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Out of Africa

Spotlight

Distance is no barrier to analysing pile tests, as Testal has been finding on a series of projects in South Africa. The latest technology has enabled the company to develop a method of working with contractor Ground Engineering Ltd (GEL) such that Testal's engineers do not even need to visit the site.

'We are effectively doing pile testing in South Africa from the UK, ' says specialist services manager Gordon Kells. 'New technology enables us to send the data back in real time. We are analysing the data from the first pile while the engineer or technician on site is setting up the next test.' The engineer doing the analysis can ask for the instruments to be checked if necessary. If the piles are not achieving the necessary results, GEL has the option of driving them further, says Kells. Conversely, savings can be made if the required loads are achieved with a shorter pile length.

The latest scheme to feature the inter-continental analysis is an extension of the Toyota car plant in Durban. GEL was awarded the contract in August to install precast concrete piles and bought equipment from Testal for use on this and future schemes. GEL's purchase marks the fourth stage in a relationship that began with Testal's pile testing manager carrying out all testing and analysis on site.

Subsequent phases saw GEL's staff play a greater part in setting up the equipment.

www. testal. co. uk

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