Case Study - British Library ASB

Site Investigation


Client:   British Library
Location:  Boston Spa, West Yorkshire
Services:  Ground investigation, Geotechnical Design and Supervision
Overall Project Value:  £26m
Completion: 2011

The British Library’s £26m Additional Storage Building (ASB) provides the British Library with additional storage capacity for seven million items from the UK national collection.

Michael D Joyce Associates LLP provided the full geotechnical design consultancy for this project as part of the Design and Build process. 

The site is a former munitions factory near Wetherby.  It is underlain by the Upper Magnesian Limestone and Middle Permian Marl.  The gypsum in the Marl has undergone significant dissolution in the past, and there was uncertainty as to whether any voids remained in the Marl. 

Since the fully automated racking system used for the shelving is some 20m high, there was an extremely tight specification from the differential movement of the ground bearing floor slab.  Grouting of theMarland overlying fissured Limestone was therefore recommended. 

The design was further complicated by the fact that a significant geological fault crossed the footprint of the building.  Specific detailing comprising excavation and use of the geogrid in the vicinity of the fault was necessary and  a 10m high soil-nailed retaining wall was required to accommodate one side  of the building.