Ground Conditions to Be Aware of When Undertaking a Commercial Concrete Drilling Project

30 April 2018
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog


When you need to install additional electrical wiring lines, plumbing pipes or phone lines, you have to undertake concrete drilling. That's because most of these utilities are usually installed through the concrete in the building's foundation and basement walls. The reason why installing utilities though concrete structures is a viable option is that it offers unobstructed access to these utilities. What's more, due to the durability of concrete, you don't have to worry about regular replacement of utility lines, especially in a commercial property.

During concrete drilling, there are certain ground conditions that should be taken into account beforehand to avoid site hazards and costly damages. These conditions include the following:

Existing utilities

Before going into a commercial drilling project, you need to be aware of any existing utilities that may be already installed in the concrete. Doing this will ensure that you don't end up causing damage to the electrical lines, phone lines, and plumbing lines. In the case of electrical lines, hitting a live wire with your drill can cause sparking or even electrocution. To avoid this, use ground penetrating radar (GPR) equipment to scan the concrete and look out for any existing utilities. If they are there, you should mark their location and exercise caution during the drilling project to prevent causing damage to the lines.

Rebar within the concrete

In some concrete constructions, steel bars are used to reinforce the concrete and improve its structural integrity. With rebar, concrete is able to resist compression, bending and other tensile stresses that build up once the concrete is loaded. Steel reinforcing bars are good for structural purposes, but you should be aware of their existence before drilling through concrete. If you hit the steel with a powerful drill, there can be the risk of a kickback. What's more, your drill bits may end up getting damaged. Once again, you need to scan the concrete and look for steel reinforcing bars. If there are any, use a rebar cutter to break through the steel before proceeding with the drilling.

Steel post-tension cables

Sometimes post-tension cables are used within the concrete to increase the strength and stability of long and thin concrete slabs. As their name suggests, these cables are tensioned out after the concrete has been poured. Drilling through concrete that has these cables can cause a major worksite hazard. Cables can rapture and burst out of the concrete, causing severe injuries or even death to the worker and other people standing near the worksite. To avoid these accidents, make sure that you don't cut through a post-tension cable, especially if there is a chance of rupturing it.

No matter your project, work with commercial drilling contractors to minimise risks.