Evening Meetings 2014

The BTS holds monthly evening meetings from September to June, generally on the third Thursday of the month. Additional meetings are arranged by the BTS Young Members. If a meeting report is available this is noted in the first line of the description.


Concrete & Materials Engineering and its role in underground construction

Concrete is the second most widely consumed commodity, after water, on the planet today and is used to line tunnels in pre-cast, in-situ or sprayed concrete form. This presentation will attempt to explain, in simple terms, the fundamentals of the use of concrete in underground construction and highlight the very demanding requirements involved with the construction of tunnel linings. The requirements of the Client, Designer and Contractor will be discussed and examples of concrete engineering and development on the Lee Tunnel (for Thames Water) and other projects will be illustrated.


Charles Allen, CA Consult; Roland Weiss, VSH AG; Richard Sutherden, AECOM

BTS / Engineering Group of Geolsoc joint presentation: Engineering the Lee Tunnel and Shafts through Chalk at Depth

Work is now underway on London's deepest ever tunnel. The Lee Tunnel is the first section of the Thames Tideway Tunnels programme. The presentation will focus on the geotechnical and hydrogeological conditions, particularly the Chalk, and the highly innovative design and engineering solutions that have been deployed. Please note, this meeting will be held at the Geological Society of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BG and is a joint meeting between the BTS and EGGS.


Peter Jewell, C2HM Hill; Matthew Bellhouse, MVB JV

A copy of the presentation is available for download here.


Peter Jewell, C2HM Hill; Matthew Bellhouse, MVB JV

BTSYM: Why become Chartered with the Institution of Civil Engineers?

An opportunity to hear from an ICE London Membership Development Officer about the many advantages to be gained from becoming a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and the different routes to achieving this status. Elena Rinaldi CEng MICE will be there to answer questions and give specific advice or support.


Elena Rinaldi CEng MICE, ICE London Membership Development Officer

BTS / MinSouth joint presentation – The Use of Explosives for New York East Side Access

[A meeting report has been uploaded to the Knowledge section] The East Side Access Project in New York is the first expansion of commuter rail in New York in over 100 years. When complete it will provide a direct link for Long Island Rail Road commuters to a new terminal beneath the existing 100 year old Grand Central Terminal on the east side of Manhattan. It is anticipated that some 160,000 passengers a day will take advantage of this link helping to reduce overcrowding in New York's Penn Station and the subways that take commuters from there to the east side of the city. To bring this plan to reality some 800,000 cubic yards of Manhattan Schist have been removed from beneath the operational Grand Central Terminal and surrounding neighbourhood using blasting, road header and TBM techniques. This presentation will focus on the use of explosives in the densely populated Manhattan environment and especially the challenges of blasting within and beneath a 100 year old train shed to ensure no disruption to train service, utilities and residents.


Andy Thompson, Hatch Mott MacDonald

High Speed Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Railway

The Contract 824 tunnels will be formed through hard rock using drill and blast techniques over a distance of approximately 2.6km. The tunnel alignment runs beneath the natural terrain of Lam Tsuen Country Park between Ngau Tam Mei in the north and Tai Kong Po in the south. Permanent shafts (90+m deep) at either end of Contact 824 for the Ngau Tam Mei Ventilation Building and the Tai Kong Po Emergency Access Point (EAP). The majority of the tunnels will be twin bore single track tunnels with an internal span of 7.8m. The scheme also includes a 110m long twin track Crossover Cavern, which will have a maximum internal span of 22m and a maximum internal height of 15m. Two bifurcations with maximum internal spans of 19m for a future spar line are also part of the contract.


Andy Sloan, Donaldson Associates Ltd

BTSYM: Low Power Wireless Sensor Network installed in cast iron tunnel linings

Followed by a presentation and discussion on: Tunnel Build 2015 and the British Tunnelling Society Young Members Conference 2015.


Heba Bevan, Cambridge University

Harding Prize

[The presentations have been uploaded to the Knowledge section] The annual Harding Prize competition is named in honour of Sir Harold Harding, the founder Chairman of the BTS and is open to young engineers aged 33 or under at the end of 2013. Entrants must submit an original paper relating to any aspect of tunnelling which they consider of interest to the tunnelling industry, with the winning paper selected by the BTS Committee. Further details can be found on this website under 'The BTS' tab, 'Awards' section. The winner of the Harding Prize receives two tickets to the BTS Annual Dinner, a copy of Sir Harold’s book 'Tunnelling History and My Own Involvement', a cheque for £500 and other prizes. Runners up receive a cheque for £100 and other entrants submitting papers of an acceptable standard receive a cheque for £50. This year's finalists and their papers are: Angelos Gakis: Design of a SCL Wraparound Tunnel Utilising a 3D Geological Model for Crossrail Farringdon Station; Leigh Holland: Fire Testing of a Composite Sprayed Concrete Lined (SCL) Tunnel; Edward Batty: Crossrail Western Tunnels: TBM Breakthrough at Bond Street Station.


BTSYM: 'Confined Space Hypoxia' and 'Current Design Approaches: Model code, Eurocode and Fibre Reinforced Concrete'

Hypoxic ground gas is rarely reported in London despite its frequent occurrence in the Upnor Formation and the serious health and safety implications for underground working. The death of two engineers by asphyxiation and recent interception of pressurised hypoxic gas by two ground investigation boreholes highlight the urgent need for research into this hazard which until now has been extremely limited.


Tim Newman, Thames Tideway Tunnels; Christopher Eberle, Mott Macdonald

Crossrail C310 Thames Tunnel, geotechnical and tunnelling related specifics in urban tunnelling and river crossing with low overburden.

[A meeting report has been uploaded to the Knowledge section] Contract C310 consists of the 2.6km long twin tube Thames Tunnel, running between the Plumstead and North Woolwich portals, also within the scope of the contract. The tunnels will be driven through varying ground conditions, consisting of River Terrace Deposits, Thanet Sand and Chalk, with an overburden of approximately 12m. The tunnelling operation has to take account of the pressure variation associated with the tidal River Thames. The tunnel passes beneath several utilities, operational railway tracks, utilities and close to existing subway tunnels. Directly after the exit from Plumstead portal, the tunnel is driven through 150m of mixed face conditions with approximately 7 – 10m of overburden. The route in this section passes through the zone of influence of the North Kent line, a bridge and the Cathedral substation, all key Network Rail assets. Real time monitoring has also been installed along the route, including Automated Total Stations and hydrostatic levelling cells to protect key infrastructure.


Harding Memorial Lecture: Health and safety in tunnelling - evolution and revolution

Harding Memorial Lecture - Health and safety in tunnelling - evolution and revolution. The Harding Memorial Lecture is named after the founding Chairman of the Society, Sir Harold Harding, and is given every second year. The lecture is given by an eminent speaker who presents a lecture on their specialist, tunnelling related subject. Health and safety in tunnelling has advanced considerably in the last two to three decades. Some of the changes have come about by evolution whilst others contain an element of revolution. The lecture will present a wide ranging personal view of issues relevant to health and safety in tunnelling, some of the research behind these issues along with some thoughts for the future.


Donald Lamont MBE

Crossrail Western Tunnels: Urban tunnelling beneath the capital

Please note that this presentation will follow the BTS Conference on Tuesday 23rd September 2014, at the QE2 Conference Centre, Broad Sanctuary, Westminster. Crossrail Western Tunnels includes 13.6km of TBM bored running tunnels from Westbourne Park to Farringdon, Sprayed Concrete Lined station tunnels at Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road Stations, and an emergency shaft and tunnel crossover at Fisher Street. The tunnels were mined under the west end of London beneath a large number of sensitive buildings and close to a range of critical infrastructure assets. These tunnels were on the critical path of the whole Crossrail programme. This presentation will cover the whole development of the Crossrail Western Tunnels, from design, through procurement and to construction and successful completion. It will describe how the numerous technical challenges have been overcome, particularly control of settlement, and design and execution of major SCL station tunnels. The project management challenges will also be covered, explaining how the team maintained the programme through numerous contract and third party interfaces.


Andy Alder (Crossrail / CH2M Hill), Adrian StJohn (BFK JV), and Stephan Fleischmann (BFK JV)

BTSYM: Numerical modelling for complex tunnelling projects - practical insights

This talk aims to shed light on the state-of-the-art use of numerical modelling in projects with high complexity, on the basis of case studies of recent urban underground projects. Furthermore, it attempts to provide practical insights on the use of advanced numerical stimulation and analysis for tunnel analysis and design, and the verification of model predictions throughout significant recent underground projects. The talk may be particularly beneficial for consulting engineers engaged in tunnel design, seeking to broaden their understanding on the implementation of numerical models or, equally, to contractors interested in gaining an insight to the abilities of numerical models and how they may by used to optimise the design and construction process. Benefits and pitfalls of numerical methods for tunnel specific problems, as well as critical aspects of the use of finite methods will be discussed.


Panos Spyridis, Dr. Dipl. Ing, CEng MICE Senior Tunnel Design Engineer (Dr Sauer & Partners, London, UK)

"What could possibly go wrong with a site investigation in chalk?"

Providing reliable chalk core-log descriptions so that marker beds can be identified and CIRIA grades can be determined is a fundamental to major engineering projects involving tunnelling. This talk will first focus on mistakes that can be made with the identification of chalk lithological features and CIRIA grades and how these can subsequently impact the construction project. The talk will go on to illustrate the changes that take place in developing the conceptual ground model for a project as more information becomes available from the site investigation (an iterative process), and the need to provide time for the development of this model prior to final engineering designs. Finally, the talk will consider how to obtain more reliable information in the future.


Professor Rory Mortimore

Logging the Chalk - a new book by Rory N Mortimore

Chalk has proved to be one of the more difficult rocks to core-log as it breaks up readily during the drilling process leading to core-loss and destructuring, particularly where flints, nodular chalks and/or fractures are present. One of the greatest difficulties is the identification of chalk engineering grade which relies heavily on fracture aperture. Obtaining the correct grade to define the depth of weathering and the depth at which fractures become closed is essential whether for tunnels in London or for wind turbine piled foundations in the offshore chalks. Very few geologists and engineers have had the opportunity to study field sections in the Chalk so there is little visual appreciation of the grades or the variation to expect or even what flint bands look like. To partly overcome this difficulty, both field and core sections are illustrated in this book. Logging the Chalk can be purchased from: www.whittlespublishing.com/Logging_the_Chalk


Professor Rory Mortimore

BTSYM AGM and talk on the International Tunnelling Association Young Members Group (ITAYM)

Please note that this meeting starts at 6:30pm


Petr Salak, Vice-chair, ITAYM

Removal of foreseen and unforeseen underground obstructions on MTRC Express Rail Link no. 820, Hong Kong

In October 2010 Dragages/Bouygues TP were awarded the £315m contract to build the section of the high-speed rail link between Hong Kong and Guangdong (Mei Lai Road to Hoi Tong Road). The structure consists of two parallel single-track tunnels each 3.5km long and linked by 14 cross passages. The 9m internal diameter tubes were constructed using two slurry TBMs. This presentation will address one of the biggest difficulties that had to be overcome on this project which was the considerable number of obstructions (deep-laid foundations of current structures, metro lines etc.) along the route. A total of 127 piles (driven H piles, precast concrete, barrettes and bored piles) were removed from 10 different locations (abandoned piers, live structures, foundations…). Project specific techniques were developed for the removal of the piles ahead of the TBM passage. Despite the best care in the preparation phase, the TBM still encountered unforeseen obstructions which were removed using compressed air intervention after a thorough ground treatment operation.


Vincent Avrillon, Bouygues TP UK; James Musgrave, ARUP

Debate: This house believes that Regulation and the accompanying Compliance culture is stifling Innovation and Creativity within the tunnelling industry

This year's traditional pre-Christmas debate looks into innovation within our industry and the factors which promote or stifle it. The proposer and opposer will have 12 minutes each, followed by the seconders having 12 minutes each. The debate will then be opened up to the floor for 20 minutes. The main proposer and his opposition will then sum up for 5 minutes each and then the vote will be cast. The annual BTS debate is a chance to explore some of the issues affecting the industry in an informal surrounding.


Bob Ibell (Chairman, London Bridge Associates); and Bob Cummins (Director, Sodak Consulting) (For) Kevin McManus, (Construction Manager, BSSU), and Darren Page (Director, OTB Engineering) (Against)

Meetings will be held at the ICE, One Great George Street, London SW1P 3AA and will start at 6.00pm and finish at 7.30pm, unless otherwise stated. Tea and biscuits will be available in the ICE Brasserie from 5.30pm. A licensed bar will be open and a variety of foods will be served in the ICE Brasserie after each meeting held at the ICE. Advance booking is not required, and you do not need to be a member of the BTS to attend. The above list may be subject to changes - the website will be updated with any changes as promptly as possible. Details of each meeting will be sent to members with their monthly copies of T&TI. Should you have any queries, please contact the BTS Secretary via the contact page.