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The authors, at the request of the American Petro-

leum Institute (API) piling sub-committee, recently
conducted a review of methods for the assessment of
the axial capacity of driven offshore piles in sili-
ceous sand. The review, which is described in detail
in Lehane et al. (2005a) and involved the develop-
ment of an extended database of static load tests,
evaluated the existing API recommendations (API-
00) and three Cone Penetration Test (CPT) based
methods namely: Fugro-04 (Fugro 2004), ICP-05
(Jardine et al. 2005) and NGI-04 (Clausen et al.
2005). A new design method, referred to as UWA-
05, emerged following the evaluation exercise and is
the described in this paper and in Lehane et al.
The assessment of the predictive performance of
API-00, Fugro-04, ICP-05 and NGI-04 against the
new UWA pile test database indicated the following
trends (which are described in detail in Lehane et al.
1. All three CPT based design methods considered
(Fugro-04, ICP-05 & NGI-04) had significantly
better predictive performance than the existing
API recommendations, which were seen to lead
large under-predictions in dense sands and be-
come progressively non-conservative as the pile
length (L) or aspect ratio (L/D) increased.
2. Despite the CPT based methods having a
broadly similar predictive performance against
the new database of load tests, their formulations
relating the pile end bearing with the cone tip re-
sistance (q
) are notably different. Formulations
for shaft friction also differ significantly in
detail, although all assume a near-proportional
tail, although all assume a near-proportional re-
lationship between local shaft friction (
) and q

and allow for the degradation of
with distance
above the pile tip (h) due to friction fatigue.
3. The ICP-05 method indicated the lowest coeffi-
cient of variation (COV) for calculated to meas-
ured capacities (Q
) of 0.32, when an equal
weighting is given to each pile test in the data-
base. However, the relative performance of each
method for various categories within the data-
base is less clear. For example, NGI-04 predic-
tions appear best for open-ended piles in com-
pression while Fugro-04 and ICP-05 provide
comparable predictive accuracies for open-ended
piles in tension.
4. When account was taken of the relative reliabil-
ity of the pile test data (using a carefully de-
signed weighting procedure), the methods listed
below for each category of pile lead to the low-
est probability of failure:
API-00: closed-ended piles in compression
Fugro-04: closed-ended piles in tension
ICP-05 & NGI-04: open-ended piles in com-
ICP-05 & Fugro-04: open-ended piles in ten-
5. API-00 gives the lowest probability of failure for
closed-ended piles in compression partly be-
cause the method generally under-predicts the
capacity of the database piles to a significant de-
gree. However, while the same average level of
under-prediction also applies to API-00 predic-
tions for closed-ended piles in tension, the esti-
mated probability of failure is larger than the
three alternative CPT design methods.
The UWA-05 method for prediction of axial capacity of driven piles in
B. M. Lehane, J.A. Schneider and X. Xu
The University of Western Australia (UWA), Perth

ABSTRACT: This paper describes a new method for evaluating the axial capacity of driven piles in siliceous
sand using CPT q
data. The method is shown to provide better predictions than three other published CPT
based methods for a new extended database of static load tests. The design expressions incorporate the most
important features currently accepted as having a controlling influence on driven pile capacity at a fixed time
after installation (e.g. the effects of soil displacement, friction fatigue, sand-pile interface friction, dilation at
the shaft and loading direction) and are seen to reduce to a simplified form for typical (large diameter) off-
shore piles.

6. The ICP-05 method displays a tendency to under-
predict pile base capacities (when assuming ca-
pacity solely from annular end bearing) and to be-
come potentially non-conservative for tension
capacity as the pile aspect ratio (L/D) increases.
The Fugro-04 method indicates a tendency to un-
der-predict compression capacities for long piles
and to over-predict base capacities in loose sand.

The examination of the three CPT based methods
coupled with a review of their various deficiencies
and a careful examination of the new extended data-
base of static load tests prompted the authors to pro-
pose the UWA-05 method presented here. This
method is believed to represent a significant im-
provement on Fugro-04, ICP-05 and NGI-04 meth-
ods. Particular comparisons are made with ICP-05,
which Lehane et al. (2005a) adjudged to have a
marginally better predictive performance than the
other two CPT based methods.
2.1 End Bearing
Factors that were considered in the development of
the UWA-05 proposals for base capacity evaluation
of closed and open-ended piles are listed in the fol-
lowing. These proposals are based on the analyses
reported in Xu & Lehane (2005) and Xu et al.
(2005). The base capacity is defined as the pile end
bearing resistance at a pile base movement of 10%
of the pile diameter, q
2.1.1 Closed-ended piles
The strong direct relationship between the end
bearing resistance of a closed-ended driven pile
and the cone tip resistance, q
, has been recog-
nised for many years and arises because of the
similarity between their modes of penetration.
Given the difference in size between a pile and a
cone penetrometer, a correlation between q

and q
requires use of an appropriate averaging
technique to deduce an average value of
q . Xu
& Lehane (2005) show that, for many strati-
graphies encountered in practice,
q may be
taken as the average q
value taken in the zone
1.5 pile diameters (D) above and below the pile
Xu & Lehane (2005), however, also show that
when q
varies significantly in the vicinity of the
pile tip (i.e. within a number of diameters), the
Dutch averaging technique (Van Mierlo & Kop-
pejan 1952, Schmertmann 1978) provides the
most consistent relationship for end bearing and
should be employed to calculate
q .
A simplified (and conservative) means of deter-
mination of the Dutch
q value is provided in
Lehane et al (2005b), which may be more practi-
cal when using CPT data collected offshore,
which are often not continuous.
The values of q
for driven piles are less than
q because the displacement of 0.1D is insuffi-
cient to mobilise the ultimate value (of
q ).
The findings of Randolph (2003), White & Bol-
ton (2005), and others, are consistent with the
UWA-05 proposal to adopt a constant ratio of
q for driven closed-ended piles.

The UWA-05 design equation for the end bearing of
a closed-ended pile, with diameter D, is given as:
1 . 0 b b
q Q

= where q
q = 0.6 (1)
2.1.2 Open-ended piles
Salgado et al. (2002), Lehane & Gavin (2001,
2004), and others, have shown that a relatively
consistent relationship between q
for a pipe
pile and the CPT q
value becomes apparent
when the effects of sand displacement close to
the tip during pile driving are accounted for. This
installation effect is best described by the incre-
mental filling ratio (IFR) measured over the final
stages of installation- and is referred to here as
the final filling ratio (FFR). As the FFR ap-
proaches zero, q
approaches that of a closed-
ended pile with the same outer diameter.
The displacement induced in the sand in the vi-
cinity of the base is most conveniently expressed
in the terms of the effective area ratio A
, de-
fined in Equation 2c. This ratio depends on the
piles D/t (diameter to wall thickness) ratio and
the FFR value, varying from unity for a pile in-
stalled in a fully plugged mode to about 0.08 for a
pile installed in coring mode with D/t of 50.
Lehane & Randolph (2002), and others, have
shown that, if the length of the soil plug is greater
than 5 internal pile diameters (5D
), the plug will
not fail under static loading, regardless of the pile
Experimental data and numerical analysis indi-
cate that the resistance that can develop on the tip
annulus at a base movement of 0.1D varies be-
tween about 0.6 and 1.0 times the CPT q
(e.g. Bruno 1999, Salgado et al. 2002, Lehane &
Gavin 2001, Paik et al 2003, Jardine et al. 2005).
Lehane & Randolph (2002) suggest that the base
resistance provided by the soil plug for a fully
coring pile (with FFR =1) is approximately
equivalent to that of a bored pile.
Recommended values of q
for bored piles
range from 0.15 to 0.23 (Bustamante & Giane-
selli 1982, Ghionna et al. 1993). These ratios are
not dependent on the pile diameter.
The value of
q should be evaluated in the same
way as that employed for closed-ended piles, but
using an effective diameter (D
) related to the ef-
fective area ratio, A
i.e. D
= D A
There are relatively few documented case histo-
ries that report the incremental or final filling ra-
tios. In the absence of FFR measurements, a
rough estimate of the likely FFR may be obtained
using equation 2d (see Xu et al. 2005).
The UWA-05 proposal for end bearing of driven
pipe piles is provided in Equation (2). This proposal
is developed in Xu et al. (2005) and shown to com-
pare favourably with the existing database of base
capacity measurements for open-ended piles.
1 . 0 b b
q Q

= (2a)
rb c 1 . 0 b
A 45 . 0 15 . 0 q / q + = (2b)

FFR 1 A (2c)



2 . 0
m 5 . 1
) m ( D
, 1 min FFR (2d)
where D
is the inner pile diameter.
2.2 Shaft Friction
Factors that were considered in the development of
the UWA-05 method for shaft friction are discussed
in Schneider & Lehane (2005) and Lehane et al.
(2005a). These are now summarised as follows:
Local shaft friction (
) shows a strong correlation
with the cone tip resistance (q
). This correlation,
which has been observed directly in instrumented
field tests has been employed successfully in well
known design methods, such as that proposed by
Bustamante & Gianiselli (1982).
The shaft friction that can develop on a displace-
ment pile is related to the degree of soil dis-
placement imparted during pile installation. The
higher capacity developed by the new generation
of screw piles compared to that of a bored and
continuous flight auger piles is just one example
of this effect.
The degree of displacement imparted to any
given soil horizon is related to the displacement
experienced by that horizon when it was located
in the vicinity of the tip. This level of displace-
ment can conveniently be expressed for both
closed and open-ended piles in terms of an effec-
tive area ratio, A
, which is unity for a closed
ended pile and, for a pipe pile, includes dis-
placement due to the pile material itself and the
additional displacement imparted when the pile is
partially plugging or fully plugged during driv-
ing. White et al. (2005) use a cavity expansion
analogy to deduce that the equalized lateral effec-
tive stress is likely to vary with the effective area
ratio raised to a power of between 0.30 and 0.40.
The incremental filling ratio (IFR) is a measure
of soil displacement near the tip of a pipe pile and
depends on a number of different parameters, in-
cluding soil layering, pile inner diameter, pile
wall thickness, plug densification or dilation, and
installation method. For the (limited) database of
IFRs reported, the mean IFR over the final 20D
of penetration (where most friction is generated)
can be reasonably approximated using Equation
(3e) for relatively uniform dense to very dense
sands in the database.
After displacement of the sand near the tip in a
given soil horizon and as the tip moves deeper,
the radial stress acting on the pile shaft (and
hence the available
value) in that horizon re-
duces. This phenomenon, known as friction fa-
tigue, is now an accepted feature of displacement
pile behaviour (e.g. see Randolph 2003).
The rate of radial stress and
reduction with
height above the tip (h) depends largely on the
magnitude and type of cycles imposed by the in-
stallation method. White & Lehane (2004) show
that the rate of decay is stronger for piles experi-
encing hard driving and much lower for jacked
piles, which are typically installed with a rela-
tively low number of (one-way) installation cy-
White & Lehane (2004), and others, also show
that the rate of degradation with h is greater at
higher levels of radial stiffness (4G/D) and there-
at a fixed h value (i.e. after a specific
number of installation cycles) in a sand with the
same operational shear modulus (G) reduces as D
The foregoing, plus the tendency for hammer se-
lection to be such that the number of hammer
blows is broadly proportional to the pile slender-
ness ratio (L/D), suggest that
may be tenta-
tively considered a function of h/D. This ap-
proximation is supported by field measurements
such as those provided in Lehane et al (2005a),
and is also compatible with the occurrence of a
critical depth at an embedment related to a fixed
multiple of the pile diameter (such as 20D pro-
posed by Vesic 1970 and a number of workers).
The same approximation is employed by the ICP-
05 and Fugro-04 design methods.
Based on the former point, the ICP-05 method
proposes that
varies in proportion to (h/D)
where c = 0.38. However, given that this value of
c was estimated on the basis of field tests with
jacked piles (Lehane 1992 and Chow 1997)
where the type and number of cycles imposed is
less severe than is typical of driven piles, a higher
value of c is considered more appropriate for off-
shore pile. Strong indirect evidence in support of
this observation is also apparent in Lehane et al
(2005a), which shows that the Fugro-04, ICP-05
and NGI-04 progressively under-predict the shaft
capacity of jacked piles as the pile length in-
The radial effective stress acting on a driven pile
increases during pile axial loading and its magni-
tude (when
is mobilised and dilation has
ceased) increases as the pile diameter reduces, the
sand shear stiffness around the pile shaft in-
creases and the radial movement during shear (di-
lation) of the sand at the shaft interface increases.
These increases are not significant for offshore
piles (with large D) but need to be considered
when extrapolating from load test data for small
diameter piles in a database. The recommenda-
tions of the ICP-05 method are considered rea-
sonable for assessment of the increase in radial
stress ('
), but with a modified expression for
the shear stiffness derived from the CPT data.

varies in proportion to tan
is the
constant volume interface friction angle between
the sand and pile); this
value, which should be
measured routinely, increases as the roughness
normalized by the mean effective particle size
) increases. Verification of the dependence of

on tan
has been provided by Lehane et al.
(1993), Chow (1997), and others. In the absence
of specific laboratory measurements of
UWA-05 recommends the trend shown on Figure
1, which is the same as that employed by ICP-05
but with an upper limit on tan
value of 0.55
(due to the potential for changes in surface
roughness during pile installation).
The shaft friction that can develop on a pile in
tension is smaller than that which can be mobi-
lised by a pile loaded in compression for the rea-
sons described by Lehane et al. (1993), de Nicola
& Randolph (1993) and Jardine et al. (2005).
Because of the shortage of high quality measure-
ments of
very close to the tip of a driven pile
and the variable and inconsistent trends shown by
the available measurements, one simplifying op-
tion is to assume
is constant over the lower two
diameter length of the pile shaft for both closed
and open-ended piles in tension and compression.
Shaft capacity increases with time as shown by
Axelsson (1998), Jardine et al. (2005a), and oth-
ers. Lehane et al (2005a) show, however, that rate
of increase over the period 3 days to 50 days is
not statistically significant for the UWA database
of load tests. A design time of 10 to 20 days is
considered appropriate for shaft friction calcu-
lated using UWA-05.
The UWA-05 design equations for shaft capacity
of driven piles arose from the foregoing considera-
tions and are expressed as follows:

= dz D Q
f s
( )
cv rd rc
cv rf f
tan ' '
tan ' + = = (3b)
( )
5 . 0
3 . 0
rs c rc
2 ,
max A q 03 . 0 '



= (3c)

IFR 1 A (3d)



2 . 0
m 5 . 1
) m ( D
, 1 min IFR (3e)
D r G 4 '
= (3f)

= constant volume interface friction angle
= radial effective stress at failure
= radial effective stress after installation and
= change in radial stress due to loading stress
path (dilation)
f / f
= 1 for compression and 0.75 for tension
= 185q
with q

= a reference stress equal to 100 kPa
= in situ vertical effective stress
r = dilation (assumed for analyses=0.02mm, as
for ICP-05)
0.01 0.1 1 10
Median Grain Size, D50 (mm)




< 0.55
Employed for
database evaluation

Figure 1.
variation with D
(modified from ICP-05 guide-
The UWA database of static loads tests, as discussed
in Lehane et al (2005a & b), was employed to assess
the predictive performance of the proposed UWA-05
method. The predictions described employed equa-
tions (1), (2) and (3) with the following additional
Measured interface friction angles, when avail-
able, were adopted. Figure 1 was used in the ab-
sence of measured
When the incremental filling ratio (IFR) was re-
corded, A
was assessed using the mean IFR
value measured over the final 3D of pile penetra-
tion while the value of A
was assessed from the
mean IFR value recorded over the final 20D of
penetration. In the absence of IFR data, A
were evaluated using Equations 2d & 3e.
The database included 74 load tests at sites where
data were measured. Pile test data at sites
containing micaceous, calcareous and residual sands
were excluded from consideration as were sites for
which only Standard Penetration Test data were
available. The database included substantially more
pile tests than used for verification of the Fugro-04,
ICP-05 and NGI-04 design methods and was sub-
divided into the following four categories:

(a) Closed-ended piles tested in compression
(b) Closed-ended piles tested in tension
(c) Open-ended piles tested in compression
(d) Open-ended piles tested in tension

A detailed presentation and discussion of this statis-
tical analysis, which was conducted for API-00,
Fugro-04, ICP-05 and NGI-04, as well as for UWA-
05 is presented in Lehane et al. (2005a & b) and may
be briefly summarized as follows:

(i) For the database taken as a whole (i.e. including
all pile categories), the UWA-05 method pre-
dicts a mean ratio of calculated to measured ca-
pacity (Q
) of 0.97 and the lowest overall
coefficient of variation (COV) for this ratio of
0.29; this compares well with the respective
COVs of 0.32, 0.38, 0.43 and 0.6 for ICP-05,
Fugro-04, NGI-04 and API-00.
(ii) The UWA-05 method has the lowest COV for
of all five methods for each of the four
pile test categories (except for closed-ended
piles in compression where UWA-05 and ICP-
05 have the same COV for Q
(iii) The COV of 0.19 for Q
of the UWA-05
method for open-ended piles in compression is
significantly lower than the corresponding COV
of 0.25 of ICP-05.
(iv) UWA-05 shows no apparent bias of Q
pile length (L), pile diameter (D), pile aspect ra-
tio (L/D) and average sand relative density.
One of the factors giving rise to the superior per-
formance of the UWA-05 method for pipe piles is
the inclusion of the effective area ratio terms in the
expressions for base and shaft capacities of open
ended piles. This is not surprising given the ac-
knowledged importance of soil displacement on ca-
pacity and the fact that many of the database piles
showed evidence of partial plugging. However,
given that the incremental filling ratio (IFR) is not
commonly measured in practice, the sensitivity of
the predictive performance to the IFR parameter
employed was re-examined and a summary of this
exercise is provided in Table 1.
It is clear from Table 1 that the estimation of IFR
using the empirical equations 2d & 3e, rather than
direct use of the measured IFRs to deduce A
ues, has only a minimal impact on the COV values
for Q
. It may also be inferred that the assump-
tion in UWA-05 of a fully coring pile (i.e. IFR=1)
for the database piles (most of which had diameters
less than 800mm) will lead, on average, to a 20%
under-prediction of capacity. Such an under-
prediction is in keeping with observed levels of par-
tial plugging of (smaller diameter) database piles
and suggests that other design methods, such as ICP-
05, which may provide a good fit to the existing da-
tabase of load tests, but do not include an appropri-
ate soil displacement term (such as A
), will over-
predict the capacity of full scale offshore piles.

Table 1: Sensitivity of pipe pile capacity to A
and A
The UWA-05 method simplifies to the following
form for full scale offshore piles, as IFR=1 and the
dilation term (
) can be ignored.

= + = dz D D
q Q Q Q
1 . 0 b s b comp

= dz D 75 . 0 Q
f tens
( )
r c 1 . 0 b
A 45 . 0 15 . 0 q q + = (4c)
5 . 0
3 . 0
r c f
tan 2 ,
max A q 03 . 0




1 A (4e)

Method for calculation of Ar* Mean Qc/Qm
COV for
Open-ended piles in compression
Using Equations 2d & 3e for all tests 0.99 0.23
Assuming IFR= 1 0.81 0.24
Using measured IFR when available 0.98 0.19
Open-ended piles in tension
Using Equations 2d & 3e for all tests 0.97 0.26
Assuming IFR=1 0.77 0.22
Using measured IFR when available 0.91 0.23
Lehane et al. (2005b) examined the implications
of equation (4) and assessed its performance against
existing API recommendations and ICP-05 (the best
performing of the three CPT based methods consid-
ered). This examination indicated that equation (4)
provides a more conservative extrapolation than
ICP-05 for shaft capacity from the existing database
(of relatively small diameter piles with a mean D
of about 0.7m) to typical offshore piles used in prac-
tice. Equation (4) also predicts higher base capaci-
ties than ICP-05 because of its assumption that a pile
plug with a length greater than 5 diameters will not
fail under static loading.
It is also noteworthy that Equation (4) tends to
provide lower capacities than API-00 in loose sands,
but higher capacities for dense sands in compres-
sion. API-00 and UWA-05 predictions for tension
capacity in dense sands are broadly similar for pile
lengths in excess of 20m. However, the UWA-05
method, unlike API-00, does not show any predic-
tion bias with L, D, L/D and D
This paper has shown that the UWA-05 method:

(i) is a significant improvement on existing API
(ii) provides better predictions for a new extended
database of load tests than the ICP-05, Fugro-
04 and NGI-04 CPT based design approaches;
(iii) employs soundly based formulations that draw
on the considerable recent developments in our
understanding of displacement piles in sand;
(iv) provides formulations that enable a rational ex-
trapolation beyond the existing database base
of load tests.
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