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1/2/2020 AS 2159 & 3600 Concrete Pile Design | SkyCiv Cloud Structural Analysis Software

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Documentation  Home  SkyCiv Foundation  Piles  AS 2159 & 3600 Concrete Pile Design

Getting Started  AS 2159 & 3600 Concrete 

SkyCiv Beam  Pile Design

SkyCiv Structural 3D
 Powerful, web-base
Single pile design in accordance with Analysis and Design
SkyCiv Section 
Builder AS 2159 (2009) & 3600 (2018)
SkyCiv RC Design  Try for

SkyCiv Member In case of high lateral load or unfavorable soil conditions,

Design pile foundation is more preferred over shallow foundations.

SkyCiv Load Attempts such as soil modi cation methods can be made to

Generator avoid piles, however, these methods may involve expensive

SkyCiv Foundation 
processes, wherein this case, piles maybe even cheaper.

Isolated Footings SkyCiv Foundation Design module includes the design of

Introduction piles conforming to American Concrete Institute (ACI 318)
User Manual and Australian Standards (AS 2159 & 3600).
Eccentric Footings
Want to try SkyCiv’s Foundation Design software? Our
Veri cation
free tool allows users to perform load-carrying calculations
ACI 318
Veri cation # without any download or installation!

AS 3600
Foundation Design Calculator
Veri cation #


Design geotechnical strength of a
Design in pile
with ACI 318-
Vertical loads applied on piles are carried by the end-
bearing of the pile and the skin or shaft-friction along its
Design in length.  The design geotechnical strength (Rd,g)  is equal to
Accordance the ultimate geotechnical strength (Rd,ug) multiplied by a
with AS 3600-
geotechnical reduction factor (øg) as speci ed on AS
2159 Section 4.3.1.

Rd,g = øg × Rd,ug     (1) 1/10
1/2/2020 AS 2159 & 3600 Concrete Pile Design | SkyCiv Cloud Structural Analysis Software

Building your Rd,g = Design geotechnical strength


Load-Carrying Rd,ug = Ultimate geotechnical strength

Capacity of Piles

ACI 318 Concrete øg = Geotechnical reduction factor

Pile Design

AS 2159 & 3600 Ultimate Geotechnical Strength (Rd,ug)

Concrete Pile
The ultimate geotechnical strength is equal to the sum of
the factored skin friction of the pile (fm,s ) multiplied by the
ACI 318 Pile
Design Veri cation lateral surface area and base resistance multiplied by the
AS 2159 & 3600 cross-sectional area at the tip of the pile. 
Pile Design
Veri cation Rd,ug = [Rs × (fm,s × As )] + (fb × Ab )     (2) Try SkyCiv
Combined foundation

Introduction  Rs = Reduction factor for shaft resistance

Documentations  fm,s = Shaft-frictional resistance

AS 3600-09
 As = Lateral surface area
ACI 318-14 Powerful, web-base
ACI veri cation #1 Analysis and Design
 fb = Base resistance term

SkyCiv Connection   Ab = Cross-sectional area at the tip of the pile Try for

SkyCiv API For a more detailed guide, check out our article on

calculating the skin-frictional resistance and end-bearing
TechNotes  capacity.
Tutorials 
Geotechnical Reduction Factor (øg)
Education 
The geotechnical reduction factor is a risk-based calculation
for the ultimate design which takes into account di erent
factors, such as site conditions, pile design, and installation
factors. Its value ranges commonly from 0.40 to 0.90. AS
2159 4.3.1 also states how to estimate its value as shown in
equation (3).

 øg = øgb + [K × ( øtf – øgb )] ≥ øgb      (3)

 øgb = Basic geotechnical strength reduction factor

 øtf = Intrinsic test factor

K= Testing bene t factor

Intrinsic test and testing bene t factors both rely on which

type of load testing used on the piles. Their values are
speci ed in Table 1 and on equations (4) and (5). Pile load
testing is discussed brie y in Section 8 of AS 2159.

Intrinsic Test Factor (øtf)

Static load testing 0.90

Rapid load testing 0.75

Dynamic load testing of

preformed piles 2/10
1/2/2020 AS 2159 & 3600 Concrete Pile Design | SkyCiv Cloud Structural Analysis Software
Dynamic load testing of other 0.75
than preformed piles

Bi-directional load testing 0.85

No testing 0.80

Table 1: Intrinsic Test Factor Values

Testing bene t factor for static load testing:

K =
≤ 1     (4)

Testing bene t factor for dynamic load testing:

1.13×p Try SkyCiv

K =
≤ 1     (5)

p  = Percentage of the total piles that are tested and meet

the acceptance criteria

The basic geotechnical strength reduction factor is

evaluated using a risk assessment procedure discussed in Powerful, web-base
Section 4.3. of AS 2159. The outcome of the said procedure Analysis and Design

is Individual Risk Rating (IRR) and an overall design Average

Risk Rating (ARR) which shall be used to determine the value Try for
of øgb as shown in Table 2.

Basic Geotechnical Strength Reduction Factor (øgb)

øgb for low øgb for high

Average Risk
Risk Category redundancy redundancy
Rating (ARR)
systems systems

ARR ≤ 1.5 Very low 0.67 0.76

1.5 < ARR ≤ 2.0 Very low to low 0.61 0.70

2.0 < ARR ≤ 2.5 Low 0.56 0.64

Low to
2.5 < ARR ≤ 3.0 0.52 0.60

3.0 < ARR ≤ 3.5 Moderate 0.48 0.56

Moderate to
3.5 < ARR ≤ 4.0 0.45 0.53

4.0 < ARR ≤ 4.5 High 0.42 0.50

ARR > 4.5 Very high 0.40 0.47

Table 2: Values for Basic Geotechnical Reduction Factor, (AS

2159 Table 4.3.2)

Low redundancy systems are heavily loaded single piles

while high redundancy systems include large pile groups
under large pile caps or pile groups with more than 4 piles.

Design Structural Strength

Piles are structurally designed almost the same as a column.

Design structural strength (Rd,s) requires ultimate capacities,
such as axial and shear forces, and bending moment. The 3/10
1/2/2020 AS 2159 & 3600 Concrete Pile Design | SkyCiv Cloud Structural Analysis Software

design structural strength of a concrete pile is equivalent to

the ultimate design strength (Rus) reduced by a strength
reduction factor (øs) and a concrete placement factor (k), as
stated by Section 5.2.1 of AS 2159.

Rd,s = øs × k × Rus     (6)

øs = Strength reduction factor

k = Concrete placement factor

Rus = Ultimate design strength

Try SkyCiv
The values for the strength reduction factor are shown in
Table 3. The concrete placement factor ranges from 0.75 to
1.0, depending on the pile construction method. However,
for piles other than concrete and grout, k shall be taken as

Powerful, web-base
Strength Reduction Factors (ø)
Analysis and Design
Axial force without bending 0.65

Bending without axial force (øpb) 0.65 ≤ 1.24 – [(13 × kuo)/12] ≤ 0.85 Try for

Bending with axial compression:

(i) Nu  ≥ Nub 0.60

0.60 + {(øpb – 0.66) × [1 –

(ii) Nu < Nub

Shear 0.70

Table 3: Strength reduction factors (Table 2.2.2, AS 3600-18)

Axial and exural capacities of a single pile

Similar to columns, piles may also be subjected to combined

compression and bending load. Axial and exural capacities
are checked using an interaction diagram. This diagram is a
visual representation of the behavior of the bending and
axial capacities caused by an increase in load from pure
bending point until a balanced point is reached. 4/10
1/2/2020 AS 2159 & 3600 Concrete Pile Design | SkyCiv Cloud Structural Analysis Software

Figure 1: Column interaction diagram

Squash Load (Nuo)

The squash load point is a point on the diagram where the

pile will fail in pure compression. At this point, the axial load
is applied on the plastic centroid of the section to remain in
compression without bending. Squash load (Nuo) and the
location of the plastic centroid (dq) are computed as shown
in equations (7) & (8). Although location of the plastic
centroid can be taken as 1/2 of the total depth of the cross-
section for symmetrical sections with symmetrical
reinforcement layout. Try SkyCiv

ϕNuo = ø × [(Ag – As ) × (α1 ′

× f c) × (As × fsy )]   

Ag = Gross cross-sectional area

As = Total area of steel Powerful, web-base

Analysis and Design
α1 = 1.0 – (0.003 × f’c) [0.72 ≤α1 ≤0.85]
Try for
f’c = Concrete strength

fsy = Yield Strength of steel

′ n
[(b×D)–A s ]×(α1 ×f c)×∑ (A bi ×fsy ×d yi )
dq =

b = Pile cross-sectional width

D = Pile cross-sectional depth or diameter

Abi = Area of reinforcing bar being considered

dyi = Depth of reinforcing bar being considered

Squash load point through to decompression point

Decompression point is where the concrete strain at the

extreme compressive bre is equal to 0.003 and the strain
in the extreme tensile bre is zero. Strength of the pile
between the squash load and the decompression points can
be calculated by linear interpolation with strength reduction
factor (øs) of 0.6.

Decompression point through to pure bending

Pure bending point is where the axial load capacity is zero.

The transition from decompression point to pure bending
uses a strength reduction factor of 0.6 to 0.8 and an input
parameter (ku) is introduced. The value of ku starts at 1 at
decompression point and decreases until pure bending is
reached. Between the transition of the two points, a
balanced condition is achieved. At this point, the concrete
strain is at its limit (εc=0.003) and the outer steel strain 5/10
1/2/2020 AS 2159 & 3600 Concrete Pile Design | SkyCiv Cloud Structural Analysis Software

reaches yield (εs=0.0025), The value of ku at this point is

approximately 0.54 with a strength reduction factor of 0.6.

Once a value of ku is selected, tensile and compressive

forces of the section can be calculated. The axial load on the
section is equivalent to the sum of tensile and compressive
forces, while the bending moment is calculated by resolving
these forces about the neutral axis. Calculation for the
compressive and tensile forces are enumerated below

Force due to concrete (Fcc):

Try SkyCiv
Fcc = α2 × f c × Ac

α2 = 0.85 – (0.0015 × f’c) [α2 ≥0.67]

Ac = Compression block area (refer to Figure 2) 

= b × γ × ku × d (rectangular cross-section)

Powerful, web-base
=(1/2) × (θ – sinθ) × (D/2)2 (circular cross-section) Analysis and Design

γ = 0.97 – (0.0025 × f’c) [γ ≥0.67]

Try for

Figure 2: Concrete Compression Block Area

Force (Fsi) and moment (Mi) contributed by each

individual bar:

Each reinforcing bar of the section exerts a force that could

either be compressive or tensile, depending on the value
bar strain (εsi) shown in equation (10).

ε si = × [(k u × d)– d yi ]     (10)
(k u ×d)

dyi = Depth to the bar being considered

εc= Concrete strain = 0.003 

If εsi < 0 (bar is in tension)

If εsi > 0 (bar is in compression)

Bar in compression:

Fsi = σ si × Abi     (11)

σsi = Stress in bar = Minimum [(εsi × Es ), fsy]

Es = Modulus elasticity of steel 6/10
1/2/2020 AS 2159 & 3600 Concrete Pile Design | SkyCiv Cloud Structural Analysis Software

Abi = Bar area

Bar in tension:

Fsi = [σ si – (α2 × f c)] × Abi ≥ 0     (12)

σsi = Stress in bar = Minimum [(εsi × Es ), –fsy]

Es = Modulus elasticity of steel

Abi = Bar area

Moment by each bar:

Try SkyCiv
Mi = Fsi × d yi     (13)

Axial capacity of the pile:

øNu = ø × [Fcc + Σ
Fsi ]

Powerful, web-base
Flexural capacity of the pile:
Analysis and Design

øMu = ø × [(Nu × d q )– (Fcc × yc )– Σ
Mi ]

Try for
Design bending moment:

Section 7.2 speci es that piles are required to have a out-of-

position tolerance of 75mm for the horizontal positioning of
the piles. This requirement may induce a bending moment
equal to axial load multiplied by the eccentricity of 75mm.
Additionally, a minimum design moment shall also be
considered which is equivalent to the axial force multiplied
by 5% of the overall minimum width of the pile. Therefore,
the design bending moment should be the greater value
between equations 16a and 16b.

∗ ∗
Md = M applied + (N × 0.075m)


Md = N × (0.05 × D)

Md = Design bending moment

M*applied = Applied moment

N* = Axial load

D = Pile width

Shear capacity of a single pile

Calculation for the strength in shear shall be in accordance

with Section 8.2 of AS 3600. Shear strength is equivalent to a
combined shear capacities of the concrete and the steel
reinforcement (equation 17).

øV u = ø × (Vuc + Vus ) ≤ øV u,max     (17)

Shear strength of concrete (Vuc) 7/10
1/2/2020 AS 2159 & 3600 Concrete Pile Design | SkyCiv Cloud Structural Analysis Software

The contribution of concrete to the shear capacity is

computed as shown on equation (18) which is de ned on
Section of AS 3600. This section also requires the
value of √f’c shall not exceed 9.0 MPa. The values for the
parameter kv and θv  are determined by using a simpli ed
method suggested by Section of AS 3600.


Vuc = k v × b × d v × √f c     (18)

dv = E ective shear depth = Maximum [(0.72 × D ), (0.90 ×

d )]

Determination of the minimum area of shear reinforcement Try SkyCiv

(Asv.min) & kv:

The area of the shear reinforcement (Asv) is the total bar

area of all the provided steel bars tied in the same direction
of the applied load. Section of AS 3600 provided the
equation for the minimum transverse shear reinforcements, Powerful, web-base
which shall be: Analysis and Design

0.08×√f c ×b
A sv.min
= Try for
s fsy.f

fsy.f = Yield strength of shear reinforcing bars 

s= Center-to-center spacing of shear reinforcing bars 

For (Asv/s) < (Asv.min/s):

kv = ≤ 0.10
[1000+(1.3×d v )]

For (Asv/s) ≥ (Asv.min/s):

k v = 0.15

Shear strength of steel bars (Vus)

The contribution of the transverse shear reinforcements to

the shear capacity calculated is shown in equation (19),
which is de ned in Section 8.2.5 of AS 3600.

A sv ×fsy.f ×d v
Vus =
× cotθ v     (19)

θv= angle of inclination of the compression strut = 36º

Maximum shear strength (Vu.max)

Shear capacity is limited and in no case shall exceed the

maximum value speci ed on Section 8.2.6 of AS 3600
(equation 20).

cotθv +cotαv

Vu.max = 0.55 × [(f c × b × d v ) ×
]     (20)
1+cot θv

αv= angle between the inclined shear reinforcement and the

longitudinal tensile reinforcement≈ 90º 8/10
1/2/2020 AS 2159 & 3600 Concrete Pile Design | SkyCiv Cloud Structural Analysis Software

Ultimate shear strength (Vu)

The total shear strength contributed by the concrete and

shear reinforcements shall be less than or equal to the
limiting value of Vu.max

Vu = (Vuc + Vus ) ≤ Vu.max     (21)

Design shear strength (øVu)

Capacity reduction factor that shall be applied for the

ultimate shear strength is ø = 0.7. Therefore, the design
shear strength of the pile is given by:
Try SkyCiv
øV u = ø × (Vuc + Vus )     (22)


Pack, Lonnie (2018). Australian Guidebook For

Structural Engineers.  CRC Press.
Piling Design and Installation (2009). AS 2159. Australian
Powerful, web-base
Analysis and Design
Concrete Structures (2018). AS 3600. Australian
Try for

 Still stuck? How can we help? Updated on October 8, 2019

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