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National Buried Infrastructure Facility (NBIF) site in February 2019, with work underway
Workers preparing the site of the new National Buried Infrastructure Facility (NBIF)

Construction work has begun on the new National Buried Infrastructure Facility (NBIF) at the University of Birmingham.

NBIF is a ‘one of its kind’ facility for research, education and training in buried infrastructure-ground interaction. The facility will help improve how buried infrastructure such as tunnels and pipes are managed, reducing everyday problems such as burst pipes caused by street repairs.

The site is currently being prepared before construction of the facility itself begins, with NBIF expected to open in mid-2019.

The key feature of NBIF will be its 25m x 10m x 5m deep pit with moveable floor sections. This will enable researchers to simulate at full-scale or near full-scale subsurface ground displacements. 

Cross-sectional view of the National Buried Infrastructure Facility (NBIF)

The University of Birmingham is constructing NBIF as part of the UK Collaboration for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC), a programme of government investment designed to created world-class national infrastructure and research capability. NBIF will be well placed to facilitate industry secondments to promote and accelerate the translation of our research into industry and share best practice. 

Dr Nicole Metje, Deputy Director for Sensors of the UKCRIC National Buried Infrastructure Facility at Birmingham, said: ‘It’s fantastic that work is now underway to build the NBIF site. The facility will strengthen our existing world-class research and allow us to collaborate with academic and industrial partners from around the globe.’