Intu Lakeside Shopping Centre in West Thurrock underwent a £72 million transformation, expanding its premises with an additional 225,000 square ft to make space for up to 40 new retailers, restaurants and entertainment venues, including the UK’s first Nickelodeon family entertainment centre, a trampoline park, and one of the biggest Hollywood Bowl ten-pin bowling alleys. The extension is set to attract two million new shoppers per year, helping drive business growth and providing exciting new experiences for the local community.


Bachy Soletanche leveraged the expertise of its in-house design team to develop the pile design, working closely with McLaren to provide supporting documentation including risk assessments and drawings. The foundation scheme was designed with the use of preliminary test piles, which were installed ahead of the main works to verify the design. Bachy Soletanche achieved strong results from the preliminary pile testing, which enabled a further reduction of the working pile lengths; therefore, increasing efficiency and lowering costs for the client and main contractor.

As the main worksite was previously used as a car park, there were a high number of existing live services under and above the ground. The Bachy Soletanche team worked closely with McLaren site managers to carefully coordinate all works to guarantee the safe installation of all of the piles.


To support the Intu Lakeside extension, Bachy Soletanche installed a total of 659 piles with diameters ranging from 450mm to 500mm and average depths ranging from 10m to 15m. The team achieved high and consistent production rates throughout the project, partly thanks to the chalk stratum, which offered optimal drilling conditions. Despite having planned to mobilise two rigs throughout the scheme, the team was only required to operate one rig overall (Soilmec SF65) due to the higher-than-expected productivity rates.

Bachy Soletanche was able to adapt to McLaren’s programme demands by working extra shifts to ensure that the project could make the most effective use of the time and space available.

A section of the geotechnical work called for a series of piles to be constructed adjacent to the live shopping centre, for which Bachy Soletanche recruited the expertise of its sister company, Roger Bullivant, to mobilise smaller ‘mini-rigs’ to facilitate the work. The small rigs were able to get close to the building without the need for permanent temporary works, whichwas critical for keeping the shopping centre safe and allowing it to continue operating during working hours.

The minipiling work was completed at night; during this time, the team achieved extremely high production rates, including installing over 100 piles a week.

Related Projects