SWANSEA IN South Wales was once a centre of heavy industry, but its steel and copper foundries and coal mines have long been shut.
Now, however, there are signs of an economic turnaround for the city, with a series of construction schemes such as the National Waterfront Museum and a 20,000 seat football and rugby stadium.
These will be joined by Salubrious Place [ouch - Ed] a new cultural, entertainment and sporting quarter under development.
It will have a casino on the ground f oor with a 12-screen cinema and apartments on the upper levels.
Preliminary groundworks now under way for the four-storey complex include the installation of 483 CFA piles by contractor Roger Bullivant. The 500mm diameter piles are end-bearing and toe into alluvial sands and gravels that underlie the variable made ground.
Site investigation revealed large numbers of cobbles: 'This area of Swansea, close to the docks, is noted for its tough ground conditions, ' said Bullivant area manager Peter Lewis.
'Suitable pile depths can be achieved with smaller plant, but we used our powerful 7000 series rig and a large diameter auger to tear through obstructions with ease.' Main contractor Opco Construction prepared the site by breaking out what remained of a previous structure, backfi ng and compacting the ground. The new piles reach depths of up to 15m and are designed to accommodate compression loads of 1,000-1,250kN.
The choice of augered as opposed to precast piles was due largely to the proximity of historic buildings.
'Vibration caused by hammering precast piles into the ground could have caused a problem, as many of the buildings are in poor condition, ' said Opco design manager Darren Thomas.
Bullivant has also installed a series of augered piles for retaining walls on the perimeter of the site.
Foundations have been designed to accept additional load, allowing the future installation of a mezzanine fl oor if Swansea citizens show greater than anticipated enthusiasm for cards and dice.
Each pile will also act as an earthing rod in the event of a lightning strike to the building. Pierre Grigorian, associate director of designer Nicholson Jones Partnership, explained that steel reinforcement within each pile ties into reinforced concrete pile caps, providing a link to the building's steel frame.
Bullivant began work on the £220,000 contract in mid-February and completed at the end of March.