UK Geotechnical Team of the Year

This award celebrates any multi-company collaborative project team involved in the UK geotechnical industry either on a specific project or as part of a framework on multiple projects. 

The success of the project team should be demonstrated in terms of how the team culture led to improved project delivery, how the entire project team was focused on mutual goals and joint activities that highlight outstanding performance.

Aecom,Cornwall Council, Cormac, Cornwall Geoconservation Group, John Grimes Partnership & Natural England 
Coverack North Shore Coastal Protection Scheme  

The project team responsible for delivering the Coverack North Shore Coastal Protection Scheme did so against a backdrop of physical constraints imposed by an eroding coastline threatening access to a popular Cornish village, and also legislative constraints imposed by the site being situated in an area designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The team successfully managed planning/licence applications and environmental permitting required collaboration with the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and also satisfactory responses to Natural England, via its discretionary (assent) advice service, related to the SSSI. The team made efficiencies and economies to the scale and design of the scheme for the benefit of both the Client and Regulatory Consultees. Community engagement was also key to the success of the project. Work was sensitively managed to minimise disruption to infrastructure and also the impact on amenities and aesthetics of the village.

Balfour Beatty, Züblin, National Highways, Arup & Aecom 
A63 Castle Street Improvement Scheme

The A63 Castle Street improvement scheme in Hull, will include lowering the level of the A63 creating a new split-level junction. Faced with a unique challenge of unstable ground conditions close to the River Humber, the team is delivering one of most complex road projects of its kind under construction in the UK. It was absolutely vital to ensure that project team came together to develop a robust technical solution. The ground engineering has been successfully achieved, alongside effective management of highly complex phases of construction, set in and around a major city centre road network. A project in the making for a number of years - the improved A63 will drive forward Kingston Upon Hull as an important gateway. Ensuring Hull retains its status as a well-connected Yorkshire Maritime city, a world leading city of culture, and the UKs centre for the offshore industry.

McGee, Robert Bird Group & St John's Wood Square    
St John's Wood Square Development

The construction of such a large basement (by footprint) was a task that had stumped previous project teams due to technical and programmatic issues with conventional propping approaches. Yet was successfully delivered by the current project team: client, St John’s Wood Square , geotechnical, structural, civils and construction engineering consultant, Robert Bird Group (RBG) and specialist engineering contractor, McGee. McGee's groundbreaking use of barrettes as buttresses, coupled with bespoke machinery, and RBG's steadfast commitment to engineering excellence, yielded a project that exceeded expectations and accelerated the client’s programme by nine weeks, derisked lorry movement during excavation and addressed the client’s waterproofing concerns. Together the project team challenged industry norms and set new standards in ground engineering. Beyond routine coordination, our collaboration nurtured a culture where technical excellence thrived. The project's success reflects the seamless integration of SJWS's vision with the technical prowess of RBG and McGee.

Network Rail Capital Delivery Wales, Network Rail Design Delivery, AmcoGiffen & QTS  
Severn Estuary Earthworks

The Severn Estuary Earthworks Resilience Project (Contract 2) has stabilised 20,000m2 of railway rock cuttings located on a 1-mile section between Lydney and Gloucester, using nearly 5000 rock bolts with active and passive rock netting systems. This has resulted in the removal of a long-standing temporary speed restriction, minimising disruption associated earthworks failure and improving safety on this stretch of railway for generations to come. The geotechnical team comprising Network Rail Capital Delivery Wales, Network Rail Design Delivery, AmcoGiffen and QTS have role modelled best practice throughout to deliver an efficient, cost-effective project of the highest quality. The team’s commitment to innovation, challenging traditional working practices, redefining organisational structures and relationships, and passion and dedication of individuals mark this project as an exemplary example of collaborative working.

Network Rail Works Delivery Scotland, AmcoGiffen Minor Works Scotland & Network Rail Scotland Asset  
Scotland's Railway Emergency Response

Network Rail Works Delivery along with Network Rail Asset Management and AmcoGiffen have come together to develop and improve processes for recovering the railway following asset failures. This has become increasingly important due to the increase in extreme weather events caused by climate change. A collaborative, open and honest process was used to implement innovative processes which allowed safe, reliable recovery of the railway in timely fashion with clear and concise communications.

OTB Engineering, Alun Griffiths, Shotcrete Services, Powys County Council, Welsh Government & Network Rail
Machynlleth Underpass

Creating Active Travel connectivity and safe passage for walkers and cyclists by opening a redundant arch in North Wales This successful project would never have happened but for the persistence and shared will of a fully integrated multidisciplinary team driven to create a public good. A dangerous pinch-point made cycling and walking hazardous. The solution was opening a redundant infilled brick arch tunnel crossing through a rail embankment. It was an unusual geotechnical problem: the structure is situated within a rail embankment with cover to the overlying operational railway line and adjacent road underpass, resulting in complex loading conditions. Previous attempts had failed so lateral thinking was needed. OTB Engineering and Alun Griffiths’ innovative design focused on risk management, constructability and stakeholder collaboration. The adaptable, incremental approach, including a novel application of RamArch, married technical excellence with total commitment to health, safety and protecting the railway.

RSK & Structural Soils 
A66 NTP - Ground Investigation

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. This synergy and engagement drove improved results that met or surpassed the expectations at the start of the project. A truly collaborative and fully funded ECI was fundamental to the project’s success.

SB3 - Bachy Soletanche & Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering JV 
Streethay Retaining Structure (HS2 N1N2)  

SB3 with close collaboration of the main contractor BBV (Balfour Beaty and Vinci Joint Venture) successfully installed 76nr. 1300mm diameter fully cased secant piles as part of the HS2 N1/N2 Streethay Retaining Structure to a depth of 30m in 13 days, 8 days ahead of programme. This was done while maintaining high standards of safety and quality during Network Rail blockade and working 24hrs over 2 shifts for site operatives and 3 shifts for engineers and management decreasing the overall cost of piling works by £0.5 million.

SSE Renewables, Stantec, Cowi, Strabag, Fugro & British Geological Survey
Coire Glas Exploratory Works and Wider Site GI

SSE Renewable’s Coire Glas project is the first large-scale pumped storage hydro scheme to be developed in the UK for over 40 years. Through a £100M investment, a unique ground investigation designed by Stantec/COWI comprising a 1km long tunnel and boreholes up to 650m deep, is being delivered in a remote Highland location by STRABAG and Fugro. The team’s project goal is collection of high-quality data for the Main Works design and the project’s Geotechnical Baseline Report (GBR). The team’s collaboration, open communication, and innovation has significantly improved the quality of data collection in complex ground conditions supported by BGS’s ongoing specialist input. The team’s legacy goal is to help address the UK skills shortage in rock engineering through upskilling of people, including early career professionals.