Load Bearing Elements (LBE), also known as Barrettes, is a term that refers to the use of single or a multiple arrangement of rectangular elements to support significant structural loads for structures.

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

LBE’s can support large axial loads and high bending moments. Construction is by means of 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. Using a combination of barrettes arranged in patterns (such as Tee, or H) can produce load bearing elements that can support very large loads without the need of structural concrete pile caps. This superior load carrying capacity makes LBE’s a more cost effective solution over drilled shafts and most pile systems which require some type of pile cap. Also see slurry/diaphragm walls for additional information.