In temperatures as low as -22 celcius, driving snow blizzards and working offshore 8000 miles from the UK, Van Elle successfully completed an extremely complex and challenging project in the Falkland Islands at the end of 2014. It involved installing deep rock sockets to anchor large diameter steel driven piles into the seabed for a series of 125t GPS positioned dolphin platforms. Each corner of the 4 platforms had a 1150mmØ circular hollow section leg which acted as a guide for the 1060mmØ steel piles to be driven into the tillite bands using a 36t hammer. Each dolphin then raised up its new legs and was welded into position 6m above sea level to create a piling platform. Once the void between the pile and the leg annulus had been grouted, we lowered the 660mm casing within the pile down to 3m into the seabed and drilled a 610mm DTH at 4000CFM and 25bar up to 37.5m from platform into the granite with a tolerance of only 15mm. A specially designed 595mmØ 40m long anchor pile was lowered to the toe of the void in 2 sections to create the rock socket which once grouted was welded to the 1060mm pile.
Following our successful works at Stockley over the Christmas blockade, the final section of this project was completed quicker than expected over the Easter weekend. Working alongside Carillion and Network Rail, the whole team worked efficiently, safely and collaboratively to install over 550 sheetpiles in only 4 1/2 shifts, night and day. We used restricted access drilling rigs to pre-auger the locations to minimise resistance and the time taken to vibrate the sheets to depth using a number of excavator mounted Movax side-grip vibrating hammers. To avoid any likelyhood of dropping the sheets whilst installing them, a second, smaller excavator was used to hold them safely in position. Both Carillion and Network Rail commented on how pleased they were with the progress achieved and the professional, no-nonsense attitude of our site teams.
As part of the company's corporate responsibility and our focus on developing young people and showing them what the industry can offer, we have, this week, hosted an 'Education in the Workplace' day for the year 9 students of Frederick Gent Comprehensive School in Alfreton, Derbyshire. The kids had a great day learning about piling and other geotechnical engineering solutions as well as looking around the offices, the precast factory and speaking to employees in different roles. They also took part in a 'Great Egg Race' style challenge and learned about the benefits of teamwork in the workplace. We look forward to holding similar events for other years and schools in the near future.
As well as the ever-increasing investment in plant, equipment, R&D and innovation, Van Elle has recently completed the brand new extension on its precast facility in Kirkby-in-Ashfield. This has significantly increased production capability to circa 280lm of Smartfoot precast ground beams per day in addition to Vemech restricted access precast piles and the new Smartbase OLE, signal and gantry foundation bases.
Van Elle's geotechnical services team have joined forces with Van Elle Rail to deliver the ground investigation for the Walsall to Rugeley rail route. Using one of Van Elle Rail's new Colmar T10,000FS RRVs with Predator track trailers to transport the plant and equipment, we are hand-digging service pits and drilling both rotary and window sample boreholes for this Alstom, Babcock and Costain JV.
Already having been shortlisted for the 2015 'Specialists Awards' and 'UK Rail Industry Awards', it has been announced that Van Elle have been shortlisted for both 'Contractor of the Year' and the 'Product & Equipment Innovation' categories of this Year's 'Ground Engineering Awards'. We are also very happy to announce that we have also been nominated for the 2015 'Offshore Excellence Awards' by our client on a recent offshore project. We will keep you posted.
Proud to have been shortlisted in the Electrification category of the 'UK Rail Industry Awards', Van Elle attended with a number of clients to share the evening with all of the industry's major players. Although we didn't pick up the title, we were fascinated to meet so many great people and see what other innovations, products and achievements are pushing the industry forward. See you all next year.
Having successfully been audited for the new RISQS accreditation, we are pleased to announce that Van Elle Rail has recently achieved the maximum 4* rating in the On-Track Plant Operations Scheme. Should you wish to discuss a particular project or on-track requirement, please do not hesitate to contact Mark Williams on 01773 580580.
As part of our Van Elle Rail investment programme, we have just taken delivery of 2 of the only 4 tracked Colmar RRVs in the world. The all new tracked FS10,000Ts are the largest, most powerful and most versatile RRVs on the market and along with all of our other Colmars, all of which are less than 1 year old, we are well placed to to deliver the same market leading performance and the same level of reliable, professional service that our clients, the UK over have come to expect.
We are pleased to announce that Van Elle, alongside a number of very prestigious private companies and public sector organisations, has been shortlisted in the 2015 UKRIA (UK Rail Industry Awards). Following the significant growth and success we have experienced in this market over the past couple of years and the development of our unique Smartbase® Modular OLE Foundation System, recognition through our shortlisting in the Electrification Category has been welcomed by all at Van Elle. We work with many fantastic companies and individuals in this exciting and challenging environment and look forward to continuing to set the standard for other Rail Ground Engineering Specialists to aim for in terms of quality, health & Safety, reliability, capability and innovation.
Having won the 'Business Growth' category of the 2014 Construction News Specialists Awards (based on 2013 figures) and having had an even better financial year throughout 2014, we also entered the 'Ground Engineering Specialist' category and are happy to announce that were shortlisted.
We have recently completed work on an extension to our Dereham office as well as purchasing additional land nearby to provide additional yard space for our Vemech® pile production facility.
In recent weeks, our extension to the new Smartfoot® Production Facility in Kirkby has been completed and this has enabled our output to increase to 280lm per day taking on more staff to cope with the increase in volume. This product has become extremely popular with housebuilders and commercial developers over recent years and the current housing boom has only added to its success saving on build costs, programme, material usage and reducing health and safety hazards posed by other foundation methods.
Van Elle has recently purchased 60 acres of land adjacent to our existing head office. Overlooking the M1 just south of Junction 28, options are being considered for its development to meet the current growth and aspirations of the Group up to and beyond 2020.
Following Van Elle’s fantastic golf event held at Breadsall Priory in Derbyshire, we are pleased to announce that, not only did we get perfect weather but thanks to the generosity of our staff, clients, suppliers and the many companies who took part on the day, a cheque for £15,175 was presented to Cancer Research UK. The day was a great success with everyone having a fun day out on a challenging course followed by networking over a delicious meal and the awards presentations. Unfortunately, no-one got a hole-in-one on the par 3s to take home the car or one of the other fantastic gifts sponsored by Pentagon Vauxhall but all enjoyed trying and a great deal of banter could be heard throughout the day. The victors were the team from Premier Concrete Pumping Ltd with a total score of 68 points… 6 ahead of the nearest challengers. Well done guys and we’ll hopefully see you all again next year.
Following last weekend’s WUMA World Martial Arts Championship which took place in Geneva, Switzerland, Van Elle are pleased to announce that our sponsored athlete, 7 year old Henry Williams, son of Group Development Director, Mark Williams, came away with 2 silvers in Weapons and Traditional Korean Forms and a World Championship Title in Creative Forms. As the youngest member of Team GB and the youngest athlete to become World Champion, he will now travel to Tunisia in October with the rest of the ‘School Of Champions’ squad to compete in the WMKF World Cup event. Good luck Henry and the rest of Team GB.
As the season for Chesterfield Blues U8s is about to start, Van Elle is pleased to be supporting this local club and it’s young footballers for the second consecutive year. Managed by our Group IT Manager, Gavin Long, they hope to repeat their success of building friendships, learning about teamwork, developing an understanding of the game, keeping fit and active as well as having a lot of fun… and let’s hope they score plenty of goals in the process. Please click here to see their latest club newsletter.
Van Elle have, this week, mobilised out to the Falkland Islands to resume the drilling for the steel, piled legs of the pontoons for the dolphin platforms.
Trant Construction are the principal contractor with responsibility for the floating barges from which the piling and drilling will be performed and the overall construction of the piers.
Commercial Marine are installing the large diameter steel driven piles through which Van Elle will be drilling the rock sockets to create the anchors.
This is a challenging offshore marine project in some of the harshest weather conditions we’ve ever experienced but this expert project team are scheduling the various elements of the work to maintain programme and deliver the desired outcome.
Gloria De Piero, Shadow Minister for Women & Equalities and local MP for Ashfield, recently opened our new office and precast concrete manufacturing facility based in the heart of Kirkby in Ashfield.
Gloria was met by Michael Ellis, Group Chairman and company founder, before being asked to do the honours and officially declare the site open by cutting a ribbon and unveiling a plaque to mark the occasion.
During the visit, Gloria was given a tour of the new site and was able chat to staff who are sometimes too busy to meet their local MP and discuss any issues they might have. Management also briefed Gloria on the latest developments surrounding the recent relocation and their plans going forward.
Van Elle invested over £1.5m in the new development which includes brand new offices, a production facility and workshops. We have taken on over 30 new members of staff within the group but are still continuing to recruit to ensure that our expansion plans are delivered.
We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded the prestigious Construction News Specialist Award for "Business Growth".
This clearly demonstrates that the investment we have made in our people, new plant, innovations and techniques have been recognised by our peers in the industry.
Almost a year to the day since we commenced work on our new offices, workshops and precast concrete facility at Kirkby in Ashfield, we are pleased to announce that all works are complete and our staff are settling in well in their new home. This expansion in addition to our head office facility at nearby Pinxton, has enabled us to not only improve the working environment for our staff, but also to allow us to realise our ambitions for expansion over the next 10 years.
Our new precast facility will allow us to increase production of our Smartfoot modular foundation system by over 70% and manufacture innovative precast products that our R & D Team have in the pipeline. These are exciting times for the Group in this, our 30th anniversary year, and we will be making more exciting announcements in the coming weeks, so watch this space!!
Van Elle’s financial results, service growth, investments and reputation was last night endorsed by being announced as the 2013 Construction News Specialist Contractor of the Year. As the largest and most prestigious industry awards and surrounded by many clients and suppliers alike, going up to collect our trophy was a very proud moment and a testament to everyone involved in the projects on which we have worked. Everyone at Van Elle is extremely proud that their hard work and dedication to improving sustainability, innovation and value engineering in the industry has been recognised in this way and it is a real motivator to keep on outperforming the sector in preparation for next years’ awards.
The judges commented “A specialist ground engineering company with a clearly defined vision and strategy. Van Elle’s approach to behavioural safety, training and their pragmatic problem-solving ethos sets it apart from others in this sector helping it to punch well above its weight”.