News & Insights

Triple wins at Tunnelling awards

We are celebrating after winning three prestigious awards at yesterday’s NCE Tunnelling and Underground Space Awards.

Our BBMV joint venture, comprising Morgan Sindall, Balfour Beatty, BeMo Tunnelling and VINCI Construction, won two awards: ‘Technical Innovation of the Year’ and ‘Product / Equipment Innovation of the Year’ for the use of the Uphill Excavator on the C510 Whitechapel and Liverpool Street Station Tunnels project.

The Uphill Excavator was taken from the mining industry but developed in a unique way to be acceptable for underground construction. The approach turns conventional tunnelling wisdom on its head by finding a successful solution for uphill mining of escalator shafts. The judges were impressed by the thoroughness of the development process where safety was the guiding principle and testing was an integral part of the design programme.

Meanwhile, our sister company, UnPS was awarded the ‘Design Innovation of the Year’ for the use of SmartShell™ on the Lee Tunnel project in London. SmartShell™ is the design and use of a high performance steel fibre reinforced concrete (SFRC) as a tunnel lining material, cast ‘in place’ using a full-round shutter. Developed through an extensive experimental programme supported by physical testing at the Building Research Establishment with the University of Warwick, it has been implemented for simpler and safer construction of tunnels’ secondary lining. On this project, SmartShell™ cut 60 days from the programme and saved £13.5 million in material costs alone.

The NCE Tunnelling & Underground Space Awards brought together over 500 industry leaders from across the world. Mark Hansford, editor of New Civil Engineer said: “Now in their sixth year, these awards celebrate tunnelling success and recognise overall excellence in the delivery of international tunnelling projects.

"And our winners – and indeed all our finalists – amply illustrate the brilliance of this industry: its ability to innovate, find solutions to tough problems, and fundamentally – to crack on regardless. This week we have rewarded some fantastic projects and people - congratulations to them all.”

For more information on the Awards go to