MAY GURNEY (Technical Services), has invested in limited access and low headroom mini piling equipment capable of installing up to 500mm diameter piles.
The company is using the new machinery to construct 450mm diameter concrete injected piles on a M1 overbridge at Dunmurry, outside Belfast. Working for main contractor Farrans Construction, May Gurney is installing the 104, up to 14m long, piles through and around the existing bridge foundations.
Work is being carried out from a 1.5m deep excavation with only around 6m of headroom. Because space is tight and access made worse by fibre optic cables and a gas main, many of the piles have to be placed through the existing foundation bases, which has required pre-coring of the concrete.
Although suitable for restricted work like this, because of the diameters required, mini piling was not viable. 'Generally, mini piling rigs can only handle piles up to 350mm diameter,' says May Gurney (Technical Services) managing director Chris Wallace.
Tripod rigs could have been used, but the company claims that three rigs would have been required to achieve the same production rates as the mini piling machine, not practical on this contract, it says.
The project is the latest of a series May Gurney has carried out in Northern Ireland and Eire. 'Ireland is becoming an increasingly important market for us,' he says. 'The Irish construction industry has benefited from considerable inflows of EU money in recent years.'