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Geocentrix Repute - Intelligent pile design and analysis

About PGroupN

Why does Repute incorporate PGroupN?

PGroupN is a leading-edge computer program for the analysis and design of pile groups, developed by Dr Francesco Basile of Halcrow Group/Geomarc.

Key features - including full continuum solution, multi-layered soil profiles and soil nonlinearity effects - make PGroupN the most powerful tool to design pile groups in a rigorous yet cost-effective fashion.

There are many advantages in using PGroupN for pile group analysis and design, including:

Analysis method

The PGroupN analysis is the most rigorous of the pile-group design programs currently available. It is based on a complete boundary element (BEM) solution of the soil continuum, thereby overcoming the approximations which occur with the traditional interaction factor approach. Use of the above methodology leads to a more realistic prediction of the deformation behaviour and load distribution of the individual piles of the group. Inclusion of soil nonlinearity effects avoids exaggeration of pile stresses at group extremities predicted by linear elastic models, and reduces consequent high loads and moments. It has been shown that, even at typical working load levels, this reduction is significant. These aspects are of basic importance in practice and offer the prospect of tangible improvements in design procedures and worthwhile savings in construction costs.

Speed of use

One of the main features of PGroupN is its capability to provide a complete 3D non-linear BEM solution of the soil continuum while retaining a computationally efficient code. This represents a considerable advantage over similar BEM solutions (eg PGroup) which are limited by the large amount of computing time required to analyse practical pile group problems. In principle, a complete three-dimensional analysis of a pile group can be carried out by finite element or finite difference analyses; however, the complexity and high computational costs involved preclude the ruotine use of such techniques in design (particularly if non-linear soil behaviour is to be considered).


The development and testing of PGroupN is part of an eight years’ research programme led by Dr Francesco Basile. Contributors include the late Dr Ken Fleming of Skanska Cementation Foundations.

Selected publications on PGroupN


The ability of PGroupN to deal with multilayered soil profiles gives the designer an invaluable tool resulting in a more realistic picture of the group deformation response and the load distribution between the piles. Other facilities including variable moduli, lengths, and diameters per each pile enhance the flexibility of the program and offer the designer a comprehensive tool for the analysis of a wide range of practical problems.

Ease of use

The amount of input data required by PGroupN is minimal. The choice of soil parameters is simple and direct: for a linear analysis, it is only necessary to define two soil parameters whose physical interpretation is clear, i.e. the soil modulus and the Poisson’s ratio. If the effects of soil non-linearity are considered, the strength properties of the soil need also to be specified, i.e. the undrained shear strength for cohesive soils and the angle of friction for cohesionless soils. These parameters are routinely measured in soils investigation. This aspect represents a significant advantage over load-transfer or subgrade reaction approaches (e.g. the t-z and p-y curve methods) which are based on empirical parameters which can only be backfigured from the results of pile load tests.


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