Approaches to Geotechnical and Structural Monitoring for Civil Engineering Projects
Whether used to monitor the performance of the ground or adjacent structures and assets, or to control the rate of construction, civil engineering projects require many different approaches to geotechnical and structural monitoring.
Be it manually monitored or fully automated with ‘real time’ data visualisation, for nearly 40 years the team at SOCOTEC Monitoring has been gaining a wealth of experience in delivering, supporting, maintaining and managing monitoring systems for civil engineering infrastructure projects around the UK, spanning highways, rail, utilities, ports and more.
SOCOTEC Monitoring’s portfolio includes numerous high-profile clients within the construction industry, and below is a recap of just some of the notable civils projects the team has worked on over the years.
Monitoring the UK’s Highways
It is crucial that geotechnical and structural risks are identified, reported and managed during any form of improvement or construction works on or around highways, including the monitoring of earthworks, such as cuttings and embankments, and structures like tunnels and bridges.
For earthworks, whether existing or under construction, SOCOTEC Monitoring designs systems to measure for translational and rotational failures, including inclination, pore water pressure, strain and displacement. Examples of geotechnical projects include:
- Embankment monitoring for Phase 1 of the Perth Transport Futures Project
- Detecting slope failures at Afton Down on the Isle of Wight
As well as monitoring geotechnical assets, SOCOTEC Monitoring has installed systems to measure the impact of highway construction and improvement works on adjacent structures.
For bridges and underpasses, SOCOTEC Monitoring is called in to measure parameters such as inclination, strain, displacements and acceleration, and for existing tunnels, adits and culverts, the team finds itself designing systems to collect data relating to ovalisation, settlement and heave, alongside detecting ground movements as a result of new tunnelling activity. Projects include:
- Providing key value engineering benefits for the Highways England redevelopment of the A19/A1058 Coast Road Junction
- Monitoring the impact of settlement, heave and convergence on the Blackwall Tunnel during the Greenwich Peninsula development
Keeping Rail Infrastructure Projects on Track
From the roads to rail, monitoring in and around rail infrastructure is a cornerstone of SOCOTEC Monitoring’s business and we have the knowledge to design and the expertise to deliver.
From providing a single sensor system monitoring water levels or bridge scour, to highly complex multi parameter monitoring systems with integrated remote infra-red cameras, the SOCOTEC Monitoring team is passionate about working with underground and over ground rail engineers, contractors and consultants to supply reliable monitoring systems to deliver high value data on asset performance, for projects such as these:
- Monitoring third-party assets within the central section of the Crossrail C701 route
- Ensuring critical assets are monitored effectively during the demolition and construction phases of Aykon London One
- Monitoring the impact of the Calders Wharf regeneration project on the Docklands Light Railway
- Installation and ongoing monitoring throughout the Victoria Station Upgrade project
The Unique Challenges of Monitoring Utilities Assets and Ports
Arguably, all environments requiring instrumentation are harsh - including highways and rail - but, certain environments can offer unique challenges for monitoring systems. High voltage cables, ancient cast-iron sewers and gas pipelines all require a bespoke approach if a system is to function both correctly and safely. Likewise, the monitoring of ports can often pose similar problems due to the extremely hostile nature of the coastal environment, the scale of the asset in question and, often, substantial restrictions when it comes to access.
SOCOEC Monitoring has experience across a huge range of asset types and has frequently provided bespoke monitoring systems that comply with specific regulations. Many of our staff hold qualifications to assist in these environments - such as confined space training and rope access - and can ensure systems are installed correctly and safely.
For monitoring water, gas, electrical and sewage related assets, SOCOTEC Monitoring has the capability to monitor parameters such as inclination, strain, structural deformation, displacement, flow, chemical composition and crack propagation.
For ports, SOCOTEC Monitoring has extensive experience monitoring quayside walls, cranes, anchorage points and piles, measuring changes in inclination, water level, pore water pressure, displacement and ground pressure. Some of the projects the SOCOTEC Monitoring team has worked on include:
- Delivering time and cost savings for the Newhaven Port Access Road Project
- Ensuring sufficient compaction of fill material prior to infrastructure construction at London Gateway
Enhancing Vital Decision Making on Civil Engineering Projects with Reliable Data
Whilst the approach SOCOTEC Monitoring takes to designing and installing monitoring systems for clients is dependent on the individual requirements of each project, what all have in common is that instant access to reliable monitoring data enhances the effectiveness of a civil engineering project. Our data visualisation platform, Calyx OMS™, is used on nearly all civils projects involving SOCOTEC Monitoring, gathering the geotechnical and structural monitoring data for interpretation by the client 24/7.
If you are working on a civils project and have a geotechnical or structural challenge to discuss, please contact the team today. We’re always happy to share our expertise.