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International Tunnelling Awards 2013: Driving Innovation

The winners of the 2013 NCE International Tunnelling Awards were announced last week to the largest ever audience at the prestigious Grosvenor House Hotel in London. NCE reports

Organised by New Civil Engineer, Ground Engineering and the International Tunnelling & Underground Space Association (ITA-AITES), the awards celebrate the most innovative and successful projects, companies and individuals from across the global tunnelling industry.

The awards were held in London as a reflection of the Capital’s current position as a global tunnelling hotspot, but the winners came from across the globe (see box).

The winners of the three tunnelling project categories summed this up, with the awards going to projects from the Netherlands, Italy and Australia.

Specialist Tunnelling Project of the Year went to Strukton Civiel for the Metro Station Amsterdam Central Station North-South Line, which the judges‘ said, with its “comprehensive catalogue“ of innovative techniques was a hugely impressive achievement.

But truly outstanding was the judges‘ verdict of the Tunnelling Project of the Year (up to $500M), Toto Costruzioni Generali for the Sparvo Tunnel project, “Variante di Valico” A1 Motorway.

“Success on the winning project came from a truly joint approach by the client, contractor, designer and all other stakeholders,“ said our judges. “The use of innovative solutions, attention to detail around planning and risk management and the engagement of staff and stakeholders makes this an exemplar of how to deliver a complex tunnelling project.“

That achivement matched by Major Tunnelling Project of the Year for projects worth over $500M, which went to Transcity Joint Venture for the Legacy Way Tunnel, Brisbane in Australia.

“This winning project has set new benchmarks for the global tunnelling industry,” said our judges. “The use of new grouting and spoil conveyor technology allow this complex project to be an exemplar for major tunnelling works.”

The judges

Philippe Bakhos, Etihad Rail; Soren Eskesen, ITA-AITES; Heinz Ehrbar, German Railway (Deutsche Bahn); Amanda Elioff, Parsons Brinckerhoff; Simon Knight, Cutabolt; Rick Lovat, ITA-AITES; Alan Myers, MTR Hong Kong; Antony Oliver, ACE; Gordon Tor-Petersen, Qatar Rail; Olivier Vion, ITA-AITES; Bai Yun, Tongji University

ITA-AITES president Soren Degn Eskesen says the awards show that the industry is made of “great companies and great people“.

“The increasing market demands for tunnels and underground space use around the world requires our industry to further develop the technology, to educate our engineers in the art of tunnelling and to train the staff to construct and operate safe tunnels for the benefit of our societies,” he says.

“It is therefore a great pleasure to see a growing interest in submitting entries for the International Tunnelling Awards in all the categories. “Particularly we have with pleasure seen many candidates for the young tunneller, which we find important in light of the need for new and young engineers required by our industry.

“We are convinced that we have a great future,“ he said.

“Here in London, the tunnelling industry is booming. It is the same in many cities around the world. It is booming because governments see the clear need for infrastructure and because they recognise that the international tunnelling community can deliver it, on time and budget. And that is why it is great to be able to showcase what the industry can do at the International Tunnelling Awards,“ said awards host NCE interim editor Mark Hansford.

“This year we have rewarded some fantastic projects and people. And that’s crucial, because in this industry skilled, experienced people are everything. It is the same the world over, as cities seek to expand and support their populations. Because as we all know, in this industry skilled, experienced people are everything.”

Awards and their winners

Young Tunneller of the Year

Winner: Michael P. Cash, Southland Contracting and Tutor Perini Joint Venture

Environmental Initiative of the Year

Winner: National Grid, Costain, Skanska, Halcrow, VVB, Arup and Mott MacDonald working in partnership on the London Power Tunnels

Safety Initiative of the Year

Winner: MineARC Systems, Emergency Refuge Chambers

Technical Innovation of the Year

Winner: Traylor Bros. and CH2M Hill Halcrow , Blue Plains Tunnel: Shaft Design and Construction

Product or Equipment Innovation of the Year

Winner: CSM BESSAC / Bouygues, Tunnel Dismantling Machine – Extension of the West Island Line, Package 703, Hong Kong

Innovative Use of BIM/Design Software

Winner: Parsons Brinckerhoff, Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program

Ground Investigation and Monitoring Award

Winner: Ramboll Arup Joint Venture, Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link, Geotechnical Services

Specialist Tunnelling Project of the Year

Winner: Strukton Civiel, Metro Station Amsterdam Central Station North-South Line

Tunnelling Project of the Year (up to $500M)

Winner: TOTO Costruzioni Generali, Sparvo Tunnel Project “Variante di Valico” A1 Motorway

Major Tunnelling Project of the Year (over $500M)

Winner: Transcity Joint Venture, Legacy Way Tunnel, Brisbane, Australia.

Tunnelling Client of the Year

Winner: Autostrade per l’Italia

Tunnelling Design Firm of the Year

Winner: CH2M Hill Halcrow

Tunnelling Contractor of the Year

Winner: TOTO Costruzioni Generali

Lifetime Achievement Award

Winner: Mohamed Elhosseiny Abdel Salam, Egyptian Tunnelling Society


Innovative Use of BIM/Design Software Award sponsored by Geodata.

Parsons Brinckerhoff scooped this award for its Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Programme. This major tunnelling project saw huge cost savings across the design and construction process through use of an integrated digital model.  The whole project team benefitted from improved communication and increased data management leading to a huge cost, time and safety benefits, said our judges.

Geodata Group head of department, software and systems explains the importance of BIM in tunnelling:

“To understand the importance of the use of innovative BIM / Design Software in a project is the first step to success. BIM and Design Software have to be used during the whole life cycle of a project, from design stage, during construction and also during the operational phase of a project and are effective tools for constructability analysis, estimation and managing project Costs, design validation and review, design collaboration and multi-disciplinary management, on-site coordination and are the central source for information and knowledge.

“A state of the art design, established by the use of innovative design software based on information provided in a BIM, makes a project more cost effective, safe and sustainable. Having the design drawings available in 3D or a full 3D model of the construction enables the field personnel to have access to the design drawings and can report and comment direct from site about construction progress or any required changes or ask specific questions, what leads to shorter ways of communication and a more efficient work flow.

“Using this information enables other fields to display and present their results in context with the information from BIM and the design information, like design limits for instrumentation and monitoring.

“Therefore it is essential to establish interfaces between any information systems used on site and integrate the data from design to these systems. As the amount of data and information will continue growing fast, a tool which helps putting the focus on the important information is essential.”

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