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PILING & FOUNDATIONS

QUIeTLy DOeS IT

Dense ground conditions and stringent noise limitations have resulted in some innovative solutions for construction of new facilities for the latest generation of container ships at the Port of Southampton. Claire Symes reports.

M uch of Southampton’s history

is founded on its thriving

commercial port. Work is

currently underway to ensure it remains one of the UK’s leading harbours by welcoming the latest generation of container ships. These massive Post-Panamax vessels can carry up to 12,000TEUs (20 foot equivalent units) and having berths capable of handling them is seen as the way forward in the world of shipping. But these 366m long, 49m wide and 15.2m deep ships require deeper draughts, longer berths and higher capacity cranes to accommodate them so major work was needed to adapt Southampton’s Berth 201 and 202. Piling work on the upgrade for Associated British Ports is now nearing completion allowing main contractor Volker Stevin to start work on the quayside facilities that will ensure Southampton is ready to accept its first Post-Panamax vessel by the end of this year.

“The overall project has been valued at £30M, but the ground engineering alone makes up £6.5M of the work” Chris Thomas, Volker Ground Engineering

of the work” Chris Thomas, Volker Ground Engineering 16 “The overall project has been valued at

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“The overall project has been valued at £30M but the ground engineering alone makes up £6.5M of the work,” said Volker Ground Engineering director Chris Thomas, who is leading the team undertaking the piling element of the project for parent company Volker Stevin. “Around £5M of the ground engineering is formed by the

cost of the steel piles but it is still the largest contract that we have taken

on so far.”

Essentially the piling work

involves construction of a new quay wall from a combi wall formed in front of the existing quay, which was built in 1968 and is starting

to show its age. The new wall has

been built from steel tubular piles with sheet pile infills positioned by a combination of vibration and hammering. They will be tied into a sheet piled wall positioned 40m back from the new quay wall. The scheme also involves installing

a series of CFA piles in pairs

just in front of the rear sheet piled wall to support one of the rails for the new dock cranes. The front rail will be constructed as part of the pile capping beam that will be built by Volker Stevin on top of the combi wall. Although Thomas has plans

to take Volker into the world of

concrete piling, the contract for the CFA work has been subcontracted

to Keltbray which will move onto

site in May. “We want to expand the techniques we offer but only when

the time is right,” explains Thomas. The 750mm diameter CFA piles will

be constructed to 23m. While the site may not have the

will be constructed to 23m. While the site may not have the A noise reducing shroud

A noise reducing shroud has been used for impact hammering

space constraints of many piling jobs, Thomas’s team has had plenty of other challenges to deal with. First there some delays to the main contract being let but, although the start date may have slipped, ABP’s end date for handover of the

completed berths has not, so a lot of work has been fast-tracked and sequenced to avoid delays.

“The space on the site has meant that we have been able to have several elements of the work underway at the same time,” says Thomas. “We were also able to get

the steel piles delivered straight from Arcelor Mittal by ship.”

This delivery strategy was necessary too as the steel piles are 1.8m in diameter and, although the 40m length of each pile is split into three sections for installation, they are still substantial – and there were 149 piles to install too. The piles have been driven at 3.6m centre to centre spacings to leave 3m exposed above the high tide level. They are founded 33m below sea level. “The sea floor is currently at 10m to 12m below sea level but the area will be dredged by Boskalis Westminster later this summer to ensure the minimum draft is 16.5m with a maximum

Boskalis Westminster later this summer to ensure the minimum draft is 16.5m with a maximum ground

ground engineering april 2013

PILING & FOUNDATIONS

“These ground conditions present most driven piles with a challenge but with residential developments nearby we also had to work under strict noise limits” Chris Thomas, Volker Ground Engineering

noise limits” Chris Thomas, Volker Ground Engineering of 20m,” says Thomas. Getting the piles into position
noise limits” Chris Thomas, Volker Ground Engineering of 20m,” says Thomas. Getting the piles into position

of 20m,” says Thomas.

Getting the piles into position was not a simple task. Volker worked with consultant Tony Gee to develop a temporary works access platform from which the piles could

be driven safely 2.18m in front of the

existing quay wall. “The platform allowed six piles to be driven in each phase of work and allows site staff access to connect the sections safely,

but also helps to guide the piles into position,” says Thomas. Each of the piles had to be positioned within 75mm of the design position and verticality has

to be within 5%.

But driving the piles was also something of a challenge on more than one count. “The ground conditions at Southampton were

dense sand and clays of the Earnley Sands and Wittering Formations, with SPTs of up to 95 in places and values in the 50s common,” says Thomas. “These ground conditions present most driven piles with a challenge, but with residential developments nearby we also had

to work under strict noise limits that

complicated things further. “Steel driven piles were the only option because the rest of the port

was still in use, so we had to find

a solution to meet the noise and geotechnical limits.” The noise limit was set at

71d(B)A and then this noise level was only permitted between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays, so using

a larger hammer was not possible.

The result was the use of an 55t S-280 IHC Hydrohammer fitted with a noise-reducing shroud to drive the piles to full depth once vibro techniques have failed. “Mostly we only needed to use the IHC hammer for the last 17m,” says Thomas. “The shroud has reduced the noise levels to the mid-

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The combi wall is formed from 1.8m diameter piles infilled with sheet piles
The combi wall is formed from 1.8m
diameter piles infilled with sheet piles

60s, whereas it would be nearer mid-

70s without.”

The piles were also fitted with

a cutting shoe following some in-depth pile driving analysis

by Volker. Each set of six piles,

supported by the temporary

structure, are driven in a set order

to avoid over-densifying the sands

during installation. “It took around three days to drive each set of six tubular piles,” says Thomas. “But much of that time was taken up by positioning the temporary platform and ensuring pile verticality.” Now Volker Ground Engineering has completed its piling work, Volker Stevin will soon be starting

work on installing the tie rods. Pairs

of 250mm diameter, 40m long tie

rods will connect each tubular pile to the rear sheet piled wall. “We need to demolish the upper

part of the existing quay wall and remove the concrete slabs before

we can construct the new concrete

capping beam in order to tie the rods into the quay wall,” says Volker Stevin project manager Steve Garrigan.

In total 100,000m 3 of bulk excavation will also be needed below the existing 140mm thick concrete slabs to enable drainage

and ducts for lighting to be built but most of the excavated material will

be reprocessed onsite for reuse. The

recompacted sub base will be built

to highway specifications before

a 400mm thick concrete ground

PLAN Tie rods Combi CEA piles for dock side cranes wall Sheet piled wall ELEVATION
PLAN
Tie rods
Combi
CEA piles for dock side cranes
wall
Sheet
piled
wall
ELEVATION
40m
Tie rods
Combi
wall
Existing steel
bearing piles
CEA piles
for dock
Existing steel
sheet pile wall
side cranes
Sheet piled wall

The combi wall is tied to a rear sheet pile wall

bearing slab paving is constructed on top to cope with the higher capacity cranes. “One of the main concerns was

the piling work, so I am relieved that everything has gone smoothly,”

says Garrigan. “However, the next

couple of months are also key

to successful completion of the project. ABP’s new cranes are due

to be delivered to site in October and space is needed to store and commission them, so there are constant reminders that the

end date for the work is a fixed date on the calendar.”

are constant reminders that the end date for the work is a fixed date on the

ground engineering april 2013

piLing and foundations

room service

With space at a premium above and below ground, designing foundations for a new London hotel called for some careful planning. GE reports.

L ondon mayor Boris Johnson’s aspiration to have 40,000 new hotel rooms in the capital by

2026 will soon be 275 rooms closer following successful piling work at one site in the City of London. Nonetheless, delivering the foundations for the new 23-storey, two basement level, five-star luxury hotel were far from straightforward with the Northern Line directly below and limited space on the site itself. If the site constraints weren’t enough to contend with, the proximity of Moorfields Eye Hospital added to the need to minimise vibration during construction so that sensitive laser surgery could continue uninterrupted. Montcalm Hotel Group’s main contractor, SGP Contracts, asked Keltbray Piling to develop a foundation solution to meet the tight constraints at the 151 City Road site. “One challenge that had to be addressed was location of the Northern line Tube underneath the City Road elevation of the site, 6m behind the wall and with the tunnel crown 3m below formation level,” says Keltbray Piling managing director Stuart Norman. “The other issue was that City Road acts as the borough boundary between the London boroughs of Hackney and Islington. This meant we were constrained by access and traffic. Space on site was also confined, making moving materials and plant to and from the site a challenge.” These site limitations, together with the stringent construction tolerance (1 in 200 verticality), meant that a traditional rotary bored system was adopted for the construction of the secant wall using segmental casings, adds Norman. After detailed review of the ground investigation information, Keltbray engaged its own in-house design consultancy, Wentworth House Partnership, to develop the geotechnical design. The proposed design solution was to use combined skin friction and end bearing piles founded in the laminated beds of the Lambeth Group and secant piled walls to deliver retaining structures for the basement levels. To justify the piles’ ultimate capacity derived at tender stage, Keltbray installed a non-working test pile, complete with vibrating

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Pile verticality of 1 in 250 was achieved in the secant pile wall
Pile verticality of 1 in 250 was
achieved in the secant pile wall
of 1 in 250 was achieved in the secant pile wall A test pile was used

A test pile was used to confirm and value engineer the design

wire strain gauges as the secant piled wall was being constructed. Pile testing on site proved the

design but, owing to the requirement

to found the bearing piles within the

laminated beds, no saving in pile length could be achieved. However,

after a review of the test pile data,

a detailed pile group analysis was completed to define an optimum pile layout under the large core

within the centre of the site. Through the use of the “non- linear” function within the PIGLET pile group analysis software

program, the total number of piles under the core was reduced by 10%. The pile layout was further optimised through analysis of the

remaining asymmetric pile caps around the basement perimeter. The perimeter secant wall was

also designed to accommodate column loads using the Hovs et al method. The wall comprised 92 male and female piles with the male piles extending to 22m. The wall is primarily designed with a single top prop at the capping beam level in the temporary condition with double level props along the sensitive City Road boundary alongside the Northern Line. The bearing piles were installed using temporary casing to support the bore through the backfilled and superficial deposits. The 900mm diameter bearing piles were up to 30m long and it was a requirement of the design to install the concrete within two hours of completing the pile excavation. A laser survey of the exposed wall has recently been completed

with the ability to back-calculate the individual pile verticality achieved. This provided valuable as-built information and showed that a verticality of 1 in 250 was achieved. Keltbray says the project was completed on time, to specification and with cost savings delivered through design improvements

and successful execution of the design requirements on site.

through design improvements and successful execution of the design requirements on site. ground engineering august 2012

ground engineering august 2012

pile design

neighbourhood watch

St James’ Square in London is currently a hub of construction activity but one site has had to overcome more significant ground engineering challenges than another. Jon Masters reports

c onstruction of a six storey office development is currently underway on St James’ Square

in central London, while opposite

a new multi-storey building is

progressing about six months ahead of the office building. Despite the close proximity of the two

schemes, the office project has had

to overcome significantly greater

ground engineering challenges. The new office being built by

“Effectively we had to condense six months of piling and temporary works design into a six week period.” Mark Creighton, Galliford Try

into a six week period.” Mark Creighton, Galliford Try 14 The excavation called for some complex

14

The excavation called for some complex temporary design
The excavation called for
some complex temporary
design

Galliford Try at No.8 St James’ Square will not only have several basement levels but also wraps around and below No.7 St James’ Square – a Grade II listed Edwin Lutyens designed building – and also had to contend with a scour feature in the London Clay. The combination of these issues meant that the raft foundation solution being used on the development at No.5-6 St James’ Square was not an option and a piled design was needed. But that was just the start of the complex issues on the site. No.8 St James’ Square will be a steel framed building with two basement levels at the property’s front side facing into the square,

deepening to three storeys to the rear due to the rise of ground level over the 80m length of the site. To meet the demands of the development, the solution involved cased rotary bearing piles, cast in-situ, typically 750mm diameter and up to 35m deep. These piles would take column and core loads up to 3500kN and allow for 1000kN of tension from ground heave. The footprint of the site is an L-shape in plan, wrapping around No.7 St James’ Square, which has added to Galliford Try’s ground engineering challenge (see box). An excavation 10 to 14m deep was needed to get down to basement level, so demanded a substantial

temporary works design. The temporary works designed for this massive excavation involved 10 to 11m long sheet piling between the two sites and trench sheets with close steel framing along the southern end of Galliford Try’s site. Along the north and western sides, the 5m high outer wall of an existing basement was to be left in place, temporarily propped from the basement slab by steel raking props while the inner walls were demolished. For the lower half of the excavation on its northern and western sides, the temporary works consisted of a contiguous piled wall, of 700 piles with 900mm

sides, the temporary works consisted of a contiguous piled wall, of 700 piles with 900mm ground

ground engineering june 2013

pile design

Keltbray’s king post solution helped reduce props to a single raking layer
Keltbray’s king post
solution helped reduce
props to a single raking
layer

diameter temporarily cased piles, varying from 16 to 26m in length and at 1050mm centre spacings. The old 1960s-built No.8 St James’ Square was demolished down to basement level last summer and subcontractor Keltbray Piling had begun installing the contiguous wall along the northern perimeter of the site. At that point everything changed. Instead of piling through a relatively thin layer of river terrace gravels then good London Clay as expected, Keltbray encountered several instances of gravels and high water pressure extending much deeper, preventing sealing of the pile casings. Additional detailed ground investigation by Card Geotechnics

(CGL) revealed a series of drift filled hollows. This is a ground formation characterised by hilly contours and deep holes in clay strata, usually filled with alluvial material and widely thought to be caused by the scouring action of swirling glacial meltwater. The challenge then was to review the whole groundworks design and redesign where necessary in the knowledge that instead of encountering a limited perched water table, the construction team would be dealing with a head of water up to 6m in alluvial material. Prior to this discovery, the project team had already devised an innovative method of providing lateral support to the northern

Foundation to No. 7 (pre-underpinning) No. 8 St James’ Square 10 Ground level 45˚ 8
Foundation to No. 7 (pre-underpinning)
No. 8 St James’ Square
10
Ground level
45˚
8
Langley Silt
(soft to firm silty gravelly clay)
influence line
Possible
slip/creep
circle
Water–top of gravels
6
River Terrace Gravels
4
Underpin level
2
Scour feature
45˚
London Clay
influence line
0
0 5
10
15
20
25
30
35
Geological section
Distance
London Clay level (mOD)

and western sides. Cross-propping to opposite sides could not be done, so unusually for such a deep excavation, a system using a single layer of raking props was designed. Key to this was Keltbray Piling’s

proposal for a series of ‘king posts’

– plunge columns cast into every

second or third male pile of the contiguous wall to support the top 5-6m of excavation above. The king posts would be prestressed by jacking them 35mm away from the basement wall before packing was built against the deflected U-beams and the jacks released. Completion of that stage would allow construction of a capping beam on the contiguous wall. Steel hydraulic raking props could then be installed once enough of the building’s central pile caps had been

built to prop against. Only then, with these stage two props in place, could

a substantial soil berm be removed

and the excavation completed. According to Galliford Try chief engineer Mark Creighton, the time needed to get sufficient solid structure built to prop against was

the programme’s critical limiting

factor, until the reality of the ground conditions came to light. “Effectively we had to redesign everything, and condense six months of piling and temporary works design into a six week period

to mitigate the problems. From an engineering perspective it was good fun, but from a project manager’s view, a nightmare,” Creighton says. The redesign, by Keltbray’s specialist piling and temporary works consultant Wentworth House Partnership, resulted in the lengthening and further reinforcement of the building’s bearing piles. Along the northern perimeter, the contiguous wall became one of 1000 900mm piles at 1250mm centres, while the western side became a secant piled wall of similar dimensions. Furthermore, with design loads approximately

50% higher, assurance of the adequacy of the propping design became critical. Galliford Try is now working to pull back lost time in the overall construction programme. Means for doing this have included slipforming the building’s main northern lift and stair core, which reached full height while work on the excavation below was still ongoing. Other structural work has been resequenced where possible including leaving out some non-critical elements of the basement construction. “Everything that can be done to speed up the programme is being done, such as precasting walls and columns wherever possible and we’re looking at mechanisms for leaving certain slabs out till a later time,” says Creighton. “In that respect we have a very proactive partner in CGL in buying into

different ideas and coming up with good ones of its own.”

different ideas and coming up with good ones of its own.” Heritage protection   A project

Heritage protection

 

A

project within a project is how

the start point of installing 300mm diameter mini piles with king posts using segmental flight auger techniques in about 3m of headroom. “Wentworth House excelled in the design of this tower arrangement. Not only does it support vertical

London Clay around 4m below the building’s footprint. As the demolition and excavation around the No.7 basement progressed, the listed building started to move more than initially expected, but fortunately for all concerned, the temporary works extended below the influence of the slip plane. “Only when the underpins and mini piles reached this point could we be sure we had the building under control. It was the quirky nature of the ground conditions, a complicated geotechnical problem,” says Creighton.

Galliford Try chief engineer Mark Creighton describes work beneath No.7 St James’ Square. The overall scheme includes construction of a new two-level basement beneath the

Grade II listed building to provide for car parking and future development

of

the property.

loads, but also lateral surcharges from the adjacent development, cross-propped to the No.8 St James’ Square ground support,” Creighton says. The challenge of supporting No.7 was heightened by the discovery of a subterranean slip circle in the

For this aim, No.7 has been underpinned to a depth of 7m from access shafts dug in the building’s basement and partially supported on a platform of steel needles and five braced steel frames. These were constructed top down from

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ground engineering june 2013