Trenches are common features on many construction sites and are also needed when you need to install utilities underground. These trenches can be shallow or deep, and depending on the quality of the soil that is dug into, can determine whether the walls of these trenches will stay firm during the operations as according to trench box manufacturers. Where there is any doubt whether the walls will stay in place till the completion of the required installation work, it is customary to provide some form of support to the side walls of soil, through the provision of support in the form of a steel trench.
Before any excavation is undertaken for a trench, a proper assessment needs to be made of potential risks by studying soil conditions, water table height, width and depth of required trench, time for which it is to remain, and other factors like vibrations or traffic that can affect the stability of the side walls of the trench. Trenches less than three feet may not require any support, those of up to five feet can be sloped or benched, while those above this height will require support to walls. Another factor that may decide on this necessity is the access that is required for workers to work in the trench, both during its creation and when any installation work is required to be undertaken.
A steel trench consists of steel plates that line the side walls of the trench. These plates can be joined to each other, but are almost certainly braced apart so that the steel plates remains firmly in place. The bracing, which is quite often adjustable, will ensure that the plates remain firmly pressed against the soil. Working in trenches, especially if they are deep can be quite hazardous, and these steel supports of the side walls enable the work to be carried out in complete safety.
Shoring systems for steel trenches can also have hydraulic pistons that enable a large force to be exerted on the sides. At times, I beams are driven into the ground and are used to support the steel plates for the trench. There are many other types of shoring systems used for supporting trenches, and the type used can depend on the dimensions of the trench, the period of use, the need to shift and reinstall and other factors.
Safety has to be the primary consideration, as well as the speed of erection and dismantling so that the steel trenches perform their tasks as desired.