Harnessing the power of pavement optimisation for housing projects
by Rajit Rajaram, on October 08, 2020
Pavement Optimisation can play a vital part in meeting the UK’s future housing needs, helping deliver developments faster and more economically.
The Government has a target of building 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s, in an effort to solve the country’s long-standing housing crisis. To ensure they can meet this target, it is crucial for housebuilders to maximise land use, minimise construction costs and deliver new homes as quickly as possible.
How Pavement Optimisation can help
In May, I wrote about how Pavement Optimisation uses Tensar geogrids to form mechanically stabilised aggregate layers that deliver high-performing road pavements quickly, while minimising environmental impact.
The approach can be used to first mechanically stabilise aggregate layers of unsurfaced access roads, over a wide range of ground conditions, including very weak and saturated soils, enabling them to support construction traffic.
Mechanical stabilisation can be used to build unsurfaced access roads that can form the foundation for permanent infrastructure on housing developments.
Once homes are finished, temporary roads can form the foundations of permanent infrastructure, including highways adopted under Section 38 agreements and car parking areas.
Pavement optimisation is suitable for all types of flexible pavements, including highways under Section 38 agreements.
And, because trafficking capacity of pavements incorporating geogrids can be up to six times greater than traditionally-built roads, they can help make them safer, for longer. This improved performance also reduces longer-term maintenance and repair requirements, reducing disruption to road-users and residents.
Pavement Optimisation can reduce the overall thickness of road pavements, contributing to the green credentials of a residential scheme.
Fewer materials are needed and weak and unstable soils can be left in the ground; plus, stabilising geogrids can be used with site-won material, including non-standard fill that would otherwise have to be disposed of and replaced with imported material.
Not only does this mean construction costs can be lower but it can also result in fewer lorry movements, reduced embodied energy and lower CO2e emissions. An added bonus is that there is less disruption to local residents and businesses – a great selling point to both housebuilders, developers and local authorities.
Pavement Optimisation can bring a wealth of benefits to housing schemes, delivering up to 50% cost savings in road construction, halving aggregate thickness in temporary access roads and cutting permanent road pavement thickness by up to 20%.
All of these benefits can be realised by housebuilders if they are willing to engage with the supply chain and are open to alternative ground engineering solutions. These products were ‘innovative’ 30 years ago but are now well-established ways of reducing ground risk, maximising the returns on land and delivering much-needed housing faster and more economically than ever-before.
Delivering economical access to King’s Lynn homes
Pavement Optimisation delivered a robust and economical solution for roads, driveways and parking built over weak ground on the Orchard Place residential scheme in King’s Lynn. TriAx geogrid mitigated the risk of differential settlement in the roads, including one being adopted by Norfolk County Council, avoiding having to import fill, saving time and money.
Download the full case study here.