Battersea Power Station: Ensuring a safe Connection of Reinforcement Cages

Battersea Power Station is a former coal-fired power station in London and one of Europe’s largest brick structures. The plant was operational from 1933 to 1983. In the 1950’s, the power plant was the third largest power plant in Great Britain. The approx. 17ha site around the power plant is currently being redeveloped to provide thousands of new homes as well as offices, shops, restaurants and amenity space including a six acre public park and a new river bus service.

On site, open bore piles with reinforcement cages were used. The connection of spliced reinforcement cages poses a safety and efficiency challenge.

The traditional practice generally requires two cages to be connected whilst suspended above an open bore. The first cage is lowered into and supported at the mouth of the pile, and the upper cage is craned over until the cages overlap and then connected to the lower cage. Traditional methods such as U-bolt shackles are hazardous and require operatives to place their hands and arms within the cage overlap. Any unexpected movement can result in serious injury.

The newly developed SUPERLATCH® System offers an efficient solution to this problem. The special latch is already installed during manufacture of the reinforcement cage. The system works in conjunction with metallic plates when used on a diaphragm wall or a continuous metal band on traditional circular piles.

The receiving plate/band is fitted to the top of the first reinforcement cage. SUPERLATCH® is fillet welded to the bottom of the subsequent reinforcement cage. If an inverted splice is to be used, the position of the latch and the receiving band are reversed. As one cage is lowered over the other, the receiving plate/ band is pushed past the latch; as it passes through, the integral spring closes the latch automatically, thus forming a safe connection. In total, 4,500 Pieces SUPERLATCH® were used on the Battersea Power Station jobsite.

In a short time, SUPERLATCH® has proven to be very successful. In addition to the Battersea Power Station, it has been used effectively on several sites, including the prestigious One Nine Elms high rise building in London.

Developmentproductionsupplytechnical supportsupervision

Battersea Power Station Development Company, Great Britain

Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering, Great Britain