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Triumph for CSIC as Centre wins Prestigious Fleming Award

last modified Mar 20, 2014 02:07 PM
CSIC has been awarded the Fleming Award from the Institution of Civil Engineers, in collaboration with its industry partner Thames Water and MVB JV, AECOM, CH2M HILL, Bachy Soletanche and UNPS.
Triumph for CSIC as Centre wins Prestigious Fleming Award

Fleming Award Winners: Matthew Bellhouse (Bachy Soletanche), Richard Sutherden (AECOM), Tina Schwamb (CSIC), Prof Robert Mair (CSIC)


The team won the award for innovative monitoring work carried out during the construction of the Lee Tunnel Abbey Mills Shaft F.

“CSIC is delighted to have been part of the team winning the prestigious Fleming Award”, remarked the Centre’s Head, Professor Robert Mair. “This work has provided invaluable data and evidence for future deep shaft design and construction, particularly for the forthcoming Thames Tideway Tunnel project in London.”

At 72m deep and 30m diameter, the Lee Tunnel Abbey Mills Shaft F is one of the largest and deepest shafts ever constructed in London. It forms an integral part of the Lee Tunnel project and the Thames Tideway Tunnel – a major new sewer soon to be constructed to help tackle the problem of sewage overflows from London’s Victorian sewers into the River Thames.

The construction of the shaft provided a unique opportunity to implement a large scale monitoring scheme to measure the shaft’s structural performance and associated ground movements.

This is the first time fibre optic instrumentation has been used in a deep shaft. The scheme involved installing optical fibre sensors in the 84m deep diaphragm wall panels forming the shaft walls, together with comprehensive instrumentation in the surrounding ground. Installation, data analysis, and interpretation was carried out by CSIC PhD student Tina Schwamb, advised by Dr Mohammed Elshafie, Professor Robert Mair and Professor Kenichi Soga.

Measurements of surface and subsurface movement around the shaft showed that ground movements were significantly smaller than expected.

“Tina’s analysis revealed unique information concerning the stresses and strains induced in deep shaft walls by earth pressures from the surrounding ground”, explained Professor Mair.  

Professor Mair concluded, “this is an excellent example of CSIC’s core objective: to develop new sensing technologies for the construction industry, leading to innovative performance-based design”.

The Fleming Award judging panel explained how all the projects presented at the final had overcome fantastic geotechnical challenges and why this particular project took the award: “The Lee Tunnel stood out because of the technical analysis and the boundaries that were pushed to deliver the work.”


The project is the PhD work of CSIC’s Tina Schwamb at Cambridge University; supervised by Dr Mohammed Elshafie, Professor Robert Mair and Professor Kenichi Soga.

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. An emphasis is placed on teamwork across different disciplines involved in the project.

For more information:

Contact Mohammed Elshafie: me254 (at)