A sensitive night-time piling operation beneath the Great Arch at Somerset House has recently been carried out by Kvaerner Cementation Foundations. (KCF) as preparations are made to refurbish the historic London building to accommodate the most important
A Soilmec R10 hydraulic rig was used to install the piles as quietly and closely as possible to the protected Georgian facade of the Grade I listed building overlooking Victoria Embankment. Working only some 50 mm from the face of the South Wing, it drove in more than 30 600-mm piles some 15 metres deep by Continuous Flight Augur method to form a retaining wall for the excavation and formation of a new basement area.
Working off-peak between 7.30pm and 6am to avoid traffic congestion along the Embankment, KCF finished the week-long operation on schedule for construction manager Heery International. The South Wing and Embankment building at Somerset House are being refurbished and extended with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund to display the celebrated Gilbert Collection, given to the nation by British-born property developer, Arthur Gilbert, who moved to California some 50 years ago.
Working from a narrow strip near the boundary with the busy Victoria Embankment one side and the protected facade on the other, the piling operation called for pin-point accuracy. The ability of the compact, short-masted R10 to work and drive the piling as near as possible to the face of the Great Arch in Embankment wing was a key factor in awarding the contract to KCF, which operates the country’s biggest range of Soilmec rigs.
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