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RE: Vinyl Sheet Piling Foundation Walls

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It sounds more like the vinyl is to be used as lagging if it is spanning horizontally between steel columns. Normally the steel columns would be referred to as piling. I guess that I do not totally understand the application.

I have done NPS projects that were not conducive to cast in place concrete. Consider using precast. Another thing that you should consider is to avoid mixing trades, and limiting the number of different trades. Precast is set by the iron worker trade. Masonry is a separate masonry trade, and is very expensive in remote sites.

Vinyl materials should be checked with the USACE Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab in New Hampshire. I know of no research in the seismic arena on vinyl products. Vinyls are especially susceptible to brittle fracture in cold temperatures. You could consider some of the new wood composite materials for the lagging, but I would be inclined to stick with the tried and true precast.

Harold Sprague

From: Larry_Reynolds(--nospam--at)
Reply-To: <seaint(--nospam--at)>
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Vinyl Sheet Piling Foundation Walls
Date: Tue, 5 Oct 2004 10:14:46 -0600

I am reviewing a set of drawings for a Visitors Center at a remote location
in Alaska.  This is an IBC-2000, Seismic Design Category C building.The
structural engineer is proposing vinyl sheet piling spanning  between steel
columns for the foundation wall.  The wall is braced for in-plane loads by
diagonal steel straps attached to the steel columns. The columns are braced
by the floor and roof diaphragms.  A steel channel spans between the tops
of the columns.

Due to the remoteness of the site, and the difficulty and expense of
placing concrete at his location, this idea may have some merit.
Environmental restrictions are such that an on-site batch plant is not

I have searched IBC-2000 and IBC-2003 and could not find any restrictions
on the use of this material.  On the other hand, I could not find where the
code said this was an acceptable use of the material.

Does anyone have any experience with this kind of application for vinyl
sheet piling?  What are some of the problems we should look out for?  Among
our concerns are performance at low temperatures, and seismic issues.


Larry Reynolds, P.E.
National Park Service

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