PhilaPort needed a smart solution to a costly problem. Their planned expansion to an auto import business was getting exceedingly expensive. The building site was known to have compressible, sensitive soils so the intial design included deep foundations. The high cost of this substructure, however, was straining the project budget. Kleinfelder / Advantage Engineers took on the challenge of finding a cost-effective alternative to support the proposed building. To start, our team set out to learn everything they could about the existing subsurface materials, especially the settlement behavior.
After completing standard test borings (SPT), detailed laboratory analysis, and cone penetrometer testing (CPT), we had the data we needed to understand the site and to engineer a solution. Kleinfelder / Advantage's Geotechnical team incorporated geosynthetic-aggregate “mats” into the design. These ""mats"" took the concentrated column and wall loads and spread them out, allowing the use of a conventional shallow foundation. Our team also developed a settlement monitoring program to demonstrate that consolidation settlements would occur much more quickly than anticipated. This quicker consolidation settlement allowed for support of the ground floor slab on-grade. The net result of Kleinfelder / Advantage's creative solution was not only a shorter project schedule but an impressive savings in construction costs of over $1M.