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Innovative monitoring benefits Royal College of Music redevelopment

rcm 190418 080

The redevelopment of the Royal College of Music (RCM) has benefitted from a new wireless remote condition monitoring system.

The system simplifies real-time measurement of static loads and monitors potential movements in sensitive structural support applications and was used on the redevelopment of the RCM’s central courtyard where a 7m deep basement was created between 1m to 1.5m from existing buildings.

The project is the RCM’s More Music development, which when finished will include two new performance spaces, practice rooms for students, a new café, museum, and enhanced step-free access for students and visitors.

The system was developed by Groundforce using Senceive’s Flatmesh and uses wireless nodes with load pins, which pass signals from one to another, meaning that only one of the nodes needs to have clear contact with the 3G gateway module, in order for all readings to be taken.

According to the firm, this means not all the load pins need to have direct line of sight with the 3G gateway module, as was the case previous monitoring systems.

rcm 190418 089

rcm 190418 089

Groundforce supplied its Mega Brace hydraulic waling beam to support the concrete secant-piled retaining wall, bracing the excavation with M50, MP125, MP150 and MP250 modular hydraulic props.

This was made trickier due to the complete absence of ground-level access, as all the equipment had to be craned in over the RCM building.

Groundforce said’ “A reinforced concrete capping beam was cast on top of the pile caps before excavation commenced; all the arisings from the excavation were removed on a special conveyor system that ran through the building to the street where it was loaded into trucks and carried away.

“As the excavation progressed, the equipment was craned in and installed. Two levels of support were required; the upper level was braced against the capping beam; the lower level against the Mega Brace waling beam.”

Vertical support for the props was provided by conventional gallows brackets on the upper level, but the lower level gallows brackets were found to clash with the intermediate slab.

rcm 190418 102

rcm 190418 102

Groundforce sales engineer Nadir Salim added: “We therefore utilised the use of eye nuts to replace gallows brackets. These were drilled into the capping beam and restraint chains were slung down and attached onto the Mega Brace.”

The Flatmesh system monitored the loads impinging on the hydraulic struts, and alerted the construction team to any changes that could mean unwanted movement in the ground or surrounding structures.

Berry Piling won the contract to install a secant wall on the scheme in November last year. 

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