‘Masters of Consistency and Quality’
The Princess Nourah University (PNU) is noted for being the world’s largest women’s institution of higher education, covering a footprint of over 800 hectares. A mega-project with stringent specifications and quality demands, it called upon a number of the industry’s most respected and sought after organisations, including the specialist engineering and contracting company, Riyadh Geotechnique & Foundations (RGF).
RGF was responsible for producing the foundation required to construct PNU, under the strict supervision of the Ministry of Finance, with Mohammed Ayas, Deputy General Manager at RGF, explaining: “Our site laboratory, one of the largest in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, was the only approved laboratory on the project. Activities varied from daily routine field and laboratory testing through to construction material used on site, supervision of soil and concrete work executed on site, and supervision of concrete batching plants.”
PNU’s area and location is unique due to the large variations in soil stratification and condition, which required a versatile geotechnical report to be produced within a tight schedule. Moreover, during the project the uncovering of localised water-sensitive soil required further investigation and testing. “The groundwater within that area is relatively deep – some 80 metres below ground level – and this made the water-sensitive soil a real threat when surface water made contact, resulting in large deformations within the soil and minor cracks jeopardising the integrity of the structure,” says Ayas.
RGF swiftly executed a campaign to identify the danger of the strata, which was subsequently excavated and replaced with select fill depending on its thickness, or submerged with water to reduce its sensitivity.