American Society of Civil Engineers

Introduction to PILOT Database and Establishment of LRFD Resistance Factors for the Construction Control of Driven Steel H-Piles

by Matthew J. Roling, (Structural Designer, Flad Architects, 644 Science Dr., Madison, WI 53711. E-mail:, Sri Sritharan, (corresponding author), M.ASCE, (Wilson Engineering Professor and Associate Chair, Dept. of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, Iowa State Univ., 376 Town Engineering, Ames, IA 50011-3232. E-mail:, and Muhannad T. Suleiman, M.ASCE, (Assistant Professor, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Lehigh Univ., STEPs Building, Room 326, 1 West Packer Ave., Bethlehem, PA 18015. E-mail:

Journal of Bridge Engineering, Vol. 16, No. 6, November/December 2011, pp. 728-738, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Special Issue: AASHTO-LRFD Bridge Design and Guide Specifications: Recent, Ongoing, and Future Refinements
Abstract: The recently established and publicly available database for Pile-Load Tests (PILOT) is an amalgamated, electronic source of rich information comprising both static and dynamic data for driven piles url (http:// The database, which includes quality-assured historical data on pile-load tests dating back to 1966, is intended for use in the establishment of resistance factors for load and resistance factor design (LRFD) and a reliable construction-control method for driven pile foundations and their future developments. Although a considerable amount of geotechnical and pile-load test data is available in literature as well as in various state department of transportation files, PILOT is one of the first regional databases to be exclusively used in the development of resistance factors for LRFD and a reliable construction-control method for pile foundations. Currently providing an electronically organized assimilation of geotechnical and pile-load test data for 274 piles of various types (e.g., steel H-shaped, timber, pipe, Monotube, and concrete) driven within the state of Iowa, PILOT is comparable in quality, if not superior, to such familiar national databases used in the calibration of LRFD resistance factors for pile foundations as the FHWA Deep Foundation Load Test Database. By narrowing geographical boundaries while maintaining a high number of pile-load tests, PILOT exemplifies a model for effective regional LRFD calibration procedures. Using the findings associated with a regional calibration of LRFD resistance factors for the construction control of driven piles in Iowa by means of dynamic pile-driving formulas, the economy gain realized with a regional database such as PILOT is demonstrated at the state and national/international levels.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Deep foundations
Load tests
Load and resistance factor design

Author Keywords:
Electronic database
Bridge deep foundations
Pile load tests
Load and resistance factor design (LRFD)