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Driven Piling for new Mega Shed in Dartford, London

3 Sep 20 Aarsleff Ground Engineering delivered the driven piling contract for a major online retailer’s four-storey mega shed in Dartford, London. The warehouse will stand on a 45-acre plot at the 119-acre site of the old Littlebrook Power Station. Littlebrook Power Station was a series of four oil and coal-fired power stations situated on the south bank of the River Thames, next to the Queen Elizabeth 2 Bridge and the Dartford Tunnel in Dartford, Kent. The final power station, Littlebrook D, ceased operating in March 2015, and has now been demolished.

The project, awarded by ISG Retail, on behalf of developer Bericote Properties, commenced in May 2020, and saw Aarsleff install 2100No driven precast concrete piles and 750lm steel tube piles to support the circa 2.3 million sq ft warehouse. Aarsleff utilised 3 Junttan piling rigs to assist with execution & a challenging programme.

Following the pre-boring works on site, Aarsleff identified over 900 obstructions in the ground. A significant number of these were excavated and were found to be old foundations. Also identified were heavily reinforced large diameter piles along with thick heavily reinforced slabs exposed at 2-4m depths across the entire site. Aarsleff worked alongside Pinnacle and ISG to orientate the new pile caps so they missed the obstructive areas on site. The groundworkers were able to break out certain key locations which enabled Aarsleff to pile.

Aarsleff had to review the piling strategy following the discovery of the obstructions. The working sequence had to consider obstructive areas and the working areas of the CMC rigs. Working collaboratively with Gallagher’s, Pinnacle, Vibro-menard & ISG, Aarsleff Ground Engineering managed to effectively devise a construction sequence showing working areas of all trades on site.

Aarsleff’s Senior Contracts Engineer Parth Patel said: "Due to the history of the site and extent of the multidiscipline foundation requirements, this was a job which we had to adapt to everyday on site in order to succeed in delivering an efficient project for the client"

The mega shed will be the online retailer's largest distribution centre in Europe to date, with the developer also committing to achieving a net-zero carbon building.

The overall scheme will transform this disused brownfield site into a new premium logistics park, bringing enhanced local infrastructure and significant employment opportunities to Dartford and strengthening its economic growth. Aarsleff's foundation works finished in the middle of July 2020 with overall completion expected in summer 2021.

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