Telstra’s redevelopment of a live exchange in Sydney was a complex project that required deep excavation and a safe shoring solution

The Project

The redevelopment of Telstra’s exchange in Manly, Sydney, is called ‘Twenty95’. It’s a mixed-use development featuring 700 mof retail space, 26 apartments, a multi-level automated car stacker in the basement and the refurbishment of a live Telstra exchange. Construction Profile is building the $21 million project in the coastal suburb.

 

The Problem

The Twenty95 development incorporates a deep basement built in sand, where the water table starts at 4 metres below ground level. Because of the sand, the deep section of the basement which was 30m x 15m could not be ‘anchored’ into surrounding ground. Instead the basement walls had to be shored with hydraulic strutting, from inside the site. The Twenty95 project is also a ‘live exchange’, so the exchange had to operate as normal throughout the refurbishment and construction, and movement in the surrounding structures was unacceptable.

 

The Solution

To hold back the walls of this deep and complex excavation – and allow work to be completed safely – required a turn-key engineering solution. Coates Hire’s Engineering and Technical Services Team was contracted to complete the design and install the hydraulic shoring system which consisted of a steel-pile perimeter wall and four levels of hydraulic struts and walers, with each level using eight hydraulic struts.

Neil Gujare, Engineering Manager - Installations at Coates Hire, says the complexity of the site was such that the design work began more than a year before it was installed, and customised components were fabricated specially for the job at Manly.

“The excavation was deep and the soil was sandy and water-charged,” says Gujare. “So our shoring solution had to be designed to hold the large soil pressures, and the water pressure.”

The shoring had to account for variability in the soil, so the Coates Hire team used its wireless Load Monitoring telemetry on the central struts so the construction company could verify the loads remotely on their own laptops.

“The project managers were given our monitoring system so they could see if the struts were working to 80 per cent of their capacity – as agreed – or if they had risen to 90 or 95 per cent.”

Gujare says the Twenty95 project was an example of the turn-key engineering solution that Coates Hire offers to its shoring, propping and dewatering clients.

“We design the solution with our engineers, we install it and test it and then have an engineer certify the system, at every level,” says Gujare. “We can keep the entire design and installation in-house, so the client has one point of contact.”

He says de-installation of shoring can also be complicated and clients prefer the speed and safety of one contractor managing de-installations.

Managing Director of Construction Profile, Neil Denton, says the Telstra Exchange site was sandy with significant ground water, because of its proximity to the ocean. So the shoring had to be of high quality to allow a safe work environment and minimise the risk of movement in surrounding properties, including the Telstra exchange which was being supported.

“Anchoring was looked-at originally, but the model showed failure due to extreme loads. We used the Coates Hire Mega Brace system because it allowed us to stress the internal steel struts before we started each stage of excavation – that meant a lot of co-ordination between us and Coates Hire.”

Denton says there were four rows of Mega Brace shoring in the Twenty95 excavation, each using eight Mega Brace hydraulic struts.

“I’m a believer in using the right system for each project, rather than the same system for every job. On this project we used sheet-piling because we could weld it and create a cofferdam against the ground water, and the Mega Brace system held up the cofferdam from the inside.”

Denton says Coates Hire has a reputation of taking on complex jobs and designing a solution that works.
“The Coates Hire engineers worked with our design and provided a solution. It all worked very well.”
 

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