Limited or Limitless: Restricted access shouldn’t mean restricted drilling options

on Tuesday, 01 March 2022.

Limited access, also referred to as restricted access, is commonly characterised by a variety of spatial, ventilatory, topographical, or operational limitations. If one, or more, of these physical constraints is encountered on site, specific drilling requirements and adaptations may be necessary. Despite limited access often being associated with urban settings, for example basements, these challenges can also be found on rural and off-shore sites. More often than not, successfully accessing and working on restricted sites with a larger piling rig can be difficult. Sites with limited access or confined work spaces can pose a variety of problems for operators. From the initial on-site delivery of machinery and equipment, to physical limitations such as the height and weight restrictions of a larger rig; using traditional methods of foundation drilling may not always be possible due to such restrictions.

However, limited access doesn’t have to mean limited drilling options. There are a wide variety of projects and job sites where mini piling can be utilised in order to overcome potential obstacles and practicalities often associated with limited access. Mini piling is a widely used drilling method. Commonly used for underpinning and on sites classed as restricted, mini piling and micro piles can be used to create foundations for a variety of project types including those in real estate and infrastructure. Mini piles are lightweight and affordable yet incredibly durable, robust and able to withstand dense weight and pressure.



Historically, mini piling was used primarily for environmental drilling, but due to the evolution of the piling sector and the construction industry as a whole, mini piling is becoming increasingly popular with many operators situated around the globe utilising various applications of mini piling to huge success. Here are some of the difficulties restricted sites pose to contractors, and how mini piling is able to rise to the challenge:


Small geographical footprint

In general, smaller scale sites such as housing extensions or basements, are unable to physically accommodate a larger piling rig and the associated equipment. In order to undertake the necessary work, mini piling rigs are able to be utilised. As mini rigs have a small working footprint, and are able to access sites that ordinarily would be a ‘no-go’ zone, they are an ideal solution for many operators.

Low headroom

On sites where clearance and headroom is limited, it’s crucial to use a rig that will not only fit comfortably into the space, but will also perform exceptionally well with precision and efficiency. Mini piling enables extensions and renovations to be undertaken in previously inaccessible areas, and requires less equipment than conventional piling methods.

Ventilation and noise pollution

Air quality is often a major concern when it comes to drilling indoors or in smaller spaces. Air quality and noise pollution can often be exacerbated when working on restricted sites due to the lack of ventilation or physical space. As mini rigs are more compact, their environmental impact is often significantly lower than their larger counterparts. This means when working in a smaller space, operators do not have to be concerned about exhaust fumes or diesel emissions causing either substandard air quality or too much noise. In addition to the minimisation of poor air quality, mini rigs and micro piles are known for their ability to reduce noise pollution as well as vibrations and potential disturbance to adjoining structures.

Ground conditions

When working on a site with potentially unfavourable ground conditions, larger rigs or traditional piling methods may not always be the most practical or ideal solutions. Larger machinery may not always be compatible with adverse terrain, therefore an operator should consider utilising a mini piling rig and mini piles to aid the project instead. A smaller rig with a reduced working footprint and a lower overall weight, are more easily able to work on sites where topographical issues may arise. 



Over the past few years, we’ve seen first-hand the sharp increase in piling projects requiring a mini rig. In order to keep up with this demand and be able to offer a range of high-quality products to our customers, our team have worked extremely hard to develop and manufacture a range of mini rigs that are suitable to work in even the trickiest of conditions. We have two variations of our coveted Cobra rigs, the D-series drop hammers and the T-series rotary rigs, both have been designed to be robust all-rounders, ideal for working on sites with restricted access.

So how can our Cobra rigs help in the situations mentioned? All our Cobra mini rigs are adaptable, durable and powerful, yet benefit from a compact structure and small working footprint. The Cobra rigs also have adjustable rubber tracks enabling them to fit through doorways and gateways with ease. Due to their low weight and compact structure, our Cobra mini machines are the ideal choice for sites situated on unstable land or those with topographical inconsistencies. Furthermore, with Euro stage four and five engines, our rigs are environmentally compliant and have an extremely efficient fuel economy. Overall, we believe our mini rigs are the ideal solution to many restricted access based piling problems. We offer a range of rigs, and a variety of customisable options, ensuring each machine is able to meet and exceed client requirements and expectations.


Does your project require mini piling? Browse our current range of mini rotary and drop hammer rigs, available for nationwide hire as well as UK and international purchase. We are proud to be able to provide an array of piling rigs, drilling equipment, and complementary consumables. Contact us today for more information.