Redevelopment of the Royal Sussex County Hospital has passed another milestone. The first piles, that form part of the foundations for the Stage 1 Building at the north of the site, have been set in place. This is the first piece of true construction work for the building.
Although not visible, the foundation piles mark the transition from preparation to construction.
Foundation piles are large reinforced concrete columns that sit below ground level and support the weight of the building above. The piling works are starting in the north-west corner of the construction site and will continue through to November or December 2017, depending on how well the ground takes the piles. Once the piles in the north of the Stage 1 site are in place the first parts of the main excavation for the site will start, later in the summer of 2017.
The Stage 1 Building will stand on 413 piles in total. The piles on the northern boundary are being sunk to a depth of 33 metres. The piles that will support the building’s southern boundary, alongside Eastern Road, will be between 10 and 15 metres deep. The difference is caused by the natural slope of the site from higher elevations in the north to lower elevations in the south.
Piles for the building are formed by drilling a hole to the required depth. A reinforced steel cage is lowered into the hole and concrete is pumped in. Once the concrete has hardened the pile is capped, ready to support the building above.