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Ground Improvement Begins For Warrior Transition Program
October 21, 2010

Two sites at the Bethesda National Naval Medical Hospital are undergoing ground improvement by design-build contractor GeoStructures so that construction can start for buildings designated for the Warrior Transition program.

Beneath the designated area for Building 17, a multi-story administrative structure, the company is installing Rammed Aggregate Pier® elements (RAPs) to ensure the ground’s ability to support the building. With subsurface conditions showing bedrock at varying depths, the company designed a system with conventional RAPs, uplift RAPs and tie-down anchors to handle the required loads. Similar to conventional RAPs built with compacted aggregate in one-foot lifts, uplift RAPs include a harness that anchors to footings as a way of providing resistance against uplift forces as a result of wind or seismic forces. The RAPs range in length from eight to 28 feet.

Use of RAPs also contributed to material re-use credits in Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED®), the green building certification system. The RAP construction technique incorporated concrete recovered from the demolition of a building on site, which led to several environmental benefits: the concrete was crushed on site, so there were no inbound truck shipments of new aggregate, no outbound hauling of old concrete, and no costs for land-filling the debris, thus limiting the carbon footprint of the overall project.

At the site for Building 62, also known as the Bachelor Enlisted Quarters and the Warrior Transition Unit Administration Center, conditions were similar with bedrock close to the surface in some areas and deeper in others. GeoStructures designed a system to accommodate the variations using RAPs to reinforce soils and to support spread footings for the structure, which will be comprised of three wings that wrap around an existing building. The RAPs here range in length from eight to 21 feet.

Completion of these two buildings in August 2011 complies with the requirements of the Base Realignment and Closure mandate that is re-organizing the nation’s defense-related agencies and assets.

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