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Douglas Ashcraft
Junior Member
Username: dgashcraft

Post Number: 2
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2005 - 04:31 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I am perplexed about the naming of some of these sections. I am looking specifically at 31 63 00 Bored Piles. This seems to be a general category for what I have usually called "drilled piers". 31 63 29 is called Drilled Concrete Piers and Shafts but 31 63 23 is called Bored Concrete Piles with Bored and Belled Concrete Piles as a sub-category below that. I really don't see the difference between a "bored concrete pile" and a "drilled concrete pier". As it is, I am stuck with having to rename my "Drilled and Underreamed Footing" section to "Bored and Belled Concrete Piles" To top it all off, there is a section under 31 63 00 called Drilled Caissons which I believe is just a regional name for Drilled Piers. True Caissons are specified under section 31 64 00. Am I missing something here? Who has the ability to rename some of these sections to make more sense?
John Bunzick, CCS, CCCA
Senior Member
Username: bunzick

Post Number: 387
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2005 - 05:11 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

You have the ability to rename sections.

First of all, MasterFormat in a voluntary standard, so you no one is requiring you to follow it. However, if you are using it, changing section titles is not recommended. It is fully anticipated that users will create their own titles. You could start with looking at what standard terms are used in the industry publications for the type of pile you're using and match that. I'm not knowledgable in this area to know the differences between all of these, but if your system is not listed, you could use an unassigned number, such as 31 63 24, with your own title. Maybe someone else knows whether a "Drilled and Underreamed Footing" is the same as a "Bored and Belled Concrete Pile". Sure sounds the same to me.
Dennis Hall (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2005 - 08:50 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post


The names for all these drilled and bored stuff has been going on for years. And yes, some of this does seem to be regional language. That is why CSI/CSC went to ASCE for assistance in naming all this stuff in MF04. These are the names and organizational structure the dirt engineers wanted, not the architects. Frankly, we don't care what they call it, we just want it to be consistant.
Mark Gilligan SE, CSI
Senior Member
Username: markgilligan

Post Number: 21
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Friday, July 29, 2005 - 12:47 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

The Master Format titles need some explanation as to what is the intent. I am a Structural Engineer, a member of CSI for over 30 years, and have regularly written specification sections for the structural sections including drilled piers. If I cannot easily understand which section number should be used we have a problem.

In order to get some insight into the proper names for deep foundation types I did a google search and found insight in a web site of a major geotechnical firm, and a web site where both Geotechnical and Structural engineers contributed. At the geotechnical web site they provided the following definition:

Caisson – A deep foundation, also referred to as a drilled shaft, drilled pier or bored pile. Commonly constructed by drilling an open hole using an auger or rock bit and then filling the hole with concrete. Diameters are commonly from 24 to 60 inches. Caissons can have "belled bottoms" to increase bearing area. Most efficient in clays above the water table.

At the other web site it was clear that a multiplicity of names are in use for the same systems. One Geotech even offered that underreaming and belling are the same.

With regards to the claim that ASCE was consulted on the names, I will suggest that what the committee got was one individuals opinion.

My advice is to be flexible and tolerant in the use of section names especially until somebody sufficiently defines what systems are addressed in these “standard” sections. If you use one of the common names I am sure that the subcontractors will find the right section.
David R. Combs, CSI, CCS, CCCA, MAI
Senior Member
Username: davidcombs

Post Number: 68
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Friday, July 29, 2005 - 07:49 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Some additional background from ARCOM's MasterSpec evaluations (not sure if it will be of much help, though):

A drilled pier is a foundation element formed by drilling a cylindrical shaft into suitable rock or soil and filling the hole with concrete. The unsupported shaft may remain open temporarily, or be kept open by installing a casing into the shaft or by stabilizing the shaft walls with slurry.

Originally, drilled-pier foundations were developed to transfer heavy axial loads, such as those exerted by high-rise buildings, into rock or high-bearing-capacity soil strata. Drilled piers have evolved, with improved drilling methods, into a versatile foundation element also capable of withstanding lateral or uplift loads. Slurry techniques have been adapted and developed from the foundation-investigation and oil-drilling industries in the last 40 years.

Terminology: The term drilled piers is used throughout this Section. The American Concrete Institute/ACI International (ACI) has adopted the title drilled piers, while CSI/CSC's MasterFormat includes the term drilled concrete piers and shafts. ADSC: The International Association of Foundation Drilling (ADSC) uses the term drilled shaft. Other terms include caissons, drilled caissons, and large-diameter-bored piles.

Drilled piers may have straight-sided shafts extending down to the bearing stratum, or the base of the shaft may be enlarged by belling or underreaming to increase bearing area or uplift resistance. Bells are seldom used in noncohesive soils subject to soil collapse, such as sands, gravels, and loose rock. Caving soils require special construction procedures with casings usually supporting the drilled shaft. Slurries may also be appropriate.

ACI 336.3R, Design and Construction of Drilled Piers, applies to drilled piers 30 inches (760 mm) in diameter or larger, while noting that smaller-diameter shafts have been used in noncollapsing soils. ACI 336.1, Reference Specifications for the Construction of Drilled Piers, has changed the minimum shaft diameter from 18 to 30 inches (460 to 760 mm) in defining drilled piers. ADSC, perhaps reflecting the broader scope of the term drilled shaft, includes shaft sizes down to a nominal diameter of 10 inches (250 mm).
Helaine K. Robinson CCS
Senior Member
Username: hollyrob

Post Number: 187
Registered: 07-2003
Posted on Friday, July 29, 2005 - 02:13 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

The "Bored Concrete Piles" suffer from boredom and possibly hemorrhoids!
Douglas Ashcraft
Username: dgashcraft

Post Number: 3
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Friday, July 29, 2005 - 05:13 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Thanks to all for all of the insight. I especially appreciated the levity provided by Helaine.

Mark Gilligan, could you please post the URL's of those web sites you visited? I am not having much luck with my search.
Mark Gilligan SE, CSI
Senior Member
Username: markgilligan

Post Number: 22
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Saturday, July 30, 2005 - 12:27 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post


The references are:


The point being that there is no unanimity with regards to nomenclature. As a result it is not always clear how to assign section numbers according to Master Format.
Dennis Hall (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Saturday, July 30, 2005 - 07:40 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post


The ASCE representative on the MFETT was the chair of the ASCE Specifications Committee and we asked for input that representated the collective knowledge of the organization. CSI/CSC intends to make MasterFormat a living document and would welcome structural and civil enginering expertise on the new update task team.

Please send names and contact information to Greg Ceton at gceton@csinet.org. As we get comments regarding proposed changes, we will appoint a task team with the expertise to address these issues. This will hapen annually.

CSI/CSC is also getting ready to create a terminology documnt of words and phrases found on drawings and in specifications. We will soon be looking for expert help in all areas of construction for this task as well.
Mark Gilligan SE, CSI
Senior Member
Username: markgilligan

Post Number: 23
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Sunday, July 31, 2005 - 03:06 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post


The two questions are what are the right names for the sections in Master Format and how do individuals figure out the correct section number and name.

We could spend considerable time defining the correct names but the real problem has to do with figuring out what was the intent of the authors of MF. The answer is that MF must include a brief statement as to the scope of each of the sections. This will allow the users to use the document intelligently or it will point out flaws in the thinking thus allowing them to formulate productive suggestions. Currently the lack of clarity allows only one response namely It doesn’t make sense.

Second we need to move beyond the concept of the designated representative from another organization. I suggest that consideration be given to:

1) Posting relevant portions of the current version and proposed changes on the web sites of other organizations. These postings could be limited to the portions that would be used by this group. This document could also provide background on how the Master Format is used and links to CSI.

2) Developing partnerships with other organizations such as ASCE, NCSEA whereby they endorse the document. This could possibly result in these organizations having responsibility to establish section numbers and names within the overall framework established by CSI.

In addition to dealing with the issues related to MF, these ideas would result in more exposure of engineers and other disciplines to CSI.

These suggestions would ether result in the proper names being used or it would make the question irrelevant.
Dennis Hall (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Sunday, July 31, 2005 - 09:08 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post


MasterFormat 2004 has been described as a "revolutionary" change by others. We broke new ground and clearly all the bugs were not worked out. In the 2004 edition we added "explanations" to help explain scope. Perhaps we could do a better job of this, but your concept of a brief description of scope was our intent.

Your second suggestion is also right on target with our plan. We began with only seven members of the task teama and we really had to work hard to convience the CSI Executive Committee to allow us to expand the task team to 17 members from many design disciplines and construction organizations. We were successful in accomplishing this, when we showed them how we could do it and not cost the Institute any more money. We also sent copies of all proposed schemes and requested recommendations from more than 800 professional and industry organizations in the US and Canada.

ASHRAE was perhaps was our greatest success in a major professional organization that we really worked hard and we got input from 25 of its technical committees. They have also formed a special committee to work on updates to MF04 each year.

CSI is wanting to develop strategic alliances with more professional and industry organizations to work together on documents that effect the entire design/construction community. This is a personal goal of mine and I plan to make a report to CSI ExCom in September.

Thanks for the good suggestions. We are breaking new ground and now MasterFormat may begin an "evolutionary" process.

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