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Stone column foundations are often incorrectly regarded as piles and tested accordingly. For single columns load tests are appropriate. However full scale field tests in which stresses on and between columns were measured clearly demonstrate how the performance of columns under widespread loads depends on loading circumstances which cannot be simulated by small scale tests on single columns. Such tests are misleading for contract purposes. A more cost effective approach is to concentrate on high grade site investigation and control during design and construction; supplemented by instrumentation to monitor response to initial loading of the prototype.
stone columns, load testing, column/soil stress ratios, construction monitoring
Director, Cementation Piling & Foundations Ltd, Rickmansworth, Herts