A French company at the heart of Auckland's underground rail line
We had the chance to meet the Soletanche Bachy International team in the heart of Britomart station in Auckland. Soletanche Bachy specialises in foundations and soil technologies steps in the heart of Auckland to improve its public transport network. Zoom in on this globally recognised group, which while participating in the inBluence of its New Zealand branch has retained its French DNA.
The roots of a group that has become a world leader
The art of foundations is as ancient as life itself but its scienti2ic expression, geotechnics date back only to the 1920s. The Soletanche and Bachy companies were the industrial pioneers of this new discipline and have developed most of the innovations that have revolutionised soil technologies. Their merger in 1997 consolidated their leadership in the sector.
With 10,000 employees, more than 4,000 projects per year in more than 60 countries around the world and a network of nearly 80 subsidiaries and local agencies the Soletanche Bachy International Group is a global reference in foundations and soil technologies. The company provides versatile skills for major infrastructure projects, specialist know-how and comprehensive expertise.
Originally a specialist in injection the group now masters the entire range of geotechnical processes, special foundations, underground and maritime works, soil remediation and decontamination.
We should mention the sealing and repair of large dams, the protective walls of nuclear power plants, the tunnels of most subways in major cities, the deepest foundations for the highest towers in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, the restoration of historical monuments such as the Arc de Triomphe or the Grand Palais in Paris, the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow or the St. Pancras station in London among some 60,000 completed projects.
Based in New Zealand since 2004 Soletanche Bachy decided in 2012 to invest in one of the oldest family businesses in the country: March Construction. In association with Downer New Zealand, Soletanche Bachy International managed to convince the officials of City Rail Link, the future Auckland underground rail line to give them the first part of the project in April 2015.
The construction of the Birst underground rail line in Auckland
Seen as an eco-smart city Auckland has nevertheless seen its balance weakened by the influx of new inhabitants. With an annual growth rate approaching 2%largely due to immigration the "city of sails" attracts more and more people and its population is booming.
To cope with this exponential growth Auckland's territorial authority (Auckland Council) decided to focus on the evolution of public transport and build the first underground rail line in the country: the City Rail Link.
Recognised for their sterling work Soletanche Bachy International Group - Downer New Zealand has been given the mission to connect Britomart station to the City Rail Link. This project of high complexity and sensitivity requires a work of excellence and a total control of very specific processes such as diaphragm walls under the historic building. The Britomart post office is an iconic building for the city of Auckland and the work done must be one of the most meticulous to keep it intact.
In 2017 Vinci Construction joined Downer NZ and SBI to put in a tender for the main part of the project. This includes the 3 stations of Aotea, Karangahape and Mount Eden as well as the construction of the tunnel linking Aotea Station to Mount Eden Station.
With a global reach Soletanche Bachy International is nevertheless the perfect model of the "local-global" and settles in the heart of the cities for their improvement while serving those who live there. Avid of the local culture the group goes further and has been supporting the Renault French Festival since its first edition.