Compared to steel beam braces, high-load-capacity hydraulic braces are faster, safer and cheaper.
Welding walers and chairs for steel beam excavation bracing is labor intensive and potentially dangerous. Contractors facing tight construction budgets and shortened schedules can save time and money, and protect worker safety, by renting a high-load-capacity modular hydraulic bracing system instead.
Commonly used as part of a sheet pile bracing system or paired with slurry walls or beam and lag walls, these flexible systems can support deep excavations, irregular excavations and the long excavations needed to construct clear span buildings and tunnels. For larger excavations, the braces are paired with high-load-capacity hydraulic struts.
Benefits of modular hydraulic bracing systems
Hydraulic bracing systems are often ideal for fuel tank installation, heavily loaded cofferdams and excavations for deep basements and similar structures. Some of the main benefits are outlined below.
Less labor, lower costs
Excavation shoring and bracing is one of the first activities on a construction site. Saving time and reducing costs at this early stage is important to a project’s overall success. A modular hydraulic bracing system speeds the installation of bracing, allowing contractors to start work in the excavation sooner and shortening the project schedule.
These systems consist of a hydraulic ram unit with 1 meter (3.28 feet) of adjustability for an exact fit and extension sections ranging from 3 meters (9.8 feet) to 10 meters (32.8 feet). The ram unit can be joined to the extension sections with just two pins, and a single pin connects the sections at the corners. The system hangs from chains anchored to the tops of the sheet piles or to higher-level braces.
Welding is eliminated, which saves considerable time and labor costs. Welders are spared the task of performing a hot, dangerous job inside an excavation, and business owners are spared the time and expense of welding and the bother of securing hot work permits.
The temporary equipment vendor can assemble much of the hydraulic bracing system offsite, then transport the extension sections to the jobsite in lengths that avoid the need for oversize load permits. In the meantime, the contractor can deploy their workers on other tasks, getting a jump on excavation activities.
When the extension sections arrive on site, workers can quickly pin them together to reach the required size and configuration.
Steel walers, by contrast, are too long to be welded together offsite or transported without an oversize load permit.
Fast installation and removal
Installing and removing a modular hydraulic bracing system is fast and easy. Pinning one section to another takes about 15 minutes, while welding one section of a steel waler to another can take as long as two to three hours.
In addition, the modular configuration makes it possible to install and remove the system with relatively light-duty lifting equipment.
Open, flexible configurations
High-load-capacity modular hydraulic bracing systems can achieve clear spans ranging from 3 meters (9.8 feet) to 24.2 meters (79.4 feet). Used in conjunction with high-load-capacity hydraulic struts, they can support excavations more than 30 feet long or wide.
Because the corners can be adjusted at different angles, these systems work for irregularly shaped excavations as well as for rectangular excavations.
Designing a modular hydraulic bracing system
The proper design of these systems is critical to worker safety and project success. To prevent cave-ins and other accidents, all excavation protective systems must meet the standards outlined in OSHA 1926 Subpart P. In the case of a hydraulic bracing system, accurately calculating the load being applied and determining the working load capacity of the extension sections is paramount.
United Rentals pioneered the use of hydraulic shoring and bracing systems in the U.S. Its team of in-house Registered Professional Engineers can perform complex load calculations and configure a hydraulic bracing system or excavation shoring and bracing system that meets the load requirements and fits the excavation plan. With its extensive inventory of hydraulic shoring and bracing equipment and engineering expertise, it can quickly deliver customized, pre-assembled components to catapult projects to the next stage.
Contact the United Rentals Trench Safety group for help with all your excavation needs.