George Tuckwell receives the award with Dr Nicole Metje of the University of Birmingham
The Street Works UK Awards have become a fixture in the street works industry calendar and once again showcased examples of industry innovation and best practice.
The FINDIT collaboration has combined years of collective experience and new research into a revolutionary sub-street mapping system that locates buried utilities more accurately, indicates their condition and provides engineering information about the surrounding ground.
The project packages the innovations the project team has developed into a commercial product that has been demonstrated at BT’s research test site. The team has developed non-destructive methods to detect factors critical to the maintenance and development of subsurface infrastructure, including blockages, space limitations in the ground and damage to services by ground collapse or disturbance.
Identifying damage or blockages in pipes or ducts that limit their capacity has been an enormous problem. Currently, geophysical sensors are used to detect the location of buried infrastructure and typically, flexible rods or cameras are pushed through to identify any blockage’s location. Until now, however, there has been no reliable method for detecting these critical aspects without intervention.
“Thanks to FINDIT, utility owners can now assess accurately, using rapid, non-destructive mapping, the factors that affect the condition and long-term stability of their assets for the first time,” explains RSK geosciences and engineering divisional director George Tuckwell. “They can also determine the capacity for installing further infrastructure in congested ground.
“Street works cause lengthy disruptions and cost the UK economy about £7 billion a year. FINDIT will result in fewer and shorter-duration utility street works. Beneficiaries will also include property and land developers, transport infrastructure owners and operators, and civil engineering consultants and contractors responsible for design-and-build projects through avoiding project costs and overruns from unforeseen ground conditions.”
The £500,000 project is supported by Innovate UK funding. In addition to the direct involvement of key industry players in the research, it has also generated interest from Network Rail and other client bodies that own utilities infrastructure or are affected by buried utilities.
“I’d like to congratulate the winners and everyone shortlisted for a Street Works UK Award,” Street Works UK chief executive Bob Gallienne comments. “It’s so important and enjoyable to bring together these examples of innovation, collaboration and excellence, and to celebrate the work that is going on right across the industry.
“High-quality street works play a vital role delivering and maintaining UK infrastructure, which is critical to improving UK productivity, competitiveness and balanced economic growth. So, it’s to the industry’s credit and UK plc’s benefit that we continue to deliver excellence and push forward the boundaries of how street works are delivered.”