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CFA piles star in theatre production


LEICESTER'S NEW £48M Performing Arts Centre has helped to attract an estimated £50M of retail, leisure and housing development to the St George's South area of the city centre.

The glass fronted theatre features two auditoria, seating 350 and 750 people, and a stage at the centre of the building at street level.

Foundation contractor Stent began work in July. Its £500,000 contract for Bovis Lend Lease involved installing 526, 600mm diameter CFA piles - 319 bearing piles and the rest for a contiguous pile wall around three sides of the stage area to form a basement.

Ground conditions at the site were 4m of fi l over boulder clay, with mudstone about 14m deep.

Piles were an average of 15m long with a 1m socket into the mudstone, although some of the bearing piles for the heavier loads were up to 18m long with 4m sockets, said Stent project manager Nigel Brockman.

Piling was carried out in one phase, which ended in early August, instead of the originally planned two. This meant all bearing piles and contiguous wall piles planned for installation at basement level were installed from ground level.

Construction of the Performing Arts Centre is due to finish in autumn 2007 with a public opening in early 2008. The project is being led by Leicester City Council and developed in partnership with Leicester Theatre Trust and Leicester Arts Centre Trust.

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