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Wireless monitoring used for Royal College of Music structural works

12 September 2018 | By CM staff

Gilbert-Ash is main contractor on the £22m project

Shoring specialist Groundforce has used a new wireless remote condition monitoring system for complex structural works on the Royal College of Music’s new extension in South Kensington, London.

The FlatMesh system simplifies real-time measurement of static loads and monitors potential movements in sensitive structural support applications.

The technology uses wireless nodes on Groundforce’s load pins which pass a signal from one to another, meaning that only one of the nodes needs to have clear contact with the 3G gateway module in order for all readings to be taken. With previous monitoring systems, all the load pins needed to have a direct line of sight with the 3G gateway.

The project is located in the facility's central courtyard

The Royal College of Music project is located in the facility's central courtyard, a difficult-to-access location which is extremely sensitive to disturbance, and is hemmed in on all four sides by existing buildings.

Contractor Gilbert-Ash asked Groundforce for design help at the early tender stage of the £22m project and awarded it the £120,000 structural support contract.

Groundforce supplied its Mega Brace hydraulic waling beam to support the concrete secant-piled retaining wall, bracing the excavation with M50, MP125, MP150 and MP250 modular hydraulic props.

Groundforce used modular hydraulic props to brace the secant-piled retaining wall

All of the equipment used had to be craned over the Royal College of Music building.

A reinforced concrete capping beam was cast on top of the pile caps before excavation began while all the arisings from the excavation were removed on a special conveyor system that ran through the building to the street where it was loaded into trucks and carried away.

Two levels of support were required: the upper level was braced against the capping beam; the lower level against the Mega Brace waling beam.

Vertical support for the props was provided by conventional gallows brackets on the upper level, but the lower level gallows brackets were found to clash with the intermediate slab.

“We therefore utilised the use of eye nuts to replace gallows brackets,” said Groundforce engineer Nadir Salim. “These were drilled into the capping beam and restraint chains were slung down and attached onto the Mega Brace.”

Senceive’s FlatMesh system monitored the loads impinging on the hydraulic struts, alerting the construction team to any changes that could mean unwanted movement in the ground or surrounding structures.

As it was, the design and execution of the basement construction did not face any problems.

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