Recent Evening Meetings

The BTS holds monthly evening meetings from September to June, generally on the third Thursday of the month. Unless otherwise stated, the meetings are at the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). Additional meetings are arranged by the BTS Young Members, by regional groups and as joint meetings with other societies. BTS Members can view recorded lectures on the ICE website for the first three months after the meeting. Thereafter the recordings are available for all to view and links are added below.


At the Univerysity of Central Lancashire. Joint Meeting: BTS / North West Geotechnical Group / Institute of Mechanical Engineers. From Preston to Hong Kong: High pressure hyperbaric interventions in tunnelling

The lecture will give a very brief introduction to compressed air work and its use for cutterhead maintenance interventions on Tunnel Boring Machines. It will focus on the use of state-of-the-art high-pressure techniques including non-air mixed gas breathing mixtures and saturation exposures for pressures of up to 15 bar. The hyperbaric engineering and physiology associated with such pressures will be explained as will the link between Preston and Tuen Mun – Chek Lap Kok tunnel in Hong Kong. Greenbank Lecture Theatre, Greenbank Building, Preston, PR1 1LJ. Parking permit can be downloaded on the tab to the right.



Technical Challenges with Future Tunnels in Norway: Under the City of Oslo and Deep Fjords

Norway has more than hard rock tunnelling. Under the city of Oslo you can find quick clay, black shale and a huge mix of different good and poor rock. In the middle of the existing infrastructure, we still plan for a new metro line, new railway line and tunnels for water, sewage and power cables. MSc Anne Kathrine Kalager will present the challenges, experiences and possible solutions for urban tunnelling in Oslo. In the more rural part of the country, we open the world’s longest and deepest subsea road tunnel on the 30th of December 2019. And we plan for an even longer and deeper tunnel on the western coast of Norway. Professor Eivind Grøv will present the challenges, possible solutions and the latest research regarding subsea tunnels and other larger infrastructure projects along the coast.


MSc Anne Kathrine Kalager, Project Manager, TBM Follo Line, Bane Nor; Professor Eivind Grov, Chief Scientist, SINTEF

Joint BTS/Minsouth Meeting - West Cumbria Mining

Since 2014, West Cumbria Mining has been developing plans for the creation of a metallurgical coal mine, off the coast near Whitehaven in West Cumbria to supply the UK and European steelmaking coal market, which currently imports around 45 million tonnes per annum. The presentation will cover the extensive programme of coal exploration, both onshore and offshore, which has determined details such as the design of the mine, method of extraction and processing of the coal itself. Mark will also cover the latest updates from the project and it is anticipated that site work will commence in Spring 2020, with coal production commencing around 24 months from the start of construction.


Mark Kirkbride, CEO, West Cumbria Mining

BTSYM February Meeting: Tunnel Maintenance, Repair & Improvement

Tunnels remain the most resilient, sustainable and cost effective civil engineering construction ever devised - as long as they are maintained well. With a substantial number of tunnels within UK reaching the limits of their use, the demand for pragmatic solutions for maintaining, repairing and improving existing tun-nel assets has therefore increased. Drawing in David’s 30+ years of experience, the lecture will provide an overview of various issues that existing tunnels face and explore the solutions that have previously been utilised for repairing, as well as improving, them.


David Hindle (Retired; ex-Chairman, OTB Engineering)

BTS March Meeting: Experimental investigations into the spalling of high strength concrete and the fire performance of tunnel linings

Tom Lennon, Principal Consultant at BRE Global, will give an overview of research into spalling of concrete structures and methods for assessing the fire performance of tunnel linings.


Tom Lennon, Principal Consultant at BRE Global

BTSYM April Meeting: Tunnel Ventilation

ONLINE ONLY - Ventilation systems play a critical role in ensuring operability and fire-safety of tunnels. It is therefore integral to understand reasons for tunnel ventilation, key factors governing ventilation design, and available equipment. Mark’s textbook talk on Tunnel Ventilation will provide an insight into fire and smoke control basics and analysis methods for Rail vs Road Tunnels. The talk will also provide an overview of different ventilation system types and approaches, as well as systems and equipment available for utilisation within underground space.


BTS April Meeting: Cancelled


BTS May Meeting: AGM followed by An industry first collaboration on Silica Dust control in Tunnelling - Australian Tunnelling Society Working Group

The presentation will introduce the key outcomes from the ATS’ Air Quality Working Group which was formed to enable the Australian tunnelling industry to work together with an initial focus on respirable crystalline silica (“silica dust”). This initiative included representation from clients, contractors, and the regulator in the delivery phase of 80km of infrastructure scale tunnelling. The group collectively produced reference material that previously did not exist in the tunnel construction industry’s body of knowledge. In 2019 this group was awarded the ITA Award – Safety Initiative of the Year.


Kate Cole – Working Group Chair (Cole Health)

BTSYM June Meeting


BTS June Meeting:Historical Tunnel Construction – Building tunnels in the 19th Century

The presentation will look at the system by which tunnels were built in the 19th Century following the traditional English method. It will include illustrations based on F.W. Simms 'Practical Tunnelling' for his work at Bletchingley and Saltwood tunnels, C. Gripper and Thomas Walker on the Severn Tunnel and from several other tunnels now belonging to Network Rail. It will show elements of the setting out and sinking of shafts, driving a heading, opening out the main tunnel and lining it and will end by describing some typical tunnel features. Note: Lecture and the Q&A will be broadcasted live on YouTube. Please use the comments section to ask questions on YouTube.


Peter Harris – Director COWI UK

Joint BTSYM/TACYM July Meeting: Time-Dependent Deformations of Shafts and Tunnels in the Greater Toronto Area

The shales of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) experience time-dependent defor-mations (TDD) which are known to be the result of volume change of rock. This change is due to diffusion and dissolution of calcite that is inherent to the shale for-mation upon introduction to fresh water during excavation and stress relief. These deformations can induce long-term pressures on shaft walls and tunnel linings, especially if the permanent works are constructed soon after excavation with little time delay. This talk will present measurements of TDD of recent shaft and tunnel projects constructed in the GTA, and draw conclusions regrading the design impacts for engineers and owners.


Michael Dutton (Senior Engineer, Arup)

Joint BTSYM/TAIYM July Live Webinar: Design approaches to avoid problems during TBM Tunnels execution

This webinar starts at 12:00 and ends at 13.30.


Dr. Cosimo Iasiello, Tunnel & Geotechnical Team Leader, Ayesa (Spain)

BTSYM September Meeting: Implementation of Tamoios Highway

Situated in Brazil's São Paulo state, the Tamoios Highway is a transport corridor up-grade scheme connecting existing highways of national significance. With 85% of the route crossing an environmental protection area, the works include a combined 13 km of NATM tunnels, and 2.5 km of bridges up to 45 meters in height. The alignment spans a diverse topography, including sedimentary plains and steep mountainous terrain consisting of crystalline rock; whilst resulting in wide range of technical, environmental and logistic challenges. The project also incorporates tunnel T3/T4, the longest road tunnel in Brazil (5.55 km in length). This talk will present and overview of the upgrade scheme along with methods and technology implemented to overcome the geotechnical challenges and reduce envi-ronmental impact. Additionally, logistical solutions developed for equipment and emergency access will also be discussed.


Pedro Soares dos Anjos (Project Engineer, Construtora Queiroz Galvão)

Hydrophobic & Pore Blocking Ingredient for use in Tunnel Construction

Cementaid UK is part of the Internationally renowned Cementaid Group of Companies, founded in 1954. Cementaid pioneered the use of its unique Caltite HPI (Hydrophobic & Pore-Blocking Ingredient) in the early 1960’s since which time it has been successfully used in millions of cubic metres of concrete, in 100’s of thousands of Projects around the world. The talk will focus on: • How the use of HPI technology can solve many of the problems associated with waterproofing tunnels; • Enhancing durability, especially in potentially corrosive environments; • How HPI will fundamentally alter both the absorption and pressure permeability characteristics of concrete and in doing so, enhance construction programmes and simplify design; and, • The data presented will be backed up with actual field experience discussion and photographic details of many of the Caltite HPI tunnels that have been constructed around the world and how they have stood the test of time.


Ken Howes – Sales Manager Cementaid Middle East, Alistair McDonald – Sales Manager Cementaid UK

Greenwich Tunnel Boring Machine Delivery – The abridged story

A whistle stop (and hopefully engaging) tour through the challenges, the highs and the lows encompassing the planning associated with transportation of a complete 520t Tunnel Boring Machine shield on Self Propelled Modular Transporters through the streets of urban London to the Greenwich Site and the final execution. Looking at interfaces with local authorities, utility companies, TFL, 3rd party stakeholders, Traffic Management teams, designers & trial runs. Amazon Prime was unfortunately not an option…..


Robert Margariti-Smith – Tunnel Manager – CVB, Conor McQuade – Project Manager – Mammoet

BTSYM November Meeting: AGM followed by Digital Inspections - A Better Way

With an increasingly digital approach to asset management and design delivery in the construction industry, clients can realise huge benefits in both quality and safety when they employ digital techniques. Arup have adopted a variety of innovations to inspect and assess existing tunnels from small linear to large diameter tunnels. This presentation will review some of the projects in more detail and the techniques used to create 3D models including enabling the development of digital twins. Health & Safety Executive (HSE) best practice and effectively working within the Confined Spaces Act will be discussed including examples of remote inspection which has become more traditional following COVID-19.


Will Howlett & James Connell (Arup)

BTS November Meeting: Harding Memorial Lecture 2020 Tunnelling in a Changing World

This lecture will look at changes affecting our industry and what we may need to do differently now and in the future. Tunnels have been an essential part of our infrastructure for centuries and the tunnelling industry remains an essential participant in the development of the infrastructure of the modern world. As an industry we can still trace some of our practices back to the early days and we continue to learn the lessons from earlier projects. Our practices will always need to continue evolving to be fit for the future. Change is normal. A thirty-year career in the industry is long enough to observe some of these changes happening. Some relate to technology – our methods and materials. Other changes are imposed on us by society and circumstance. A year ago we were contemplating Brexit as possibly the biggest business change we could foresee. We did not anticipate social distancing and the demise of urban commuting. Pandemics happened in movies. What changes will be expected of us for future tunnelling projects? Certainly more than just new methods and materials, important as they are. We need to respond to our growing knowledge of the world about us and particularly how our work interacts with our, evidently fragile, environment. As a society our expectations of "work" are changing. Wellbeing matters. Through all this what will attract the next generation of tunnellers into our industry in a digitally enabled age?


Dr Keith Bowers FREng FICE FIMMM FGS Director, COWI UK Ltd.

Meetings held in previous years can be found in the Evening Meetings Archive.