The three-day program offered by the Pile Driving Contactors Association (PDCA) at a
donated construction yard and shop in Duson, La., included a full day of classroom
instruction followed by two days of hands-on field training on a diverse array of deep
foundation equipment valued at more than $10 million.
Described as “innovative” and “first-of-its-kind,” participants in The Driven Pile Academy are heading back to job sites around North America, including Hawaii, Canada and Mexico, now equipped with new perspectives and insights that can optimize their execution on future deep foundations projects.
The three-day program offered by the Pile Driving Contactors Association (PDCA) at a donated construction yard and shop in Duson, La., included a full day of classroom instruction followed by two days of hands-on field training on a diverse array of deep foundation equipment valued at more than $10 million.
Equipment experts and tenured practitioners volunteered significant time over 10 months to develop this inaugural event, which many believe to be a critical addition to the PDCA education curriculum. While job site and equipment safety preceded every segment during the three-day program, attendees began the training with an 11-hour day of detailed classroom instruction covering topics ranging from soil investigations, hammer sizing, rigging, working platforms, cushions, splicing, load testing and cost savings with driven piles, to name a few.
A total of 27 professional development hours were available to attendees. Outdoor activity took place during the two remaining days of the event and provided attendees some of the most unique and compelling training available on the market, according to the organizers.
During this portion, they stood in observation of piling equipment installing and removing piling materials in and out of the Louisiana clay. Participants rotated through seven stations, each featuring different hammer types including hydraulic, diesel, vibratory, dedicated rigs and excavator-mounted equipment. A diverse collection of cranes and rigging also were utilized throughout the stations. Steel sheet pilings, “Hbeam” piers and prestressed concrete piles were all subjected to equipment demonstrations for both installation and removal purposes.
The outdoor rotations also provided instruction on set-up, stand-up of equipment, trucking considerations, maintenance and best practices, job site legalities, equipment accessories, data gauges and tooling, as well as experience-based observations from industry veterans.
Organizers aspired to offer a low instructor-to-student ratio for this event and originally established a capacity of 42 openings for contractors and other pile driving professionals to attend; the goal was to maximize attendee opportunities for instructional and handson training. However, demand swelled throughout the registration period and PDCA made staffing and instruction adjustments to increase capacity, ultimately hosting 85 students, including contractors, engineers, designers, estimators, and others.
In addition to the intensive classroom and outdoor instruction, participants were afforded time for networking, relaxation, and a unique southern Louisiana experience. Dusonbased contractor Patriot Construction & Industrial LLC lent large portions of its expansive 19-acre property to The Driven Pile Academy.
Patriot provided attendees with true local Louisiana flair. In addition to the daily caterers, native Louisianans from the company enhanced the non-instructional time with an opening welcome reception featuring local gumbo, among the offerings. Another evening, they coordinated an authentic crawfish boil.
Sponsors and Donors
PDCA thanks all attendees, training coordinators, volunteers and organizers for participating in the inaugural Driven Pile Academy. None of this would have been possible without a long list of sponsors, including American Piledriving Equipment, Atlas Tube, Geosciences Testing and Research, Equipment Corporation of America, Gilbert, Gerdau, GRL Engineers/Pile Dynamics, Inc., ICE-International Construction Equipment, Hercules Machinery Corp., Lodge Lumber, Nucor Skyline, Pileco and United Rentals.
Also, the in-kind donors were instrumental in facilitating the hands-on training. They included: American Piledriving Equipment, AMERICAN SpiralWeld Pipe, BAUER Equipment America, Bigge Crane, Cajun Industries, Gulf Coast Pre-Stress, Consolidated Pipe and Supply, Equipment Share, Hercules Machinery Corp., ICEInternational Construction Equipment, Junttan USA, Louisiana CAT, Lodge Lumber, Mazzella, MKT Manufacturing, Nucor Skyline, Patriot Construction & Industrial, Palmetto Pile Driving, Pile Dynamics, Inc., Premier Geotech and Testing, Scott Equipment, Tadano and United Rentals.
PDCA is a 26-year-old, non-profit organization representing an international membership of pile driving contractors, equipment manufacturers, materials suppliers, affiliated engineers and other stakeholders in the deep foundations industry.
The Driven Pile Academy was conceived as the first in a forthcoming, educational series called the Contractors Foundation Institute. PDCA regularly hosts technical events, an Annual Conference, a webinar series and other opportunities for industry optimization and advancement.