Civic Theatre to use special piles

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 07:21 23/10/2012

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The new Marlborough Civic Theatre in Blenheim will have 72 piles driven into the ground using a new "vibration" method that could be used in the Christchurch rebuild.

John Reelick, from Tuakau Timber Treatment, told a seminar in Blenheim at the weekend his company produced more than 10,000 poles a month at its north Waikato factory.

Using a technique developed by MLB Consulting Engineers principal Mark Batchelar, the company drove hollow wooden poles into the ground using a combination of a high water pressure system and a "high frequency vibrator".

This shook the pole into the ground quickly, rather than thumping it in using traditional methods. It meant neighbours did not feel the "thump", and the ground and nearby buildings did not shake.

The method had been tested in Christchurch in August and had met with approval, he said.

It would be used in Blenheim when construction on the proposed ASB Civic Theatre started alongside Hutcheson St, Mr Reelick said.

"There will be 72 poles put in here. Some test poles were put in that used conventional equipment and neighbours were worried about the shaking. So we're coming in to do it."

Tuakau Timber Treatment could make poles up to 27m long.

They could be produced with holes through the centre to be used as foundations, or with connections to be used for building houses or structures such as telecommunications towers or bridges. They were as strong as steel but lighter.

The seminar in Blenheim on Saturday was hosted by the Marlborough Forestry Industry Association with the focus on innovative timber solutions that Marlborough and Nelson growers and processors could supply for rebuilding Christchurch.

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- The Marlborough Express

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