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Put to the test

SPOTLIGHT - Site investigation

Pennine Dynamic Probing & Testing claims it has advanced the evaluation of bearing capacity infills with the launch of its new load testing system.

The system uses specially constructed 6t steel ingots loaded onto a mobile test frame. Test loads of up to 150t can be applied using a jack and a 600mm diameter pile or 3m square plate.

According to Pennine, the use of steel ingots helps reduce the volume of test blocks required;

speeds up preparation time; and is safer due to ease of construction.

Pennine manager Andrew Molloy says: 'This new system marks a step forward for site testing, and has been designed specifically for the purpose of carrying out zone load and plate bearing tests and low load pile tests.'

The system was used for the first time in July on a site being prepared for the construction of a commercial unit in Wigan. A load of up to 90t was applied using a 2m steel base plate on four different areas to test vibro-piled ground. Two men built the system up and took measurements from four pressure gauges. Settlement on site was found to be 2mm, well within permitted limits.

Pennine's system can also be used to verify methods of ground testing, and to check the performance of floor slabs under a working load. Marketing manager Derek Taylor says: 'The technique is a cost effective way of checking the carrying capacity of floor slabs to see if reconstructing existing floors can be avoided.'

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