Launch of SuRe Pile technology
30 November 2011, City University London
On 30 November 2011 City University London hosted a launch evening for SuRe Pile technology. The concept, developed and patented at City's School of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (SEMS) and tested by Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering, could result in greener building foundations that can be reused in the future.
The event attracted great interest from the industry. Over 60 delegates - including piling contractors, consulting engineers, architects and property developers - attended the launch. City's undergraduate and postgraduate students boosted the attendee numbers to over 70.
The meeting was hosted by Professor Sarah Stallebrass, Assistant Dean, Civil Engineering, and featured presentations from City's Dr Andrew McNamara, a co-inventor of the technology, and Dr Brett McKinley, and Tony Suckling, Technical Director of Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering, who tested the SuRe Pile concept at a Wembley construction site.
Dr McNamara explained the idea behind SuRe Pile:
The legacy of concrete piles in densely packed cities such as London is becoming a real problem - it can take two days and £30,000 to remove an old pile on a redevelopment site. Our aim is to ensure that future generations don't have to face this issue, by enabling the construction industry to build more adaptable foundations today."
Traditional foundation building techniques of drilling a hole and filling it with reinforced concrete has resulted in the ground in urban areas being filled with concrete piles, which cannot easily be reused when redevelopment takes place because their condition and structural integrity is unknown or they are simply in the wrong place. The new design - known as SuRe Pile - promises to address this by creating a hollow cavity at the centre of the pile. This has numerous benefits. For example, when a site is redeveloped in several decades' time, the cavity will enable the inspection and testing of the pile to its bottom, while a smaller pile could be constructed in a new location within the hole.
Tony Suckling, Technical Director at Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering, said:
The reduced volume of concrete used in the SuRe Pile, as well the flexibility of the concept will make it incredibly useful in creating greener buildings in future and ensuring new developments meet environmental accreditation schemes such as BREEAM and LEED. In tests the SuRe Pile was found to be as strong and stable as the traditional design."
The three presentations led to a lively discussion and networking that went long into the evening.
At the end of the evening Dr McNamara said:
We received a very useful feedback from the delegates. Today's event has shown that we are on the right track but there is a lot more research that needs to be done. I am confident that with input from our industrial partners, we'll get there!"
City University London is now seeking more industrial partners to take the idea forward, through further testing and commercial deployment.
For further information please contact Dr Andrew McNamara.