Issue No.1 – Winter 2015

Issue No.1 – Winter 2015

President Welcome

The new EFFC website, has recently gone live. It was established to promote networking between the many Member Federations as well as to foster the cooperation with our partners and industry colleagues. I further shall demonstrate the capabilities of our Industry and shall show that Special Foundations has contributed substantially the construction of some of Europe most iconic Buildings.
This newsletter is designed to run alongside the new website adding further information as well as highlighting specific topics that we, the EFFC, wish to bring to your attention through a separate medium.
The Members of our Federation span 16 Countries throughout Europe and are made up of over 370 Specialist Foundation Contractors, working in Specialist Foundations. Collectively we represent our Industry in Europe and contribute to the development in technical applications, in modern contractual partnership alliances and to ever safer working environments.
As a result, our Industry is full of news, which appears on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and it is a great challenge of our Federation to gather these news items in a timely manner and bring it to the attention of all our colleagues and partners. Every National Federation, its individual Member Companies and every individual person is invited to contribute to knowledge sharing and to mutual learning. I also extend this invitation to our industry partners and friends asking them to contribute with their knowledge and developments in future Newsletters and help solidify the future of construction.
I hope you enjoy this newsletter and that it encourages you to visit our new website. Please feel free to email me with your suggestions for future articles or your own contributions.

FPS / Crossrail “Lessons Learnt…” - London conference puts together clients and foundation contractors
A conference was held on 10 November 2015 to share the geotechnical lessons learnt from Europe’s largest construction project – London’s Crossrail.
Crossrail involves building two railway lines, east to west across London to a depth of 40m below the historic centre of the city.
Costing £14.8bn (€21bn) to deliver, when complete it is expected to increase the public transport capacity of London by 10%. Recently the 42km of tunnelling works were completed, bringing to an end the geotechnical phase of the project and it was decided to organise a conference to discuss some of the many issues raised during this phase.
The event was organised jointly between the UK’s Federation of Piling Specialists (FPS) and Crossrail and is the first such event in the UK where a client organisation has collaborated with the FPS to share knowledge with the wider industry.
Martin Blower, Chair of the FPS said: “The event was a great success with over 100 delegates attending. They included representatives from other client organisations such as High Speed 2 and the London Underground, as well as our own Member companies and the media. It provided an opportunity for those Members who had worked on the project to talk about what they did and demonstrate how they had innovated to overcome issues. It also gave us an opportunity to reinforce the message that clients should use FPS Members if they want to have a high quality service on their projects”
The event was held in the prestigious City Hall building on the banks of the river Thames. It included sessions on the construction methods used in challenging ground conditions, specification and design verification and equipment and innovation. A panel discussion was held on the commercial aspects of the project which involved main contractors.  It was concluded from this discussion that it would have been beneficial to have an earlier involvement of contractors and specialist contractors to help solve the challenges on the project.
EFFC President Hans-Joachim Bliss concluded the day sating: “It is impressive that foundation contractors and the client can share openly the challenges and solutions they developed on the project.
It is an approach that could be beneficial in Europe if it is adopted in our Member countries. Having now identified what needs to be done both technically and in terms of the commercial approach, it only remains for everyone to implement these solutions to create a better experience and result for everyone.
It is also important to recognise the value that specialist contractors bring which should be reflected in healthy profit margins that will help us invest in the future of our industry.”

To view the Papers presented at the conference please click here

If you wish to know more about how the conference was organised and how it could be adapted for your country, please contact the EFFC secretariat –


“Safety is paramount in our Industry” says Luc van Hecke, Chairman of the Working Group HSE, as it is across the wider construction sector. One of our core objectives is to continually improve safety and the working conditions of not only our own workers but also those of our partners and trades that work alongside us.
This section of the Newsletter is intended for displaying safety examples of the day-to-day work of our Industry.
The first topic for consideration is “Lifting Equipment” and we wish to start a series of safety examples that call upon our continuous focus during our daily activities on site. A PDF on the topic is available for download from the EFFC website .
Lifting equipment as well as all further topics to come, are ideal examples of topics for tool box meetings on site.
It remains our prime objective to work safely on all our projects throughout the Federation. With this objective in mind the EFFC is urging all its members to examine its procedures and protocols for the co-ordination of co-activity of safety on-site.
Safety is the one area where there can be NO compromise!
Mutual Recognition of Rig Operator Qualifications
Foundation contractors continue to encounter the issue of national authorities, clients and main contractors not recognising the qualifications of rig operators across borders in Europe. This creates unnecessary delays and costs on projects and makes it difficult to move qualified operatives between countries.
The EFFC needs your support to solve this issue through achieving mutual recognition of rig operator standards across borders. We are seeking any examples of situations where authorities, clients or contractors have refused to recognise a qualified rig operator.
The problem is a long standing issue for foundation contractors in Europe who want to bring qualified operatives on to a site that is outside their own country. Luc Van Hecke Chairman of the Health and Safety Working Group says: “The free movement of workers within Europe is a fundamental principle of the EU. In the worst cases the issues we are having are due to countries operating to traditional practices. At other times it is because the country recognises a limited number of deep foundation techniques and their training requirements are not applicable for skilled and qualified operators on other types of machines. The need is to bring these standards and practices to up to date and in line with the open market principles of the EU with one final goal: to obtain the highest level of safety on our job sites.
Obtaining a so-called “European Rig Operators’ license” for piling and drilling rigs would allow us to move our workers to job sites outside of our own countries more easily. Our intention is to establish a minimum standard that should be determined by the industry through involving contractors and manufacturers.”
The EFFC is working with FIEC to initiate a project at EU level that will address this issue. Should we receive official EU support for this project we should provide a Europe-wide framework to allow acceptance of the different qualifications in use.
To help build our case and establish the extent of the issues we are asking all Members to send to us further best practice examples and training models for Rig Operator Qualification in your country. These should be sent to Ciaran Jennings in the EFFC Secretariat –


Industry Partners

BAUER Maschinen

Given the continually increasing market requirements, BAUER Maschinen GmbH is best equipped for the future owing to the introduction of its two drilling rig lines ValueLine and PremiumLine in 2011. Four years after the reorganization, BAUER Maschinen GmbH is now introducing a new generation of rotary drilling rigs of the ValueLine series: the medium-sized platform series, designed for bored piles with a diameter of up to 2.5 meters and a drilling depth of up to 70 meters. Enjoy reading this article on our website.


Deep foundation and Geosynthetics – does it go together?
Deep foundations technologies as well as the use of geosynthetics are well established ways to tackle challenges in foundation works on soft ground. But how about combining both, generating synergies and advantages for the client?
This year’s annual meeting of the EFFC in Berlin gave a platform to inform and discuss about possibilities and limitations within the application of geosynthetics in the field of special foundations. After a brief introduction into basic properties and the behavior of individual product groups it was analyzed that there are a number of applications where geosynthetics are already used in special foundations or in combination with it.  For further information please visit our website
Most obvious application areas being identified are the use in construction of temporary access roads and working platforms, the validation of global stability of embankments in connection with ground improvement, the construction of horizontally reinforced raft-foundations over piles or the execution of Geotextile Encased Columns (GEC).
Besides highlighting most actual aspects with regard to the design of those applications it was discussed whether geosynthetics could furthermore make sense e.g. to help preventing excess consumption of concrete during piling works and the installation of rock anchors. Geosynthetic sleeves could also be a way to reduce the magnitude of negative skin friction and therefore enable are safer or more economical design of piled foundations. Another interesting application could be seen in the use of geosynthetic tubes for dewatering of mineral or organic sludge which might arise during deep excavation works or which would be present in reclamation projects of polluted sites.
Geosynthetics have developed into a group of reliable and cost-effective construction materials which can contribute to optimize design and execution of deep foundation works.


SOILMEC was established in 1969 and today it is a worldwide leader in the field of design, production and sale/marketing of equipment and rigs for drilling and foundation works.
It counts on a wide range of products, among the most complete in the world, so that it can cover any requirements of works and sites. Bridges, viaducts, electric power plants, dams, ports, motorways, metro and railways, geothermie and small diameter drilling…. SOILMEC can satisfy any request and need, also the most complex and articulated ones. This is the result of a widespread and rooted company
culture which has always focused on the customer and relevant requirements as the real centre of all its activities, according to a true idea of partnership (Solution Provider).
Innovation as growth’s engine. In few words, this is the cultural approach which has always characterized the whole SOILMEC activity since its very beginning. Innovation of process, market, communication... but especially of product, in order to supply the client with more and more technologies which are always updated and advanced as for performances, quality, reliability and safety.
The real pulsing core of SOILMEC is just the Technical and Research & Development Centre which employs over 125 people, mechanical engineers and designers who are wholly dedicated to the never-ceasing development of new technologies and solutions that are client-targeted.
SOILMEC’s range includes:
  • Self-erecting hydraulic equipment
  • crane-assembled equipment
  • self-erecting hydraulic equipment with continuous auger
  • diaphragm walls
  • multi-function and heavy duty cranes for foundations
  • micropiles
  • anchors
  • jet grouting
  • consolidations
  • soil deep mixing
  • tunnel consolidation
  • high pressure pumps for jetting works
  • site equipment and tools
  • geothermie
SOILMEC is currently active in over 70 countries, with a network of subsidiaries, agents and dealers who guarantee the clients a continuous technical and financial support as well as an after-sale service. The will to be “closer and closer” to the client, also geographically, is one of the main principles inspiring the daily work of over 800 employees of the company.
... and Finally
Thank you for taking the time to read this first newsletter and I hope you will find space and time in your inbox to read the next issue, which will be sent to you in April 2016 and I hope it has also prompted you to visit the new EFFC website for more information.
Your comments on this or the website are welcome and that includes ideas for articles and topics that you feel should be communicated to all our Members and across Europe. Please in the first instance email me at with your topics and I look forward to reading them.

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*London Skyline image credited to Cementation Skanska

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