The NCE100 Technical Excellence award is proof that innovation thrives in the industry
Winner | Davies Maguire’s rising factory
15 64 rising factory png copy
The Davies Maguire team described and illustrated how its Rising Factory could enable a multi-storey building to be constructed at the rate of a floor a week, whatever the weather.
A complex construction enclosure supported off the building’s four corner columns and jacked upwards as needed is designed to allow 100% crane and personnel access to the floorplate of the building and the loading and storage areas.
Davis Maguire had to ensure the factory structure, including the cranes, could cope with high winds and construction loads.
The judges were impressed by the collaboration with client Mace and the improved productivity, working conditions and quality that would result from insulating the workforce from adverse weather conditions.
The first Rising Factory is now working on a Mace site in east London.
Deserving as the Rising Factory was of its victory, the other shortlisted entries also showcased technical excellence and innovation of the highest level.
Finalist | Carillion’s modified crane
A ramp supporting 189 precast concrete “U-kerb” trough units weighing up to 17t each had to be inserted into the narrow island site bounded on both sides by live lines, one rated at 125mph.
There would be no more than 2m clearance between the live rails and the units, which would have to be moved up to 300m up the ramp. Without a radical solution, Crossrail could have been delayed by as much as two years.
Ultimately, the modified crane that was developed by Carillion was approved to operate next to live lines, and in practice exceeded the planned unit placing rate by 180%.
Finalist | WYG’s reinforced earth
Wyg kirkstall forge 1
The 25ha brownfield site at Kirkstall Forge on the outskirts of Leeds is undergoing a £400M regeneration.
One of the biggest challenges
faced by consultant WYG was levelling the site, which sloped steeply down to the river. This meant raising the riverbanks by 5m. Reinforced earth was the chosen solution – not particularly innovative in itself – but the founding of the new 30m span bridge linking the two halves of the site on concrete bank seats built directly onto the new reinforced earth structures is said to be a UK first.
Finalist | OTB’s Hybrid lining
Connecting new tunnels to London Underground tunnels dating from the 1890s was the challenge faced by OTB. The traditional method for constructing turnouts and connections, known as a stepped plate junction, involved extensive hand digging and timber ground support.
For the new extension of the Northern Line to Battersea, however, OTB was asked to come up with a better method of forming two junctions between the extension and the existing line.
OTB’s innovative solution was a hybrid lining, with spheroidal graphite iron used from track bed level and a flat reinforced concrete invert. Hand mining was minimised and no joists were needed to support the operational tunnel.
Finalist | Colas’ solar road
Colas described a new approach to harvesting solar energy from road networks. Its Wattway lightweight solar panels have already been installed on a 1km stretch of road in north west France, where they are expected to generate enough electricity to light a town of 5,000 people.
Wattway panels are thin film photovoltaic cells embedded in a tough 7mm thick sandwich of polymers and resins. The panels are designed to be resin bonded to existing road surfaces.
Finalist | MWH’s Smart Reservoir
Mwh technical excellence image2 adjusted
An “Intelligent Service Reservoir” that can instantly pinpoint any leakage into or out of the structure was described by the team from MWH Global. The concept combines waterproof membranes with integral sensors for remote monitoring and an ingenious modular precast concrete storage tank that can be swiftly assembled on site.
A full scale prototype demonstrated the practicality of the concept. Leaks into potable water storage tanks can cause significant contamination: leaks out of hazardous fluid tanks can pollute the environment. Without speedy detection the results can be catastrophic.
Finalist | London Bridge’s 4D planning
London Bridge Associates (LBA)has been working as part of the contractor’s team on Crossrail’s C412 Bond Street Station, utilising virtual prototyping and 4D planning to optimise the interface between the station project and the over-site development works. With different contractors and different clients on each, it was vital to minimise potential physical clashes.
Contractors often rely on clash detection within the permanent works but, it is rare for it to be extended to temporary works, construction planning and logistics. LBA’s experience at Bond Street confirms that this approach mitigates safety, programme and financial risks.
Finalist | Buckingham earthworks
Excavator control panel
Buckingham Contracting has extended GPS/GNSS 3D machine control to 360 back actors, resulting in a 15% increase in plant efficiency, a 10% reduction in programme time and a 15% cut in concrete and granular fill.
This was down to a reduction in overdigging, thanks to increased excavation and earthworks accuracy, claimed to be within +/- 5mm. The company is now trialling an extended 3D BIM model incorporating results of underground surveys to stop machines entering utility exclusion zones.
NCE100 | Technical Excellence award winners