SOAS University of London

What lies beneath? Stabilising work at Senate House North Block

20 February 2015

A process called piling is currently taking place in the courtyard of Senate House North Block to support the glass roof structure and stabilise the building on ground with a fluctuating water table.

The levels of ground water rise and fall in London according to the seasons, which can cause the ground level to shift, swell or contract. This is an important part of the construction as it will keep the floor of courtyard stable.

The process, which is expected to take around six weeks, involves a large piling rig drilling into the ground, excavating the spoil and replacing it with the piling outer core which is then filled with steel reinforcement rods and concrete.  Approximately 100 piles will be placed into the courtyard, and once the new floor is installed, it will sit on top of and around the piles that will provide additional strength.

Once the redevelopment of the building is completed in 2016, these piles will be an unseen, but vital, part of the building’s structure.

Senate House North Block piling process