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SRL Contracting Construction Management

Case Study - Transforming a Former Dairy Into a Fashionable Housing Complex


SRL Contracting recently managed the ground preparation for a large-scale residential construction project located next to the Rochdale Canal in Manchester, England. The team was brought in to help transform a former dairy into a stylish housing complex. The site in question was located a short drive from Oldham Town Centre and Manchester City Centre, making it an ideal choice for those hoping to relocate to modern housing in a convenient location. Once a thriving commercial hub, the site had fallen into disrepair. The first step, therefore, was to clear the way for a fresh start.

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The Groundwork


SRL Contracting oversaw the demolition of existing structures on the site to lay the foundations for the new construction. Doing so safely and efficiently is always paramount on large developments, which is why developers seek out experienced construction management firms to oversee the job. In this case, the project was entrusted to SRL Contracting for its knowledge and experience in the field, as well as its understanding of the short-term and long-term effects that construction activities have on the environment.

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Working with a network of experts, the team set out a plan for the demolition of the existing structures in a manner that complied with health and safety legistlation and that would minimise the impact on the local environment. One particular challenge would be the demolition of areas of the former dairy that directly bordered the Rochdale Canal. The canal itself had been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), which meant it was vital that SRL Contracting devised a plan that would allow the demolition work to be carried out in a way that protected local ecosystems.
The team took a careful approach to the demolition on site and also devised a temporary structure to be built outside the site, over the adjacent watercourse. This consisted of a suspended platform built above the canal's overflow stream, which was the waterway most closely bordering the demolition site.

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This structure constituted the frame for a membrane that would be used to intercept any stray rubble before it reached ground level. When demolition was complete, the sheeting was then used to contain the debris and transport it back to the site, preventing it from reaching the canal. The deck was designed to span the width of the weir, but to avoid affecting canal navigation or towpath access.

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Analysis


Next, SRL Contracting would bring in borehole drilling machines to take samples from around the site. These would be sent off for analysis and used to determine the best approach to building the foundations for the planned houses and apartment blocks. The ground would be checked for density and contaminants, to ensure that the planned residences were built on strong foundations.

A large site in an urban area like this always has a rich history, so what you find in the earth tells a story that can span centuries. This stage of the project often throws up surprises, so it's important to work with an experienced construction management team that can pivot and adapt to an ever-changing situation. In this case, what SRL Contracting found underground prompted a quick reevaluation of the existing plan.

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Plans of the site revealed that a containment tank was situated underground. Once located, the tank was opened and its contents sent off for analysis. Early indications were that it contained some form of spent fuel. The tank would need to be removed and checks would need to be carried out to ensure that it hadn't leaked and contaminated the surrounding area.

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Finds like these are not uncommon on building sites, so the team had planned for just such an eventuality. When objects or contaminated soil are removed from a site, it is necessary to backfill the ground to ensure a level starting point for the foundations. The team had stockpiled material that could be used in such a situation, which meant that the find didn't unduly delay the project.

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Adaptability and Flexibility


A subsequent underground find nearby came as more of a surprise. While working in the southwestern end of the site, the team discovered the remains of an old mill underground. Once excavated, the team could see that the structure had been frozen in time at the moment of its burial. They were able to walk through its rooms and admire the white tiling on the walls, which was still present despite having spent so many years underground.

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Not only was the structure well preserved, there was also a possiblity that it represented an archaeologically significant find. As with any large construction undertaking, this was a multi-faceted project that called on SRL Contracting's talent for working effectively with experts from different construction disciplines. To learn more about the find and to comply with all of the relevant rules and regulations, an archaeological team was invited to the site to assess the structure.

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The experts carried out a thorough inspection and finally determined that, although a fascinating find for all on site, it would not need to be preserved. With a renewed respect for the rich history of industry and construction in the region, the team returned to the project at hand.

The Result


This project perfectly demonstrated why SRL Contracting works tirelessly to find better ways of delivering for its clients. In large-scale construction work of this kind, each job presents its own challenges, and this project was no different. On a build of this scale there are a lot of moving parts and variables, so it's important to have a safe pair of hands to guide things along.

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On a project of this scale, the investment is significant and there are several stakeholders who need to be satisfied with each stage of the process. A range of tasks have to be carried out by multiple teams, so cooperation, time management, and forward planning are required to achieve a great end result. Developers build lasting relationships with construction management experts who have the talent and experience to meet their exacting standards - and nowadays this includes having a sound knowledge of sustainable and environmentally responsible construction methods.

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