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Drilling operations for the tallest residential building in Denmark

The ground engineering contract for what is to become the tallest residential tower in Denmark is underway with our Danish counterpart Aarsleff Ground Engineering installing the drilled pile foundations for the 143-metre-high Lighthouse 2.0 in Aarhus located at Aarhus Ø overlooking the waterfront.

Aarhus Ø is the newest part of Aarhus and has become a charming district of modern architecture separated by water canals. The Lighthouse will keep in line with Scandinavia’s iconic architecture, built amongst other stand-out developments along the harbour such as The Iceberg and Dokk1.

Clay of high plasticity, complex logistics, wind factor and high-rise challenges were embraced wholly by Aarsleff Ground Engineering, who reviewed various foundation solutions and proposed that the building could be founded on deep drilled piles. This foundation method allows the structural load to be transferred to the subsoil which has deeper load-bearing soil stratum to prevent long-term settlement of the building. Highly monitored test piles – 2No. – to full depth and full diameter were carried out in the months prior to the main drilling works to ensure that all calculations were accurate and to optimise on the most effective drilling method both in respect of time and money.

Aarsleff are currently on-site drilling 28No. piles with a diameter of 2,000mm and a total maximum length of 70 metres – the deepest bored piles ever to be executed in Denmark as production piles. Ground conditions comprise a 10 - 12m layer of sand followed by clay of high plasticity. Generally, this soil type has numerous problems due to its low strength, high compressibility and high level of volumetric changes. Clay of high plasticity is typically found in coastal regions around the world.

Aarsleff Ground Engineering is responsible for overseeing the drilled piles at The Lighthouse project. The team on site are 14 members strong, including 1 full time health and safety inspector. Aarsleff’s Bauer BG55 rig equipped with all necessary tools of a diameter of 1,860 mm and casings of diameter 2,000 mm has been mobilized to undertake the main drilling works. This is the largest machine in Aarsleff’s fleet and in the Northern Europe. Beside that 2No. Hitachi (80T,100T) mobile cranes and 2No. dumper trucks assists in the daily work.

Due to the clay of high plasticity the casing is not installed to full depth, and as a result bentonite was used to stabilise the drilled hole. The bentonite will be cleaned before concreting to achieve the correct amount of sand content according to European Standard.

A project of this scale within the inner city of Aarhus requires accurate and robust planning as well as logistics and thorough communications between all parties involved throughout the project duration. To reduce traffic congestion, Aarsleff designed a program to only cast piles outside of rush hour thus ensuring the supply of fresh concrete, totalling 5900 cubic metres, could always be delivered on time, and without disruption.

To ensure the quality of the piles and provide assurance to main client, Aarsleff set up a mobile laboratory on site to provide a transparent means of guaranteeing the best quality of product. The laboratory is equipped with modern technologies and is operated by qualified technical personnel who conduct tests and analysis of the concrete before their installation. Aarsleff also conducted tests such as SONICaliper for the verticality and Cross Hole Sonic Logging for the integrity of the concrete.

Due to the site’s restricted space, Aarsleff’s newest technologies - Virtual Design and Construction (VDC), has been utilised in planning stages to model the construction site. This enabled the team to coordinate effectively the logistics on site, including the execution, transport, and stationing of workers and material to achieve the project both safely and efficiently.

The Lighthouse projects marks another ‘One Company’ collaboration, whereby Aarsleff have involved several departments and companies of the Aarsleff Group to draw versatile expertise and experience from.

Building the entire Lighthouse project is expected to run over the next 3 years, and final completion is expected in 2022.

To watch the video, please visit: https://vimeo.com/387401205