Residents and regular passers-by will have noticed that the site has been rather quiet over the winter. This was due to the archaeological investigations taking much longer than expected in order to fully assess the buried archaeology and any impact of proposed construction works. Medieval and post-medieval remains lie across the site and the requirements on the archaeological team and the processes they needed to follow were more time-consuming than originally anticipated.
However we are delighted to be underway again. Winchester City Council is now satisfied and we have received consent to progress with the piled foundations. The groundworkers began preparations on 4th April with the delivery of a 3-4 tonne excavator and for the two weeks thereafter will be removing excess soil and bringing in bulking materials via lorry in preparation for the arrival of the piling rig.
Piling for three weeks starting 18 April
Delivery of the piling rig is booked for 18th April with piling forecast to start the following day. This will last for a duration of three weeks. The piles will be augured (i.e. drilled), and not percussive (hammered). This method is appropriate for the site and minimises disturbance, although to say the operation will be silent would be incorrect. The rig will make some mechanical noise, however this will be significantly less than that experienced when piles are driven in. During this time there will also be a number of deliveries of concrete to the site by lorry each day.
Once the piling is completed, the ground workers will once again attend the site, to carry out the installation of the drainage runs between the now installed piles.
Into May / June
Once the drainage runs are completed and the manhole inspection chambers installed, we will begin installing the ground floor suspended concrete slabs. The slabs will form the foundations for us to start laying blockwork and facing brickwork. This is an exciting time for the project as we move from substructure to superstructure works, meaning that our work will start to be above ground level as the new buildings begin to take shape. The superstructure works are a number of weeks away yet, and we will keep you informed as we progress each month.