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Underground Sensor

23 March 2012

A new sensor to detect movement in structures is being used on the Costain/Laing O’Rourke jv at Bond Street Underground Station in central London.

The wireless sensor, from London company Senceive, instantly flags up any concerns to a remote supervisor. Peter Wright, now Associate Director, Tunnels, of Halcrow Group, part of the Halcrow Atkins design group on the project, introduced the devices to the jv team at Bond Street, which is now using them to monitor London Underground infrastructure.

“Halcrow are working with Costain/Laing O’Rourke, London Underground and Senceive to develop this technology,” said Peter. “Being able to deploy it in a live environment has allowed us to advance traditional construction techniques and improve the way we deliver the project efficiently in a challenging environment.”

“I’m particularly pleased at how this innovation has been deployed to benefit the project; the team has been able to advance the development of this technology, in particular the user interface and post-processing of data.

“However further developments will further enhance the functionality of the system and in collaboration with Cambridge University’s Innovation and Knowledge Centre initiative and with further funding, this technology can be further developed and extended into new and exciting applications of remote monitoring.”

Costain has already taken an interest in similar sensors, known as ‘motes’, which send alerts about the movement of a structure. Those emerged from Cambridge University’s Centre for Intelligent Infrastructure and Construction Centre. Costain has a substantial investment in Cambridge University, helping fund research relevant to its needs.

According to Costain Group Innovation Manager, Tim Embley, the Senceive sensor complements the motes and Costain is collaborating with Senceive to look at different solutions that will enhance area remote monitoring capability. 

The man implementing the Senceive sensors’ use at Bond Street is Senior Engineer, James Brookfield. They are being used to monitor the tunnel lining during the grouting that is taking place as part of the Bond Street Station Upgrade contract.

“The Senceive monitoring system has enabled us to mobilise the monitoring in a very short period of time at the start of the shift when time is at a premium,” said James. “It has also allowed us to monitor in real-time, which was an important feature of the grouting methodology.”

The Costain/Laing O’Rourke jv team has been sufficiently impressed with the sensors’ performance to date that it has leant its support, along with London Underground and Halcrow, to Senceive’s attempts to source more funding to develop further its product.

“Remote monitoring is an important service we are providing to our customers,” noted Tim.  “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.”