Birmingham researchers recognised for their collaborative approach to transform how buried infrastructure is managed

Professor George Tuckwell and Dr Nicole Metje picked up 'Best Collaborative Work' at the 'FINDIT: Not just mapping – measuring' project at the Street Works UK Awards 2017

A collaboration between industry and researchers at the University of Birmingham to transform the way pipes, cables and other buried utilities are managed has won 'Best Collaborative Work' at the Street Works UK Awards 2017, which were held at the House of Commons on Wednesday (15 November).


The collaboration, 'FINDIT: Not just mapping – measuring’, has combined years of collective experience with cutting edge research into sub-street mapping to more accurately locate and assess the condition of buried infrastructure. This helps to prevent pipes and other infrastructure being damaged by construction work. It will also help people detect and repair cracks, blocks and other problems early on, reducing damage to property and minimising disruption caused by unplanned streetworks.

The project is a collaboration between RSK, Geomatrix, BT, and the University of Birmingham. Professor David Chapman and Dr Nicole Metje from the Department of Civil Engineering lead on the project for Birmingham, with support from their researcher Simina Rebegea. Dr Metje picked up the award alongside Professor George Tuckwell, Divisional Director for Geoscience and Engineering at RSK and Honorary Professor at the School of Engineering.

Reflecting on winning the award, Dr Metje, Head of the Power and Infrastructure Research Group, said:

‘We are delighted to receive such as prestigious award together with our industry partners. It clearly shows the impact of our research on industry and society aiming to reduce streetworks in the future. We are looking forward to continue the work with even greater impact.’

The Power and Infrastructure Research Group carries out cutting-edge research that provides sustainable and resilient solutions to some of the complex engineering issues faced by humanity in the 21st century.

The Street Works UK Awards are designed to showcase example of industry innovation and best practice, with the aim of driving up standards and reducing disruption. The awards are organised by Street Works UK Ltd is the UK’s only cross-sector trade association representing gas, electricity, water, sewage and telecommunications utility companies, their contractor partners and affiliates. For more information about the awards, please visit the Street Works UK website.

In 2015, the University of Birmingham received a £21.7 million capital investment to build a National Buried Infrastructure Facility (NBIF) as part of the UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC). NBIF, which is scheduled to open in 2019, will provide a 'one of its kind' facility for research, education and training in buried infrastructure-ground interaction, soil stabilisation and improvement, geophysical sensing, pipeline detection and condition assessment, tunnelling and trenchless technologies.