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Rapid impact compaction (RIC) is being used to prepare ground for a new development in Gloucestershire

In a six-week project for developer Persimmon Homes, Pennine is treating 26,000m² of the former cattle market on the west side of Gloucester, making way for 280 new homes.
The company's Terratamper RIC rig uses a 7t hammer that rapidly and repeatedly hits the ground with a heavy 1.5m diameter steel foot, creating imprints that are then backfilled with granular material. It manufactures and adapts its own rigs and machinery according to requirements.

The vibrations are significantly less than with traditional dynamic compaction. Because of this the system is more environmentally friendly and can be used within 10m to 15m of sound structures. It is capable of compacting and strengthening made ground down to maximum depths of 4m.

Pennine regional manager for Gloucester Graham Ellery says: "This system is unique and we are using the only specially adapted rig of its kind in the UK. It's ideal for treating generally granular fills up to 3m in thickness beneath roads, hardstandings and large floor slab areas.

"We're working to a pretty tight schedule on this one because we are being trailed by our sister company Stent, which is carrying out driven piling works. We are now three weeks into the project and averaging a treatment area of 800m² every day with the rig doing about 650 hits per hour."

The £74,000 job is the contractor's fourth visit to St Oswald's Business Park. The team previously worked on the site in November 2004 for nine weeks, June 2005 for one week and March the same year for three weeks.

The RIC system was developed by BSP International and the Defence Research Agency for the rapid repair of aircraft runways. The method is used extensively both in the UK and overseas by Pennine.

Work began on site last month and when complete will round off the re-development into a £70M mixed use business park, which will include 450 one to three-bedroom houses.

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