VolkerGround Engineering (VGE) has successfully completed a £348,000 contract in Newcastle earlier this year. The six week contract took place on New Bridge Street in the city centre and was part of a project to build student accommodation for client Robertson Construction.
Director for VGE, Chris Thomas, said: “We have worked with Robertson Construction previously and were delighted to be able to complete this sub-contract for them. It was a design and build contract for the site retaining wall and concrete bored pile structural foundations. The client selected us on the basis we are able to offer a combined package of sheet piles and concrete CFA, and so minimise project delivery risk through having the two foundation elements with one supplier.
“This was a particularly challenging project because of the very nature of the site location – a tight inner city development, with the building area occupying most of the site which has required meticulous planning of the piling operations. Also, the ground conditions in the Newcastle area are notoriously complex in that they comprise Glacial Tills deposited from advancing Glaciers from the Ice Age – stiff boulder strewn clays, which are resistant to pile penetration.”
The scope for the project included the design and installation of 55m of sheet pile retaining wall along the site boundary, to stabilise the adjacent public highway and services, and 146, 750mm diameter CFA concrete bored piles 16m deep to support the proposed building.
Chris continued: “The construction of the concrete bearing piles involved the drilling of 750mm diameter bores to 24.5m maximum depth, which was challenging for the site team operating a Mait 260 hydraulic piling rig. Once installation was completed two piles were selected for physical load testing in order to verify the sufficiency of the works to support the final building.”
When completed the finished structure will provide much needed accommodation for the city’s rapidly expanding student population. VGE started at the end of February and took six weeks to complete.