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Erskine Park is an industrial area in west Sydney. One of the developments in this area is a pallet manufacturing warehouse that is located at the end of Tyrone Place. The general area of the site was previously used to stockpile approximately 1.5 million m3 of a mixture of soil and wast rock placed during quarrying operations.

Levelling the site resulted in 2 to 10 m of highly heterogeneous loose fill ranging in size from fine material to large boulders spreading over an area of approximately 50,000 m2.

Preliminary studies indicated that the ground did not provide the required 150 kPa bearing capacity to support the factory building and was subject to large differential settlements that could have led to damages of the building and the ground slabs throughout the site. The size of the site, the depth of loose and highly variable soil, and the urgency to proceed with construction works of the factory at the earliest demanded a foundation solution that was feasible, cost effective and that would require the least execution time.

Piling was soon ruled out as applicable due to the size of the site. Similarly, excavation and replacement was impractical, expensive and time consuming; hence, ground improvement was considered as a viable option.

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Menard Oceania was awarded the project by Mainland Civil based on a design and construct dynamic compaction solution. Dynamic compaction is a ground improvement technique that is applicable to a wide range of soils, and is applied by dropping a very heavy pounder from a significant height multiple times on a grid of points.

Dynamic Compaction in action - Erskine Park Sydney - Menard Oceania

“Whilst an 18 ton pounder was used throughout the deep compaction of the site, the wide range of treatment thickness and the random heterogeneity of the soil required multiple compaction patterns with close observation and scrutiny of the ground’s behaviour to the pounder blows, and adopting the necessary changes to the compaction patterns”, explained Babak Hamidi, project manager.

The success of the treatment was verified primarily by the pressure-meter test, which yields bearing capacity and deformation modulus of the soil. The works are planned to be completed in less than 3 months, which is much shorter than any other alternative that was considered.

 

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