Unsupported browser

For a better experience, please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

GE Awards 2016: Winners revealed

 DSC 090

Read about who won what and why the judges singled out the winners from the shortlist

GE Awards 2016

Welcome to the award winner’s special issue for the 2016 Ground Engineering Awards.

Identities of this year’s trophy-holders were revealed at a gala ceremony held in London on 30 June but here we add more insight into the projects and teams that were crowned as winners and why judges selected them.

This year’s winners clearly demonstrate the huge impact the ground engineering profession continues to have on the UK construction market, as well as internationally.

I know the judges had a challenging time selecting the winners as every entry clearly demonstrated how the geotechnics industry has continued to push forward engineering excellence to benefit efficiency, improve safety and provide value.

Congratulations to all of our winners.

Claire Smith

Editor, Ground Engineering

Consultant of the Year

BAUER Technologies LTD rgb

Consultant of the Year sponsor

Winner: CGL

Judges named CGL as winner of the Consultant of the Year category after delivering a robust presentation at the live judging stage. One judge commented that CGL is a “strong all round company that is focused on providing cost-effective solutions for their clients and investing in their staff.”

Over the last five years, CGL has increased its revenue by 165% and staff numbers over the same period have risen from 25 to 60 spread across four UK offices. CGL has said that it serves a wide range of clients that include major developers, national house builders, structural consultants, contractors, utilities companies, lawyers and local authorities.

“Great ambassadors for the profession”

According to CGL, the range of projects it works on gives staff broad experience which helps them to develop both their technical and managerial skills. The company has recently developed its plans for the next five years which includes bringing in new staff and nurturing them to develop their careers in line with the company’s goals.

According to CGL, its approach to investment in its staff is not just about developing the professional person or training them to use the latest 3D software, but more about finding the best way to draw out the strengths of the individual. The company has said that in this way, staff members work more confidently and brings this to their professional development and customer care.

Consultant of the Year   CGL

Consultant of the Year CGL

Consultant of the Year: CGL

To improve management information the company developed an HR dashboard to monitor the company “heartbeat” which feeds the monthly “CGL Pulse”, which informs all staff of the company progress. This single page captures not just monthly turnover and profitability against target, but staff utilisation, training contract “take up”, gender diversity, average ages, average sickness and training hours.

CGL believes it is unique in supporting staff to become chartered engineers, geologists or environmentalist.

One judge commented on CGL’s good focus on repeat business and an openness in the workforce, “which is clearly driving growth”. Another added: “They worked closely with a number of challenging stakeholders and the local community, and are clearly passionate about their work.”

“The feedback from clients and the staff retention rates are a testament to their excellent work and achievements in recent years,” said another of the judging panel.

Overall, judges described CGL as being “great ambassadors for the profession”.

Contractor of the Year

Blue atkins logo

Contractor of the Year sponsor

Winner: Kelbray Piling

Keltbray described 2015 as another exceptional year with 70% growth in turnover and gross profit, which it credits to its reputation for safe and successful delivery of projects.

“Keltbray Piling has quickly become a major player in the piling market”

Judges for this category were very impressed by Keltbray’s growth both last year and since the piling business first launched in 2008. They described Kelbray’s performance as “stellar”. One of the judges said: “The company has achieved unprecedented growth achieved through a highly collaborative approach with clients, a non-confrontational approach to business, listening to clients and having a very professional attitude to business in a very competitive market.”

The company has said that it believes its performance is exceptional given that it was only established in 2008 and since January 2014 it has grown by 250%. Keltbray adds that it has delivered these financial results through collaborative working and technical excellence while delivering its largest ever piling contract of £10M at Chelsea Barracks, on time and on budget.

Contractor of the Year   Keltbray

Contractor of the Year Keltbray

Contractor of the Year: Keltbray

Despite the volume of work Keltbray has said that it continued its investment in people, delivering 2,600 hours of training, which is an average of six weeks per employee.

One of the judging panel concluded that Kelbray had “very quickly become a major player in the piling market” and could soon be one of the sector leaders if it continued on the current growth path.

Highly commended: Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering

BBGE reports that 2015 was a year of substantial change and development that has seen it grow in size, profitability and ambition with a 15% rise in sales and 74% increase in profits.

Judges said: “Results for the last year show the impact of new management brought in to drive down costs and increase productivity through a focus on doing it right the first time. There has been a huge change from a loss-making business three years ago to one that is now profitable and making major investments in new equipment.”

The company has also said that staff numbers rose last year from 340 to 380 with a record low of 2% churn. BBGE has also said that it is investing in future talent, having welcomed five graduates and two apprentices in the past 12 months, plus it has a record 16 engineers and surveyors on graduate training schemes.

Orders last year were up 62% and it has a strong orderbook going into 2016, which has been supported by investment in new equipment reaching an all-time high.

Ground Investigation Specialist of the Year

Mabey  group  Logo 01

Ground Investigation Specialist of the Year sponsor

Winner: In Situ Site Investigation

Ground Investigation Specialist of the Year   In Situ Site Investigation

Ground Investigation Specialist of the Year In Situ Site Investigation

Ground Investigation Specialist of the Year: In Situ Site Investigation

Judges declared In Situ Site Investigation as winner in the Ground Investigation Specialist of the Year category because of its “real passion for geotechnical investigation and technology”.

“Setting the standard for specialist testing.”

In Situ Site Investigation has seen a 40% increase in it UK sales over the last 12 months and taken on four new staff to support the increase in demand. Judges commented that the company had an “excellent performance in turnover, margins and staff growth since launch in 2008” and used an “impressive set of case histories” to outline its work.

The company has continued to expand its overseas operations and undertook a year-long ground investigation in the Middle East during 2015. The company also undertook work in the UK, Ireland, South Africa and Albania during the year and the demand led to investment in new purpose built CPT rigs to allow the business to undertake larger projects.

In Situ has tried to ensure its clients get the best out of the CPT results it delivers and has developed a special course to aid them with interpretation with guest speakers from the BRE and Norwegian Geotechnical Institute. Judges liked this approach and said: “The business is investing in the sector by sharing knowledge with clients and non-clients alike in order to raise understanding of specialist techniques.”

Judges were impressed by In Situ’s work outside of projects and one commented that the company had “demonstrated a high level of community engagement at professional, project and local levels”.

Judges concluded that In Situ is “setting the standard for specialist testing.”

Highly commended: Dunelm Geotechnical and Environmental

Dunelm reports that it has seen significant growth in the last three years with an increase in turnover during that period of around 80%. In 2015 alone the business saw a 50% increase in turnover to £4.2M. This growth has enabled Dunelm to increase staff numbers and develop new innovative work procedures that it says have increased overall efficiency.

Judges said: “The term contracts secured by the business show that Dunelm is held in high esteem by major clients and is punching above its weight as these types of deals would normally be associated with larger businesses.”

Another judge added: “Great improvement in turnover. One to watch.”

Product and Equipment Innovation Award

bam ritchies CMYK

Product and Equipment Innovation Award

Winner: British Geological Survey - Proactive infrastructure monitoring and evaluation (Prime)

Judges picked out the British Geological Survey’s (BGS) monitoring development as the best entry for the Product and Equipment Innovation Award because it presented an “innovative solution to a challenging problem”.

Proactive infrastructure monitoring and evaluation (Prime) was developed as a low cost system designed specifically for infrastructure monitoring and remote operation. The system is aimed at use on at-risk assets that measure tens to hundreds of metres in length.

“Innovative solution to a challenging problem”

The BGS has recognised that condition assessment of geotechnical assets and the early identification of deterioration is vital for cost effective maintenance and prevention of hazardous failure events. However, it has said that current assessment practices are heavily dependent on surface observations, which only address failures that have already begun, or cannot detect incipient pre-failures states or localised deterioration. The organisation believes that Prime can overcome the problems of the current approach which does not sample and visualize internal processes and property changes sufficiently to make effective prognoses of future failure.

Product and equipment innovation   BGS prime

Product and equipment innovation BGS prime

Product and Equipment Innovation Award: BGS prime

The BGS has said that the knowledge gap can be addressed by geophysical subsurface imaging technology but believes that existing technology is prohibitively expensive and not designed for low-cost geotechnical application, which is what drove the development of Prime.

According to the BGS, Prime combines emerging geophysical ground imaging technology with innovative data telemetry, web portal access and intelligent monitoring. It develops the basis of a new generation of “smart” earthwork technology capable of monitoring the internal physical condition of these structures using diagnostic imaging methods routinely used in medical physics.

The Prime system is based on time-lapse electrical resistivity tomography (ERT), which is a geophysical technique used to generate images of the resistivity distribution in the subsurface. Resistivity is sensitive to lithological differences, for example clay has a low resistivity, and granite has a high resistivity, and is also sensitive to changes in moisture content with resistivity typically decreases with increasing moisture content. Consequently, ERT can be used to image subsurface structure and, when used in time-lapse mode, it can monitor changing moisture conditions. Recent research by BGS has demonstrated that, in addition to compositional and moisture content information, ground movement can also be extracted from the electrical measurements – with the imaging sensors also being used as a motion sensing grid. These elements form the basis of a slope stability monitoring approach that provides spatial information on both subsurface processes and surface morphological responses.

Judges commented that the initiative will have “a big impact on the management of geotechnical assets” and that the entry was “presented passionately and fully met all the criteria for the category”.

Project of the Year with a Geotechnical Value of up to £1M

keltbray PILING

Project of the Year with a Geotechnical Value of up to £1M sponsor

Winner: BBMV Joint Venture – Crossrail contract C512 Whitechapel

Judges were impressed by BBMV’s work at Crossrail’s Whitechapel station due to its successful delivery of a very challenging scheme that was carried out in the middle of a live railway station and in close proximity to other stakeholders. Judges’ comments on the work said that it delivered “complex analysis of a 3D problem” and “managed to navigate a way through stringent assurance process with third party stakeholders” to undertake the work in “very constrained work areas”.

“Successfully delivered a complex analysis of a 3D problem”

Crossrail’s Whitechapel Station interfaces between existing East London Line (ELL) and London Underground lines and involves construction of five new lift shafts including the west lift lobby to give step-free access to ELL.

Project up to £1 m

UK Project with a Geotechnical Value of up to £1M: BBMV joint venture

Sequencing of the construction had to be carefully planned as the shaft is between platforms and located 1.5m from the base of a tower crane being used for other parts of the station work. The Nordlund pile analysis method was used to approximate a linear stress distribution on the face of the pile and the horizontal component that could be applied to the shaft piles. The excavation support was also modelled in 3D Autodesk Robot to validate anticipated movement.

Judges also commented on the good use of graphics to brief the workforce at each stage of the construction process.

Judges concluded that the presentation clearly showed the cost savings that were delivered through the use of a bespoke propping and restraining system and that the work “demonstrated the true complexity of temporary works design and construction”.

Highly commended: Bam Ritchies – RNLI St Davids Lifeboat Station, Pembrokeshire

Judges singled Bam Ritchies out due to its work on this “challenging planning and construction project that delivered a high quality product in a difficult environment”.

Construction of a new lifeboat house was needed at St Davids to house the new Tamar class boat but the location of the site at the foot of an exposed cliff called for Bam Ritchies to undertake some complex geotechnics work for main contractor Bam Nuttall.

The work included cliff stabilisation to allow rock socketed piles for the new boat house and slipway to be constructed. The piles had to be undertaken using a mix of land-based and over water techniques, suing some of the largest down the hole hammer drilling equipment in Europe, to cope with the intertidal nature of the site. Limited space and the potential for weather disruption meant the work had to be carefully planned.

UK Project with a Geotechnical Value of £1M to £3M

Winner: Galliford Try Building and CGL – 40 Brighton Road, Surrey, Sutton

According to the judges, this entry was an excellent demonstration of contractor and consultant working together and using observational techniques to deliver a very efficient temporary works outcome.

The new headquarters for Subsea 7 will be a five storey above ground building with a 5m deep basement which was built by Galliford Try with geotechnical input from CGL and Ground Construction.

Basements pic   Galliford Try and CGL

UK Project with a Geotechnical Value of £1Mto £3M: Galliford Try and CGL

The project team developed an open cut excavation approach for the scheme using the observational method instead of the planned contiguous piled wall design. Further ground investigation was carried out ahead of the construction to provide additional information at key locations to ensure the observational method could be safely applied.

Highly Commended: Mott MacDonald – Crewe Green Link Road, Crewe

Judges praised Mott MacDonald’s good focus on innovative use of a suite of practical design methods rather than complex and sophisticated approaches, which enabled full stakeholder buy in to the solution for a new underbridge on this scheme.

The underbridge was a key feature of the project for Cheshire East Council that called for the bridge to be installed by April 2015 with only three 54 hour long track possessions available for the work on a site with challenging ground conditions. Mott MacDonald’s solution included cofferdams and concrete piled raft foundations to overcome these challenges.

Project of the Year with a Geotechnical Value of over £3M

Dywidag logo

Porject of the Year with a Geotechnical Value of over £3M sponsor

Winner: West Dorset District Council, CH2M, Balfour Beatty Construction Services and Aecom – Lyme Regis Environmental Improvements, Phase IV

Judges were wowed by the work undertaken to stabilise a historic landslide in Lyme Regis and the efforts made to ensure the work did not impact on the area’s Unesco World Heritage Site status. One judge said that the “project showcases the exciting world of geotechnics”.

“The project showcases the exciting world of geotechnics”

Stabilisation of the landslide on the eastern side of Lyme Regis has been described by the Environment Agency as the largest and most complex coastal stabilisation schemes in the UK. The challenge to the designers and contractors was to undertake this major civil engineering scheme in the Unesco- recognised ecologically and geologically sensitive setting.

WDDC  CH2M  BBCS and Aecom

Project with a Geotechnical Value over £3M: West Dorset District Council, CH2M, Balfour Beatty Construction Services and Aecom

The £6.5M geotechnical works included construction of a new seawall and major slope stabilisation using 2,500 soil nails, a 27m deep anchored piled wall with anchors up to 46m long, dowel piles extending to 12m and groundwater drainage to ensure protection of 480 homes.

Judges said that the project partners delivered an “excellent presentation in both style and content” that demonstrated “innovation through the combination of solutions that protects the town but allows the slopes to fail”.

Judges also said that “exceptional value was delivered through the protection of previously blighted property and enhancement of the environment for current and future generations” and

“stakeholder involvement was key including engagement with the residents who contributed ideas for solutions”.

Highly commended: Tony Gee and Partners and Taylor Woodrow Bam Nuttall joint venture – District and Circle Line Underpass, Victoria Station upgrade

Judges singled out the work on the Victoria Station Upgrade for praise because they said it “demonstrated innovation in a number of areas including jet grouting of river terrace deposits and use of rota-sonic sampling”.

The PAL6 Underpass will provide pedestrian connection between the north and south ticket halls on the Victoria Station Upgrade (VSU) project and was engineered within difficult mixed-face soil conditions immediately below the existing Victorian-age District and Circle Line masonry tunnel Consequences of volume loss or soil face collapse were potentially catastrophic due to the proximity of this overlying operational railway.

The solution developed included construction of thick reinforced concrete roof slab with embedded steel work to support the District and Circle Line tunnel combined with ground improvement work, preloading of temporary columns and use of sprayed concrete linings. Excavation of the new underpass was successfully completed in November last year.

Judges also said that the work clearly demonstrated an exceptional collaborative working relationship with London Underground.

Geoenvironmental Project of the Year

Winner: Bam Nuttall: Wallasea Wild Coast Project Phase 1

Judges loved Bam Nuttall’s work on this project and said it was “a very strong submission getting high scores across the board”. The judges said it presented “excellent evidence of innovations that included making improvements in materials testing techniques and equipment with widescale application potential”.

The Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project is using managed coastal realignment to recreate 620ha of intertidal habitat historically lost to agriculture while enhancing flood protection. Nuttall has said that the concept is not new but the scale on which it has been applied at Wallasea is unique within Europe and has extensively used 3M.t of spoil from Crossrail to complete the work.

Geoenvironmental project of the year   Bam Nuttall

Geoenvironmental Project of the Year: Bam Nuttall

Phase 1 of the project involved the construction of flood embankments, water flow control structures and re-profiling the site. The new embankments were up to 5m high, on 18m of very soft silty clay was carried out in stages with provision for the dissipation of porewater pressure.

Nuttall worked closely with Crossrail and the RSPB, as well as project designer Aecom, to deliver the environmentally sensitive scheme.

Judges concluded that the work “delivered very large environmental benefits creating habitats, providing flood storage and avoiding the costs of taking huge amounts of tunnelled clays to landfill.”

Ground Investigation Project of the Year

Winner: Furgo – A9 Dualling from Perth to Inverness

Dualling the A9 is designed to deliver economic growth through improvements to road safety and journey times as well as better pedestrian, cycling and public transport facilities. The advanced ground investigation was conducted to provide information for the 46 km southern section between Pass of Birnam and Glen Garry where the Scottish Lowlands meet the Highlands.

Ground Investigation projects of the Year   Fugro

Ground Investigation Project of the Year: Fugro

The ground investigation involved drilling 140 boreholes to depths of up to 80m using a combination of cable percussive, sonic and rotary techniques in order to tackle varying ground conditions along the route.

Judges said that it was “a very impressive project showing how important it is for engineers to be respectful of the local environment” and offered “excellent technical examples of innovation, adaptability to changing circumstances and delivering client savings”.

Highly commended: Structural Soils and Scottish Power Renewables – East Anglia One landfall approach and major HDD crossing

Structural Soils was commissioned to conduct a landfall approach and major horizontal directional drilling (HDD) crossing ground investigation for a new onshore cable route for the East Anglia One offshore wind farm project planned for Suffolk. Judges said it was “a great example of collaborative working”.

International Project of the Year

Winner: Mainmark – Christchurch Art Gallery Re-Level Project, Christchurch, New Zealand

Christchurch Art Gallery’s multi-storey, glass-fronted, concrete-framed building has underground car-parking and plant rooms and was badly affected by the earthquake in February 2011, which resulted in up to 182mm of differential settlement. Mainmark was brought in by Christchurch City Council to strengthen and re-level the foundations using grouted subsoil columns and injection of quick setting grout.

International Project of the Year   Mainmark

International Project of the Year: Mainmark

Judges said that the presentation “clearly demonstrated the stakeholder involvement and support of other team members on the outcome of the project”. Another judge said that Mainmark had used a “strong and innovative combination of technologies which delivered a great result for the client”

Highly commended: Atkins – Doha Metro, Red Line South, Doha, Qatar

Qatar Rail’s planned new metro network includes the Red South Line with 15km of tunnels and Atkins is involved with both as lead design on the design and build contracts. As part of the work, Atkins has undertaken a major programme of ground investigation, interpretative reporting and detailed geotechnical design for the project.

Judges said: “Removal of the diaphragm walling to form the station box construction demonstrated an excellent management of the design and built contract in order to spend money on an appropriate quality of ground investigation in order to save overall costs.”

Sustainability Award


Sustainability Award sponsor


Winner: Wardell Armstrong - Ballynacor Waste Water Treatment Works sewage sludge remediation

Ballynacor Waste Water Treatment Works sewage sludge remediation

Judges singled Wardell Armstrong’s work on the Ballynacor Waste Water Treatment Works as the winner of the Sustainability Award because it “developed a solution that challenged legislation to allow innovative use of a waste product in the remediation work”.

“Development of the solution challenged legislation to allow innovative use of a waste product in the remediation work”

Assessment of former sewage sludge settling lagoons at Ballynacor identified a risk of ongoing contamination to local water sources and a stabilisation and solidification design was developed by Wardell Armstrong and Vertase FLI. The remediation design included the use of sewage sludge incinerator ash that would normally be sent to landfill, which removed the need to import pulverised fuel ash (PFA) from a power station 20km further away than the alternative material to complete the work.

Sustainability Award   Wardell Armstrong

Sustainability Award: Wardell Armstrong

According to Wardell Armstrong, there is no market for the reuse of sewage sludge incinerator ash (SIA), whereas PFA is a valuable commodity. According to the project team, the use of SIA offered significant benefits to both the project and the wider environment.

Judges said that because the scheme reused 99% sewage sludge originally designated for disposal, the work delivered a significant environmental benefit and very large cost saving”.

Judges also commended Wardell’s project team for its work with stakeholders and said: “The project team also effectively managed the odour and pollution risk to a nearby site”

Highly commended: West Dorset District Council, CH2M, Balfour Beatty Construction Services UK and Aecom - Lyme Regis environmental improvements, Phase IV 

Stabilisation of the landslide on the eastern side of Lyme Regis has been described by the Environment Agency as the largest and most complex coastal stabilisation schemes in the UK. Judges said that the work has “delivered considerable economic benefits and environmental improvements for the town”.

The challenge to the designers and contractors was to undertake this major civil engineering scheme in an ecologically and geologically sensitive setting, which has Unesco World Heritage Site status.

Detailed mapping and surveying of the ecology was carried out ahead of the work to ensure appropriate mitigation measures were planned and implemented.

Judges said: “Significant social and environmental benefits were delivered by adopting a new approach to cliff stabilisation using traditional techniques but in a novel remedial application.”

Rising Star Award

Bachy Soletanche 1 with glow

Rising Star Award sponsor

Winner: Vicky Corcoran, Atkins

Winners of last year’s GE Next Generation Awards were asked to create an activity for school-age children that demonstrates the challenges of geotechnics and showed them the rewards of a career in this industry that could be used by the wider industry.

Rising Star   Vicky Corcoran  Atkins

Rising Star winner: Vicky Corcoran, Atkins

Judge’s selected Atkins Vicky Corcoran, who won the Postgraduate Student of the Year category at GE Next Gen, as the winner of the Rising Star Award.

“The presentation was well-researched and brought human historical context to the challenges of geotechnical engineering”

Corcoran said that she didn’t experience exposure to STEM activities growing up but she was “inspired by stories of engineering and social disasters which could have been avoided if the understanding of natural science was better”. With this in mind, she used the story of William Smith and the Somerset Coal Canal to present her idea for explaining ground engineering to school children aged between 14 and 16 years old.

According to Corcoran, many of the engineering principles used by Smith for the canal scheme are still in use today and led to him developing the UK’s first geological map.

Canals were the UK’s first major engineering projects and Corcoran’s activity starts with a question and answer session to find out what they already know about ground engineering and then uses aerial photographs to get student to look at the geomorphology before moving onto the geotechnical challenges Smith encountered on the Somerset project and how these were investigated. The challenges and issues on the scheme are then compared and contrasted to the challenges faced by today’s ground engineering profession.

Judges said that her “presentation was well-researched and brought human historical context to the challenges of geotechnical engineering” and her “concept presented lots of options to fully demonstrate the problem”.

Highly commended: Gillian Steele, Opus International Consultants

Steele aimed her activity – the Geo Box – at 11 to 14 year old and helps students look at different foundation solutions and understand the basic concept of soil properties and interaction of different ground conditions on various foundation solutions. Judges said that Steele’s concept was an “outstanding outreach activity” and would create “ambassadors for the industry”.

Highly commended: Gemma Sherwood, Atkins

Sherwood used her experience of working in the ground investigation industry to get students aged 12 to 15 to question “the ground beneath our feet” and ask why we need to know and how we can find out what’s there using a hands-on activity. Judges said Sherwood had developed an “engaging method of bringing the topic to life” and clearly “demonstrated the implications and need for ground investigation”.

Award for Technical Excellence

Mainmark Logo GE Blue V 100C 50M 2

Award for Technical Excellence sponsor

Winner: Dr Sauer and Partners, the Bam Ferrovial Kier joint venture and British Geological Survey – Use of a 3D geological model as a geotechnical risk management tool at Farringdon for Crossrail

Judges said that all entries in this category were of a very high standard but selected the work of Dr Sauer and Partners, the Bam Ferrovial Kier joint venture and British Geological Survey at Farringdon Station for Crossrail as the winner because it demonstrated “technical excellence at its best”.

“Excellent optimisation of the geotechnical engineering”

The sprayed concrete lined tunnels for Crossrail Farringdon Station were constructed, mostly in the Lambeth Group, which underlies the London Clay Formation, the preferred tunnelling medium in which the majority of the tunnels in London have been constructed. The Lambeth Group is known to be a challenging tunnelling medium due to its unpredictable lateral and vertical variation in both lithology and permeability. Numerous tunnelling projects in this unit have experienced difficulties and delays and the Farringdon project team aimed to minimise the risk to this part of Crossrail.

Award for Technical Excellence

Award for Technical Excellence: Dr Sauer and Partners, the Bam Ferrovial Kier joint venture and British Geological Survey 

The initial ground investigation in Farringdon raised concerns about the ground conditions including apparently ‘randomly distributed’ water-bearing sand layers, with variable thicknesses and water pressures, and inferred fault zones, then identified as zones of ‘disturbed ground’ of unknown width and character. The lack of confidence in the ground model could have led to very conservative designs and construction methods, increasing cost and potentially delaying the expected completion date.

The project partners recognised at an early stage in the work that Farringdon Station would require a 3D ground model with high degree of confidence in order to assess the geotechnical risks arising from the water bearing sand lenses and the faulted zones in the Lambeth Beds at the site. The model produced by the British Geological Survey was further developed with data from additional ground investigation and the tunnel excavations during the construction of the station and used to inform the construction process.

Judges commented that “detailed logging of the face combined with progressive updating of the 3D model to provided reassessment of the risk issue” and the work “delivered safety benefits by carefully plotting the sand lenses”.

Use of the model by Dr Sauer and Partners and further development of the model during construction by data collected by BFK allowed the contractor to significantly reduce probing offering savings to both time and cost.

Judges said that the work was “a great example of a project following the observational method” and delivered “excellent optimisation of the geotechnical engineering”.

The judging panel were also impressed that results of the work have already been published in a technical paper and this work will “benefit future projects”.

Health and Safety Award

Groundforce Training CMYK

Health and safety Award sponsor

Winner: Ward and Burke Construction – Anchorsholme detention tank spiral climbing formwork

Judges selected Ward and Burke’s formwork innovation as the winner of the Health and Safety Award because it “turned a bespoke construction activity into a reliable manufacturing process”, as well as making a huge contribution to improving safety on site.

“This process completely eliminates health and safety risk to operatives”

The spiral climbing formwork developed by Ward and Burke aims to remove issues related to working from height and minimise vibration, as well as remove risks from lifting panels in high winds.

Health and safety award   Ward and Burke

Health and Safety Award: Ward and Burke

The formwork system consists of fully integrated access platforms and panel system which is constructed at ground level and pulls itself to the next pour location along a rail system. Once constructed, no other alterations are required to the system. There are three working platforms – a lead platform for rebar placement, a middle platform for pouring concrete and a trail platform for joint works and tie holes.

One judge commented: “This process completely eliminates health and safety risk to operatives through a mechanised continuous process that is controlled remotely. Every aspect has been designed to eliminate human interaction or create simple, safe work tasks.”

Another of the panel added: “This submission demonstrated a holistic approach to design, management and implementation using innovations and operator collaboration to simplify and de-risk a complex ground engineering operation.”

The judging team concluded: “The presentation demonstrated a very insightful approach to risk and safety behaviour and how to eliminate residual risks through new construction methods, rather than accept and control them.”

Highly commended: Reactec – Havwear

The Havwear is a wrist-mounted monitor that provides a truly personal monitoring experience and to reduce the vagueness of exposure risks. It calculates and displays in real-time HSE exposure points to inform the wearer of their exposure to vibration. Sound and vibration alerts also inform the wearer of incremental increases in exposure and action thresholds exceeded.

Reactec has said that the system is ground breaking due to its dual ability to calculate HAVs exposure points using either pre-defined tool vibration magnitude or the wearer’s wrist vibration.

Judges said the development is “a product with an industry-wide application rather than a product specifically engineered to solve a ground engineering problem, but because of its merits as an observational and management tool in the monitoring of occupational vibration, it deserves recognition in this category.”

Editor’s Award

Winner: Cementation Skanska and Cambridge University’s Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction: Cem Optics – fibre optic distributed sensing technology

The integrity testing of deep foundations and diaphragm walls is a crucial step to ensure the quality and safety of infrastructure. Failure of such elements often prove very costly and can have significant safety implications.

Editor s award

Editor’s Award winner: Cementation Skanska and Cambridge University’s Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction: Cem Optics – fibre optic distributed sensing technology

One of the most commonly used integrity testing system for these works is cross-hole sonic logging (CHSL), which is based on a sonic echo wave which travels between two reservation tubes cast into the pile or diaphragm wall panel, to assess the continuity of concrete material within the structure.

The system is only incapable of detecting anomalies between reservation tubes and within the central core of the pile or panel only. In addition to the limited information this approach delivers, the installation and connection of these reservation tubes on site has significant health and safety risks for operatives on site.

Cementation Skanska developed the Cem Optics system as an alternative to cross-hole sonic logging. Cementation worked with Cambridge University’s Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction to develop the fibre optic system, which has improved the efficiency of the installation process by over 50% and sped up data acquisition once installed. Use on various projects has shown the approach to be effective on diaphragm wall panels up to 60m deep.

GE editor Claire Smith said: “Cementation’s work has gone well beyond client expectations in order to invest time and money in undertaking research and developing new techniques that offer huge potential for the wider ground engineering industry to benefit from in future years.

“The results of this development not only offer improved pile testing techniques but the new approach is also safer for operatives on site and offers the potential to support wider foundation reuse during future development.”


GE would like to thank the following companies for supporting the event:

Generic Amey logo to use


Celtic enGlobe logo rgb large

Flint Neill logotag CMYK

FugrologoWhiteBackgr RGB

Groundsure insights logo landscape rgb

Keller jpg

Spie Fondations

uretek logo rgb

ZUEBLIN Teams Work rgb





Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.