Concrete special: Six innovative projects in pictures

31 January 2020

CM takes a look at six unusual and challenging uses of concrete on construction projects, including applications of digital technology and complex temporary works schemes.

Skanska’s novel V-shaped pier strengthening

Skanska used novel techniques to strengthen six of the eight piers on the 155m-long Nene Bridge in Peterborough.

The work included using hundreds of steel bars to wrap each of the piers, creating complex reinforced concrete jackets that supplement the unique geometry of the structure.

As two of the piers requiring strengthening were positioned in the River Nene, a temporary coffer dam was built to provide access below the water level. 3D-printed models of the construction stages were created to aid the project team’s understanding.

Peri powers Rolls-Royce testbed

Peri was appointed by concrete contractor Northfield on Rolls-Royce’s new testbed facility in Derby to supply formwork and access services.

The shell is being built with concrete, featuring walls up to 20m in height and 1.7m thick, to meet strict acoustic requirements. Two walls of different thicknesses – a 1m outer wall and a 1.7m inner wall, with a 2.5m gap in between – form the facade.

Construction of the new testbed facility started in 2018 and is expected to be commissioned in 2020.

BAM uses AI to predict concrete strength

BAM Nuttall has used the world’s first artificial intelligence (AI) concrete strength prediction engine on its £480m project at London City Airport.

The system, developed with concrete monitoring specialist Converge, takes advantage of Converge’s concrete performance data set.

Within hours of concrete being poured, Converge claims it can predict the time a critical strength will be reached with an accuracy of +/- 5%, by applying machine learning techniques.

Low-carbon concrete on major road job

Low-carbon concrete is to be trialled on the £1.5bn A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement project. Mick George Concrete has dedicated a 100-tonne silo at its Cambridgeshire-based batching plant to sustainable cement Cemfree.

It will supply up to 500 cu m of Cemfree on applications including kerb backing, drainage, mass fill and signage, saving an estimated 500 tonnes of carbon.

Produced by materials company DB Group, Cemfree claims to reduce embodied carbon savings by up to 80% when used to replace ordinary cement.

The world’s biggest 3D-printed building

Construction firm Apis Cor has completed the world’s biggest 3D-printed building in Dubai. The two-storey, 9.5m-tall administrative building, was 3D printed on site.

The structure was built up layer by layer, across an area of 640 sq m, using 3D-printing material made from gypsum, cement and geopolymer. Formwork for the columns was also 3D printed, then manually filled with rebar and concrete, while the foundations, roof, windows and insulation were traditionally constructed.

Huge concrete repair job on M5 viaduct

Absolute Photography

Concrete Repairs Limited (CRL) recently completed major refurbishment works on the M5 Oldbury Viaduct in the West Midlands. The repairs included the concrete decks, deck ends and cross-head beams on the 1960s structure.

CRL’s work involved hydro-demolition, continuity testing, installation of sacrificial anodes and then reinstatement with a pre-bagged flowable micro-concrete.

CRL was appointed alongside VolkerLaser by the principal contractor on the £100m scheme, a joint venture between BAM, Morgan Sindall and VolkerFitzpatrick.

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