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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.

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


Use of buttress piles for efficient deep basement construction 



The most challenging aspect of this multi-storey development was the design of temporary works support to enable the double basement excavation (4.5m to 11m) and construction.

A temporary buttress pile support system concept was developed, analysed and designed to effectively manage the constraints imposed by the size of the site, presence of infilled gas holders, challenging ground conditions and sensitive constraints outside the site perimeter.

The system supported a 750mm diameter secant pile wall within the 11m deep excavation with the buttress piles formed of 750mm diameter piles, 20m long, 4.8m centres parallel to the secant wall, offset 2.5m, and connected to the secant wall through 3m deep reinforced concrete panels.

Delta Membrane Systems

Flood resilience

delta bre house

delta bre house

Using tried and tested technology, Delta Membrane Systems has considered how it could adapt its products to work in flood situations, such as flood water entering through openings and ground water rising up through the floor.

Masonry under will dry out at a rate of 25mm per month per thickness of substrate but, in order to significantly reduce downtime, a Delta membrane can be fitted to the walls and solid floors with a cavity drain membrane which provides an air gap provides and an immediate barrier against the effects of salts and contamination allowing fast reinstatement and at the same time allowing the walls to dry out.

Eckersley O’Callaghan

Landslip footings

crow's nest

crow’s nest

Home owners of house in Dorset, called the Crow’s Nest, did not want to leave the location after ground movement damaged their old bungalow.

The construction of a new home on an active landslide was made possible by structural designer Eckersley O’Callaghan developing a two-part foundation solution with jacks to re-level the structure to accommodate both moderate and extreme movement.

The solution included a piled foundation driven into the ground capped by reinforced concrete beams to resist differential movement across the building but allowing global movement; discrete blockwork walls sat on the concrete beams to build up to ground floor level; a grillage of steel beams sat on, and braced by, the blockwork walls below; and a structurally independent external decking and steps.


Ground treatment works prior to diaphragm wall trenching

mmc gamuda kvmrt

mmc gamuda kvmrt

Difficult ground conditions for the Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya Line in Kuala Lumpur was due to the interface between the Kenny Hill Formation and the Kuala Lumpur Limestone Formation.

At Ampang Park Station, the 71m deep diaphragm wall was adjacent to a 10-storey building with a two-level basement and during trenching works fractured rock material was discovered leading to the losses of bentonite. Further investigation works revealed the presence of a very narrow valley that was characteristic of a fault feature.

A number of solutions were used including the pre-treatment on both sides of the diaphragm wall to minimise the impact on the adjacent structure. The fractured rock and gravelly material were treated with bentonite cement grout and the slump material was treated with cement mortar using compaction grouting to improve the stiffness and minimise movement induced where the open trench is created.

In addition, to minimise the impact of drilling on the adjacent structure, a duplex method with double rotary casing was adopted to avoid excessive washing of soil material around the drilling rod.

OGI Groundwater Specialists

Stabilisation of weak saturated slopes using Stable-EarthTM techniques

ogi groundwater specialists limited

ogi groundwater specialists limited

OGI applied the Stable-Earth system for weak saturated ground to enable installation of a storage tank at Royton Wastewater Treatment Works.

The size and position of the storage tank made avoidance of existing infrastructure difficult. The infrastructure included a live storm water pipeline and overflow manhole, abandoned Victorian pipes and tanks increased the complexity of designing safe economic slopes.

The Stable-Earth system comprised of three key techniques to produce safe and stable engineered slopes: theoretical modelling to simulate the earth and groundwater behaviour; a physical groundwater control system to reduce pore water pressure; and a physical earth reinforcement system to provide additional strength to the soil mass.

RSK Environment

Real time data collection and interrogation using tablets and GIS software

rsk environment

rsk environment

The use of a handheld tablet to collect real-time data was invaluable for a project undertaken by RSK Environmental. The project involved the remediation of hydrocarbon impacted ground, treatment of contaminated groundwater and identification and removal of extensive below ground structures.

The tablets and Arc GIS mapping software allowed the firm to undertake the investigation prior to remediation, initially involving the delineation of the heavily impacted soils across the site, the structures to be removed were photographed, recorded and located spatially onsite and the extent of contaminated soils recorded for selective excavation for bio-treatment.

The data sets can be easily retrieved and interrogated and allowed for real-time updates as the work progressed.  

Structural Soils

Inclined packer testing using Geobore S System

structural soils

structural soils

As part of the development of the Horizon nuclear power station at Wylfa a new 4km cable tunnel crossing is required across the Menai Strait.

Inclined packer testing was designed to intercept and identify a major fault which crosses the ground investigation area but historically undertaking a packer test in an inclined borehole is the cause of many problems especially using the Geobore S System.

The firm’s new technique involved centralising the tool inside the hole and overcome the problem of the lip on the cutting shoe of the Geobore S system, leading to a centralised kit, uniform distribution of the pressure and successful packer assembly. 

Transport for London

Strategy and guidance for design and scoping of ground investigations on Crossrail 2



TfL could be exposed to the risk of costly delays, redesign and late project delivery without ground investigation. As a “smart” client, it recognised how important early engagement is for outlining a clear strategy and providing robust guidance at the earliest stage with Crossrail 2.

Working collaboratively with industry partner GCG, the Strategy and Guidance for Design and Scoping of Ground Investigations report was developed. It sets out the overarching strategy and guidance for the design of Crossrail 2 ground investigation and proposes a realistic and achievable approach to implementation to its implementation. Thereby de-risking the project, enhancing ground hazard awareness and increasing the ground model’s quality and efficiency.

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