Bachy Soletanche was selected to deliver the foundations on Manchester Metropolitan University’s Arts and Humanities building. The project includes the retention of the former Town Hall facade to provide a theatre, poetry library, exhibition space and a café.


Working for Morgan Sindall, Bachy Soletanche was contracted on a design and build contract to provide the geotechnical works on this development. The site has a small footprint with highways to the north-east and north-west, existing buildings to the south-west and retained facades.

Early involvement with Morgan Sindall, in particular providing assistance to the planners, was key to ensuring the successful delivery of this project. Bachy Soletanche’s in-house design team developed the scheme throughout the intensive preconstruction phase, providing technical assistance and support on a range of different options.


Bachy Soletanche installed a contiguous piled wall to the perimeter of the site, which was formed of 190 CFA piles. The piles were 900mm in diameter and bored to a maximum depth of 13m. The team started the project using two piling rigs but it soon became evident that the congested nature of the site meant this would prove to be problematic. Following a review of the programme it was agreed that one rig would be removed, allowing for easier site movements, along with access of concrete wagons and cage deliveries. To maximise production on site and complete works within the contracted programme duration, Bachy Soletanche retained additional operatives on-site, enabling a continuous piling operation throughout each day.

In addition to the congestion on site, the team had to adhere to a working around a live university environment. Detailed planning of concrete and steel deliveries was essential to ensuring the safety of the public, whilst mitigating any delays to the project.

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