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Glossary of Piledriving and Foundation Construction Terms

Welcome to the APE Gloassary for piledriving and foundation construction terms. This is a great place to look for terms that you may be unfamiliar with when working with or researching piledriving technologies. This glossary also contains terms unrelated to piledriving, but that are frequently used on and around foundation construction projects. If you have a question or have term that you would like to add and do not know who to call please contact the APE Headquarters in Washington at (800) 248-8498. Business hours are from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Pacific Time. For less immediate inquiries, or if you would like an APE sales representitive to get in contact with you, please visit the APE Contact Request Form.

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Letter B

B3 Series Hammers The larger sizes of doubling-acting pile hammers which incorporate a mechanical-valve system.
Back-Up-Ring Steel ring placed on inside of pipe to back-up a butt or bevel weld. Also called Chill Ring.
Backfill Soil material placed back into a space that has been excavated, such as against structures and in pipe trenches.
Banding Strapping timber piles awith high-tensile steel to prevent splitting while driving. Also called Strapping.
Bare Foot A pile without a driving shoe.
Barettes A system of piling involving the excavation of large rectangular panels under bentonite. The techniques used in their construction are very similar to those used for diaphragm walls.
Batter Board Piece of lumber nailed horizontally to stakes driven near each proposed corner of an excavation. Notches are made or nails driven into batter boards to mark work lines such as a building corner or footing width lines. Strings are stretched between batter boards for transferring reference points. Batter boards may also be set to a specified elevation, with elevation written on the batter board.
Batter Pile Pile driven at an angle to provide horizontal as well as vertical components. Normally expressed as a ratio of horizontal to vertical (i.e., 1:4 = 1 horizontal to 4 vertical). Also called Raker Pile, Spur Pile.
Battering Wall Vertical, continuous structure with a sloping face. Used for sustaining pressure of the weight of water or a bank of earth.
Beam/Girder Any large piece of timber, stone, iron or other material used to carry weight from one support to another along its length.
Bear Shit A thick creosote paste spread on top of a cut wood pile. It is then covered with a diaper to protect it from deterioration.(See Diaper)
Bearing Capacity The maximum load a pile can sustain by soil resistance.
Bearing Pile A supporting pile for a structure that can be of wood, concrete or steel in any number of shapes and whose bearing is reached by point or end bearing, friction, or friction and compaction, or a combination. See End Bearing Pile.
Bearing Plate A steel plate placed in a beam pocket or on a masonary wall to support the end of a steel beam. It distributes the load carried by the beam over a greater area in the wall.
Bearing Wall A wall that supports vertical load, as floors or roof.
Bedrock Solid rock as distinguished from boulders or layers.
Bell See Under-Ream.
Bell Pier A pier, usually underwater, shaped like a bell and usually supported by both straight and batter piles.
Belled Anchor An area enlarged around a soil anchor for added grout and resistance.
Belled Caisson A caisson with an enlarged base. See Caisson and Caisson Pile.
Bench Mark A metal or stone marker placed in the ground by a surveyor with the elevation indicated on it; this is the reference point for determining grades and elevations in the area.
Bent A row of piles fastened together. A framework designed to carry lateral as well as vertical loads.
Bentonite The clay mineral, sodium montmorillonite. A highly compressible colloidal clay which, when introduced into certain soils, reduces their permeability.
1. Introduced in pellet form and tamped into place to restrict water seepage.
2. Suspended in a water slurry, Bentonite Slurry, helps to prevent earth from falling into an augered hole or excavated trench.
3. Provides viscosity to suspend cuttings and helps seal walls of borings.
Bevel Weld Butt weld where pieces to be joined have one or both edges beveled, because material is too thick for electrode to penetrate for a required weld.
Bight The slack part of a rope between either end and the standing part, particularly when it forms a loop or partial loop. Knots tied "in the bight" or "on the bight" do not need the ends of the process.
Bit A "T" or double "T" shaped post mounted to barge and boat decks for securing mooring lines.
Bleeding Creosote The creosote, as on a pile surface, that resembles fresh paint which has been poured rather than brushed. On hot days creosote will "bleed" out of the pile.
Blow Count 1. The observed blows of the pile hammer per increment of pile penetration.
2. Blows on soil sampler in standard penetration test. See N Value.
Blow Counter The person who monitors the number of the hammer blows for each increment of pile advance.
Blow Out Of Pile A method of removal of soil from the interior of open-ended piles. (See Air Lift)
Blowing Upward movement of soil material in the base of a cofferdam or excavation because of groundwater pressure; normally associated with insufficient toe penetration of sheeting. Also called Blowout, Boiling, Piping.
Bog Soft, wet land underlain by decayed moss and vegetable matter and covered with grass and vegetation.
Boiling See Blowing.
Bollard A post on a dock to take a ship's mooring lines.
Boloney Slang name for the loom of hydraulic lines between the power pack and hammer.
Bond Breaker Material used to prevent concrete from bonding to the surface.(See Form Oil)
Bongossi An African hard wood utilized as a hammer cusion. Often used on offshore hammers.
Bonnet See Drive Cap
Bored Caissons Excavation for bored caissons is made by machines capable of drilling large diameter holes in the ground. The casing usually cylindrical in shape and made of metal is placed in the hole. Sections can be added as drilling proceeds.
Boring 1. A hole in the earth produced by various methods.
2. The method of exploring subsurface conditions by drilling or otherwise advancing a cased or uncased hole into the earth. Frequently, soil or rock samples are extracted from the boring for classification and testing.
Borrow Soil or rock material obtained from off site for use as fill on a construction project.
Bottom Brace See Brace.
Bottom Chord Bottom member of a truss.
Bottom Heave Upward movement of soil in the base of a large excavation.
Boulder A rock, usually rounded by weathering and abrasion, greater than 1 inches in size.
Bounce Chamber Pressure The pressure in the air compressed by the upward moving piston of a cloesd-end diesel hammer. The pressure is read by a gauge connected to the upper chamber by a hose.
Box Lead Lead which configured in the shape of a "U" with guiding rails for hammer in open portion of the "U." Also called Steam Lead, "U" Lead.
Box Pile A pile made from two deep-arch sheet piles, channels or other structural steel shapes, welding along their contact lines. The box pile may be driven open or cloesd ended and filled with concrete or left empty.
BP Former designation for H-pile; now called HP.
Brace 1. A telscoping structural member used to attach the bottom of the leads to the crane base and used to position or batter leads in or out, left or right. Can be mechanically, hydraulically or pneumatically operated; it is used with either fixed leads or semifixed leads. Also called Bottom Brace, A-Frame, Spotter, Spreader Bar, Spider, Kicker, Stinger, Strut, Apron.
2. A structural member used in bracing
Brace Pile A batter pile connected to a structure in a way to resist lateral forces.
Bracing A system of horizontal and/or inclined structural members fastened to the piles of a bent, group or row to increase stability by resisting or distributing lateral forces to the structure. Bracing is used extensively in trenches and sheet-pile cofferdams as compression struts. Also called Shoring.
Breaking Strength An estimation of the load that will cause a wire or rope to part, as calculated by manufacturers. One does not take into account wear and tear, shock loading or weakening by knot tying.
Breakwater A wall built to protect a harbor, beach or other waterfront area from storm waves.
Breast Wall A wall built against a bank of earth or rock to prevent it from falling. See Riprap.
Bridging Bracing between joists or stringers helps to distribute load.
Brooming The separation of fibers at the butt or tip of a wood pile caused generally by excessive or improper driving or timber of unsuitable quality. Can be controlled through the use of a pile banding ring, driving cap with cushion blocks and a metal shoe for the pile tip.
Brow Log A large horizontal log used as a buffer or barrier.
Bruns Pile Trade name for a concrete pile precast with short pieces of pipe at the ends for adding lengths with a tapered drive splicer.
Builders Level An instrument consisting of a telescope, leveling bubble, and tripod used primarily for establishing grade levels.
Building Code Guide and regulations for design aand construction of building and their supports.
Bulb of Pressure The soil region around and blow a pile, group of piles, or a footing which is significantly influenced by the load on a foundation. It may be increased during the driving of the piles.
Bulkhead See Sea Wall.
Bulls Liver An inorganic silt of slight plasticity; quakes like jelly from vibration.
BullzenSchitz A term used to describe bullshit advertising claims made by Pileco or Pilemac. See also HorsenSchitz.
Burke Bar A long handled tool with a curved shoe on the lower end used for prying, shifting, lifting, or moving equipment, materials, etc.
Butt Of A Pile The larger or head end of a tapered pile; usually the upper end of a pile as driven. Also a generel term for the upper portion of a pile.
Butt-Welding Welding two adjoining corresponding surfaces by setting them in a common place in exact position to each other while assuring that their common axis is in a straight line. See: Bevel Weld.
Button-Bottom Pile Trade name for a precast concrete tip about 17 in. diameter driven with a 14 in. heavy wall pipe. For a cased pile a corrugated shell is lowered and fastened to the base and the pipe withdrawn. For an uncased pile concrete is forced out the bottom as the pile is pulled.
Buttress A brace on retaining walls.

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