Piling in August 2020 – Frequently Asked Questions

Updated: 14 August 2020

We are reaching the final phases of piling and over the next few weeks, we will be laying more pile foundations. Unfortunately, we anticipate that some of these sessions are going to be quite loud – especially during August and the first week of September.

We are so sorry for the disturbance this is causing the local community and we ask you to bear with us during this latest phase of piling, which is so crucial to the successful construction of the project.

We have tried to answer your concerns in the FAQs below, but if you have any other questions, please email us at info@earlsgateconstruction.co.uk and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

When is the piling work expected to end?
We have already laid around 80 per cent of piles and this latest programme of activity will continue intermittently until around October. However, the loudest piles are due to be installed in August and the first 10 days of September. Unfortunately, this piling is essential to the construction process and there is no practical way it can be avoided.

Why is this phase of piling so noisy?
There are a number of reasons. First, we have to use different piling techniques for different purposes, for instance when piling at different locations around the site or for bearing different loads. Some types are louder than others and we made a decision to install the noisiest steel piles as soon as possible. To do this, we have brought in a second rig, which will reduce the overall duration of this noisier piling and prevent work continuing beyond the predicted completion date. Obstructions in the ground can also cause the piling to be noisier and we are encountering far more obstructions than usual.

From around mid-September, we will be using quieter piling techniques and we have altered our construction programme so that most of the remaining piles after this time will make very little noise.

Why are you piling into the evening?
Our working hours, as set out in our original planning permission, are from 8am to 7pm, Monday to Friday and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays. We are permitted to pile drive throughout this time although we try not to pile on Saturdays and to finish at 6pm on weekdays. There may be times, however, when we do need to pile up until 7pm or on Saturday mornings, for instance, if a pile is taking longer because we have encountered an obstruction in the ground.

We have not installed any piles outside our standard working hours and we will not do so at any point in the future.

When will the plant be up and running? Has the coronavirus pandemic delayed the completion date?
Commissioning is due to start next year and the back-up boiler plant is expected to be fully operational in mid-2021. The Energy from Waste plant is expected to be fully operational in mid-2022. Lockdown delayed the project significantly and social distancing requirements mean the pandemic is still having an impact on construction progress. This intensive piling programme is one way in which we can make up some of the time lost.

Is there anything that can be done to reduce the noise?
We mobilised a second rig for two weeks of this latest piling phase to reduce the overall duration of noisy piling. Where possible, we are also using a more expensive but quieter technique to complete the remaining 30 per cent of this latest phase that will be installed after mid-September.

What benefit does this project bring to the community?
The facility will create 30 operational jobs which will be full-time, permanent positions with full training offered. These jobs will be advertised locally during 2021 and we expect a large proportion of the new workforce to be from the Grangemouth area.

We are using many local subcontractors during the construction process and there will also be a need for ongoing support and general service contracts throughout the facility’s operational life.

Are you staying within permitted noise levels?
Yes. We commissioned a specialist acoustic consultant to assess noise levels around the site boundaries so that we can confirm the source of the noise and minimise any issues as far as possible. In addition to this, routine monitoring is in progress and there are microphones positioned around the site perimeter to measure noise on a continuous basis.

Our daily live monitoring show that noise levels in the nearest residential areas around Wood Street and Larch Close are below required standards.

Are you staying within permitted vibration levels?
Monitoring shows that vibration levels are also under required standards. Routine monitoring is in progress and there are vibration monitors positioned around the site perimeter to measure vibration on a continuous basis. Our specialist acoustic consultants will also be monitoring vibration levels in residential areas.