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Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction

Transforming infrastructure through smarter information

The redevelopment of London Bridge Station has won Transport Project of the Year and the ICE 200 award at the British Construction Industry Awards (BCIA).


Image: Head of CSIC and ICE President Professor Lord Robert Mair addresses the audience at the British Construction Industry Awards

The BCIA recognise overall excellence, innovation, best practice and effective teamwork in building and civil engineering projects and are, jointly organised by New Civil Engineer (NCE) and the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). 

The ICE 200 award celebrates the project that best demonstrates how the construction industry benefits people’s daily lives. Head of CSIC and current ICE President Professor Lord Robert Mair gave the opening speech at the awards ceremony held in London on 10 October.

Acknowledging the excellence of the projects shortlisted, Lord Mair, who is president during the ICE’s bicentenary and the Government’s Year of Engineering 2018, brought focus to the need for transformation in social and economic infrastructure and the need for the industry to work together.

“Our focus should always be on the long-term value of our infrastructure - not simply lowest cost. What drives all of this work is the importance of getting the UK match-fit for Brexit and ready to compete on the global stage,” said Lord Mair.

“And never forgetting our ultimate aim: achieving the best outcome for the end user and benefitting the public. The British Construction Industry Awards perfectly exemplify these aims – and show what can be achieved through innovative, outcome-driven excellence in construction.”

Judges acknowledged the complexity of the London Bridge scheme and commended the project for being well-planned and demonstrating clear outcomes understood by all in the supply chain. They were also impressed by the use of offsite manufacturing and the use of existing structures to create an impressive interface.

CSIC researchers worked on the London Bridge Station Redevelopment Project (LBSR) in 2016. The project, now complete, which has increased the number of through-tracks and extended the capacity of the platforms, required demolition of several historic vault structures and the construction of new viaducts and a new concourse. CSIC developed new monitoring techniques to tackle construction challenges on the project. The station, the fourth busiest in the UK, was kept operational during the construction works, providing CSIC the opportunity to demonstrate the value of new sensing technologies on a real site, including innovative monitoring of masonry vaults and passenger flow. 

Engineers on the project, led by Dr Sinan Açikgöz, former post-doctorate fellow at CSIC (funded by the Royal Commission of the Great Exhibition of 1851) and currently Associate Professor, Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford, were faced with the task of predicting the response of historic brick vaults under the active platforms to piling induced settlements. Using traditional instrumentation, it is difficult to quantify the response of these viaducts to settlements and evaluate their safety. In order to ensure safe operation of the vaults and the tracks above, CSIC utilised two novel distributed sensing technologies to investigate the vault response to settlements in unprecedented detail.

The distributed fibre optic sensor system, which employs Brillouin Optical Time Domain Reflectometry (BOTDR), was used to examine the strain development at several sections along the vault. This highlighted the location and magnitude of emerging cracks. The second system utilised laser scanners to generate georeferenced 3D point clouds, before and after piling, which were compared to provide global deformation estimations for all visible surfaces. The rich information led to the development of more efficient damage assessment techniques for evaluating settlement-induced damage on masonry vaults.

In parallel, CSIC tested low-cost infrared sensors and cameras to monitor pedestrian flow around a platform of the new station. This exercise allowed researchers to evaluate the accuracy of these low-cost sensors and to determine how the pedestrian flows change as the station was being constructed. This information was linked with pedestrian prediction models which run faster than real time. By combining the modelling and sensing information, CSIC aims to develop a technology which can identify imminent congestions and help station managers identify issues concerning pedestrian flows and respond effectively.

The winning project involved a number of organisations including Network Rail, Grimshaw, Hyder and WSP, Costain, Balfour Beatty Rail and Siemens.