Traditionally, diamond drilling has been used in the construction industry to form different size holes and openings in concrete and brickwork structures.
The process is considered an accurate and cost-effective alternative to cruder techniques such as burning which often require reinstatement work after any openings are formed. The diamond drilling of smaller size holes, from 6 mm diameter, allows anchor bolts and dowel bars to be attached to structures. Larger holes, up to 1200 mm in diameter, provide cavities to allow the insertion of utility pipes and temporary support frames into structures.
Diamond drilling techniques and equipment are now being used for more challenging tasks within the construction sector. Often these unconventional applications are borne from particularly difficult jobs where no alternative equipment or technique is available.
A good example is the use of continuous drilling through soil and clay as well as concrete and brick to form ducting tunnels. This technique is traditionally used to drill through concrete and brickwork, with the mining barrel continuously extended as it drills to ensure the hole does not collapse. Once complete, a solid plastic sleeve is inserted along the length of the barrel prior to its removal.
In a recent case study, the contractor had to establish two ducting tunnels benefit the foundations of a terraced house. A recent extension had meant the original breathing holes, which naturally ventilated the sub-floor spaces in the property, had been covered resulting in rising damp.
Two, 7 meter long, holes were drilled 1 metre ground level from the sub-floor space in the house, benefit the concrete slab of the new extension to an opening outside. A significant innovation in the process was the removal of the cored waste. This traditionally takes the form of solid concrete tubes, but with the mining barrel boring through earth, the soil waste generated was sucked back through the barrel with an industrial vacuum.
The success of this demonstrates that diamond drilling in the hands of specialist diamond drilling companies can be a flexible and cost-effective solution to unusual problems within the construction industry.