Suffolk County Council was keen to relocate from their existing highway depot at Great Blakenham and needed to increase their salt stock piles. Having purchased land on the Whitehouse Industrial Estate in Ipswich the local authority set about procuring a new salt barn as part of a £3.5m redevelopment of the site.
RSA Geotechnics was employed as the geotechnical sub-consultant to the main contractor, Barnes Construction and the civil and structural engineer, Pick Everard. The scope of works for the intrusive phase of the ground investigation included deep light-cable percussion boreholes, shallow window sample boreholes and groundwater and ground gas monitoring. The interpretative report provided recommendations and advice in respect to the geotechnical and geo-environmental aspects of the project.
The ground conditions presented some significant problems but the main concern was how best to cope with the maintenance issues involved with salt storage. Early contractor involvement and consultation helped to design a structure that was relatively easy to assemble but also took into account the highway authority’s experience of operating other salt barns over the last forty years. The timber framed structure that resulted was praised by the construction team that assembled it.
The project was honoured in the 2011 East of England ICE Merit Awards. The judges felt the final solution took account of the client’s long term needs as well considering build-ability and future maintenance. They were also impressed with pre-planning, the degree of off-site fabrication and lack of site waste.