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This is a truly unique project as it required the design and construction of a 22m deep basement below a 90-year-old hotel, avoiding any disruption to the A-list guests that occupied the hotel rooms above. Adding to the complexity, all materials, machinery and excavated spoil needed to pass through a single 2m x 2m window within a single 7m square room that was the only construction site to construct this 60,000 sq. ft basement.
The pioneering solution invented was indeed unique, had no previous precedence and involved using mining technology to construct over 400m of tunnelling and 1800m of hand dug caisson foundations to support the existing hotel. The hotel is an early example of a building supported on a weak concrete raft foundation. The ground conditions at one half of the site were very difficult as it comprised alluvial silts that were saturated – it required specialist methods to stabilise the soils before any mining operations could be carried out.
Once the hotel raft was supported on the caisson foundations, with columns rising up to the raft, all 62 column heads were fitted with jacks to control the deflection of the existing raft and thus control the building movement. The 1st of 5 levels of basement could then be excavated below the existing raft to allow a specialist low head room piling rig to construct perimeter piling and this then enabled a top down construction method to be employed for the basement construction.
The talk will concentrate on the technical challenges faced by the design and construction teams, the problems faced and how they were resolved, and live performance of the structure (load, settlement and heave) throughout the 3-year construction project. There will also be some facts and figures on the costs of the project and savings on original programme as the project was delivered 4 months early to the Client.
The project has since won numerous awards: Fleming Award, Ground Engineering Awards, and short list for the Institution of Structural Engineers – extreme structures award.
Organised by ICE North West Geotechnical Group and ICE Manchester branch.
Dinesh specialises in geotechnical engineering. He has over 30 years of experience on all types of infrastructure, building, bridge and tunnel foundation designs. He has worked on solutions for 5 of the tallest towers with deep basements in the City of London and is a recognised expert on basements and deep pile foundation designs, both overseas and in the UK. He has been the recipient of many previous Fleming and GE Awards on complex projects.
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