Written By: Bryan Wedin P.E., Chief Design Engineer, Presto Geosystems
Not all geocells are created equal. While most manufacturers can provide similar-looking written specifications, you need assurances that the material delivered for your project is of the high quality that you expect. Important factors in the success of your geocell project include:
The geocell material is proven, strong, and will last
- Require only the highest quality virgin High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) resin
- Low quality or recycled resin can lead to weak and/or inconsistent seam strength, putting the success of your project at risk.
- Non-HDPE materials cannot match the nearly 40 years of in-ground experience of HDPE geocells and plastic alloy proprietary blends can mask cheap stiff filler materials.
- ISO Certification
- Important, but the manufacturer sets the testing protocol for the certification. Require a Certificate of Analysis (COA) for the material that is shipped to your project. An ISO certification that does not require continuous testing is lacking.
The complete solution includes proper components
- Non-corrosive, high-strength panel connection method (ATRA® Keys vs. weak staples or zip ties)
- Anchors that provide secure connections to the geocell (ATRA® stakes vs. J-hooks)
- Load Transfer Devices for tendon applications that are non-corrosive and offer a secure connection to the cell walls (ATRA® tendon clips vs. washers, knots or pipes)
The geocell material “as shipped” meets proven industry standards
- Insist upon signed material certs showing the proper testing/certification for your application
- Unscrupulous providers supply special material for testing and ship lower quality material
Design and Specification Support
You receive proper tools and engineering guidance
- Require the manufacturer to provide project design assistance for their specific material. Variations of resin and of anchoring and connection methods on the market make it “critical that designs from one manufacturer not be used for alternate material.”
- Require the manufacturer to provide a complete specification/submittal package
The contractor receives proper installation tools and training
- Many contractors are not experienced in the installation of geocells. Require pre-construction training and on-site field supervision by a certified manufacturer’s representative to ensure your project is installed correctly and economically.
Your owner and your reputation are protected
- All of the above factors combine to provide you the level of confidence you expect from the material you specify. Why risk this certainty for the small savings (savings that come from the use of inferior resin, non-engineered components and a lack of project support) that come with allowing inferior, alternate material suppliers?