About Franki Foundations

Company History

The story of Franki is primarily the story of a man and a company that, with the technology of driven piles, developed major technical innovations and diversified their activities in a very short time.

The early years of the company occurred in 1909-1910, on the eve of the Great War.

Despite the threat of war, Edgar Frankignoul, founded the “Society des Pieux Armés Frankignoul” (“Frankignoul Reinforced Piles Company”), together with a member of the Liège aristocracy, Edmond Baar, in 1910. The “Compagnie Internationale des Pieux Armés Frankignoul” followed in 1911. The objective of the company was to exploit throughout the country the patent applied for in July 1909 for the execution of driven cast in place concrete piles with an enlarged base: the Franki pile. This pile had so much success that 34 worldwide subsidiaries or licensees were already applying this process 20 years later.

The first contracts were awarded in Belgium

The young company had a rapid development in Belgium and in the surrounding countries. Even beyond the borders of our immediate neighbours, Franki piles had been driven by 1914 in Russia, Romania, Egypt, Spain, Switzerland and Italy. Franki found itself the parent company of 22 subsidiaries in 75 different countries, with construction sites on 5 continents.

Between 1919 and 1928 Franki made individual agreements with many foreign construction firms. It issued licences for Switzerland, China, Greece, the Congo, Germany, Japan and Italy.

Franki quickly opted for diversification in parallel with geographic expansion. Paul Jourdain, a one-time foreman who had become manager of works, invented the ‘concrete plug’ and the “Unic” tube, for casting enlarged base piles, in 1926. From 1949 on, the tubed Franki pile was used to avoid vibrations. The Franki pile vibrated by action appeared in 1960 and the vibrating hydraulic hammer innovated in 1971.


But other pile types were developed or adopted. The Mega pile – made up of precast reinforced concrete sections forced in by hydraulic jacks – was designed before the Second World War for underpinning existing constructions.

The technique of the large diameter bored pile, up to 1800 mm, also called “caisson”, was developed in 1960, this was executed using a Franki patented rotary grab.

Following this, screw piles with soil extraction, also known as continuous flight auger piles, were also installed by Franki. The company Atlas NV was acquired by Franki in 1983 enabling the company to extend its range of piles and execute screw piles with lateral soil displacement.

Franki was and still is a pioneer in the field of soil retaining structures, the first diaphragm walls constructed in Belgium were constructed by Franki in 1962.

Franki has therefore never been a company built on piles alone. The founders were always on the lookout for new discoveries that could enrich their expertise in the field of deep foundations; hence the slogan “Franki has a foundation to suit every structure”. The way has been paved for future diversification ever since 1916: sheet piling, stone columns, injections, screw and bored piles, sand draining, dynamic compaction, … Franki has a wide range of deep foundation techniques offered by the goup.

Franki has maintained excellent relationships with the academic engineering world right from the very beginning. This approach reached its peak with the cooperation between Professor ir Edward De Beer of the University of Ghent and doctor ir Maurice Wallays, director of Franki’s geotechnical office. Analytical models were derived from various pile load test results for calculating their bearing capacity.

Adaptation, diversification and continuous improvement are the keywords in the history of a century.
The Belgian and Dutch foundation activities were brought together in the group Cogeco in 1998; renamed in 2007 to Franki Foundations Group Belgium. The same spirit, the same philosophy inspires us: innovation, professional knowledge and experience are still the keywords of our approach that we hope to continue with for at least another century.


Franki today

Frank Foundations Group, part of the Besix Group entered the UK market with the acquisition of Able Piling & Construction Ltd in 2006 and following a rebranding last year operates as Franki Foundations UK out of our new Head Office in Dartford. Able Piling & Construction still operates as a successful division of Franki Foundations UK from our Southampton Office. The company offers an increasing comprehensive range of piling services to the UK market.

To compliment Franki Foundations more traditional piling and construction services and provide added value we specialize in Auger Displacement Piles. Both the ATLAS and OMEGA auger displacement pile systems can be offered using the dedicated unique equipment.

We believe we will prove to be the UK’s market leader in:

  • (Spoil free) auger displacement, using our Omega and Atlas techniques (up to 660mm dia) loads up to 2000Kn
  • CFA (up to 1200mm dia)
  • LDA Rotary (up to 2400mm dia)
  • Steel Case Driven for both open and heavily restricted access sites
  • Restricted Access & Mini piling solutions adopting, Secant, SFA, CFA, Rotary and Temporary Cased Solutions. (up to 1200mm dia in 3-4m of headroom) specialising within the rail , Basement & Refurb Markets

Franki Foundations are available to answer your questions, work with you and ensure a correct and cost effective solution is given for your project whatever its size or location.

Able Piling still operates as a business unit of Franki Foundations UK ltd please click on this link for details to review service offered…


Health & Safety

Here at Frank there is nothing more important than the Health & Safety in the workplace for all employees, suppliers, fellow contractors and visitors.

We want to make sure everyone returns home safely at the end of the working day.

Franki believe that planning and preparing is key to making sure the work is carried on without risk to health or safety.

Our safety records speaks for its self.

Click here to see our full Health & Safety Policy


Environmental Policy

Franki feel it is their responsibility to protect the environment.

We have made a commitment to minimising our environmental impact.

We want to work together with our clients in improving environmental performance on our sites.

Click here to see our full Environmental Policy


UK Tax Strategy

Click here to see our full UK Tax Strategy



Our aim is to be our client’s preferred choice, and to be a positive force in the industry, always striving to exceed the customers’ expectations and go the extra mile.

At Franki we want to achieve and maintain a level of quality which enhances the Company’s reputation with customers.

Click here to see our full Quality Manual


Management Team


Craig Macklin

Craig’s role as Managing Director is to lead and head up Franki Foundations move into the UK market. Craig has over 20 years’ experience in the piling industry and has worked on and managed some technically and logistically complex major infrastructure projects across the UK including , London Bridge Station Upgrade , Bond St Station , Cutty Sark , Farringdon Station ( Crossrail ) , The relocation of the Belle Tout Lighthouse and Hammersmith Station. Craig has developed and built key relationships within the industry and has earned a reputation for consistently delivering his clients expectations and requirements. Craig’s mission is to improve and drive safety and innovation to make Franki Foundations the UKs preferred deep foundations contractor.

His memberships and training include –, HNC Civil Engineering, MSc Civil Engineering, LL.M ( Construction Contract Law ) along with SMSTS, CSCS – Black Card ( Project Manager ) & Directors Health & Safety and First Aid accreditations.



Alistair Macdonald

Alistair was recruited by Franki Foundations to join the senior management team to assist in the running and development of the business, he is directly responsible for the business development and sales side of the business. Alistair has a first class honours degree and an MSc in Geotechnical engineering and brings a wealth of technical and commercial knowledge into the company having joined from Bauer where he was a senior bid manager dealing with some of the largest piling and deep foundation projects in the UK with experience on many Crossrail Schemes  and a wide range of major residential and infrastructure projects