Over a number of days last November, Europe’s largest load test was carried out on a series of concrete piles that were installed around Moorgate tube station.

The piles that needed testing have been installed around the station to hold up a 16-storey office block that is being built above the land that was cleared for the construction of the Crossrail station.

Once the new station was completed, works began on constructing the foundations for the office block, but as it sits directly above the shallow Moorgate tube station, they put in huge deep piles around the station, with trusses above to distribute the weight.

But they needed to be certain that the piles would work as expected, so for three days last November, a series of gigantic weights were up on the piles and trusses to make sure the theory matched the reality.

(c) ALE

This was the first load test of its kind in Europe when conducting the weighing of a test pile in central London, UK. At just over 5,120 tonnes, it was also the highest load test on a pile within Europe.

Specialist weighing equipment supplied by ALE needed to be positioned prior to the commencement of test truss assembly, and the test then took place over a three-day period, running 24 hours a day.

The pile test loading and unloading cycle the fluctuated in load up to the maximum of 50Mn in line with the engineer’s requirements.

Now that the piles are proven to handle the weight of the building, works can start on that, which will eventually become the London headquarters for Deutsche Bank.

The developer is Land Securities, architect is Wilkinson Eyre and main contractor is Mace.

When completed, the 16-storey office block will include new entrances to Moorgate tube and Elizabeth line platforms, and a restoration of the pedway highwalk to Barbican.

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8 comments on “5,120 tonne loading test above Moorgate tube station
  1. Andrew Gwilt says:

    Went through Moorgate station yesterday and with the work continuing because of the Crossrail project that has been delayed.

  2. Jon Jones says:

    5,000 tonnes doesn’t actually seem that much for the weight of a building.

  3. London555 says:

    They built a giant 24 floor tower above Canada Water station, it amazes me how the tower is held up given its on the edge of the stations and the tunnels run underneath. Its been there since 2013 so they must have got their calculations right! But still scares me a bit going through the station.

    • London555 says:

      To add they are also building a block above the DLR line at Tower Hill. They constructed a large concrete bridge which the block sits on.

      Would you live there?

  4. James Miller says:

    Almost fifty years ago, I wrote a computer program, that calculated all of the forces in portal frame agricultural buildings made of four-steel beams bolted together for a guy, who as part of a team, during WW2 at Cambridge University developed the technology. When I wrote the program he had his own agricultural building company. Even then, with his explanation, I couldn’t totally understand the magic of structural engineering. By balancing forces and getting them to act in the right way on steel structures, massive loads can be handled. Just look at some of the bridges built in the last few years and how different they are to say the Forth Road Bridge.

    Structural engineering has been one of the most improved technologies of the last fifty years.

    • Nick Cole says:

      “Structural engineering has been one of the most improved technologies of the last fifty years.”

      Interesting view point. I actually argue the opposite on a regular basis!

      Give Alexander Graham Bell a Smart phone and ask him how it works and he wouldn’t know where to start. Same goes for most modern technology when compared with its predecessors.

      Now, give an engineer from 50, even 100, years ago a set of modern structural engineering drawings and they would not only know what they were looking at but would be able to critique them, even suggest improvements. Materials have got stronger and computers have enabled us to do things faster but the fundamentals are the same. I even teach an almost extinct engineering technique that is over 200 years old as it is more useful as a design tool than many of the computational techniques used today. Not many technology based industries can say that and to be honest it’s rather disappointing that we haven’t progressed further!

  5. Nick Cole says:

    No mention of Robert Bird Group, the engineers who designed the building, foundations, pile test procedure, test rig, temporary works……!

    In answer to the comments above. The test was done on a 1.2m diameter x 60m deep pile as a half size sacrificial test for the 2.4m diameter piles used to support the building. The building uses 16 2.4m diameter x 60m deep piles each capable of supporting around 8500t

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