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Phone home

GEOTECHNICAL CONTRACTORMay Gurney has finished piling work on mobile phone company Vodafone Airtouch's new world headquarters in Newbury, Berkshire.

The 51,600m 2facility, designed by Fletcher Priest Architects, will replace several Vodafone offices around the Newbury area and will accommodate 3,000 staff. It is due to be complete by 2003.

May Gurney was appointed by main package contractor Associated Solutions to carry out the piling. Management contractor is Bovis Lend Lease and the structural, civil and geotechnical consultant is Buro Happold.

The site is underlain by chalk and because of the on-going debate over design parameters for bored piles in chalk, the firm carried out pile testing to finalise design and to provide a cost-effective foundation solution for the project.

'Working closely with Buro Happold, a series ofpreliminary pile load tests on piles of incrementally different lengths at different locations was carried out, to prove the design concept and the detailed site-specific parameters, 'explains May Gurney southern piling manager John Chick.

Following the field tests, May Gurney installed 1,100,450mm diameter CFA piles down to 12. 5m for the facility, which comprises a cluster of seven buildings - each with two sections joined by an atrium, with a series of linked ponds forming a central feature of the development.

The new headquarters is being built on the site of the Old Newbury Showground. It has been designed to cause minimal environmental impact and work includes landscaping to form heavily planted mounds that will screen the buildings from adjacent roads and housing.

Earthworks began in June, using on-site materials stabilised with cement to cut down lorry movements, minimising transport costs and reducing disruption on local roads.

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