Increasing infrastructure performance starts with database-supported insight
Cost-effective and environmentally friendly
In the first Civil Engineering and Public Works (CEPW) edition of 2023, we introduced CloudPiling, the software developer operating from Bruges, Belgium. The company offers a comprehensive platform with its eponymous software package, enabling the swift and more efficient calculation of foundation piles, retaining walls, and soil anchors. The information obtained isn't just useful during the underground task itself, but also proves valuable for additional infrastructure works around the specific site at a later stage. It's a welcome added value.
Michelle Vanhove and Thomas Zwaenepoel, the faces behind CloudPiling, don't just have expertise in software, they also have a clear understanding of the market they operate in. Especially regarding the needs at play and the ongoing developments. "Lately, there have been voices, particularly in the Netherlands, advocating for centralizing and making accessible the data related to underground constructions, foundations, and water barriers," Thomas explains. "A commonly suggested approach is to establish a governmental registration platform for this purpose. While the initial idea might seem adequate, we strongly oppose the latter notion. Simply because we firmly believe that design software used for such applications should have mandatory and comprehensive database support. This ensures that all data is consistently collected and available for any future infrastructure works near the specific object."
More transparency, fewer assumptions
Their cloud-based software solution allows for swift and easy referencing of the material whenever needed, without imposing additional administrative burdens on the industry. This applies to all foundation works ever conducted or planned at a site. "Often, there's too much guesswork in practice about the foundation techniques used in the past,' explains Vanhove. "Being able to accurately map this for each project, without relying on chance, enables sharper - or rather, strictly necessary - designs, reducing the need for assumptions. These benefits translate into significant cost savings in terms of hours, concrete, and steel. And what's more crucial: this reduced CO2 footprint contributes positively to the environment."
No data = over-sizing and unnecessary costs
The absence of complete cloudbased data on a building's foundation can significantly inflate costs unnecessarily, as demonstrated by CloudPiling's project in Oostende. In this case, the client wanted to construct an apartment building with an underground parking next to a five-story apartment complex. The question arose whether this new building was to be supported on piles or solely on a steel structure. "No one had any information about this," says Zwaenepoel. "Consequently, we created two designs based on possible scenarios. Because the client didn't want to take any risks, and at that time, there was no cloud database available, they ended up choosing the most expensive solution. Unfavorable for their wallet and our planet."