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Solution to Clay Heave

Anvil Foundations have provided the piling and foundations for a four bedroom new build house in Harpenden, Hertfordshire. The development is on the site of an older house which has been raised to the ground to make way for a modern design.

The potential for “Clay Heave” was the challenge on this project. This is a term given to the increase in moisture content and can be caused by re-hydration of desiccated soil, climate, water courses, vegetation, tree roots or the removal of overburden resulting in volume increase. The movement in the ground can severely damage buildings and in some cases destroy them.

These ground conditions dictated that the best option would be to use steel cased driven piles that are shorter and wider, ideal for protection against tree routes.  Once in place anti clay heave material was used around the beam on top of the piles.

The alternative would have been to use longer heavy load piles, which need deeper holes. This would have meant drilling through the clay and into the damp chalk beneath which would have been like running a hot knife through butter leaving a huge hole to fill making things more expensive for the client.

Anvil Foundations worked on this project with MA Young Construction (main Contractor) and Quantity Surveyor Chris Bauer.

Malcolm Young Managing Director said, “We rely on Anvil Foundations for 90% of our projects because we always get a quality and reliable service at competitive prices. We have got to know Nigel MacLean and his team very well over the 18 years we have worked together and hope that this continues.”


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