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Design method for geogrid reinforcement of working platforms: recent UK experience

Working platforms are temporary structures that provide a suitable foundation for heavy construction plant and working machines. They can be greatly improved by including high strength reinforcing geosynthetics. As stated in the new BS 8004:2015 “Code of practice for foundations”, even if temporary these structures have a critical safety role since an overturning large machine, caused by bearing capacity failure, will have very serious consequences for the safety of site personnel. Working platforms are currently designed in the UK following the BRE Report 470 “Working Platform for Tracked Plant”. This is just a guideline, which has been extensively used in the past and still is, although it is not compatible with Eurocode principles. The BRE 470 design method leads to unnecessarily (and not cost-effective) high platform thickness and only provides guidance for a single layer of reinforcement placed at the platform/subgrade interface, while ignoring the benefit from any other reinforcing layers. The paper will describe an innovative method for designing this type of structure, and include case studies of recent actual applications in the UK.