Ikea Peterborough

Costing £32million, IKEA’s 86,000sq m warehouse in Fletton, Peterborough is a massive distribution centre delivering goods to the company’s many stores throughout the UK, as well as providing direct delivery to customers.  Sited on the north side of Fletton Parkway, the store forms part of a large commercial development.

Aarsleff Ground Engineering were called upon, initially to undertake a pre-contract test piling and probing project by Shepherd Construction, the main design and build contractor for the project, who subsequently awarded Aarsleff the ~£1.5million pile supply and installation subcontract.

The scope of works was to manufacture and drive 6,500, 250mm and 300mm square section piles, predominantly in shingle on a 4.3m grid, through 14m of pulverised fuel ash (PFA) backfill to toe into the underlying stiff clay. The site (a former brickworks) had clay pits and lagoons, which had been stabilised by the main contractor, with lime and cement in 300mm thick layers, to provide a clean and strong working platform for the vast site.

The 17-week project commenced with Aarsleff providing three of its Banut self-erecting hydraulic drop hammer fixed leader rigs, progress was fast and therefore proceeded well ahead of schedule, the number of rigs was reduced to two rigs, which averaged around 90 piles per day. The two Banut rigs were also  supplemented by the company’s largest Hitachi KH180.3 GLSK fixed leader rig increasing production to 140 piles per day.

The 6,500 piles were manufactured by Centrum, Aarsleff’s wholly owned subsidiary, at their modern manufacturing facility in Newark Nottinghamshire. Centrum Pile focusses solely on the manufacture of continuously reinforced precast concrete piles with a capacity of up to 20,000 linear metres per week. Investment in new concrete batching, transfer and mould filling equipment, as well as fully robotic pile cage fabrication, makes the company the largest UK manufacturer of fully reinforced concrete piles.

Phil Bradley, Project Manager, Shepherd Construction said: “It’s essential to have an experience, dependable piling contractor geared up to supply and install piles and to  work as quickly as they have. Aarsleff’s ability to feed the process in-house, make piles and install them is a big advantage. We had an initial stock of piles on site when we first started, but once we were up and running we moved onto a just-in-time basis, which worked really well. I was pleased with the piling operation, which was always ahead or on programme.”

Client: Shepherd Construction

Piling Contractor: Aarsleff Ground Engineering Ltd

Construction Date: 17 weeks, commencing 2002

Scope of Works: 6,500 mixture of 250mm and 300mm square precast reinforced concrete piles

Project value: £1.5m

Equipment: 3 Banut self-erecting drop hammer fixed leader rigs; 1 Hitachi KH180.3 GLSK fixed leader rig

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