When MAL was engaged to provide the structural design of the two new industrial buildings at Norman Piette’s facility, as well as the structural design of mezzanine floors in two of the existing buildings, its task was complicated by the need to ensure the centre remained fully operational during construction.
Timber and builder’s merchant Norman Piette is the main building supplier for the Bailiwick of Guernsey, but it also operates an ecohomes division, which specialises in the supply of structural insulated panels (SIPs), timber frame buildings, ecojoists, roof trusses and renewable energy products.
MAL was appointed as structural design engineer for the design of the foundations of two new industrial buildings planned for its existing centre as well as being tasked with the procurement of the structural steel design/fabricators for these two new buildings. It was also responsible for the structural design of new mezzanine floors within two existing buildings at this site.
A significant consideration was the need to ensure the existing centre remained fully operational during construction, with the site subject to frequent deliveries in and out and access by the general public.
As the Norman Piette facility is situated on a recycled beach site, the existing buildings at the complex were founded on mass concrete foundations. MAL oversaw the site investigation works, which revealed the presence of sand and fill to a depth of approximately 5.5m. However, overlaying rock suggested that the profile of the terrain might not be consistent. Piled foundations were determined to be the best solution for the development and, during construction, pile depths of up to 12m were recorded - which proved the inconsistency of the ground profile.
The introduction of the mezzanine floor in the existing buildings also proved to be a design challenge for MAL. A clear span of 16m was required for the steel beam by the client and would be supported by new columns positioned against the existing steel columns. Piles were also required to support the large loads on the floor and had to be drilled through existing bases.