Digging Deep

Complex ground conditions have put our technical and logistical skills front-and-centre on the high-profile Panattoni Park development at Aylesford in Kent.

Panatonni Park is a major new logistic and distribution centre, providing almost 2 million square feet of warehouse space alongside the M20 on the former Aylesford Newsprint site. It’s our first project for main contractor Buckingham Group.

We were initially appointed to install 1.5 kilometres of main estate roads, together with drainage and some S278 works; a series of significant variations meant the original contract value almost doubled. We were then awarded the groundworks package on Unit 7 for Hermes (now Evri), followed by Units 1 and 2 in January 2022 and Unit 6 in July.

Buckingham generally operates on a big scale – they did Tottenham Hotspur’s new ground, for example – but they haven’t worked in the south-east before, so they really leant on our local experience and expertise. “There’s a South East Water compound in the middle of the site, so there’s a lot of conflict with existing and unknown pipes and services. The main issue, though, is that the water table is at 2.5 metres, so we’ve been working in water a lot of the time, as well as rock and sand. There have been numerous changes to the design as we’ve gone along and logistically it’s been really complex and challenging.

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