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Aarsleff adds value through mini-piling in Durham

14 Feb Smart design and operational efficiency creates value for community heritage hub in Durham

The Durham鈥檚 Miners Association Hall, affectionately known to the locals as Redhills, is an important beacon of the community for those living in and around Durham. Opened in 1915 as the purpose-built headquarters of the Durham Miner鈥檚 Association, the hall has been in disrepair and jeopardy for several years. In 2021, it was gifted back to the people via the Redhills charity, who have worked tirelessly to raise the funds to renew and restore the hall.

Carried out by main contractor, Meldrum Construction, the work will enable the full restoration of the Grade II-listed hall known as The Pitman鈥檚 Parliament and an extension will enable Redhills to improve accessibility. The full scope of the project hopes to offer a wide-ranging programme of activities and audio-visual displays which bring to life the rich history of the charity and the culture of the Durham coalfield.

Aarsleff were approached through Absolute Civil Engineering, who are working for Meldrum Construction on site, to complete a contiguous pile wall as part of the extension works. In total, 40 450mm dia sectional flight auger piles were installed to 9m depths to form the wall and a further 35 300mm dia bearing piles were installed to 9m.

There were two main challenges to overcome in regards to this project. Firstly, there was very limited access and space within the site to work, which would鈥檝e made getting a full CFA rig into site difficult. Secondly, the wall was to be installed only c. 750mm away from the existing building, which is also Grade II listed. Therefore, the combat both of these challenges, it was decided that sectional flight auger piling would be used in place on continuous flight auger. This ensured that the equipment could be loaded into the site and the smaller rig would mean reduced vibration.

The piles were designed in house by Aarsleff鈥檚 specialised design engineers. With extensive knowledge and experience working with a wide range of sites and solutions, the team designed a solution that was as cost effective as possible. This was equally as important as much of the funding for the extension of the building has been raised by crowdfunding and through charitable schemes like the National Heritage Lottery Fund. To aid the installation process and due to the given space restrictions, we included a 2-piece spliced reinforcement detail in the design.

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During installation, the site team ensured that the project was safely executed in the tight working area with our limited access SFA piling equipment. Through key operational efficiencies, the team completed 3 days earlier than expected from the tender programme, allowing the next phase of the scheme to follow on sooner as well.

Speaking on the project, Project Manager, Tom Percy said, 鈥淭he project went very well from start to finish, with constant dialogue with the client to ensure they were always kept up to date on the project.鈥

We look forward to seeing the completed hub once the extension is ready and hope that it inspires the community it serves for years to come.

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