The Sage - Gateshead

Leca® LWA provided a cost-effective solution for raising the level of a site earmarked for parking and outdoor activities at The Sage, a new £70 million music & entertainment venue.

The Jennings Yard site posed a challenge for Gateshead Council as its previous use as railway sidings and more recently as a scrap yard, had contaminated the ground.  To avoid the considerable cost of removing the contaminated fill, it was decided to raise the level of the site by increasing the height of the gravity retaining wall and an access ramp. Original drawings of the existing structures were not available; consequently the council’s engineers devised a plan to ensure that there would be no overall increase in horizontal thrust. Sub-contractors Lumsden & Carroll Construction of Durham, raised the levels using some 490m3 of lightweight Leca® LWA 10-20mm, which was delivered in 60m³ loads, tipped into place and compacted in 600mm layers using a vibrating plate compactor. Due to the light weight of Leca® LWA, the horizontal earth pressure to a retaining wall is reduced by 75% when compared with conventional fills. The Leca® LWA granules are made from marne clay expanded at high temperatures and are not susceptible to contamination by oil, diesel or other similar substances. Commented a spokes person for the project team: “Leca® LWA lightweight fill was chosen because of the simplicity of the assessment, specification and construction to ensure that the tight programme for the completion of the works coincides with the opening of The Sage Gateshead.” Designed by Foster and Partners, The Sage Gateshead is a landmark building on Tyneside’s rejuvenated waterfront.