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Research and development

We are always striving to implement new ideas and techniques. We have joined with some of the world’s leading universities for our research and development.

Fibre optic instrumentation

With Cambridge University we developed new fibre optic instrumentation solutions and other smart sensor technology (Smartpile™). This enables the advanced monitoring of piled foundations, embedded retaining walls and other constructions.

We have used this technology in several cross-rail station projects where the re-use of foundations was the optimum solution. Smartpile™ will enable future redevelopments to re-use piles by understanding how they have behaved in service, what stresses they experienced and any resulting deflections. Deflections found in retaining walls can be fed back into designs to provide safe economies for customers.

Pile-raft optimization

Our partnership with Cambridge University also enabled us to develop advanced soil-structure interaction software, for the analysis of piled-raft foundations and the optimisation of pile design. The optimised solution incorporates the minimum number of piles at the smallest diameter, minimising financial and carbon costs.

Casing extraction reseach and development

We work with City University, in a joint venture with Balfour Beatty, to investigate the magnitude of casing extraction forces associated with temporary pile casings. This work includes model centrifuge testing and full-scale field trials. This work will enable more accurate assessments of extraction loads and the resultant demands made of the piling mat, resulting in safer working conditions.

Tunnel-pile interaction

Our collaboration with Cambridge University and Imperial College involved research on the response of piled structures to tunneling-induced movements. Cementation has specialist, in-house design capabilities for the assessment of the effects of tunneling on piled foundations. Many infrastructure projects involve tunneling through urban areas and alongside piled structures. Areas previously thought to be at risk can be used for tunneling, if the effects of the tunnel on existing foundations can be assessed.

Lateral response of piles

We also work with Bristol University on the validation of p-y curves for the analysis of laterally loaded piles and the comparison of these methods with the more conventional limit equilibrium methods. This can result in more cost effective designs for piled retaining walls and for piles resisting lateral load. As a result, less concrete and reinforcement is needed, resulting in financial and carbon cost savings.

Last updated: 23/01/2017