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They're changing their tune at Westminster


A BASEMENT that once echoed to the crack of rifle fire will soon be home to the more soothing sounds of violins, pianos and clarinets.

The basement at a Westminster School building in central London was formerly used by the Territorial Army as a practice range.

When works to triple its size are complete, it will contain 16 music practice rooms covering the entire footprint of the building.

Extensive foundation work was needed to provide adequate support to the footings to prevent subsidence caused by lateral forces around the building's perimeter.

Foundation Piling is undertaking the work for main contractor Sames. The project involves construction of a piled wall around the interior perimeter of the building using a low headroom auger piling rig.

The firm installed 72, 300mm diameter piles to a depth of 6m during the four-week contract.

The concrete piles were placed at 500mm centres to provide a retaining wall capable of withstanding the high lateral loads.

With the piles installed, Sames excavated the basement to a depth of 3.5m ready for the new basement slab and walls to be cast. Work has now started on the interior, which is due to be ready early next year.

Acoustic insulation for the music rooms is obviously paramount. Each room will float within the new structure so there will be no rigid connections to transfer vibration and noise.

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