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Piling To Rachet Up On Shard Site

Piling has begun on the first supertall tower to be built in the United Kingdom, London's Shard, and will see contractors sink them up to 200 feet in depth with the first steel work going into a pile tonight.

Stent, the piling specialist that is part of the construction giant Balfour Beatty, is doing the work on the scheme and has been preparing since the 16th of March to start driving piles with work having started on the smaller ones. As one would expect the depths of the foundations will depend on what they are sunk into so that first ones will be relatively shallow and 4.5 metres below ground.

Piling on sand and gravel will to be plunged to 10 metres below ground, the ones in London's famous clay will reach 34 metres below ground whilst the most unstable geology on the site - Thanet sand will have piles of 62 metres deep. Although these will not be quite to the record-breaking depths of the Pinnacle they will at their extremes come close.

In all, Stent will be sinking 390 900mm for the secant wall of the basement with the 190 female piles reaching 16 metres deep and 195 mile piles going between 25 and 50 metres below ground level.

The male piles will be load-bearing and thus the first part of the main structure. They will support the floor slabs and steel columns marking the very bottom of the towers future super-structure.

In addition there will be plenty more piling going on on site. A further 120 piles will be driven inside the basement with 57 of these at 1500mm in diameter that are designed to have the floor slab stand over them and support the structure. The final 63 piles will be the largest at 1800mm in diameters with plunged columns that will have an approximate weight of 25 tonnes.

These will support a safe working load of up to 24,000 kiloNewtons, or 2,447,318 kilos if you don't speak engineer. Putting this in perspective it would take 20 piles to rest the weight of a fully displaced RMS Titanic on it with two thirds of a pile left over to comfortably hold Leo's ego.

Once completed in 2012, the Shard will be the tallest building in Western Europe at over 1,000 feet high.

Article Related buildings:

The Shard

The Shard
London Bridge Place

London Bridge Place
The Shard from east London
The Shard from east London