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JLE yields case history treasure

Monitoring during construction of London's Jubilee Line Extension created a set of case studies that will be enormously important for urban tunnelling around the world. Fin Jardine of CIRIA explains how the data will be disseminated.

Aunique range of buildings, some irreplaceable, some historic, some prestigious, were affected by construction of the Jubilee Line Extension. These include landmarks such as the Ritz Hotel, the Royal Automobile Club, The Treasury, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveryors and, most important of all, the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster, which houses Big Ben.

Most of the buildings along the route are more mundane, but many are substantial structures, such as the seven- and ten-storey Elizabeth House near Waterloo Station and the tower blocks of Columbia and Regina Points in Bermondsey. In the Southwark area around the complex station excavations there are sharp contrasts between post-war office blocks and old masonry buildings, still conforming to medieval boundaries. Further east into Bermondsey, the tunnelling route went below two- and three-storey blocks of flats; simple buildings, perhaps, but ones whose response to the tunnelling works was not certain.

Protection of buildings was only one of the enormous challenges the JLE presented to its promoter, designers and contractors. That this challenge was overcome is enormously important for future tunnelling in London and many other metropolises.

Before the JLE works started, one of the real difficulties faced was the distinct lack of well documented case histories. This was true even for buildings known to have been seriously affected by construction of the initial Jubilee and Victoria lines.

JLE therefore presented a wonderful opportunity, particularly given the pioneering use of compensation grouting as a safeguard against movement of the at risk structures. As one of CIRIA's advisory committees commented at the outset: 'The viability of future urban tunnelling, particularly in London, will largely depend upon compensation grouting being successful'.

We now have evidence. Importantly, the research-quality measurements and observations gained at such great cost to the construction works are not lost or inaccessible or in a box in someone's garage. They can be used and they will need to be used in future urban tunnelling projects.

The engineers for future infrastructure works (and the asset owners and their insurers) will want to see and study the evidence - the case history data - to confirm need and reliability, and to look for money and time savings.

In order to help exploit that evidence, a consortium of organisations has funded CIRIA and Imperial College to produce a book of case histories of buildings affected by the JLE excavations and to organise a conference about the responses of buildings to these infrastructure works.

The book, now being compiled, will contain 30 case histories of buildings along the JLE route. These result from a CIRIA-led LINK CMR research project, Subsidence damage to buildings: prediction, protection and repair, which was sponsored by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions and the construction industry.

The book will be ready for issue to those at the conference next summer.

Since completion of the JLE, both practice and research have moved on, so it will be timely to showcase these developments as well as considering the lessons from the JLE-based research. Hence CIRIA is organising the two-day conference entitled 'The response of buildings to excavation-induced ground movements'.

This will be held in the new Sir Alexander Fleming building at Imperial College, London on 17 and 18 July 2001.

Its principal themes will be:

Prediction of damage to buildings, including subsurface structures, utilities and other facilities The effect of building stiffness The effect of different configurations of tunnels Effectiveness and viability of protective measures, particularly compensation grouting and other new techniques Management of the monitoring process Long-term effects The call for papers on these themes particularly requests case histories combining prediction and measurement.A keynote address will be given by Professor Robert Mair of Cambridge University and the closing address will be by Professor John Burland of Imperial College.

The conference will also feature new UK and international research and the latest developments in the methods of monitoring, damage prediction and protection. It will be an opportunity for contractors and consultants to present the latest developments and for researchers to present their work.

The published proceedings will be in addition to the book containing the LINK-CMR research findings.

Conference facts

Title: The response of buildings to excavationinduced ground movements Ven u e : Imperial College, London, 17-18 July, 2001 Call for papers: 200-word abstracts should be sent to CIRIA, 6 Storey's Gate, London, SW1P 3AU by 30 September 2000.

For further information contact Fin Jardine at Imperial College ( or, if you are interested in having an exhibition stand or want to be on the mailing list, contact Tina Wong at CIRIA (


Bachy Soletanche Balfour Beatty-AMEC Carillion CIRIA Geotechnical Consulting Group Ground Engineering Haswell Consulting Engineers HSE Imperial College Institution of Civil Engineers Kvaerner Cementation Foundations London Underground Maunsell Mott MacDonald Group Ove Arup and Partners Rail Link Engineering Union Railways

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