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COWI wins at 2017 Ground Engineering Awards

Photo: EMAP

COWI is delighted that Provost Driver Court was named as winner of the UK Project with a Geotechnical value of up to £1M category at the 2017 GE Awards.

The objectives for this £4M project (of which, £950k was for geotechnical elements) were to re-construct an existing foul sewer pumping station located in Renfrew, Scotland, damaged by ground settlement in January 2013; and to densify the ground to protect the new infrastructure against the effects of further movement. COWI worked with main contractor Morrison, groundwater specialist WJ Groundwater and ground stabilisation contractor Uretek to carry out the work.

Working on a constrained site 

The pumping station was located in a heavily constrained site - at the end of a residential cul de sac, so the groundwater control had to be designed to minimise the risk of ground movement to neighbouring properties, and prevent more damage to the pumping station.

The use of dewatering as a means of densifying granular soils is not a new technique but it is one which is rarely used in the UK. It is more often used to induce settlement in newly-placed fill and not in loosened natural soils. Not only was this an unusual use of dewatering with a level of uncertainty over the outcome it was also deployed on a site with significant constraints. COWI designed the works in such a way that there was a high level of control over the outcome and engineers were able to intervene at any time, with measures which had been pre-defined in order to control movements or to rectify their impact.

A comparison of predicted and induced settlement and comparison of CPT data carried out before and after dewatering was used. The similarity in settlements and the clear improvement shown by the CPT data gave a high degree of confidence in the outcome. Monitoring of ground surface, subsurface and structures carried out after completion has confirmed that movements have ceased.

The houses settled in accordance with the predictions and in a way which was imperceptible to the occupiers. No damage was caused to any of the houses or to the buried infrastructure or utilities.

Why the project was selected as the winner

The project was selected from 5 shortlisted finalists due to the innovative solution to a geotechnical solution devised by COWI. The judges also stated that they were impressed by the presenters demonstrating how the geotechnical risks were well understood and managed throughout the project. Furthermore, the high level of stakeholder management, especially with local residents ensured that the judges chose Provost Driver Court as the winner.

Congratulations and thanks to all the Provost Driver Court Team who have been involved in the project over the past three and a half or so years. The team includes Donald Cook, Michael Purkis, Estelle Henderson, Dimos Koungelis, Piotr Pawlikowski, Sean Livingston, Richard Passe, Pauline Sloan, Chris Lang & Colin Beebe.


COWI ranked in Top 5 teams in UK

COWI UK was also pleased to be a shortlisted finalist in the "UK Geotechnical Team of the Year" category, fighting off tough competition from around the country to be one of the top 5 ranked teams in the UK.

The team, based in Glasgow with support from the drainage team in Derby, have worked extremely hard on the "RCDP Collaborative Works contract" along with the wider team which comprised contractor QTS, consultant Fairhurst and ultimate client, Network Rail. 

The five-year contract comprising the design and implementation of a huge portfolio of earthwork, rock slope and drainage regeneration works aims to upgrade and improve the Scottish railway infrastructure, whilst bolstering its resilience against the impacts of adverse weather. The team has worked on some extremely complex and challenging geotechnical projects all across Scotland, with their success driven by the collaborative working environment between all parties. This has enabled design efficiencies and detailed risk management, resulting in the team continuing to exceed the clients aspirations.

About the Ground Engineering Awards

The Ground Engineering Awards is the flagship event for the geotechnical profession and celebrates the very best in the industry.

As a finalist, the team had to demonstrate innovative design, value engineering, involvement with project stakeholders and the local community, and efficient delivery. The judges for the award also expected entrants to provide evidence of exceptional measures that were taken to ensure the project was delivered above the expected standard.


Claire Smith, editor of Ground Engineering, commented:

"This year's winners clearly demonstrate how the UK geotechnics industry is evolving through greater innovation and emerging technology to deliver new levels of engineering excellence while still providing value and sustainable solutions.
It is also truly great to see the focus on pre-emptive solutions to create resilience and reduce risk in this year's shortlist and I hope this will be a continuing trend in the industry."

LAST UPDATED: 06.07.2017