Originally Posted By: mkober
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John was pretty much on the money, but I'd like to add a few things. Having inspected many hundreds of pile-supported structures in several states in the last 35 years, I have a deep respect for the abilities of a properly-constructed pile foundation. Service lives exceeding 60 years are not unusual
1. You didn't mention if the piles are treated or not. Effective treatment (usually creosote, or possibly pentachlorophenol or chromated copper arsenate, among others) will add considerably to the service life. If CCA, attachment hardware deterioration can be an issue.
2. If pile-driving records are available, they should show the tip elevations and bearing capacity, and possibly some drilling logs. All should be evaluated by a competent authority. If records are not available, you would do well to defer the client to a P.E. for further evaluation. Probably wouldn't be a bad idea anyway, just to CYA.
3. Robert O'Connor (NACHI member and P.E.) is somewhere in your area; he'll no doubt have some thoughts on this issue.
4. I inspected a home on a partial-pile foundation east of Albuquerque about 20 years ago--had some serious problems related to the foundation, among other things.
Michael J. Kober, P.E. and H.I.
"NACHI Member and Proud Of It!"