Increased sustainability: Due to a reduction in the amount of concrete used, and their reusable nature.Reduction in cost: Use of concrete reduced by approximately 50%.


The Technology

A new type of hollow building foundation that is sustainable, reusable, enables inspection, and saves money (50% cost reduction). It uses less concrete than conventional piles and allows access for inspection after demolition of an existing structure, and hence is reusable. This is a technology for building developers whose goals are to increase sustainability and reduce their carbon footprint.

Technology Features; Specifications

In the construction industry, concrete has been confirmed as a major contributor to global carbon emissions. Therefore any way to reduce the amount used would be of a significant benefit to individual schemes and of course the environment.

Researchers at City University London have developed the concept of hollow building foundations.  The concept was successfully evolved into the Sustainable Reusable Pile (SuRe Pile)

This new building foundation is the same as the traditional foundation; however the central section of pile is hollow. Therefore it uses 50% less concrete than conventional foundations, and is accessible for inspection after demolition of an existing structure. It also allows for modification to enhance load capacity. In addition, the piles are better suited than conventional piles for use as ‘energy piles’ to allow environmentally friendly heating and cooling.

Moreover, the central voids in each pile could be adapted for other uses such as rainwater storage, or to create a form of geothermal pile connected to a ground source heat pump.

The reusable building foundations (SuRe Pile™) are most suitable for multi-storey buildings - especially as the taller the building is, the wider and deeper the pile required - therefore the greater the amount of savings that can be achieved.

By way of example, a 2.4 meter diameter pile requires 135 cubic meters of cement. A lorry can carry 6 cubic meters, and therefore one pile would require more than 20 lorry loads of cement. Each lorry will take approximately 20 minutes to off load, which would equal one day to build one pile. A 2.4 meter Sure Pile would save 50% of concrete, therefore reduce the number of lorries, the time to build and the time on site by an equivalent amount.

Key Benefits

Increased sustainability: Due to a reduction in the amount of concrete used, and their reusable nature.
Reduction in cost: Use of concrete reduced by approximately 50%, hence reducing cost of construction overall. Eliminating the need of building new foundations also contributes to cost reductions.
Carbon savings at construction stage and reuse: The reusable building foundations  (SuRe Pile™) has potential to offer a carbon saving of about 40,000 tons per year in new piles in the UK alone; however, much larger savings can be expected to accrue in the long term from future pile reuse (zero carbon emission)


Working in collaboration with independent consultants, Arup Geotechnics Ltd, an initial trial was undertaken to analyse the structure and geotechnical performance of a SuRe Pile™. This trial was successful and led to a subsequent full scale instrumented field trial by Balfour Beatty Ltd.

The SuRe Pile proof of concept was achieved and demonstrated to have performed at least as well as an equivalent conventional solid pile


Our licensee offers commercial collaobration partners licenses and know-how for the construction of SuRe Pile.

The images illustrate the advantage of SuRe pile in comparison to conventional building foundations.

Key Benefits

Reduced concrete use, reducing transport of concrete on site, faster construction of piles, reusable pile as it can be inspected from inside and space within the pile for additional building services such as heat pumps and HVAC equipment.


A new approach to piling for the construction industry that reduces carbon footprint, reduces cost, provides opportunity for resuing pile in a future new build and allows new services to be incorporated into the hollow pile

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