Testconsult commissioned to carry out dynamic pile load testing at Southend Pier.

Following a fire which destroyed Southend Pier in 2005, a new development is under way which will accommodate a multi-purpose cultural centre and cafe.

The building is to be located on the existing cast iron piled section of the pier head and the single storey building is designed with a wave form room to reflect its location of the sea.

Testconsult were commissioned by Kier London, to conduct dynamic pile load testing in order to determine whether the existing cast iron piles would safely carry the proposed increase in loadings. In addition to this Testconsult were also asked to carry out integrity testing to determine embedded depths.

In order to facilitate testing, the piles were isolated from the remaining structure by removing all diagonal bracing's and all load bearing beams were lifted off the pile caps. A steel plate was inserted between the deck beams directly over the test positions, to enable the dynamic impact from Testconsult’s one tonne drop system to be transferred directly to the piles.

Twelve piles were tested to a test load of 160KN. The piles were instrumented with strain gauges and accelerometers and all data processed using the SIMBAT method to determine the static performance up to the required test load.

The centre is due to open Summer 2012, in time for the arrival of the Olympic torch rely to the resort.

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