Professional construction piling contractors can put safety fears to rest

September 14, 2012 by Harvey Banks · Comments Off
Filed under: Piling News 

Professional construction piling contractors can not only make sure that the foundations of your next project are safe and secure; they can also make sure the work itself is carried out with health and safety in mind.

Whether that means using mini piling rigs to reduce the vibration risks to surrounding people and buildings, or using modern underpinning methods to keep less-stable ground in place, piling contractors are experienced in all of the most commonly encountered issues, and how to overcome them.

And hiring professional construction piling contractors to do the work for you not only demonstrates a commitment to high standards in health and safety, and in the quality of your work – it could also relieve some of the stress for decision makers at the top level.

Recent figures from Zurich Insurance show health and safety is a concern for 28% of top-level decision makers, who feel their lives would be easier if less red tape surrounded the issue.

In fact, construction ranks as the second-highest industry where red tape is a problem, with 75% of firms surveyed citing regulations surrounding health and safety, employment, pensions and other such issues as a problem.

Richard Coleman, director of SME at Zurich Insurance, says many firms would not want to compromise on health and safety, but adds: “UK SMEs are clearly looking for simplification to focus on what they do best – fuelling economic growth.”

Pile testing can bring assurance to infrastructure projects

September 7, 2012 by Harvey Banks · Comments Off
Filed under: Piling News 

When major infrastructure construction projects are undertaken, it can often be more important than ever to carry out suitable pile testing, in order to ensure structural stability for the future.

Infrastructure projects typically see the greatest levels of heavy vehicle or pedestrian traffic – and often include very heavy vehicles like trains and planes.

Pile testing is a must, where this weight is to be placed on underground foundations, in order to keep the facility in good condition for many years to come.

And with infrastructure projects showing renewed signs of growth, it’s likely that demand for top-quality piling equipment will be high in the weeks to come.

ONS figures for the second quarter of 2012 show annual growth of 38.5% in infrastructure projects, despite a 20.4% quarterly decrease in new orders.

This is an indication that, despite short-term turbulence that still exists in the construction industry, the long-term trend is one of growth; all new orders, across the board, totalled an annual increase of 11.1% over the same period.

Choosing the right piling equipment and carrying out comprehensive testing to ensure stability could help to underpin this growth for the future, by preventing the need for delays or costly remedial work further down the line.

More pile driving set for Olympic Park

August 17, 2012 by Harvey Banks · Comments Off
Filed under: Piling News 

We’ve already looked at the piling rigs used in the construction of the sporting venues at the London 2012 Olympic Park – but the site is likely to see more pile driving yet before its long-term legacy is assured.

Plans outlined by the London Legacy Development Corporation estimate up to 11,000 new affordable homes to be built on the Olympic Park, including the flats built for the Olympic Village, riverside properties, and Georgian and Victorian-inspired squares and terraces.

Each is likely to need pile driving work to put the foundations in place to support the above-ground structures of the homes – and the remaining Olympic sporting venues could present unique challenges to that process.

Once again, mini piling rigs could prove crucial in carrying out the drilling work needed, without causing excessive vibration and damage to the now-iconic sporting venues that are to remain in place on the site.

Among those are the Olympic Stadium itself, as well as neighbouring structures like the Velodrome and Aquatics Centre.

Ultimately, a 25-year plan is to introduce schools, health centres and places of worship to the community too, turning the Olympic Park into a self-contained village-like suburb of London

Olympic piling equipment gets its time in the spotlight

August 10, 2012 by Harvey Banks · Comments Off
Filed under: Piling News 

While billions of people all over the world have watched the events of the London 2012 Olympics on TV, many will not have given a thought to the piling equipment and construction machinery that went into creating the venues, most of which – particularly on the Olympic Park itself – were built from scratch for the Games.

However, the piling equipment used on the Olympic Park is given its rightful moment in the spotlight on the London 2012 ‘Get Set’ website, which offers learning materials and education resources relating to the Games, and particularly the preparations made before the sporting spectacle got underway.

The entry on piling rigs explains that those used at the Olympic Park were screw piling platforms, to reduce noise and vibration, and were capable of drilling through dry or wet soil, or directly through rock.

In all, the foundations of the Olympic Park are up to 60-90m deep – creating a firm platform on which the various sporting achievements of the nations of the world have been played out over the past few weeks.

Construction piling prepares for another wet weekend

July 13, 2012 by Harvey Banks · Comments Off
Filed under: Concrete Piles, Piling News 

If your plans for the weekend have been hampered by severe weather warnings, spare a thought for construction piling work that had been scheduled to take place over the past few weeks.

At a time of year that is usually warm and dry, we have had unprecedented levels of rainfall in short bursts, and it’s likely to rank among the wettest summers on record by the end of the season.

For construction piling works, that means a flexible approach is required, to avoid pouring liquid concrete into waterlogged ground.

One option is to use pre-cast concrete and steel piles, with professional piling equipment to drive these deep into the earth.

By using pre-cast piles that have been set in controlled conditions, away from extremes of the elements, you can avoid unnecessary extra pile testing once they are in place.

Instead, standard pile testing should be enough to ensure that your foundations are solid – even if the soil around them is a little soggier than usual.

And in places where the ground has been permanently affected by the recent soaking, underpinning methods can restore essential strength to structures.

With further rain warnings in place across the south of England and as far north as the Humber, we’re ready to offer our underpinning methods wherever they’re needed in the days and weeks to come.

Pile driving contractors can extend MPA’s safety support for SMEs

June 1, 2012 by Harvey Banks · Comments Off
Filed under: Piling News 

The Mineral Products Association (MPA) has been praised for its commitment to safety – a principle that pile driving contractors help to extend to construction sites when called in to lay concrete piles.

Foundation piling is a skilled process, and pile driving contractors are able to work on a site to lay concrete piles quickly, safely and effectively.

In addition, by hiring professionals to carry out foundation piling, building contractors are assured of a high-quality finish, and do not place any of their own construction workers at risk.

The whole process reflects the industry’s commitment to safety – something the MPA has just received a RoSPA award for.

RoSPA, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, granted its SME Assistance Trophy to the MPA in recognition of its ‘Safer by…’ schemes.

These include: Safer by Sharing, a series of regional seminars; Safer by Association, a tool for conducting site audits; Safer by Competence, an industry-wide commitment to competence; and Safer by Design, a voluntary guidance scheme for re-engineered and new mobile plant.

Martin Isles, director of health and safety at the MPA, says: “MPA’s membership is a ‘broad church’. As such, we strive hard to satisfy all members, particularly in the field of developing demonstrable personal competence.”

Pile driving contractors could be in demand as new-start blip evens out

May 21, 2012 by Harvey Banks · Comments Off
Filed under: Piling News 

If you’re going to need the services of pile driving contractors in the next few months, it might be wise to make a booking sooner, rather than later.

The latest housing figures from Communities and Local Government show a drop in new project starts in the first quarter of 2012.

Between January and March, 24,140 new houses began construction, with the early stages of a project understandably the point at which piling rigs and pile driving contractors are most in demand.

This is an 11% fall over the previous quarter, and a 15% drop year-on-year.

However, the first quarter of 2011 had been unusually active, with 18% quarterly growth, while October-December 2011 also saw a quarterly increase in starts, taking market activity higher by 3%.

While it’s impossible to be certain, the latest report could just be a blip in a swiftly recovering market – and if the April-June quarter overcompensates, it’s likely that piling rigs and contractors alike will face renewed levels of demand.

Perhaps most tellingly of all, completions were up across the board by 6%, even when seasonal effects were taken into account – hinting that there is still life in the house construction market.

Concrete piles can support biodiversity

March 23, 2012 by Harvey Banks · Comments Off
Filed under: Piling News 

Concrete piles allow biodiversity to be protected at both ends of the construction process.

While environmental impact is a growing concern for many construction projects, it is often assessed purely in terms of the carbon footprint of a particular scheme.

However, concrete piles can extend this, by allowing the direct effects of construction on an area to be taken into account.

Continuous Flight Auger or CFA piles are one type of concrete piles that are well suited to environmentally sensitive sites, as they typically cause less disturbance to the surrounding area than delivering pre-cast piles might.

But with CFA piles and pre-cast concrete piles alike, it is important to think about where the material itself is sourced from.

The Mineral Products Association addressed this issue recently at its second MPA Biodiversity Exchange, an event attended by representatives of organisations including the RSPB, Pond Conservation and the Wildlife Trusts.

Ken Hobden, director of mineral planning, explained: “Biodiversity promotion and monitoring at mineral sites is a key issue for MPA members, who already have a proven legacy of high-quality biodiversity enhancement through site management and restoration.”

For eco-conscious construction companies, this is a further example of how concrete quarriers, processors and suppliers are working to protect the natural environment while providing a valuable resource to continue work in the UK’s built environment.

More work for pile driving contractors as infrastructure projects grow

March 9, 2012 by Harvey Banks · Comments Off
Filed under: Piling News 

Continued growth in infrastructure project starts is meaning more work for pile driving contractors throughout the UK.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics put infrastructure growth in double digits, helping the construction industry as a whole to positive growth over the past year.

In the quarter from November 2011 to January 2012, infrastructure project starts were up by 11.1% compared with the previous year, leading to a 0.6% overall growth in construction despite falling activity in public non-housing projects.

For pile driving contractors, this means plenty of demand, as large infrastructure work often needs firm foundations to be put in place before above-ground construction can commence.

The strong performance of the sector is excellent news for the country as a whole as the economy continues to recover from its recent turbulence.

Infrastructure work helps to keep activity levels high in construction – but it also has knock-on benefits for other industries.

New transport links, power stations and other amenities all help communities to develop, putting Britons everywhere in a good position to make the most of new economic activity in the months to come.

Bright prospects for foundation piling as construction activity grows

March 2, 2012 by Harvey Banks · Comments Off
Filed under: Piling News 

Foundation piling materials and services could be in particularly high demand in the months to come, with several bright points in the construction industry at present.

The Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index, published on March 2nd, shows a 14th consecutive month of growth in output, with the growth rate itself at its highest for 11 months.

Commercial projects are leading this growth, while the housing market is relatively subdued – however, David Noble, chief executive officer at CIPS, says this could be about to change.

“This week’s Bank of England mortgage lending figures bode well for better housing performance ahead,” he says.

Whether commercial, residential or engineering-related, new construction works are likely to begin with foundation piling of one form or another.

As activity continues to grow throughout the construction industry, our foundation piling contractors are ready to keep projects on track.

Our sheet piling can also put in place the barrier needed to allow above-ground work to commence safely, making it an additional important stage in the construction process in some areas where ground conditions might otherwise be unsafe.

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