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Site settlement halts mall piling work


A FLAWED site investigation is being blamed for delays on a piling contract for a Marks & Spencer store in Glasgow.

Foundation work on the £27M extension to M&S's Argyle Street store has been on hold since last October after the gable wall of an adjacent building underwent nearly 15mm of vertical settlement.

Piling subcontractor Abbey Pynford stopped work just weeks into the contract, with managing director Paul Kiss insisting that the problems stemmed from the site investigation. 'The information contained in the site investigation was unrepres- entative and though it was adequate to allow us to design the piles it did not suggest the problems experienced in the ground during works. We are in the process of submitting a claim.'

Ground conditions of very fine sand coupled with the high water table made construction of a contiguous pile wall about 1m from the Virginia Galleries gable very difficult. Piles were even- tually shortened from 13m to 7m to avoid going below the water table.

Thirty-nine firms had to be evacuated from the 200 year old Virginia Galleries after Glasgow City Council issued a dangerous buildings notice. Main contractor Tarmac subsequently commissioned consulting engineer Thorburn Colquhoun to produce an independent report on the incident.

Traders occupying the Virginia Galleries claimed the building should have been underpinned first and are said to be considering suing Tarmac and M&S for over £2.5M in lost earnings.

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