Client – Osco Homes; Architect – HolderMathius Architects; Role – Civil and Structural Engineering.
This project for Forest Holidays is another example of our thriving cooperation with Osco Homes.
It is a scheme that comprises several cabins, beautifully designed by Holder Mathias Architects and delivered in Delamere Forest, Cheshire.
Working for Forest Holidays was a unique opportunity for us to be involved in a project using a brilliant innovative engineering solution. For the foundations, the scheme utilises Rapidroot pile, a ‘hybrid’ (neither shallow nor deep) piling system, best described as a ‘metal tree root system’.
The system consists in driving steel micro piles into the ground; therefore, it can be used in any penetrable ground and no digging or excavation is needed. The piles are driven in variable angles and direction, just as a trees’ root system, to spread the foundation over and achieve larger capacity and stability. The whole process of ground works is expeditious. The installation of Rapidroot piles takes 10 to 45 minutes and since it has instant capacity, as opposed to concrete, the works above foundation level can proceed the very same day. It is worth mentioning that Rapidroot is not only an example of great engineering, but also an appreciable, environmentally-friendly alternative to the traditional reinforced concrete foundations.
Our role in this project was to develop a design for the floor structure to the cabins. The proposal included utilising floor cassettes consisting of Light Gauge Steel elements, manufactured off-site in the factory, developing workers’ MMC (modern methods of construction) skills that will continue to be in high demand, then assembled on-site. Since the foundations had the greatest impact on the cost, it was important for us to optimise it by appropriately arranging the floor layouts. We wanted to make sure that the capacity of the floor elements was efficiently utilised and that the number of foundation piles was limited. Running this exercise and producing appropriate solutions for each individual cabin type was an interesting and valuable experience.
It was a pleasure to work on this project. It’s been delivered with a smile and a tiny bit of jealousy at the thought of all the moments to be shared and memories created within families and groups of friends during their quality leisure time, in the beautiful scenery of this stunning natural setting.