Back to School

We were recently appointed to complete Geo-Environmental Investigations at two new school sites, to be constructed using the latest modular construction methods.

Our investigation involved 100m of linear drilling, environmental and geotechnical laboratory testing, over 50m of dynamic probing, soakaway testing, trial pits, CBR tests, Plate Bearing Tests, Topographic surveys, CCTV surveys and utility surveys. All the site works were completed within 3 days and reports issued within 2 weeks.
Surely that gets an A*!

Hedging Your Bets?

Can You Spot Our Drill Rig?

When a client rang and said they needed boreholes in a densely overgrown area, located up a high-sided kerb behind some hedges, we knew we had just the drill rig for the job. After checking for below-ground utilities, we completed seven boreholes locations to 4m depth in a single day. Naturally, we left the site clean and tidy, with a happy client.

Tight Fit?

Terrier Rig

When it comes to sites that have narrow or restricted access, we reckon that there is no better drill rig than our Terrier. It may be the baby of our drilling fleet, but don’t let its diminutive size fool you.

In the past year it has worked in basements, narrow side passages between houses, amid demolition debris and in a host of other conditions that would have precluded larger rigs being used.

If you add in the fact that it can work on inclines as steep as 30 degrees I think you’ll agree that our Terrier is a little gem.

This week¬† we’ve been using the Terrier to carry out post-demolition verification sampling. We’ve been able to pick our way through the demolition rubble, getting access to the entire site to drill a pattern of boreholes to 5m depth.

For further information, or to discuss your drilling requirements, please contact Angus Gale – 01296 739433

Northern Powerhouse?

Pile Probing – Manchester

We like to feel¬† that we’re contributing to the Northern Powerhouse and this week saw us working in Manchester on a project to construct student accomodation in the city centre. Our role was to clear locations of buried obstructions prior to piling commencing.

We successfully cleared 30 locations to 8m depth in a single day – a total of over 250m linear metres of pile probing. With the piling rig arriving the following day, the result was a happy client.

The fact Manchester was enjoying its warmest day of the year so far was a pure coincidence, though it was a welcome surprise not to get wet*!

For more information or to get a quote for pile probing at your site, please contact Steven Partridge – 01296 739413

[* The editor used to live in Manchester]

What TLC Can Achieve

Terrier Drill Rig

Our Terrier drill rig, Tinky, recently celebrated its sixteenth birthday. In that time it has had 2 new head gaskets, 15 calibrations, 22 oil changes and services, 2 new tyres, 2 new tracks, 1 rebuilt mast frame, 1 new radiator , 1 new weight guard and a new fan. We know that good maintenance is the key to keeping any machine working and we like to think we’ve done our Terrier proud. It has certainly paid us back.

It may be sixteen years old but last week it still managed to dynamically sample 25m of weathered sandstone to 5m depth with SPT tests every metre plus completing an additional four dynamic probes to competent bedrock at 9.5m and installing four gas monitoring wells to 1.5m. All this in two days including a round trip mobilidsation of over 300 miles. Hats off to Tinky.

We are looking for dynamic sampling operatives. If you think you fit the bill then give Angus Gale a call on 01296 739400 or email your CV to Angus Gale.

Airplanes Stopped Play

Another post discussing the joys of working at a busy airport. This time we were asked to advise on the allowable bearing capacity for a foundation to be installed at 2m depth, without either excavating a trial pit of drilling a borehole.

We opted to carry out a series of dynamic probes, using our lightweight terrier drill rig, along the line of excavation, using the data to calculate an equivalent SPT ‘N’value and thence an allowable bearing capacity. We were able to provide our client with results in real time, ensuuring there were no delays to the construction programme.

Why You Should Be Using A Qualified Driller

Drilling has tradionally been pretty poorly regulated. Light cable percussion rigs (more commonly known as shell and auger rigs) still dominate the UK drilling market. They are crude, simple to operate and provide low quality samples but they live on because they are relatively cheap.

One reason they are cheap is that their operators are unqualified. Drilling has been seen as a job not a career. But lack of proper training has led to a woeful safety record; it is rare to see a 40-something shell and auger driller who still has all his fingers intact.

The British Drilling Association (BDA) has been working hard for some time now to encourage clients and consultants to require drillers working for them to hold a professional qualification – in this case an NVQ in Land Drilling. All our drillers hold this qualification. Our latest trainee, Alex, completed his NVQ this week.

If you’d like to know that your drilling requirement is going to be fulfilled safely and professionally then we’d be love to talk to you. Please contact Angus Gale (Tel: 07748 358304) for more information.

When is an SPT not an SPT?

SPT Calibration - 2
SPT Hammer Calibration

The answer is when it’s not calibrated.

The Standard Penetration Test, or SPT, has been the mainstay of geotechnical site investigations in the UK for decades. The test is simple, quick and cheap and it’s particularly suited to the light cable percussion drill rigs that are so widely used in the UK.

What isn’t generally appreciated is that even a low tech test such as this requires proper calibration in order to yield consistent, reliable results. In fact Eurocode 7 requires the SPT hammer to be calibrated annually. Unfortunately very few drilling contractors bother to do this and, in our experience, few consultants know that they should be asking for it. Given that results from out of spec hammers can vary by as much as 50%, we think this is something that should be given more attention.

We’ve put our money where our mouth is and now all our SPT hammers are correctly calibrated and all our drill rigs come with up to date LEAA inspection certificates. If you’d like to know more about our drilling capabilities please contact Angus Gale – 01296 739433.

Bulldog Spirit?

Bulldog SpiritWe are accustomed to working for the big hitters of modern industry. However, today we were handed the opportunity of working around one of the big hitters from history. This WWII machine gun bunker holds listed status, and rightly so. It’s one of 18,000 built, around the coastal areas of the UK during Churchill’s defence against Operation Sea Lion.
Our plucky little rig was able to negotiate perimeter fencing, dense undergrowth, steep inclines, tank traps and machine gun bunkers just to get on site. It all sounds more “Band of Brothers” than “geotechnical site investigation”. In all 28m of dynamic windowless sampling with SPTs (and 2″installs) plus 80m of dynamic probing were effortless completed.

Now that’s the spirit…………..

Earth, Wind and Fire…mostly Fire

After the Fire
After the Fire

It’s never good when your business premises are reduced to ash in a raging inferno. But this was just the scenario faced by one of our clients, when their car showr0om and repair workshop has burnt down overnight.

We were on hand the next day, working closely with both the fire brigade and the demolition crew. We were able to obtain the vital geotechnical data necessary to allow design for the new buildings to progress.
Here you can see our Terrier rig taking soil samples and completing in situ standard penetration tests and dynamic probes to depths of up to 15m.

Now the flames have died out, the demolition has been completed and the new structure has been designed. Our client is well on the way to be back in business.