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Concerns raised over basement sustainability

The basement construction boom looks set to continue in London but delegates at yesterday’s GE Basements and Underground Structures conference raised concerns over the sustainability of such structures.

Opinion polls at the event showed 64% of delegates were “quite optimistic” about the future project pipeline, however another poll showed that a major step change in construction methods is not expected.

Just 11% of respondents said that underground space will definitely not be built the same way in 10 years’ time, whereas 61% expect current construction techniques remain the same.

Heathrow senior project managers Steve Lund and Simon Newland presented the organisations plans for a 100m wide, 200m long and 24m deep basement below the Kilo taxiway for new Terminal 2 facilities. However, the presenters were questioned about how such a development fits within Heathrow’s sustainability policies and the environmental impact of removing and disposing of such a large quantity of spoil.

Later in the day questions also arose around the groundwater flooding impact of more basement construction and reduction in natural soakaway. Transport for London tunnel and project engineer Jennifer Henderson said that it was a real concern and that London Underground had just completed a major study to look at the flood vulnerability of its assest.

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