• This support system offers versatility and can be designed as a cantilever system, braced system, or tied-back system.
  • The drilling method ensures low noise and vibration during installation.
  • Piles can be placed using low overhead equipment.
  • The design supports extremely deep excavations when using bracing and tie-back anchors.
  • The shoring face can serve as a backform for the permanent concrete walls.
  • The surface of the soldier piles and lagging is suitable for placing waterproofing.

Standard Operations

Soldier beams and lagging form an earth retention system used in deep excavations. Once install soldier beams, excavation crews work on the front face of the beams. As they remove soil, they install lagging between the beams to retain the soil, preventing it from entering the excavation area. 

Soldier Beams

Soldier beams, also known as soldier piles, can be vertically driven or drilled into the ground. Typically, they are spaced at regular intervals between 6 and 10 feet, though sometimes up to 12 feet apart. Once the piles are in place, excavation progresses in lifts.

Depending on the soil type, it may be necessary to lower the height of the excavation to prevent soil from moving through the soldier beams. If the soil is non-cohesive, installing lagging will not be conducive for that soil type.

These wall systems are designed to limit or reduce horizontal soil movement behind the wall. Cantilever walls do not require any additional bracing. For increased stability or deeper excavations, tiebacks, bracing, and anchors can be used for additional reinforcement.

Lagging Walls

Lagging walls are horizontal supports that prevent soil from moving into an excavation as work progresses. Blue Iron uses common lagging materials such as shotcrete, timber, and precast concrete panels to create both permanent and temporary wall systems.

Temporary Walls = Timber Lagging

Permanent Walls = Concrete or Shotcrete 

The type of project required, whether temporary or permanent, determines the materials best suited for a lagging wall.

Key Features and Benefits

  • Affordability: The construction of soldier pile and lagging is considerably more cost-effective than other earth retention systems, which is very beneficial being that excavations are primarily temporary.
  • Minimal Noise Disturbances: Soldier piling and lagging have very laborious installation techniques, however, the actual installation process is comparably soundless to alternative wall retention solutions. This is especially beneficial when working in residential areas.
  • Speed: Because soldier beams and lagging walls are short-term projects for construction sites, they’re easy to construct and deconstruct. 
  • Control and Versatility: The versatility of the construction materials allows builders freedom and control over the layout and spacing of the soldier piles, making any type of last-minute change of plans or adjustments feasible.
  • Longevity: The soldier piles and lagging walls method is an earth retention system that has been in use since the late 18th century. This method, commonly employed in major metropolitan cities like New York and Berlin, is known as the Berlin Wall when using steel piles and timber lagging. It has continued to achieve success in construction, which explains its ongoing use today. 

Despite these key features and benefits, it’s important to note that soldier beam and lagging may not always be a suitable solution for every project. If your construction site consists of sand or clay-like soil, you would be better off using an alternative earth retention wall system. Soldier beams perform optimally when installed in compact or dense soil.

Another factor to consider is that soldier beam and lagging can horizontally extend as far as needed on any suitable piece of land, but its stability decreases if built higher than the standard four to six yards above ground. Adding more soldier beams at closer regular intervals would increase costs for materials and supplies, thereby reducing cost-effectiveness.

The Soldier Beams and Lagging Solution

The soldier beam and lagging earth retention wall systems find application in a variety of building plans, serving both temporary and permanent solutions in residential and commercial applications.

For short-term solutions, soldier beam and lagging provide excavation support during different construction phases using cost-effective materials, which expedite project completion. For long-term solutions, you can modify construction materials along with installation techniques.

Whether you are involved in home construction, foundation repairs, or archaeological digs, soldier beam and lagging offer a versatile temporary or permanent installation solution.

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