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Contractors World - UK Developments Supplement
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Contractors World 2010 - UK Developments Special Supplement No 3
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Foundations in place for Blackfriars railway station redevelopment

The leading ground engineering specialist company, Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering (BBGE) is nearing completion of a ten month foundations project on the UK’s Network Rail’s landmark Blackfriars station redevelopment.

BBGE is delivering the final stages of complex foundations work to prepare for the construction of the first railway station to straddle the River Thames as part of the Thameslink Programme.

The company moved on to the site following the demolition of the existing buildings, and completed a substantial programme of geotechnical works. Not a simple project, as the project requires working alongside a live railway line and above a live underground line. Typical of London sites, there is also very little space in which to work, as well as managing logistics for accessing the site with large equipment and supplies.

Because the site has been developed several times in the past, being in one of the oldest parts of the city, there were a number of obstructions encountered during the piling work including old brickwork, reinforced concrete and existing concrete and timber piles. The contractors had to devise an appropriate solution for each of these as well as coping with important underground utilities for which there was no map available.

To overcome the restrictions of working in a confined space and above the live Underground track, a Track Protection Structure (TPS) and a temporary King Post Wall was installed and placed above the London Underground tracks to ensure no disruption to existing services and to create a safe working environment. The installation of the King Post Wall allowed the piling platform to be raised to a single level, thereby providing the required safe working space for the large piling rigs without any undue load being exerted on the TPS.

With the TPS and King Post Wall in place for a safer site, a combination of over 700 large diameter secant wall and bearing piles ranging from 600 mm to 1000 mm in diameter and up to 39 m deep, with only 6 m of headroom The development of Blackfriars Station is one of the most complex construction projects being undertaken in London. in some instances, were constructed. Additionally, there were also self drilled micro piles of 187 mm in diameter which were installed up to 18 m deep with only 3 m of headroom.

Peter Coulthart, BBGE project manager, said:
“The development of Blackfriars Station is one of the most complex construction projects being undertaken in London.

We have worked very closely with Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering and Network Rail throughout the process and early involvement was key to developing the initial solutions right through to the current stage which is nearing completion.”

Due to the unforeseen obstructions and in order to mitigate delays to the overall programme, double shift working was required and carried out in accordance with Network Rail regulations and with approval from the relevant authorities. This was achieved through careful selection of equipment and techniques whilst maintaining strict control on the environmental impact.

These measures brought about the additional benefit of unrestricted engineering hours for the installation of the piles. Due to the varying obstructions encountered, modifications to tools and equipment were essential; as such, BBGE redesigned the configuration of their augers and casing cutting teeth which resulted in reduced equipment downtime as well as greater certainty of the coring time.

Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering

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Foundations in place for Blackfriars railway station redevelopment
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