Albert Memorial Clock, Belfast - Foundation Stabilisation

The Albert Memorial in Queen's Square, Belfast was completed in 1870. Shortly after it was built, it began to lean towards the river and now has an 890mm tilt. The stability of Belfast's 'leaning tower' has long been a cause for concern and Doran Consulting was appointed by Belfast City Council, to undertake a programme to monitor the tilt using sensitive electro-levels. As part of a major millennium refurbishment scheme, Doran Consulting designed and supervised an underpinning scheme to stabilise the tower.

The clock tower was originally supported on timber piles which, due to the depth of soft alluvial clay, were insufficiently long to provide adequate foundation support. The solution, which had to minimise ground vibrations in the vicinity of the tower, consisted of a reinforced concrete collar around and under the edge of the foundation. The collar is supported on 36 x 600mm diameter CFA piles, extending 23m down to the underlying stiff clay. The underpinning was carried out in three months.

The restoration of the stonework of the tower was carried out under the supervision of Consarc, the specialist firm of conservation architects and won a Civic Trust Commendation Award in 2004.