The NAT, North American Tunneling conference, held in June in Portland, Oregon, continued a trend for the every two year fixture.
Despite its timing and location so close to the successful ITA General Assembly and World Tunnel Congress in May in Vancouver, the UCA of SME event was bigger and more successful than the previous NAT in San Francisco in 2008, attracting nearly 800 delegates and an exhibition hall of 102 industry exhibit stands.
Delegates were treated to three days of simultaneous technical sessions listening to international authors discussing the state of the industry, new technical developments, and updates on major tunneling projects throughout the world. Topics ranged from:
• advancements in technology and sustainability, pressurized face tunneling and tunnel lining, and remediation; • design considerations, including design validation, optimization and alignment, and strength and stability assessment; • project planning, from estimating cost and project risk to delivering your project on time, and • case histories of small-diameter and conventional tunneling, and lessons learned while operating under difficult conditions.
The event featured two full-day short courses with a fee of $400 for non-members and two half-day workshops at $50 for each attendee.
The workshop on 'Better Specifications for Underground Projects' focused on identifying the issues and understanding the implications and risks of underground project specifications and as they impact on a project-specific basis by the legal requirements of the owner, engineering design issues, contractor practices, the complexity of the project.
These many factors have all contributed in some way to today's practice of issuing more detailed and more prescriptive specifications to cover all options while adding an additional level of complexity and risk to the project. The instructors were Mike Bruen of MWH and David Klug of David R. Klug & Associates.
The program of coming events organised by the UCA and SME include:
January 25, 2011 The George A. Fox Conference At the Graduate Center: City University of New York, New York City
June 19-22, 2011 RETC 2011 Marriott Marquis San Francisco, California
June 24-27, 2012 NAT 2012 JW Marriott Indianapolis, Indiana
June 23-26, 2013 RETC 2013 Wardman Park Marriott, Washington DC
The workshop on 'Professional Liability Issues for Consulting Engineers on Tunneling Projects' focused on professional liability issues for consulting engineers including liability associated with geotechnical baseline reports and specifications; delegation of permanent design work to the contractor; differing site condition and defective design claims; gaps between owner implied warranty and engineer standard of care; design-build related liability; and third party liability. The workshop began with an overview presentation to set the stage for why tunnel projects pose significant professional liability risk exposure for consulting engineers followed by an open, but focused, discussion on specific subjects relating to professional liability issues on tunneling projects.
Instructors: David Hatem and David Corkum, Donovan Hatem LLP of Boston, Massachusetts.
The short course on 'Grouting in Underground Construction' presented an overview of the materials, equipment and the various grouting methods used in association with urderground construction in soils and rock. Subjects covered included cements and admixtures, grouting equipment and practices, chemical and cementitious permeation grouting, jet grouting, compaction grouting, pre-excavation grouting, backfill and contact grouting and cellular and thermo grouts. Instructors: Raymond Henn, Lyman Henn Inc. and Paul Schmall, Moretrench.
The 'Soft Ground Tunneling' short course presented an overview of the latest technologies in soft ground tunneling covering EPB machines, slurry shields, tunneling under high water pressures and hyperbaric interventions, super large diameter soft ground TBMs, EPBM/slurry selection criteria, machine advance rate and tool life estimations, material transport, segmental concrete liner design and production, NATM design, excavations and ground support, pipe umbrella and spiling techniques, pre-excavation ground stabilization and selection of excavation method. Instructors: Levent Ozdemir, Ozdemir Engineering, Inc. and Jack Brockway, Herrenknecht Tunneling Systems with different course topics presented by prominent national and international experts.
A post-conference field trip to the host city's East Side CSO Tunnel Project was sold out.
During the conference banquet the UCA, Underground Construction Association of North America, presented its awards of distinction for 2010 for Outstanding Individual, Outstanding Educator, Lifetime Achievement, and Project of the Year.
Copies of the NAT 2010 Proceedings are available to non-members for $US189.00 can be ordered on line at the SME website.
A gallery of photos taken during the course of the conference and its social events is published on the UCA of SME website.
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