Load bearing elements (LBE), or barrettes, refers to using single or multiple arrangements of rectangular elements to support significant structural loads for structures.

Load bearing elements technique illustration

Common uses

Support large loads


Diaphragm wall panels, designed and constructed as reinforced deep foundation elements (or barrettes), can be used as an alternative to drilled piles.

LBEs can support large axial loads and high bending moments. Construction uses the same equipment as used for diaphragm and cut-off walls. They are installed using grab buckets or a hydromill with liquid slurry to stabilize the rectangular trench excavation. Once excavated to the required depth, a reinforcing steel cage or structural beams are lowered in place and filled with structural concrete. A combination of barrettes arranged in patterns (such as T or H) can produce load-bearing elements that can support very large loads without requiring structural concrete pile caps. This superior load-carrying capacity makes LBEs a more cost-effective solution over drilled shafts and most pile systems that require some type of pile cap.

Specialist contacts

Pedro Coelho | Senior Project Manager | 469-952-8748

Paul Schmall | Vice President | 973-400-3631


Superior load capacity
More cost effective solution over other pile systems