Travelodge, the UK’s largest independent hotel brand, secured planning permission from Gravesham Borough Council. To construct a purpose built 61 room hotel on the 42,151 ft site. LAP Architects design the hotel in line with Travelodge’s new contemporary brand design which offers the new enhanced room concept. The development would also feature 42 new on-site parking spaces for guests to use. Travelodge at Gravesend is the first of two hotels the company are opening in the Kent area in 2018. This part of a contribution of £5.5 million for third-party investors and has created 15 new jobs within the community.
At the Northfleet site, two adjacent elevations of the new hotel were in close proximity to the surrounding higher ground. To address this difference in levels, the elevated land would need retaining with an appropriate structure, whilst providing sufficient space around the building for access and maintenance. Due to the very limited space around the building’s perimeter, the overall thickness of the retaining wall solution was specified to be no more than 600mm wide.
Finding a workable solution
In January 2017 Barnes Construction (the main site contractor), having researched specialist UK contractors with significant experience in gabion mesh retaining wall systems, contacted Enviromesh for advice and guidance. Initially, a Mass Gravity Gabion Retaining Wall solution was considered. However, given the confined space and the size of its footprint, this type of wall would have been too large. The alternative, and the client’s preferred solution, would require the installation of a series of vertical steel sheet piles, installed in accordance with the variations in height of the adjacent ground, in conjunction with a 300mm façade (in this case, cladding system) against the face of the sheet piles.
VARIATIONS IN BOUNDARY GROUND LEVELS
The Travelodge site was unusual in that two adjacent elevations of the building faced land that varied in height. This meant that the design of the retaining structure would need to accommodate the natural gradient of the surrounding land. Then meet the corner of the site boundary at a maximum height of 3.5m above the building ground level.
Where the two adjacent sides of the steel sheet piles met, a steel bracing beam connected the structure. Providing additional structural stability by distributing the load between the adjacent steel walls. This beam would need to pass through the gabion cladding.
The delayed start date resulted in the site programme being behind schedule. As a result, our original projected timings to complete the gabions cladding in six weeks required reviewing. Ensuring that the overall build schedule could be met. The main contractor, Barnes Construction, agreed with the client to revise their own schedule to meet the January 2018 handover. This meant that Enviromesh would need to revise their timings in order to allow other contractors to complete the remedial works. Following the Enviromesh installation work was complete. Due to the following delays in the wider site work. Enviromesh increased the size of the installation team from four to seven workers. Therefore, Enviromesh completed the installation in four weeks, as opposed to the original programmed six-week schedule.
RESTRICTED WORKING SPACE
The footprint of the new hotel and its position relative to the site boundary resulted in limited working space between the building and the retaining structure. Often retaining structures, walls etc. are constructed prior to the erection of any buildings. Therefore presenting an additional challenge in terms of managing the impact of working with heavy materials. Whilst in close proximity to the new hotel.
The restricted working space was about 1.5 metres (between the hotel and the steel sheet piles). We would need to be mindful of the new building. But the confined space would mean managing and maintaining an efficient flow of materials given the overall build schedule and project timings.