Sonic Drilling Ltd. “At the top of the hill, we used a truck-mounted sonic rig and at the bottom we used a track-mounted sonic rig to come up the sides of the slope.”


As the track-mounted SDC-450 sonic rig climbed up the hill, excavators created a flat platform for the rig to move to at every stage. While the weather and terrain wasn’t a challenge, the desire to keep all of the trees on the property forced the crews to work around them. “A few had to be dug up but they were replanted,” notes Fitzgerald.


Over a period of 10 days, a total of 2,400 feet was drilled by two sonic rigs, each with a crew of three. Hired by Power Civil Contractors Ltd., a contracting and shoring company with extensive expertise on projects throughout the Lower Mainland, the sonic drills bored 80 six-inch holes which were used to then install 4.5“ steel pipe. Grouting was completed by Power Civil Contractors.


Fitzgerald says that one of the biggest reasons to use a sonic rig for piling is its “speed advantage.” Drilling 3-5x faster through mixed soils, using no drilling mud (less mess to clean up) and operating more quietly, sonic drilling technology is a great option for project managers who want a solution that keeps the neighbours happy and makes good business sense.