History has repeated itself. Last year’s winner of this category – and the overall title of best subcontractor in the UK – has done it again.
Cementation Foundations Skanska
Cementation’s success is founded on a 80 year history spent tackling every conceivable type of groundworks. To extend that history into the future the firm invests a huge amount in training and research and development – in the past year it has spent about a quarter of its profit on its staff and their equipment. As a result 85% of its work is with repeat customers. What really sets it apart from the competition, however, is its dedication to continuous improvement. A good example of this is its introduction of the latest of automotive industry artificial intelligence techniques in its plant and fabrication workshops. It is now rolling this out to sites and offices to increase efficiency
This firm invests 5% of turnover in research and development. Among the fruits of this investment are the company’s patented Penpile, an auger displacement piling system that generates almost no waste, a water-flushed technique for achieving rigidity in soft or estuarine soils, a powerful rotary head that can cut through packed ground faster than conventional kit, and the Tardis, a compact rig designed for conditions where head room is restricted, such as near powerlines.
Here’s the situation. A Barclays bank vault in Hereford requires underpinning. The building used to be a 16th century coaching inn, and its vaulted cellar has been sinking into the ground ever since. Maximum headroom is 2 m. And, to get to it, you have to go down two flights of stairs and though a narrow passage. This sounds impossible, but Roger Bullivant designs its own equipment, and so it assembled its rig inside the cellar and pumped the concrete it needed to form a raft though the bank’s back door. The slab was tied to the bank’s walls with reinforced concrete needle beams, diamond cored and cast into the raft. Add 39 steel cased piles and the job was done. How many other groundwork firms could have pulled that off?
Listen to what Sir Robert McAlpine had to say of Stent’s work on Arsenal’s Emirates stadium back in 2003. Stent, said the contractor, was outstanding in the design and execution of its works package. It liaised seamlessly and painlessly with its fellow specialists, it overcame the technical obstacles presented by a restricted site, and it inserted more than 1400 bored piles up to 22 m long “virtually without defect”, thanks partly to Stent’s own GPS-based Sherpa system. The result was that Stent made a “significant contribution to the early success of the project”. Another satisfied client, it seems.
Specialist Contractor Awards 2005
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Piling specialist of the year