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Keeping London’s River Thames Clean for Next 120 Years | Thames Tideway East

Keeping London’s River Thames Clean for the Next 120 Years

Costain, VINCI and Bachy Soletanche Joint Venture

Thames Tideway

A joint venture between Costain, VINCI and Bachy Soletanche is working to dramatically mitigate waste and debris spilling into the river with Thames Tideway, a new sewer system for London. 

Key Project Details

  • Project: Thames Tideway
  • Infrastructure Delivered: A new sewer system for London
  • Owner: Bazalgette Tunnel Ltd.
  • Lead Engineers: Costain, VINCI and Bachy Soletanche Joint Venture
  • Completion Date: 2025
Thames tideway 2D design

The Thames Tidway project will replace London’s overwhelmed Victorian-era sewage system, which dumps millions of tons of sewage into the River Thames each year.

Thames Tideway project image

By creating a design that mitigates pollution and anticipates population growth, the quality of the River Thames will return to levels not seen since the creation of the original sewer system.

Replacing an Overwhelmed Sewage System

London’s 150-year-old sewer system was built for a population of less than half of the city’s current 8 million people. As outgoing waste outstripped capacity, millions of tons of untreated raw sewage spilled into the river each year. The Costain, VINCI Construction Grands Projets, and Bachy Soletanche joint venture (CVB JV) is responsible for designing, constructing, and replacing the GBP 850 million eastern section of the tunnel, including 10 kilometers of tunnel works located 70 meters beneath central London, as well as six shaft sites. The project involves 12 design disciplines and numerous supply chain companies and stakeholders, all of which had to avoid damage and disruption to nearby historic buildings and neighborhoods amid tight scheduling constraints. CVB JV required integrated digital technology to push the boundaries of conventional construction to deliver this super-sewer system.

Overcoming Challenges with Construction Modeling

CVB JV established a connected data environment and implemented 4D construction modeling and collaborative planning to overcome project challenges and streamline engineering and construction management. The team built 3D models and linked them to the construction program, creating more than 30 intelligent 4D models. CVB JV used a common platform for coordinated, multidiscipline modeling, and storage of all construction information. Bentley’s integrated technology provided a digital solution that established a visual sequence demonstrating the development of construction activities.

Preventing Clashes and Managing Subcontractors

SYNCHRO 4D facilitated 4D modeling for collaborative planning and digital construction management enabling efficient, safe, and sustainable construction works. The interoperability of OpenBuildings Designer provided the 3D authoring capability to integrate supply chain models in different file formats into coordinated models on the ProjectWise platform. Using SYNCHRO 4D enabled site teams to easily access, view, and interrogate the models to analyze and ensure optimal constructability of the complex construction works. Bentley’s 4D digital technology solution resolved potential clashes and effectively managed concurrent works amid multiple subcontractors working together in highly congested sites.

Restoring the River Thames’ Water Quality

Bentley’s solutions enabled them to deliver a design that mitigates pollution and factors in anticipated population growth. Using the 4D construction models in weekly collaborative planning meetings, CVB JV facilitated development and scheduling of complex construction activities in advance, saving significant project time. The 4D construction models improved site analysis, enhanced constructability, avoided damage to existing buildings, and eliminated rework to save more than 90 days in the construction program, equaling GBP 300,000 in direct cost savings, and GBP 1 million in indirect savings. By using Bentley’s collaborative digital applications, the project team provided accurate visualization of the construction process, improving both communication and understanding among site operatives and stakeholders to streamline workflow, decision-making, and approval processes. When complete in 2025, water quality in the Thames is expected to return to levels not seen since the building of the original sewer system.

The Impact

Sustainable Development 6

Contributing to sustainable and resilient infrastructure, and to progress on the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals:

  • Reduce water pollution by eliminating sewage runoff into the River Thames.
  • Minimize environmental impact to surrounding neighborhoods.

“[Bentley’s] technology shortened design time, reduced resource hours, made meetings more productive, and eliminated tedious tasks. The collaborative approach achieved through SYNCHRO 4D has been key to involving the client, designers, and fabricators during early decision-making.”

Sandra Reis, BIM Manager, CVB JV

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