Geobear was contacted by Valeo Foods to provide a ground improvement solution to their production facility in Oxfordshire. Valeo’s growing Wallingford site produces Rowse Honey & Supermarket’s own brand honey and they elected to expand the site vertically via mezzanine to add valuable space to their operations.
Mezzanine footings are typically hinged to existing floor slabs, firstly however the ground beneath has to be tested to ensure it has the necessary strength to withstand any additional loads. In order to ascertain this core samples were taken around the Valeo site, but the results indicated that the strength and stability of the ground was insufficient.
Valeo’s project manager, Jason Rose, was responsible for the work to erect the mezzanine structure over three of their production lines during a factory shutdown in early June 2017. “Before the build stage of the programme could go ahead, the core sample results showed that the ground required strengthening.” Rose found however, that traditional solutions would be unsuitable “I spoke to a company about mini piling in the column position but in order to do this the area would have to have been cleared meaning the project would have missed the shutdown window.”
The Geobear approach
The mezzanine contractor Stodec products Limited was aware of the Geobear system, which could deliver the necessary improvements within the timescale and confines of the facility. “From my point of view the Geobear solution ticked all my boxes; there was very little disruption, no machines would be required to moved and they could undertake the work in the programme timescales.”
Our solution does not involve any major construction works. We use a ground injection method which removes the need for laborious excavation and hindrance to operations. A geopolymer material is pumped directly beneath the slab or foundation into the existing strata, as the material reacts underground it expands to compact soils and strengthen the ground. The result is a solid bed for the foundation or slab, meaning it can withstand additional load pressures and not result in any structural movement.
We completed the improvement scheme in one day, the process involved drilling small holes through the existing slab and injecting material through steel tubes beneath the locations of the mezzanine columns.
“Geobear undertook the work on a Saturday when no production took place, the procedure was efficient and there was a minimal amount of cleanup required afterwards. The mechanical strength of the floor was checked on the Sunday and the results were extremely positive meaning the erection of the mezzanine could commence the following weekend.
Without finding this type of solution the work will not have been able to take place.”