Project outline 

Murphy Ground Engineering provided two contiguous pile walls for the GEM Group which is delivering the new student accommodation for Mortar Developments. The walls will facilitate excavation for a single level basement as part of a new building. 

Further to completion of the contiguous walls, the scope was extended at an additional cost of €100,000. The additional works required 57,900mm diameter piles at a depth of nine metres to support the front of the new building. 

The backdrop for this project was a busy Dublin main road with high footfall. This meant space was tight and provided challenges in relation to accessing and leaving the site. 

Murphy also provided design and testing for the piling. 

Key challenges 

This confined urban environment presented several challenges in construction. The team on site was able to deal with these comfortably thanks to its considerable collective experience on similar projects. 

There was limited working space for the rig, however, the team had combated this issue on previous projects and was able to present the client with minimal space requirements for operation of the rig. Using clear illustrations from these previous jobs, the team was able to reassure the client by demonstrating how the operation would work successfully. 

At the north-east point of the site there was a wall, over 100-years-old, without any foundations. In order to make sure that ground movements would not negatively impact on it three engineers from separate companies were brought in to survey the area. Constant monitoring was also essential as piling went within 250mm of the wall. Operatives were fully aware of the implications of the ground movements on the wall and were well placed to intervene should the need occur. 

Project delivery and innovations 

Initially the proposal for works was to provide 600mm diameter piles. However, as part of the design process, Murphy worked with its design partners and the client to create a plan using 900mm piles. This adjustment to the design meant fewer piles needed to be constructed, saving time on the initial programme. Subsequently Murphy used less material on site with positive impact on cost and sustainability. 

Murphy was working to a tight programme with 7am–7pm shifts on weekdays. With neighbours close by it was imperative to consider the noise levels throughout construction and how to minimise disruption for residents. Murphy selected an automatic Soilmec R518 rig for the site as it was the quietest machine. Plant selection as well as attitudes to sustainability were well received. No complaints were received throughout construction of the piles. 

Murphy used a three-man van to minimise plant on site with the gang all able to fit in one vehicle, while the local engineer was able to use public transport to and from the site. This meant there was no extra strain on parking in the area or because of numerous vehicle movements throughout the day. 

Murphy is aware of the importance of contributing positively to the community on all its projects and in this case worked closely with the volunteer-run crèche next to the site. The team made several donations, including a microwave, to the crèche, which offers childcare to local families. 

Throughout delivery Murphy benefited from having vast local resources in plant, equipment and workers in Dublin who were close to the site. This meant that any issues could be dealt with quickly and efficiently as they arose. 

Key facts 
  • Murphy design changes led to programme savings of 15% 
  • Provided two contiguous pile walls 
  • 57 single bearing piles 
  • 900mm diameter piles 
  • Piles spaced at 1050mm 
  • Piles at depths of 9-9.5m 
  • Murphy oversaw design, construction and testing of the piling 
  • Testing included both dynamic and integrity tests 
  • Excellence in delivery within a congested urban environment 
  • Good collaboration throughout project with regular catch-ups with the client leading to an effective partnership in delivery. 
  • Delivered on time and to budget 

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Building from the ground up

The Ground Engineering team at Murphy offers in-house pile design, value engineering and bespoke technical solutions throughout the UK and Ireland. We have a proven track record of successfully delivering both minor and major works across a range of sectors.

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