Award for Technical Excellence

This award recognises a hi-tech advancement or concept that has helped a company improve its performance or delivery of a specific challenging element of a project, between January 2023 and January 2024.

The entrant may have achieved technical excellence through producing a new approach to analysis or design, advanced techniques or procedures during design or delivery and/or working with its customers to improve delivery of a specific part of a project through technical refinement.

Coppermills AWTW - Ground Movement Assessment Clash Detection

Arcadis Consulting (UK) was tasked by Thames Water to design a High Lift Pumping Station and Slow Sand Filter Recirculation system at Coppermills Advanced Water Treatment Works in NE London, a critical facility serving 2 million customers. The project posed geological and geotechnical challenges, necessitating careful integration of proposed structures with existing assets. A Ground Movement Assessment (GMA) - Phase 1 involved analysing the impact of 25 new structures on 2000 existing assets, addressing the site's extreme complexity. A novel approach reduced assessment time from weeks to few days, involving the transformation of 2D ground movement contour plots into 3D solids. These were integrated into a 3D Naviswork model, streamlining clash detection processes and generating detailed reports. The initiative, beyond its immediate scope, has the potential to influence positive industry-wide changes by addressing challenges and establishing new benchmarks for future projects.

Using centrifuge testing and simplified tools to analyse complex 3D dynamic soil-structure interaction of offshore monopiles under seismic loading

Resilient renewable energy is key to the world’s energy transition journey and offshore wind is crucial to a successful energy transition. As offshore wind farms are built in highly seismic areas, the renewables industry needs cost-effective methods to ensure the safety of wind turbines under earthquake loading. Three-dimensional (3D) dynamic soil-structure interaction (DSSI) models provide the most accurate method for the seismic assessment of offshore wind turbines. However, 3D DSSI is a computationally intensive and time-consuming process and demands a high level of seismic, structural and geotechnical expertise. Moreover, the lack of case histories require validation of the design methods using physical tests. By combining the use of centrifuge testing and simple beam-on-nonlinear spring models, Arup and its partners were able to increase the efficiency of performing DSSI analyses, reduce the cost of setting up complex 3D DSSI models, and ultimately improve the safety of offshore wind turbines.

Bachy Soletanche & Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering JV
Tremie Support Doughnut

An innovative Tremie Support Doughnut (TSD) has been developed by SB3 for use on large diameter piling sites across HS2 N1/N2. The TSD is a toroidal shaped device split into 2no. halves. When joined together around a tremie pipe it integrates with an existing ‘tremie trap’ system and allows the tremie pipes to be lowered down and be supported. The SB3 TSD has been designed with the site operatives’ safety as the primary consideration as using this system eliminates the need for operatives to work under a suspended load.

Reducing Risk by Replacing Radioactive Source Density logging using Downhole Magnetic Resonance in Coire Glas Wider Site Ground Investigation Project, Scotland

Fugro carried out the ground investigation for SSE Renewables at the Coire Glas hydro pumped storage scheme. The GI specification required gamma-gamma density (GGD) (using a radioactive source) logging of a 500m+ deep borehole located on the top of mountain. Due to serious logistical challenges (helicopter transport being the only option for the remote location) and safety concerns, Fugro and SSE Renewables decided to replace GGD logging with innovative nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) logging to obtain formation density profiles from boreholes. NMR logging is currently mainly used for logging porosity and hydraulic properties of unconsolidated strata but the successful application of the method in hard rock lithology in geotechnical GIs is outstanding and rare, especially in the context of estimation of formation density for geo-mechanical parameterisation. Utilising this technical solution in the right context, Fugro provided high quality data and this aspect of the GI could be safely conducted.

GHD & Network Rail
Watford Tunnel Approach Cutting – Major Earthwork Management Strategy

The Watford Tunnel Approach Cutting – Major Earthwork Management Strategy is a pilot study for Network Rail that demonstrates multiple quantifiable benefits to its major earthworks management strategy, representing a step-change in its operations, and setting a precedent for technical excellence in the site inspection field. This online digital twin of the Watford earthwork, built on GHD’s DTO technology, constitutes a low-cost, high-speed collaborative platform solution providing a full spectrum of infrastructure asset information. By integrating multiple information types in a single intuitive interface, the platform augments traditional on-site surveys with multiple ground engineering and climate data layers, as well as readily accessible historic reports. The net result is a powerful tool that reduces the cost, risk and disruption of site inspection while accelerating and enhancing effective decision-making. It has been proven to have a transformative impact on the efficacy of site inspection in this location.

McGee, Robert Bird Group & St John's Wood Square
St John’s Wood Square Advanced Temporary Works Solution

Unlocking a significant basement construction at St John’s Wood Square with below-ground props installed prior to blue sky excavation. A unique new basement construction methodology was created; installing raking props from ground level embedded in a barrette, below the future basement. Why? In doing so, the workfronts within the basement were left clear, accelerating the whole project’s programme. Importantly for the client, it also took the excavation off the critical path and improved the permanent waterproofing detailing. This innovative concept, introduced by McGee was only possible thanks to Robert Bird Group’s (RBG) integration of advanced modelling techniques and procedures that enabled the design and the client’s knowledge and ability to see value in the new approach. In parallel with the design, McGee developed specialist plant to deliver new method of construction.

Debris Flow assessment for a pumped-storage hydro-electric facility

Stantec's team of geohazard specialists deployed our innovative proprietary software, DebrisFlow Predictor, to model the behaviour of landslides and delineate potential hazard zones to support the expansion of a pumped-storage hydro-electric facility in Western Scotland. DebrisFlow Predictor is an agent-based model which provides predicted landslide pathways, run-out probability, and depth of scour and deposition along the simulated landslide paths. We simulated over 170, 000 landslides across the site to characterise run-out extent, scour, and deposition along the potential landslide paths. Model results identified the heterogeneous characteristics of landslides in the receiving area e.g., roads and railways that allows asset managers to focus on mitigation and monitoring where it’s most necessary.

Application of digital tools for advanced numerical analysis

WSP is carrying out the independent third-party checker role for the design of the Fehmarnbelt fixed link which is being developed by COWI on behalf of their client Fermern Link Contractors. To enable review and parallel implementation of the design basis and procedures WSP has introduced a series of innovative digital tools based around advanced automation with the aim of improving the accuracy and consistency of the checking. These tools have been developed around a modular code architecture which provides an efficient and coherent basis on which to build project specific tools based on integrated workflows. The development of these tools resulted in significant time savings to the delivery and successful completion of the independent design check, and they are continuing to be developed by WSP to provide a framework which is scalable and flexible for implementation on other projects.