The expansion of a multinational’s steelworks to incorporate a third continuous casting machine involved strengthening the existing foundations of the production facility while casting operations continued.

Three linked halls make up the production facility, which were of different ages and types of foundations. This was an issue as some were fairly shallow, while the new machine’s foundation required excavations to a depth of 10 metres.

Soil strengthened to support column during excavations

A key challenge for Royal HaskoningDHV’s structural design team was that one of the columns in the production hall was located in the midst of the new foundations. It was supported by a shallow block foundation which did not extend down to the 10m depth required. The question faced by our structural and geotechnical engineers was how to safely support the column while the excavations were dug.

In a unique solution that has never previously been applied, the soil underneath the column was strengthened with water-glass injections that function as a kind of ‘glue’ to significantly enhance the soil’s consistency. This 2m soil column then supported the block foundation temporarily, stabilising the column and the structure of the hall. With this problem solved, the foundations were successfully established.