Prefabricated Vertical Drain


Prefabricated Vertical Drain technology is closely related to the consolidation phenomenon. Often applied with the preload fill is one of the most reliable and certainly the most economical ground improvement method.

Prefabricated Vertical Drain (PVD) is made of corrugated plastic core covered with geotextile. The width is typically 100 mm and the thickness is ranging from 3 to 5 mm. The installation of PVD is done through a specially constructed mast with a steel mandrel installed on an excavator to push the PVD to the required depth on a grid pattern.

PVD increases the apparent mass permeability of the soft soils and thus reduces the consolidation time. It is used in combination with temporary preload fill to expedite full or partial primary consolidation as well as induce several decades of secondary consolidation (creep) settlement.

The main geotechnical parameters (settlements, pore water pressure, horizontal displacements) are monitored via appropriate instruments throughout the consolidation period to validate the design and ensure safe phasing for the construction of the embankment.


For projects that can allow time for staged construction ranging from 6 to 12 months, the vertical drain technology can be very efficient and economic. The most common application is the linear infrastructure such as road or rail embankments. It has also been used for land reclamation over soft soils for the construction of airport runways and taxiways, marine terminals or other structures where the load intensity is not too high.

The maximum load transferred to the consolidated soil depends directly on the type, degree of consolidation, structure type and acceptable settlements.

Prefabricated Vertical Drain can be used for:

  • Airport Runways
  • Marine Terminals and Port Platforms
  • Roads and Roadway Embankments  
  • Buildings
  • Levees
  • Storage Tanks
  • Bridge Abutments
  • Warehouses


Link: Project references


Economy: one of the most economical ground improvement methods to treat soft cohesive soils provided sufficient time is available for consolidation.

Predictable: with extensive experience and thorough soil testing, precise estimation of settlement and consolidation time is possible.

Scale of operation: can be used for low bearing capacity cohesive soils with considerable thickness, even up to a depth of 50 m.