The speaker programme for BTS 2022 will be announce soon

Detailed below is the Speaker programme from BTS 2020+1 … this will be updated soon!

DAY 1 – Thursday 30th September 2021

SESSION 1 – Keynotes

9.15am – 9.20am: Welcome – Session Chair

9.20am – 9.50am: David Wallis Lecture – Tunnellers of the Future – Kate Cooksey, Chair of the British Tunnelling Society/ Senior Engineering Manager, Morgan Sindall

In the year where the BTS celebrates its 50th Anniversary we look to the future and what being a Tunneller may mean in 2070 and beyond? How best can we support the needs of future Tunnellers, what skills might they need and how do we ensure that the lessons of the past are not forgotten?

9.50am – 10.20am: Managing our tunnelling legacy — A new initiative in Tunnel Asset Management – Martin Knights FREng, Chair of London Bridge Associates ltd/Former President of ITA

The UK Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) is preparing a new guidance on Tunnel Asset Management. When published (early 2023) it will present the current state of the art in terms of good practice and support asset owners preparing for the future, including taking advantage of recent innovations and advances in technology. It aims to provide the industry with practical guidance that will support technical and commercial decision making to support the work of a spectrum of stakeholders. Martin is chairing the CIRIA Steering Board and will summarise the context, aims, and programme and how the tunnelling industry can support this initiative

10.20am – 10.50am: Pandemic-resilient infrastructure – Dr Anthony Huszar, Global Health Security Lead, Mott MacDonald

As we emerge from the pandemic, we must remember that infectious disease threats are omnipresent and their impact – on both our health outcomes and our functioning economy – hugely disruptive. How can we learn from epidemiologists and the health sector on how to reduce the risks presented by infectious disease threats. How should we think differently, and what proactive measures can we integrate into our design, planning, and operations?

10.50am – 11am Q&A

11am – 11.30am: COFFEE

SESSION 2 – A look ahead

11.30am – 11.50am: hyperTunnel revealed – a new future for tunnel construction? Mark Carne, formerly CEO of Network Rail and EVP of Shell in the Middle East

hyperTunnel is a revolutionary technology company that has been developing a completely novel methodology for building and repairing tunnels and underground schemes, designed to be substantially faster, safer, more economical and environmentally-friendly than current techniques. hyperTunnel’s goal is to help meet global demand for increased, yet more sustainable underground solutions. Mark Carne explains what it was that persuaded him to sign up to become hyperTunnel’s Chairman and what he believes hyperTunnel can bring to the industry, publicly revealing the hyperTunnel methodology at the BTS conference for the first time

11.50am – 12.10pm: Should the law of the seas apply to the subsurface? Elizabeth Reynolds, author of Underground Urbanism

With competing demands on the subsurface, including from the infrastructure needed to make our cities smarter and more sustainable, is it time for legislative frameworks to govern development of the subsurface? Liz Reynolds from Think Deep UK (and author of Underground Urbanism) talks about the group’s ongoing, cross disciplinary research into the spatial planning of the subsurface. With parallels to the UK’s Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 & Marine Policy Statement, Elizabeth will look ahead to the potential for similar guidance to support the delivery of future urban infrastructure.

12.10pm – 12.30pm: Insurance – current trends and future threats – Patrick Bravery, Global Head of Civil Construction, Liberty Specialty Markets

The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report issued a ‘code red’ to humanity – the tunnelling industry is not immune. Patrick Bravery will illustrate recent trends in insurance loss activity highlighting the significance of water related perils (storm, rainfall and flooding). Patrick will discuss the inherent exposure of civil engineering projects to such perils and contemplate potential control measures that could and should be put in place. Finally, Patrick will share his views on the potential impact of climate change on the insurance industry and the implications this may have for the construction industry.

12.30pm – 12.50pm: How are you doing? Mental wellbeing at the centre of Tideway programme delivery – Andy Alder, Tideway Programme Director

Since starting detailed design and construction, 6 years ago, Tideway’s approach has been guided by the core value of keeping people safe and well. Over that time the importance of mental wellbeing has become central to this. Andy Alder, Tideway Programme Director, will discuss how caring about people’s mental wellbeing is fundamental to keeping people safe and well, as well as enabling Tideway to complete its mission. He will discuss some of the ways the team have worked to promote and enable good mental health, and how they have implemented best practice in keeping people safe and healthy.

12.50pm – 1pm: Q&A

1pm – 2pm: LUNCH

SESSION 3 – Innovation in Action

2pm – 2.20pm: Non-Circular Tunnelling: A New Way Forward – Lok Home, Robbins President

When a flat roadbed is needed, is a circular TBM the best way to go? In this exclusive presentation, Robbins President Lok Home will discuss methods and equipment currently being used in the mining industry for flat inverts, and its increasing potential for use in civil tunnelling. Home will look at case studies in both mining and civil tunnelling industries to demonstrate that by using non-circular TBMs, a flat invert can be safely and economically created in one pass.


2.20pm – 2.40pm: Application of AI to Improve TBM Operations – Prof Mike Mooney, Co Grewcock Chair Professor of Underground Construction & Tunneling, Colorado School of Mines

Artificial intelligence (AI) techniques are making a significant impact in many industries, including underground construction. The application of AI data science/machine learning to improve TBM tunnelling operations requires a significant amount of information to train robust performance prediction models, e.g., for ground detection, tunneling-induced settlement, productivity, tool wear, anomalous behavior, etc. This presentation summarizes an AI framework applied to the Washington DC North-East Boundary Tunnel project and to other ongoing projects in North America. The presentation introduces aspects of TBM tunnelling that can be positively impacted by machine learning, including ground characterization, tool wear estimation, advance rate prediction and tunnelling-induced deformation. Results from AI application in the US show promising results, much to learn and significant promise for AI adoption in underground construction.

2.40pm – 3pm: Quantification of Benefits of Digitalization in Tunnel Construction – Dr Angus Maxwell, Director and CEO, Maxwell GeoSystems

Are we in the middle of a new industrial revolution in tunnel engineering built around digital technologies? The promise of new efficiencies brought about by automation of repetitive tasks, data driven analytics culminating in machine learning and tantalising artificial intelligence has prompted an IT investment drive in some cases up to 5% of revenue. In an industry where profit margins are commonly below this Angus explores whether the industry is currently realising benefits of this investment and provides insights into ways in which the industry can navigate the various headwinds and barriers that currently exist.

3pm – 3.20pm: Developments in achieving Carbon Neutral Concrete – Claude Loréa, director from the Global Cement/Concrete Association

Concrete is the most widely used material on earth after water. It’s strength, durability, resilience and versatility make it the ideal building material for almost any purpose. As the world’s population grows and global urbanisation trends increase, concrete will be necessary to build the infrastructure required to support communities across the world. Our sector recognises the climate challenge, and in 2020, global the cement and concrete industry represented by the GCCA committed to producing net zero concrete by 2050, in line with global climate targets. In October 2021, we will release our roadmap to net zero concrete, mapping out the milestones and levers required across the construction value chain to achieve this important goal and ensure that concrete plays a vital part in the sustainable world of tomorrow.

3.20pm – 3.30pm: Q&A

3.30pm – 4pm: COFFEE


4pm – 5pm: Panel discussion, hosted by Kristina Smith: (how) is digital construction adding value?

We are often told that digitalisation will improve every element of construction, but the proof is a bit thin on the ground. We ask our panel of experts where they are seeing added value, and what changes we need to make to realise more.


6pm – 7.30pm: BTS EVENING MEETING: ‘Closing the loop: Back analysis of sprayed concrete tunnel junctions’ – Dr Nicky de Battista and Dr Alun Thomas

In ground-breaking work by CSIC in 2014, two junctions in a large Sprayed Concrete Lined (SCL) tunnel were instrumented and monitored with distributed fibre optic sensors (DFOS) to observe the changes in strain in the lining during the construction of cross-passages. This was carried out at the Crossrail Liverpool Street Station (Queen Elizabeth Line) in London. SCL tunnels are challenging to design, especially the junctions, because of the complex material behaviour of the sprayed concrete and the ground, the multi-stage construction sequence and the lack of instrumentation data from previous tunnels.
The SCL monitoring data are now being used to compare the measured behaviour with the design predictions. Sophisticated 3D numerical modelling has been undertaken using the FLAC3D software. In this presentation, we will give an overview of the instrumentation and monitoring project carried out in 2014, and describe how the data are being used in combination with the numerical modelling to gain a better understanding of SCL behaviour at tunnel junctions. Initial results show a good agreement with the monitoring data and they also suggest ways to improve the design of SCL junctions.

CLICK HERE to book your Delegate registration

DAY 2 – Friday 1st October 2021


9.20am – 9.30am: Welcome – Session Chair

9.30am – 9.50am: The future of UK tunnelling, Mark Leggett, Key Account Leader, Mott MacDonald

With Crossrail almost complete, Tideway tunnels well underway, and HS2 tunnels just started, Mark reflects on what the industry has to look forward to in the UK tunnelling market. With a focus on carbon reduction and sustainability Mark will also consider how the industry might rise to meet those challenges.


9.50am – 10.10am: Grand Paris Express – Jean-Luc Bischoff, Directeur Opérationnel Projets Internationaux, Eiffage Genie Civil

With 90% of segment pre-casting and 70% of installation of all tunnels on line 16 lot 1 of the Grand Paris Express rapid transit network now complete, this presentation will explain the main reasons for the success of this mega-project. A major contributor has been the validation of the use of steel fibres in the reinforcement of the tunnel lining segments on 13km of the new 18.6km line, when the technical specifications asked for a traditional solution of steel cages, and when the experience in France is limited to just a few minor examples which are essentially sacrificial segments or small-scale confidential tests? This reference represents a French first on this scale in passenger transport infrastructure, and makes it possible to illustrate that the technical advances in reinforced concrete has enabled the dimensions of segments, number of segments in the ring, machine power, reliability with respect to cracking and corrosion resistance, to be perfectly transposable to fibre-reinforced concrete.

10.10am – 10.40am: The Glendoe Hydro Electric Project: Lessons learned following the collapse of the headrace tunnel – Andy Sloan FRSE Managing Director and Senior Vice President at COWI UK Ltd

The Glendoe Hydro Electric project was the last large scale major hydro scheme constructed in the UK. Shortly after opening there was a catastrophic collapse in the headrace tunnel and extensive remedial works were required to recover the scheme. Andy was closely involved with events following the collapse and will discuss the collapse and some of the lessons to be learned describe the recovery project.

10.40am – 11am – Q&A

11am – 11.30am: COFFEE 

11.30am – 11.50am: Lower Thames Crossing – Project Director, Lower Thames Crossing Tunnels, Highways England 

The Lower Thames Crossing is the most ambitious UK road project in the last 35 years, and would take 13 million vehicles a year off the Dartford Crossing, nearly doubling road capacity east of London across the River Thames.  The two tunnels would be the longest in the UK at 2.6 miles and 16.4 meters in diameter, and built 53 metres below the River Thames.  Sinisa Galac is the Project Director for Tunnels on the Lower Thames Crossing and he will give an update on progress, and the key challenges that the scheme faces.

11.50am – 12.10pm: Tideway retrospective – Maurice Gallagher – Jacobs Programme Manager, Deputy Delivery Manager Tideway East

The final shaft base has been poured, 75% of all tunnelling is now complete, tunnel secondary lining is underway and the three sections are now connected. With the focus now turning to connecting to the Thames Water network, completion, commissioning and leaving behind a suitable legacy for London, Maurice reflects on the achievements to date, the challenges to come and looks at some of the lessons learnt along the way.

12.10pm – 12.30pm: Challenges, innovations and lessons learnt during the design and construction of Riyadh Metro Line 5, an urban underground scheme in a karstic environment, Alberto Gomez-Elvira Lopez, Director (Global Tunnel Lead), TYPSA

Alberto will give an overview of a major infrastructure scheme in a dense urban area in karst with a complex hydrogeological regime, including a range of underground spaces such as stations, shafts and TBM tunnels. Lessons learnt, innovation and sustainability considerations during the design and the Designer’s approach to risk management will also be covered in this presentation.

12.30pm – 12.50pm: The Chiltern Tunnels – Challenges for the HS2 and its environment – Jérôme Furgé, Managing Director of Bouygues Travaux Publics UK

How to build two 16km long tunnels while preserving an AONB? The Chiltern tunnels are the longest on the UK’s HS2 mega-project. The length of such tunnels raise different challenges: compatibility with different ground conditions over the distance, logistics for 16km for a TBM (Variable Density Machine) and the interfaces with the environment. Jerome will discuss how all of these are being made possible thanks to the passion of women and men who have developed engineering innovations over recent years.

12.50pm – 1pm – Q&A

1pm – 2pm: LUNCH

Session 3 – Guest Speaker

2pm – 2.40pm: BTS 50th Anniversary – Innovations in mechanized tunnelling since 1971 – Dr.-Ing. Martin Herrenknecht

Tunnelling is, without a doubt, one of the most innovative disciplines. Focused on innovative and cooperative development, the collaboration amongst researchers, owners, designers, construction contractors, machine manufacturers and suppliers, is surely a significant reason for this. The second factor is the market dynamics in tunnelling, driven by a globalized world and increasing urbanization. Around the globe, emerging economies are expanding infrastructures in their urban and regional centers, promoting the interlinking of individual economic hubs by means of new traffic, supply and disposal systems. The general worldwide trend in industry towards mechanization and automation clearly demands a similar development in tunnelling. There are challenges ahead and we need to improve our excavation methods to overcome them – always learning from our past tunnelling experiences. This lecture considers the past, present, future of mechanized tunnelling with a focus on the innovations developed since the 70s and what lies ahead in mechanized tunnelling.

2.40pm – 2.50pm: Q&A


2.50pm – 3.50pm: Innovation Panel hosted by Bill Grose

A panel of industry experts will talk about not only the latest innovations that are coming up in tunnelling, but the main enablers and blockers that influence the type of innovations and the speed with which they are deployed in our industry. What can be done to help tunnelling become more innovative, more productive, more agile?

3.50pm – 4pm: Closing Comments