TSP – HoleBASE SI & Extension for AutoCAD Civil 3D

A TRUe story

A new and robust approach to data management has improved quality control and assurance, and saved time and money, on the major ground investigation for the Eastern section of the Trans-Pennine Route Upgrade in northeast England.

One of the key issues facing the construction industry on large projects is the management of ground data. Mismanagement of ground investigation data is estimated to cost the UK economy millions of pounds in repeat work every year.

As a result, when TSP Projects was appointed as a Lead Design Organisation on the eastern section of the Trans-Pennine Route Upgrade Project (TRUe), robust data management was one of the top priorities.

Network Rail is upgrading bridges, tunnels, track, junctions and signalling, as well electrification of 122km of line between Manchester, York and Selby, via Leeds. The eastern section covers the York to Leeds and Selby to Leeds branches, requiring more than 40km of ground investigation and more than 600 ground investigation locations. The project was awarded to an alliance of Network Rail, Siemens, Murphy’s and Volker Rail.

“We realised that a fully-digitised workflow and resilient data system was needed; one that used AGS 4 format for planning, scheduling and reporting of ground data, with checks and balances at stage gates,” says TSP Projects Engineering Geologist Callum Irving.

The data management strategy also involved creating two new design roles: The Geotechnical Investigation Supervisor and the Geotechnical Data Manager.

“The Geotechnical Investigation Supervisor oversees investigation work, checking data recording quality and practices and ensuring site work is conducted and recorded to the required level of detail. They also check preliminary data in AGS 4 format and issue borehole locations and scope changes resulting from changes in design,” Irving explains.

“The Geotechnical Data Manager, on the other hand, is responsible for day-to-day data challenges, solving data and transfer issues, managing client expectations and providing weekly updates. They also monitor workflows and review bottlenecks and hold points to ease data flow and communication across the project, improving quality in the process.”

Working closely with Keynetix and the ground investigation subcontractor Central Alliance, TSP Projects created a fully-auditable data management system using HoleBASE SI to capture, store, audit and issue data.

“This structured approach ensures that data runs through two stage gates: The Geotechnical Investigation Supervisor is interested in the quality of the information taken at source, ie quality control, and the Geotechnical Data Manager is concerned with how relevant the information is and how that information is communicated, ie quality assurance,” Irving says.

“This ensures the client receives information that is both relevant and practical to the proposed work and future designs. It also gives us a degree of flexibility and ensures any data from external sources is reviewed and assessed before it is imported into the database.”

The data management strategy means Network Rail receives a fully-auditable AGS package of ground information on time and under budget that can be used at further GRIP stages, moving towards detailed design, and on future projects and maintenance, Irving says.

“Additionally, the Investigation Supervisor has been able to reduce the ground investigation scope by analyzing the geology and ground risk throughout works. To date, about £1.1M has been spent on ground investigation, compared with similar projects, where the bill would be in access of £1.5M. The added benefit is that the level of detail in the data is also higher than usual.

Additional savings will come at the design stage, Irving adds, when TSP Projects will create route-wide fence diagrams, risk maps and 3D models that will be used to make decisions on future investment and geotechnical risk.

“By reducing the need for repeat works and recording information correctly, Network Rail has successfully reduced the geotechnical risk and saved money, which can be re-invested into targeted ground investigation at high-risk locations for detailed design. This has reduced the ‘risk pot’ and meant more aspects of the project being given the go-ahead, coincidently creating more work for the supply chain.”

The new approach has also benefited TSP Projects’ business, he says.

“We recognised the need for a lifecycle approach to data – not just at the design stage but throughout a project. We also realised that, on major projects with large datasets, information was not being used effectively at the early stages.

TSP Projects’ geotechnical team is now using automated graphs and cross-sectioning tools on a number of projects to improve design efficiency, reduce risk and make effective and efficient decisions in the early phases of projects.”

Having a coherent strategy improves collaboration too, both within TSP Projects’ multi-disciplinary teams and with project partners.

“We can now show real time progress and analyse information in front of engineers, allowing them to visualise the site and ask questions. Additionally, Network Rail has a data package that can not only be used throughout the project but also in future projects and maintenance works. Data can also be fed into the British Geological Survey and National Environment Research Council to benefit future publicly-funded schemes.”

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