Ground Investigation Project of the Year

This category is for a ground investigation project that stands out in terms of its credentials in innovation, quality, sustainability, health and safety and value engineering between January 2023 and January 2024. Projects entered into this category should have elements within the design and delivery that were focused on minimising risk from unexpected ground conditions during the construction phase and should be able to demonstrate the steps taken to achieve this.

Anglian Water, Mott Macdonald, Geotechnics & Terradat
Fens Reservoir Gate 3 Ground Investigation

Anglian Water is proposing two new reservoirs – one in Lincolnshire, and another in the Fens in partnership with Cambridge Water. The reservoirs have been identified through water resources planning as the large-scale investments that the region needs to help secure water supply long into the future. As well as securing water-supply, the reservoirs provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to deliver lasting benefits for the region, including supporting healthy lifestyles and helping to protect and enhance the environment including waterways and ecology. A phased process of GI comprising boreholes, CPTs and trial pits, supplemented by laboratory testing and extensive surface geophysics was adopted to provide sufficient information that is commensurate with the anticipated project risk. The project showcased innovation throughout with all parties working with respect, cooperation and transparency, whilst communicating and delivering as an integrated team. 

Central Alliance
Orkney Islands Community Windfarm

In September 2023 Central Alliance were instructed by Orkney Islands Council to deliver Ground Investigation of the Orkney Mainland (Qunaterness) and the Island of the Hoy. The GI (as designed by Mott MacDonald - MM) comprised Dynamic Sample/Rotary Cored Boreholes Trial Pits, Peat Probes, DCPs, Geotech/Envt Lab Testing, Post Fieldwork Monitoring and Factual Reporting. The results from the GI will be used by MM to inform the design of the turbine bases along with the infrastructure associated with the proposed development. The GI was delivered at both sites concurrently through October 2023 by a dedicated delivery team which stayed on site until the fieldwork was completed. The GI operations were supported by local suppliers in the form of excavators, tractors, water tankers along with the provision of welfare and stores. The support from the local supply chain was fundamental to the successful delivery of the GI.

CGL, TerraDat & SatSense
Trinity Lane, Ripon

An innovative Lines-of-Evidence approach that avoids the requirement for expensive and highly problematic intrusive boreholes by utilising GIS to integrate varied and high resolution remotely-sensed spatial datasets to provide a robust and reliable ground model. Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) data provided by SatSense, a geophysical microgravity survey undertaken by TerraDat and passive acoustic seismic study (Tromino) acquired by CGL were complimented with Environment Agency LiDAR Digital Terrain Model imagery for a geomorphological study, all integrated with a review of historical databases of identified subsidence features and a building damage walkover survey, all through a spatially referenced GIS system, to support the planning process and reducing the use of expensive intrusive methods. The adopted approach not only saved the client more than £30,000 in intrusive, low-return, investigation costs, reduced the carbon-footprint of the investigation, but also mitigated the risk of destabilising the problematic ground and promoting further ground failure.  

Fugro, SSE Renewables, Cowi & Stantec
Coire Glas Pumped Hydro Scheme

A complex ground investigation was designed by Stantec and COWI and carried out by Fugro on behalf of SSE Renewables for the proposed hydro pumped storage scheme at Coire Glas in the Scottish Highlands. Through a uniquely collaborative approach, Fugro utilised an extensive range of resources to deliver a tailored ground investigation programme that made use of conventional and progressive methods of data acquisition. The site’s remote location and restricted access required teams to work together adapt to challenges and successfully carry out the geotechnical and geophysical tests. Data delivery was expedited in real time, facilitating smooth communication and easy access for all parties and the iterative ground model provided early insights and a targeted approach throughout. Accelerating the journey to net-zero, Fugro is proud to have worked with SSE Renewables, COWI and Stantec and support the development of this ground-breaking project. 

Geotechnical Engineering Limited, Anglian Water, Mott MacDonald, Costain & WJ Groundwater
Lincolnshire Reservoir Gate 3 Ground Investigation

Anglian Water is proposing a new reservoir in Lincolnshire that will secure water supply for its 7 million current customers, and to ensure resilience of supply for future generations. A significant and technically complex ground investigation campaign was delivered in 2023 to assess the sub-surface and support the design of the reservoir embankment and the associated water treatment plant, water pumping facilities and pipelines. Through collaborative planning and execution of the ground investigation fieldworks, Geotechnical Engineering collected detailed design information, successfully delivering a complex ground investigation campaign for this project of regional strategic importance. 

Jackson Geo Services, AtkinsRéalis, Walters UK and Global Centre of Rail Excellence
Global Centre of Rail Excellence Phase 2

The Global Centre of Rail Excellence (GCRE) Phase 2 ground investigation in South Wales was effective in de-risking a site with a coal mining legacy which is to be developed as a net zero high speed rail test facility. To make the GI viable, a phased approach and 3D ground model was required. Collaborating with the client team, Jackson Geo Services and AtkinsRéalis adopted a cost effective and practical approach to better assess the risks at a site the size of Gibraltar. Risks included long term settlement of opencast backfill, historical mining voids, rebounding groundwater levels, ground gas production and reusing site won material for the earthworks for the 7km high speed test loop. Using a variety of investigation techniques and learning from a previous phase, consistently fast digital data turnaround from the field allowed quick informed design decisions to fully delineate key risks and provide confidence of the solutions. 

Jacobs UK & The Environment Agency
Kendal and Upper Kent Catchment Flood Risk Management Scheme.

Working together with the Environment Agency, Volker Stevin and Fugro, Jacobs were able to conduct a conclusive preliminary GI without the need for intrusive methods. Not only did our approach save time and cost for the client, but it reduced the impact on landowners and their land, it reduced environmental impact and it embraced the concepts of safety in design.

Structural Soils
A66 NTP - GI - RSK, Structural Soils and National Highways

This £16 million ground investigation facilitated the design and construction of an additional dual carriageway of the A66 from Penrith to Scotch Corner. The client, National Highways, procured RSK to undertake the ground investigation, with Structural Soils acting as the Principal Contractor. There were over 20 RSK companies and several external companies involved in the contract. The project was split into 10 schemes, managed by 4 delivery integration partners, each with a specific designer. It was a major challenge to manage such a large ground investigation with so many interested parties. During the contract, project staff even undertook a litter pick, showed local teachers around the site and took on a local work experience student.

TransPennine Route Upgrade Alliance
Hillhouse Sidings Mineshaft Investigation

Two mineshafts were identified from historical sources within the proposed Hillhouse Sidings Stabling Facility, underlying the proposed works on the site. An intrusive survey to investigate the potential location of these mineshafts was required. The approach to investigate mineshaft locations as detailed in CIRIA C758D: Abandoned Mine Workings Manual could not be undertaken, due to the presence of a deep sewer and Planning exclusion zone; as such, an innovative investigation approach was developed between all parties. Drillholes angled at 40 degrees from the vertical were advanced on overlapping grid lines, covering the extents of the permanent works that overlapped with the potential shafts. The as-drilled positions were spatially mapped, to ensure full coverage and to identify further work required. The investigation works demonstrated that no shafts were present with the influence of the permanent works, avoiding any design mitigation and allowing construction activity to commence safely.

United Utilities, Socotec, JVT, UTS & AES
Mitchells House IR investigations

The project is confidential so no summary was provided.