Secant Pile Installation

As the leading design-build firm operating across the nation, Schnabel specializes in the construction of high-quality and structurally robust secant pile walls. These not only offer excellent excavation support but also function as efficient groundwater barriers during the excavation process.

The installation of secant pile walls involves using stiff, interlocking shafts to form an unbroken wall of concrete. The drilling of these secant pile shafts requires specialized equipment to ensure the necessary alignment, which is pivotal for the walls to work effectively. The shafts usually range from 2 to 4-foot in diameter. Although similar to secant piles in many ways, tangent piles simply touch each other without any overlap.

Schnabel’s decades of experience in crafting custom solutions for water and earth retention make it ideally suited to deliver secant walls to cater to your most challenging construction requirements. Through secant pile installation, Schnabel can help you achieve your construction goals with remarkable efficacy and precision.

Secant Pile Installation Solutions

Secant piles form a strong and rigid system that incorporates both earth retention and groundwater barrier walls. The construction of secant pile walls involves drilling a sequence of interlocking primary (drilled first) and secondary (drilled second) shafts, which together create a solid, continuous secant wall. The concrete within these shafts can either be entirely low-strength or high-strength, or it can be a combination of low-strength primary shafts and high-strength secondary shafts. Steel piles or reinforcing steel are normally set in the secondary shafts. High-strength, unreinforced shafts can also be crafted in a self-supporting circular pattern, popular for its regular use in access shafts leading to tunnels.

The relative impermeability of secant pile walls makes them apt for controlling groundwater flow into an excavation while minimizing drawdown outside the site. With their superior stiffness, these walls are frequently used when there are sensitive structures present behind the proposed wall.

Advantageously, secant piles for cutoff wall construction can be installed by Schnabel’s high-torque drilling rigs. These rigs, even while casing the drill hole, can penetrate harsh drilling conditions. They’re capable of advancing a cased hole through both natural and man-made obstructions, ranging from cobbles and boulders to reinforced concrete, thus enhancing the versatility and efficiency of secant pile walls for various construction and excavation operations.

When constructed and installed by a company, businesses can benefit from the years of experience and high-quality equipment they bring to the table. This ensures that even in challenging conditions, the result is a reliable, secure, and effective solution for excavation support and groundwater control.

Secant pile wall installation by a competent firm ensures the overall integrity, strength, and performance of the construction project. With their impermeability, stiffness, and versatility, secant pile walls cater to a wide range of construction needs while also promoting effective groundwater management.

When faced with challenging drilling conditions, the use of secant piles can prove to be a very cost-effective technique for cutoff wall construction. Another notable advantage is the relatively lower mobilization cost compared to other types of cutoff wall construction methods, including slurry walls and soil mix walls.

To gain further insights on the suitability of a secant wall for your specific project, reach out to one of Schnabel’s eight regional offices today. Our team of experienced professionals is always ready to provide you with comprehensive advice tailored to your unique construction needs. Investing in secant pile installation with Schnabel offers affordability, efficiency, and reliability, ensuring your project is carried out with optimal effectiveness and value for money.

Always innovating new approaches to better solve old problems.

secant pile contractors

Rondout West Branch Bypass Tunnel Shaft

Schnabel installed secant piles in a self-supporting circular ring to support the construction of a new bypass tunnel to allow water to flow under the Hudson River to New York City after an older tunnel started to leak.

secant piles

Barnes-Jewish Hospital

Schnabel designed and constructed a secant pile wall for the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Parkview Tower on the Washington University Medical Campus in St. Louis, Missouri. The perimeter secant wall served as both the permanent structural basement wall and the temporary earth-retention system for the new hospital building.

In 31 years of building deep foundation projects for Schnabel, building a 90’ deep reinforced circular shaft was one that was very challenging and deeply rewarding. Looking forward to working on the next one with our client Schiavone.
Paul Davis, Rondout West Branch Bypass Tunnel Shaft


Schnabel is the sector’s most operationally efficient Geostructural Design & Construction contractor. We optimize efficiencies by leveraging decades of experience and design/build expertise to innovate processes and approaches that are consistently proven to deliver optimal outcomes for our clients.