Currie & Brown to project manage new soil testing facility in Bristol

Currie & Brown is providing project management services on the construction of a new soil-foundation-structure interaction (SoFSI) facility for the University of Bristol.

Funded by UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC), the new soil-foundation-structure interaction facility will provide a research space for the large-scale testing of foundation structures. The new building will feature two dynamic shaking tables and a large, four-metre-deep soil pit contained within the 2,500m3 concrete reaction mass, housed within the test hall facility.

Once constructed, researchers will be able to investigate the relationship between soil, foundations and structure as one, rather than separate elements. The building will allow for the near-full-scale reconstruction of elements such as bridge piers and abutments, building foundations, retaining walls and other construction components where the structure interacts with the earth. Static, vibration and earthquake-like loads can then be applied to the structure to research and provide answers into ongoing problems faced by the construction industry. The inclusion of modular reaction walls, reaction slabs and other testing equipment will allow for easy reconfiguration, depending on the requirements of the experiment.

Rob Powell, director in Currie & Brown’s Bristol office, commented: “Currie & Brown is proud to be providing project management on the construction of a facility that will be a huge benefit to the industry as a whole. Understanding the way we use foundations in construction will help those responsible for designing, constructing, operating and refining our infrastructure and city systems to make better informed decisions.”

Lead user, professor Anastasios Sextos, added: “Currie & Brown has been a great partner in delivering this high-performance engineering laboratory. They have taken the time to assist with the development of a set of complex technical requirements, been very adaptive to a changing environment and helped to deliver a building which meets both our requirements and the fixed budget.”

The facility is due for completion in March 2021.

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