In the United States, over 100,000 piles are driven annually for various transportation construction projects. Driving a pile correctly is critical to the health, integrity and longevity of the structure.

Current pile driving practices feature several pain points for inspection and quality. Surrounding noise, quickly moving piles, instrument sensitivity, real-time cross referencing and translating data from field to DOT compliant logs all contribute to challenges for pile driving inspection and quality.

Paper-based pile driving records have been used for decades, but more effective and efficient practices to collect and track pile driving are becoming readily available. State DOTs are improving processes and procedures using the dozens of e-Construction tools and technologies available. In 2020, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) updated its pile driving inspection and information recording guidelines by incorporating a commercial, off-the-shelf e-Construction pile inspection device, SmartPile Inspector, that collects, analyses, displays, and electronically stores the data from every hammer blow. The device auto-generates State DOT required pile driving records, exports a non-editable electronic data file, and uses real-time dashboards for integrated Artificial Intelligence, analytics, reports, notifications, and alerts.

Using electronic or digital processes simplifies handling and integration of pile driving data into construction management or document management systems for acceptance, payment, and source documentation helps States reap the benefits of the efficiency and transparency of e-Construction.

To learn more about this technology or other e-Construction methods, please contact Kathryn Weisner with the FHWA Construction and Project Management Team.

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