Vibration Monitoring During Piling Near Historic Hospital

Vibration Monitoring During Piling Near Historic Hospital

An increasingly important aspect of project management during construction work, is to understand the impact of ground-borne vibration, on the surrounding community.

Caption Data supplied three remote vibration monitoring systems to Morganstone Ltd, a leading construction service provider in Wales to help monitor vibration levels during pile-driving on a site near Cardiff Bay. Pile-driving is known as one of the greatest sources of vibration associated with equipment used on construction projects.

The site is located behind The Hamadryad Centre (formally known as the Royal Hamadryad Hospital) and a range of properties from the 1800’s.

Image of Hamadryad site stripped and cleared before piling began
The Hamadryad Development site located behind The Hamadryad Centre

Royal Hamadryad Hospital, was the brain child of Dr Henry Paine, which first took life as a hospital ship after Dr Paine borrowed HMS Hamadryad from the Admiralty. By accommodating the hospital within a ship the pioneering Doctor believed this would help prevent sailors bringing disease into Cardiff. The hospital was run as the port’s Seaman’s Hospital, for 82 years it was one of only two hospitals that provided free treatment to seamen throughout the world, and during its first 39 years was housed in the ship before the hospital building was opened on June 29, 1905.

In the past, developers have completed piling near to this site and have caused major concern within the local community. With this in mind Morganstone took extra care before commencing pile-driving.

By deploying three RDL//Vibes at properties ranging from 30-80 metres from the site, measuring vibration Peak Particle Velocities (PPV), Morganstone were able to satisfy British Standards which recommend measuring vibration up to 30 metres from the source and provide assurance to concerned residents that the their work was not at risk of causing damage to their properties.

Monitoring vibration levels during piling near historic hospital

Morganstone completed test-piling on Monday, July 27th to assess vibration levels. The test caused no concern and a 2 week piling phase began on Tuesday, July 28th.

During the two week period 116, 16m long piles were driven into the ground. After 6, 250mm squared concrete piles were installed, the piling contractors switched to using 150mm diameter steel piles after they hit obstructions from old river bed cobbles and pebbles below ground, and 110 steel piles were driven into the ground.

Image of the first concrete pile before it was driven into the ground
The first concrete pile before being driven into the ground

Throughout the piling phase, the RDL//Vibes’ geophone thresholds were set to 10 mm/s and at no point during the two week period, did the vibration levels trigger the geophone thresholds.

Morganstone said, “The RDL//Vibes worked very well, data was sent remotely to give readings on ground movement, sending alarms if trigger levels were met, as expected the vibration levels were well below.”

Steel and concrete piles at the Hamadryad development
The view after 116 concrete and steel piles were driven into the ground

The concrete and steel piles will form the foundations for an apartment block which is 4 and 6 storeys tall with a central core, lift and plant room, meter room, bin stores and cycle stores at ground level.

Concrete slabs will be poured and then Morganstone will begin building the apartment block’s lightweight steel frame.

About Morganstone

Morganstone is a multi-disciplined construction company. The company is renowned for delivering high quality, cost effective developments throughout Wales and the South of England to housing associations, public sector organisations, private developers and landlords.

In addition to providing a customer-focused service, Morganstone takes great pride in connecting with the local communities that they operate in. Working one-on-one with local groups to ensure developments deliver on all fronts by involving local residents throughout the entire process.

Find out more about Morganstone at

About the RDL//Vibe

The RDL//Vibe was designed for use on construction sites and many of these systems can be found monitoring ground vibrations generated by construction activities such as demolition, piling, excavation and blasting.

Elsewhere RDL//Vibe systems can be found at the Natural History Museum monitoring vibration levels surrounding the largest meteorite (At 3.5 tonnes) in the Museum’s renowned collection and will soon be used to monitor vibration levels surrounding the world’s most complete Stegosaurus skeleton.

RDLVibe vibration monitoring equipment for hire
The RDL//Vibe with two tri-axial geophone sensors

Measures: PPV, Acceleration, Velocity, and Displacement
Battery life: Upto 1 year*
Wireless communication: Onboard modem with roaming sim
Applications include: Construction, demolition and piling sites, sensitive properties and structures, basement extensions, remote or hard to reach locations

View the RDL//Vibe Product Page for more information.

Tell us about your project

Interested in using the RDL//Vibe to monitor vibration levels or to help manage the impact of your construction activities? Tell us about your project and a member of our team will be in touch to discuss your requirements in more detail.

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