Britpave: The British In-Situ Concrete Paving Association

Increase in use of soil stabilisation

Latest industry figures show a marked growth in the use of soil stabilisation as the focus on cost effective sustainability and the use of brownfield land increases reports Britpave, the infrastructure trade association.

According to new figures from the Mineral Products Associations binder sales for soil stabilisation were significantly higher in 2012 compared with 2011. The figures for the first three quarters 2012 each show an increase in sales over the equivalent 2011 quarter: an increase of 14.9%, 55.7% and 26.1% respectively.

Stabilising soils with binders such as lime and cement is a cost-effective method to convert poor quality soil into a strong construction medium or for remediating contaminated brownfield sites. It has the significant benefit of carrying out the stabilisation on site. This in situ treatment is typically far more cost effective than traditional ‘dig and dump’ methods which incur the cost of lorry movements, landfill taxes and importation of virgin aggregate. It also has a significantly reduced environmental impact.

Soil stabilisation can also shorten construction programmes by minimising site preparation requirements and, given the record downpours of last year, is effective in enabling wet ground to be dried, strengthened and made ready for immediate use. For example, the addition of quicklime, dries up wet clays and allows extended working in wet conditions and well into the winter. For brownfield sites, the controlled addition and mixing of lime or cements to contaminated soil renders a wide range of contaminants immobile and non-leachable.

“Soil stabilisation is a widely recognised civil engineering technique that improves the quality of soil without the cost and inconvenience of dig-and-dump,” said Al McDermid, Chair of the Britpave Soil Stabilisation Task Group. “The increased use of binders demonstrates the increased recognition by contractors of the benefits of this approach. This recognition is underlined by the increased use of brownfield sites, the need to be environmentally accountable and by the dreadful wet weather of last year”.