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SWISS TIMING: A brand new Soilmec 312 piling machine was among three rigs finishing off an eight week piling contract this week for the new Swiss Re office in the heart of the City.

The controversial 'Gherkin', designed by engineer Arup and architect Sir Norman Foster, uses a diagonal spiral frame structure founded on an unusual double ring of 340 piles. The bored friction piles, each 750mm in diameter, drop between 23m and 34m through fill and claystone down to London clay. The Swiss Re building replaces the original Baltic Exchange, blown to pieces in the 1990s by an IRA bomb. Skanska subsidiary Cementation Foundations was piling contractor.

Skanska Construction will continue with superstructure work on the £130M project.

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