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UK Project with a Geotechnical Value of between £3M and £15M

This is for a ground engineering scheme (as a standalone project or part of a larger development) with a contract value of over £3M that stands out in terms of its credentials in innovation, sustainability, health and safety and value engineering.

The shortlisted had to explain and provide evidence to demonstrate what exceptional measures were taken to result in the project being delivered above the expected standard.

A key element in deciding the winner will be the contribution of the entrant to the overall delivery of a project.


Exhibition Road Quarter, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Overall project value £49M
Geotechnical value £7.5M

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The ongoing redevelopment of the Victoria and Albert Museum included a new gallery constructed entirely below ground with virtually no superstructure to hold the basement down.

The design required the installation of approximately 235m of permanent hard-firm secant pile wall to support the excavation for the 17m deep basement, while limiting the vibrations on artefacts and without damaging existing shallow foundations.

A research project looked at the heave pressures beneath the raft in stiff over consolidated clays. Fibre optic monitoring was installed with access to the instrumentation incorporated in the design. The intention is to make this data available to help justify leaner, more sustainable designs in the future.

Bachy Soletanche, Robert Bird Group and GCG

Spire London

Overall project value £500-600M
Geotechnical value £12M

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Spie Canary Wharf

The Spire London will be a 67-storey residential tower in Canary Wharf directly over two Crossrail running tunnels.

Due to constraints of the Crossrail tunnels, 60m deep diameter piles were placed in discrete corridors around the tunnels, concentrating the building loads rather than spreading them over the wider site footprint.

Collaboration between the three firms on the project ensured compatibility between the design of the piles and the requirements of the tower design, and the predicted impact of the foundation solution on the adjacent assets. As a result, the complexities of the design were overcome whilst being able to incorporate efficiencies into it.

Mott MacDonald Bentley, Ward & Burke and United Utilities

Blackpool South Strategy, Surface Water Separation

Overall project value £29M
Geotechnical value £12M



With the aim of improving bathing water quality along Blackpool’s golden mile, the firms worked together on a solution for a new sustainable urban drainage system to separate surface water from the existing combined sewer network across south Blackpool - a catchment equating to 700ha.

Comprising of two storm attenuation basins with a combined storage of 13000m3, a 4000m3 underground storm water detention tank and an enhanced network of new sewers providing a further 2000m3 of storage, the final solution will provide largescale carbon reductions in the reduced operation of existing wastewater treatment works due to a reduction in combined flows. 

Southbay Civil Engineering

Prince Charles Wharf Extension, Port of Dundee

Overall project value £7M
Geotechnical value £4M

southbay civil engineering

southbay civil engineering

The construction of an extension to an existing quay was complicated by the need to construct above an existing quay. The previous structure, built only 10 years earlier, had failed and resulted in the quay becoming unusable.

The firm used monitoring and mitigation methods to reduce vibration on the existing structure – which they reused as much as possible, and the deck slab was supported on bearing and combi piles all connected to a sheet pile anchor wall.

A bespoke temporary works tie bar solution enabled the loads to be transferred from the existing to new system for the installation of the combi wall sheet piles and the new deck slab provided a working platform for the installation of rebar, anchor ties, and for pouring of the in-situ concrete relieving slab.

Van Elle, Story Contracting, Network Rail and Aecom

Eden Brows Emergency Works, Cumbria

Overall project value £23M
Geotechnical value £5.4M

eden brows

eden brows

In the winter of 2015, Storm Desmond caused a 500,000t landslip on the Settle to Carlisle railway.

Van Elle was approached by Story Contracting to advise on use of the Elemex percussive drilled solution to form the piles. The anchored contiguous bored pile wall is socketed into the intact bedrock below the failure and was designed to allow the structure and railway to remain stable while the landslide continues to move.

This was the first time that 660mm diameter Elemex piles had been installed anywhere in the world and the deepest and largest diameter ever to have been installed in the UK.

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