KELLER is installing foundations for a new 52-bed modular ward at Southend University Hospital.

Installing the helical piles at Southend University Hospital

The three-storey extension is being fast-tracked because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keller, working for Galliford Try, are installing 104 helical piles for the foundations. Helical, or screw piles, are ideally suited for the job as they can be installed quickly and cleanly without generating any spoil. It also allows follow-on building work to begin immediately.

The piles are being installed using a 22tonne excavator with the 100,000 Max torque head attachment supplied by Auger Torque based in Cheltenham. 

This larger torque head allows Keller to install helical piles with high torque capacities to a depth between 6m to 10m in the site specific ground conditions.

It’s been a real challenge to complete the works in a restricted site and with varying soil strata from one end of the site to the other,” said Peter Farr, Keller’s helical pile expert.

“The site operatives were required to overcome numerous challenges during the piling process due to the identification of unknown services, however the flexibility of the helical pile system allowed piles to be moved easily and reinstalled. 

“All piles over-performed with results identifying some piles even restraining up to 405kN SLS axial loads on a 140mm diameter pile. I am very proud of the whole team for delivering all piles within programme and their positive attitude throughout to allow the client to continue the follow on works.”

Helical piles have several advantages over traditional piling methods. They generate no spoil, can be installed in most soil conditions and generate no noise or vibration during installation.  They are also quick to install, saving programme time and cost. They can also be permanent or temporary, making them reusable.

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Published on
15 Jan 2021