Sheet Pile Wall Applications Explained | Fast-Form Systems

Sheet Pile Wall Applications


The construction industry has seen a huge boom since lockdown 2.0, with new housing developments being built and work on improving infrastructure well back underway. With this in mind, it is not surprising that the need for construction materials has also increased, and a sheet pile wall plays a key part in this supply chain.

Sheet piles are incredibly versatile and can be used for a wide range of applications, but are most commonly used to provide water and soil retention, excavation support and land reclamation. Therefore, they are often used in environmental applications including bridges, tunnels, waterfront structures, flood defenses, trenches and excavations.

Construction of A sheet pile wall

There are three common ways / types in which sheet piles can be installed:

1. Trench Propping

This is the most suitable method for installing sheet piles when the ground contains loose soil and the sheet piles are short. Each sheet pile is simply driven to full depth and is used as a temporary support to keep the earth back and excavation safe.

2. Pile Driving

If you are trying to use sheet piles where the soil is hard and cohesive, or there is dense sand, pile driving will be the best method. As the name suggests, a whole sheet pile is driven in one go or they can be joined and can be driven to substantial depths which then forms a barrier, these are used for flood defence works, cofferdams, basements and the like. They are a very efficient way to hold back earth or water and they are often capped off with a concrete ring beam. Or a sheet pile capping beam, as its commonly called, which is where Fast Form has a very good system for casting the concrete cap. Often in basements a concrete wall can also be cast against the sheet piles, this is known as a single-sided wall and again fast Form have a solution for this.

3. Contiguous Piles

Steel piles are not always the solution, another common solution is ‘Contig’ piles, these typically are load bearing so are often used beneath foundations and comprise of a deep drilled hole filled with rebar and concrete. They can still be used as a retaining wall with a sheet pile capping beam or single sided wall cast for additional strength.

Sheet pile retaining walls

Sheet piles are great at resisting pressure from both soil and water, so are commonly used in retaining wall construction, both in a temporary and permanent capacity. When used for temporary works, sheet pile walls allow for deep excavations – allowing construction to be carried out below water level. When used in a permanent setting, sheet pile walls are used in retailing walls for structural support. This can include things like car parks and quay walls.

Marine applications of sheet pile walls

One of the most common marine uses of sheet pile walls is for ship berthing structures in ports and harbours. They can also be used to block floods from structures that sit close to the shore. The main reason sheet pile walls are used in both of these instances is because it provides a robust, durable solution that is very quick to install.

Sheet pile walls in basements

You may be surprised to hear that sheet pile walls are also used in basements, but with their low costs and minimum construction, it’s easy to see why. Sheet piles can reduce the normal basement construction process time by over half, which is a significant time saving. Another advantage of using sheet pile walls is that the construction space is minimised. This is because the sheet pile wall is already installed before the soil is excavated, giving the building more strength than with traditional basement methods.

Advantages of sheet pile walls

  • Quicker to construct that reinforced concrete walls
  • More aesthetically pleasing
  • Suitable for a range of different soil types
  • A sustainable product that also minimises waste
  • They are a narrow form of construction, giving more site space

A versatile solution

As you can see, sheet pile walls can be used in a variety of different applications, and for both temporary and permanent structures. Here at Fast-Form Systems, we manufacture bespoke sheet pile capping beams solutions to suit the individual requirements of your project. These solutions are the temporary formworks for when the piles need additional strengthening or an aesthetic finish. The lightweight system can be fitted by hand, reducing the need for expensive crane hire.

For more information on your project needs, please contact us today and our expert team will be more than happy to help.

Please note we are not a sheet pile supplier or installer, we offer formwork solutions for sheet piled applications.