Projects Win NCE International Tunnelling Awards

20 February 2013

Two infrastructure projects that Costain is heavily involved in have won prestigious international tunnelling awards.

Organised by New Civil Engineer magazine and the International Tunnelling Association, the winners of the 2012 NCE International Tunnelling Awards were announced at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel to an audience which included some of the biggest names in the industry.

The first award, for Safety Initiative of the Year, was for Costain’s work on the London Power Tunnels on behalf of National Grid, together with Halcrow, Mott Macdonald, Skanska, VVB and National Grid.

The London Power Tunnels scheme is a major engineering project to rewire the capital in order to meet the capital’s increasing demand for electricity.

Mike Napier, Costain’s Strategy and Business Development Director for Infrastructure, said the project strived to place safety at the forefront of its operations by challenging and improving accepted tunnelling practices. In short, no risk activities were undertaken without careful planning and a strict adherence to site rules which created a culture of “we will work safely or not at all,” said Mike.

The project has achieved over one million RIDDOR free man-hours, with just two lost-time injuries reported. The team implemented a health and safety strategy that aimed to perform beyond legislative requirements in order to achieve zero work site injuries. The project team also established an ethos that all injuries could be prevented if staff were empowered to make changes themselves.

Elsewhere, Costain, along with Laing O'Rourke, Halcrow-Atkins and Senceive, won the Product / Equipment Innovation of the Year Award for developing the Senceive Tunnel Monitoring System on the £300 million Bond Street Station Upgrade for London Underground. 

Senceive is a safe, reliable system that monitored the tunnel lining while grouting took place. The monitoring system used Senceive’s high resolution wireless tilt meters mounted on tunnel lining segments, showing their individual rotational and linear equivalent movements on Senceive’s Webmonitor software. The innovative magnetic sensor fixings, designed by Halcrow and Senceive, allowed fast and simple deployment as well as relocation during shifts, and the design ensured that sensors could also be left in situ during running hours.

“There were many challenges on this project and monitoring the tunnel during grouting was the biggest. The Senceive system gave us the flexibility to move the grouting location on a nightly basis and the confidence that the tunnel movement was within the agreed trigger levels during grouting,” said James Brookfield, a Costain engineer on the Bond Street project.

Tim Embley, Costain’s Group Innovation and Knowledge Manager, added: “Remote monitoring is an important service we are providing to our customers and we are pleased to be able to support Senceive in this innovation. It reduces costs compared to traditional methods and allows our teams to remotely monitor assets safely during construction and through the life of the asset.  Remote monitoring is all about providing intelligent solutions to our customers to enhance their business performance and reduce the cost of infrastructure delivery.”