After the craziness of the past 16 months, we (the business development team) decided it was time to get back to basics and visit one of our onsite teams to witness first-hand the wonderful technical assistance that they deliver for our clients every day…. and get a bit of a knowledge refresh to boot.

Hannah, one of our senior geo-environmental engineers, invited us to visit her site for this week, Barton Manor Hotel in Preston. This handsome four-star hotel is still in full use and looking forward to a substantial new extension and it’s our job to help them achieve planning consent.

We visited on the busiest day, when a range of investigations were being carried out by our crew and our drilling team, D&I Drilling. We were also joined on-site by Chris Lydon of HL Structural Engineers.

One of our geoenvironmental consultants engineer, Natasha was overseeing the Window Sampling taking place at the front of the hotel. The process began with a CAT scan of the area and a hand-dug trial hole, to ensure that there were no live services lurking below ground that we were unaware of.

Once this area had been de-risked, the Window Sampling took place, with underground samples taken to test for contamination and to test the strength and texture of the ground. Samples were taken at 1 metre, 2-3 metres, and 3 metres in depth.


Meanwhile, our Cable Percussive Drilling Rig was in full use at the rear of the hotel, with our drilling team taking core samples at various depths, down to 20 metres. This technique allows us to extract and log both disturbed and undisturbed samples, which is key for the structural engineer to understand the condition of the ground for foundation design.

Soakaway Testing was running alongside the other investigations at the rear of the hotel, with recent addition to the LK team, graduate engineer Michael being trained by Hannah. There’s nothing like being in the thick of it on-site to learn and truly understand how and why we carry out our intrusive investigations.

Soakaway Testing allows us to assess the drainage properties of the site. We dug a 2-metre pit, filled it with gravel, and poured in water. Once filled, the water level was measured and monitored to ascertain the rate at which it soaks away. Hence the name, ‘Soakaway’. These results will determine the drainage strategy and whether additional new drainage is required, including the installation of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS).

The day prior to our arrival had seen our team dig Foundation Pits next to the current hotel building. Hannah explained that these pit investigations will deliver essential information for the structural engineer to understand the existing foundations, informing their design of the new foundations for the hotel extension.

We had a really positive chat with structural engineer, Chris and it was great to hear his positive comments.

“It was pleasing to see how well organised and resourced The LK Group were when completing this ground investigation. Being an operational hotel, it was important to minimise disruption to our client and their guests. Having three technical LK staff on site allowed investigations to be completed quickly and concurrently, which reduced the overall period of the works. We have previously worked with The LK Group on an operational leisure centre site where they adopted a similar approach, which is one of the reasons we recommended them for this scheme.”  

We left the site that day fully refreshed and re-educated. A very big thank you to Hannah and the team for inviting us to join them on site. Next time…. a Japanese knotweed site visit maybe?