Earls Colne: Key role for soil specialist Geofirma in retail development

The Geofirma team at work on the site in Gloucester

The Geofirma team at work on the site in Gloucester - Credit: Archant

SOIL stabilisation specialist Geofirma Soils Engineering is applying leading-edge ground engineering techniques as part of a £34million retail development in Gloucester.

The scheme involves the construction of a new Morrisons’ supermarket on former railway land, with Earls Colne-based Geofirma having been brought in to stabilise soil on the 25,000sq m site.

Soil samples have been analysed at Geofirma’s in-house laboratories, enabling the development of a bespoke lime and cement stabilisation mix which avoids the need to import fill material.

On-site soil stabilisation is changing the face of site preparation throughout the building and civil engineering industries, being quicker and more cost effective method than traditional techniques based on the disposal and import of materials to make a construction site fit for purpose.

Steve Dunn, Geofirma’s general manager, said: “Our assessments showed that this site was ideal for on-site soil stabilisation which is very much our field of expertise.

“In addition to being a quicker and cheaper method, this route also has environmental benefits by reducing the amount of materials going to landfill and the number of truck movements to and from the site.”

Geofirma, part of the Blackwell Group of civil engineering companies, has deployed a team of eight to the £250,000 Gloucester project and is using its extensive fleet of soil engineering equipment to ensure the stabilisation works are delivered in just eight weeks.

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This includes the use of a Wirtgen W2500R with integrated spreading hoppers to ensure the creation of dust is kept to a minimum as the supermarket site is close to rail lines and roads.

Adam Welland, contracts manager for Barnwood Construction, which is responsible for the overall development, said: “We have been very pleased with the ground engineering solution Geofirma has developed for us on this site and I am even more pleased that they have worked with my site team to complete the ground engineering in such a manner that has allowed other trades to progress on site despite the poor weather which has been of tremendous benefit given the restricted timescales of the overall project programme.”