Developer Errol Stewart says construction at CH Smith site is going well | Photos

The sound of close to 300 timber piles being driven into the ground at Launceston's CH Smith site is proof of progress at one of the city's most notorious development locations.

Developer Errol Stewart who, with architect Scott Curran, is turning the site into an office space, cafe and car park, said the project was moving along well.

“We are designing interior fit outs now for two of the major tenants and we've got a few bits and pieces to do in that regard but the car park has been signed off by the council in terms of where the lifts are going to go and where the stairs are going to go and so forth,” he said.

“We are submitting another permit to alter the car park because we are going to have two lanes coming in from Cimitiere Street instead of one lane and we are going to have two lanes in and out of Canal Street.”

The pile driving process involved identifying the old pile caps constructed over the years and breaking off what would not work with the new columns and piles.

“When you put a timber pile in the ground you dig around the pile about a metre deep and a metre around it and then you drill some holes in the timber,” Mr Stewart said.

“You wrap it in a tape so it doesn't get any elements of oxygen in it so it cannot rot and then you put a wire cage over it and then you encase all that in concrete and that is a pile cap.”

Mr Stewart said the civil contractors had also removed about 10,000m3 of earth and replaced that with 3,000m3 of rock and cloth to provide a platform for the pile rig to walk around to drive the piles.

“It is a very heavy machine and it might have disappeared in the silt had we not done that,” he said.

“We have driven about a 100 piles to date, 200 to go. We have installed a storm water main and the new sewer main is close to being finished.”

The builder is due to move on to the site after Anzac Day and Mr Stewart said the project should be complete in about a year and a half. 

“Then I can go fishing with my grandchildren,” he said.