A current trend on the European market is the use of ground improvement concepts as alternative or in complement with deep foundations realized by piling methods. Several ground improvement techniques include the use of rigid inclusions. Their construction process, sometimes similar to the typical piling techniques, makes it difficult to draw a boundary between deep foundation by piles and ground improvement by rigid inclusions. In practice, this lack of clarity can lead to severe discussions between the stakeholders of the construction project and sometimes results in a feeling of double standard politics on the market of foundation contractors with severe specifications for piling contractors and nebulous requirements for ground improvement contractors. This wrong debate is generally caused by a misuse of the foundation engineering terminology and by a confusion of the roles and the failure mechanisms related to the different foundation concepts. In the present keynote, the concept of rigid inclusions, including the use of a load transfer platform, is reviewed and illustrated with several case studies. Design methodologies, in line with the Eurocodes, are discussed and promoted in order to ensure a positive competition or a strong collaboration between both worlds. The authors give a general overview of the rigid inclusion concept including theoretical, design and execution aspects. Recent trends on the market (deep mixing, CMC...) are highlighted and research perspectives proposed to further understand the fundamental principles governing the different foundation concepts.
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