SOCOTEC wins prestigious Fleming Award 2017

08 December 2017

SOCOTEC, formerly ESG, has won the 2017 Fleming Award for work on the Pile Soil Analysis (PISA) project, a research collaboration aimed at improving design methods for laterally loaded piles, alongside Oxford University, Imperial College London, Ørsted (formerly DONG Energy) & the Carbon Trust.

The Fleming Competition is held annually to commemorate the life and work of Dr Ken Fleming and to recognise excellence in the practical application of geotechnics in a project or a part of a project. The award is presented to the project team which most demonstrates excellence in geotechnical design & construction, with emphasis on teamwork across the different disciplines involved in the project.

PISA is a research project aimed at investigating and developing improved design methods for laterally loaded piles, specifically tailored to the offshore wind sector in time to be used for the development of the UK Round III project.

It is a joint industry project run through the Carbon Trust's Offshore Wind Accelerator programme, which is made up of many high profile companies and industry representatives, with Ørsted, being the lead partner.

The project was undertaken in two phases: the first phase developed a new design methodology, and plan of field testing required for validation

For the second phase, SOCOTEC, designed and commissioned a complex jacking frame, complete with monitoring systems, to deliver field testing plan from which the design parameters will be derived.  The full scale field trials were applied to 1.8m diameter steel tubular piles.  The large scale pile testing took place in 2015 at two specific sites: one in clay and the other in sand, to obtain new high quality data for laterally loaded piles

Philip Ball, group technical director for SOCOTEC said: ‘We are absolutely delighted to win the Fleming Award for our work on the PISA project. By working in partnership with Ørsted, and the academic work group, SOCOTEC was able to deliver a range of pile tests that had never previously been done before worldwide. These innovative tests were carried out to an extremely high standard of quality and repeatability. Due to SOCOTEC’s technical expertise in pile testing innovation, the testing programme carried out was significantly more advanced than any of the academics involved had anticipated.  Having worked with Dr Fleming for a while I can be certain that he would have approved of the applied science to a pile design problem.  The impact on the industry will be significant and long lasting.”