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LX20 steel sheet piles to 46.5 m AOD (roughly 4 m below maximum dig depth). The excavaton essentally comprised two sectons: Area 1, a 6.5 m x 10.05 m rectangular area set back from the riverbank, and Area 2, a larger trapezoidal section measuring 17.50 m long and approximately 10 m at maximum width.

In Area 1 the piled wall was required to withstand a working load of 70.0 kN/m while in Area 2 the working load capacity was lower at 54.0 kN/m. The calculated maximum load at formaton level and at high tdal conditons was 51.4 kN/m.

Afer installing the piles, Conwell Contracts excavated the enclosed area to a depth of 2 m and then installed the top half of the supportng frame. This comprised a modular waling beam of Mega Brace legs placed at the top of the piled wall, approximately 1 m above ground level. The longest leg, at 18.5 m, was that running parallel to the riverbed in Area 2. Along the back of the excavaton, in Area 1, a 10 m long medium-duty Maxi Brace leg was used.

GROUNDFORCE IN IRELAND

Part of VP plc, the Harrogate-based hire group, Groundforce made its frst move into the Irish market in 2006 when construction activity was at its peak.

With experienced engineer Liam Brew recruited as general manager, Groundforce Ireland started trading in January 2007 and grew strongly in its frst year.

“We concentrated mainly on the big hydraul ic props which are the company’s strongest sector,” explains Mr Brew. “Most of the inventory was supplied from locations in England and a lot of our work was initally with large civil contractors.”

Towards the end of 2007 the c omp a n y a c q u i r e d t wo s i s t e r compani es , Underground Safety Ser v i ces (USS ) and P i pe Test i ng Accessories (PTA), and moved into its current headquarters in Portlaoise. “We had two very good years culminating in what was then our biggest project to date, working on the Limerick Tunnel under the River Shannon,” says Mr Brew. This €660 million project made extensive use of Groundforce’s 250 tonne capacity MP250 hydraulic props to support the sides of the castng basin in which the segments of the submerged tube tunnel were built.

With the onset of recession and the slowdown of the Irish economy, workloads fell back. But now there are signs of recovery, says Mr Brew: “2010 was a tough year but 2011 has been much beter.

“We have t he ad van t a ge o f being a small start-up without any major legacy costs to deal with. We didn’t have to reduce the size of our operation during the recession; instead we have been concentrated on growth and premium service delivery,” he adds.

Page 15 Contractors World - UK & Ireland Vol 1 No 7

Page 15 - vwuk-1-7

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