Contractors World

Contractors World
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Contractors World UK & Ireland
2011 Volume 1 Issue 7
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Groundforce makes sure excavation is in good shape

David Taylor reports

Groundforce makes sure excavation is in good shape

Groundforce makes sure excavation is in good shapeFor most practical purposes, a rectangular excavation is the easiest and most cost-effective solution when carrying out construction work below ground. It is easy to dig and supporting the sides is straightforward. However, when the structure you are building is of a very irregular shape, the extra digging and muckaway can become costly and time consuming.

Irish civil engineering contractor BAM Civil (formerly Ascon) found itself considering these pros and cons when planning the construction of a new water treatment works alongside the River Barrow at Athy, Co. Kildare.

BAM Civil is building a new water treatment plant at nearby Srowland as part of the Barrow Abstraction Scheme. Besides the treatment works, BAM’s €22 million contract also includes two new reservoirs and an in-situ concrete Intake Structure on the river bank to collect the water. When completed in March 2013, the scheme will supplement the water supply to Dublin, roughly 50 miles north-east of Athy.

Unusual structural dimensions  were a challenge for contractors working on water treatment works alongside river.   Naturally, the Intake Structure sits almost in the river itself and its construction required a sheet-piled cofferdam to create a dry working area 5 m below peak water level. The traditional solution here would have been to install a large rectangular cofferdam with lateral supports of fabricated steelwork.

Unusual structural dimensions were a challenge for contractors working on water treatment works alongside river.

But BAM Civil decided that an excavation more akin to the funnel-shaped contour of the structure would be more cost-effective.

“We know the market very well and have a good idea about who’s capable of what,” comments BAM Civil contracts manager Joe McFadden. “We were aware that Groundforce’s support system could handle this sort of task.

“With Groundforce Ireland’s help we designed an excavation which closely reflected the shape of the Intake Structure. The sheet piled retaining wall followed the exact line of the structure with only about 1.5 m gap between the sheet piles and the concrete formwork,” explains Mr McFadden.

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