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UNDERGROUND

SPACE
In the Urban EnvironmentDevelopment and Use

Technical Papers

Edited by
Ken Dobinson and Rod Bovven

A Record of
The Warren Centre
Underground Space Project

THE

Warren

cENTRE

F O R A D VA N CE D E N GI N EE RI NG

UNDERGROUND SPACE
IN THE URBAN ENVIRONMENT
DEVELOPMENT AND USE
TECHNICAL PAPERS
Edited by Ken Dobinson and Rod Bovven

A report of The Warren Centre


UNDERGROUND SPACE PROJECT

The Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering


The University of Sydney
June 1997

CONTENTS

THE

UNDERGROUND

SPACE

PROJECT

IS

PROUDLY SPONSORED BY

RESEARCH

energyAustralia
DEPARTMENT OF
PUBLIC WORKS AND
SERVICES

.....

Leighton Holdings Limited

tt
......
HOTEL

INTER-CONTINENTAL
SYDNEY

State Rail

The Underground Space Project is proudly sponsored and


supported by the following organisations

Principal Sponsors
AMP Investments
Silicon Graphics Pty Ltd (Cray Research)
EnergyAustralia
Hotel InterContinental Sydney
Leighton Holdings, Leighton Contractors and Theiss Contractors
NSW Public Works and Services
State Rail Authority ofNSW

Sponsors
Deutsche Bank & Bain & Company/Deutsch Morgan Grenfell
Heath Fielding Australia Pty Ltd
Lowndes Lambert Insurance Brokers
NSW Department of Urban Affairs & Planning
SIF Enterprise Bachy

Supporters
Acer W argon Chapman Pty Ltd
Australian Underground Construction & Tunnelling Association
CMPS&F Pty Ltd
Coffey Partners International Pty Ltd
Connell Wagner
Devine Erby Mazlin Australia Pty Ltd
Dunhill Madden Butler
Frankipile Australia Pty Ltd
Gutteridge Haskins & Davey Pty ltd
IIR Conferences Pty Ltd
John Holland Construction & Engineering Pty Ltd
Kannegieter & Jackson Graphic Design
Maunsell Pty Ltd
MBT (Australia) Pty Ltd
McMahon Associates Consulting Geotechnical Engineering Pty Ltd
Multiplex Constructions Pty Ltd
Phillips Projects Group
Rust PPK Pty Ltd
Sinclair Knight Merz Pty Ltd
Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation Ltd
The University of Queensland
Transfield Pty Ltd

Document designed and produced by Integral Design {intdes@talent.com.au]

CONTENTS

Underground Space in the City


Environtnent Developtnent & Use

Contents
Technical Papers
Project Summary
About the Visiting Fellow

15

Technical Papers
Chapter 1
Chapter 2

Strategic Development & Use of Underground Space


Potential in the Underground

17
33

Chapter 3

Planning the Underground

49

Chapter 4

Environmental Implications of Underground Space Development & Use

57

Chapter 5

Transport in the Underground

Chapter 6

Financing the Underground

101

79

Chapter 7

Law of the Underground

113

Chapter 8
Chapter 9

Geotechnical Aspects
Underground Technology

165
185

Chapter 10

Research & Development to Underground Use

207

Case Study Reports


Case Study A

M5 East- Tunnel Beneath the Wolli Valley

Case Study B
Case Study C

The Eastern Distributor

Case Study D
Case Study E

South Eastern Highway - Adelaide to Crafers


Perth City Bypass

Case Study F
Case Study G

The Greenwood Arcades - North Sydney Plaza


Sydney Airport Link- The New Southern Railway

Case Study H
Case Study I

Melbourne City Link Project

Case Study J
Case Study K
Case Study L
Case Study M
Case Study N

Homebush Bay, Olympic Site

Perth Metropolitan Transport - Strategies and Concepts


M2 Motorway - Twin Tunnels under Epping Park

235
239
243
247
249
251
255
259
263

Queen Street Bus Station, Brisbane

267
271

Elgas LPG- Sydney Underground Caven Project


Brisbane Boys College - Library Resource Centre
Chatswood Town Centre

279
281

275

Case Study 0

Duobus Tunnel for Warringah

Case Study P

Liverpool and the Restructuring of Greater Sydney

287
291

Case Study Q
Case Study R

Sydney CBD East-West City Link


Swanston Walk- Tram Facilities

295
301

Case Study S
Domain Naval Oil Storage Tanks at W oolloomooloo Bay
The Project Team
About The Warren Centre

303

309
312

SUMMARY

Project Summary
By Ken Dobinson
Background
Australian cities have developed their underground basements and car parks and in recent times
underground shopping malls and bus terminals; all have utilities underground. Sydney CBD has its
underground rail, its Harbour Tunnel and its Opera House carpark underground; Melbourne has its
underground rail loop and is about to burrow under the Yarra River for its city road bypass; Brisbane
has its city underground Bus Centre. Coober Pedy and White Cliffs present the exceptional use of
underground space for dwellings.
This piecemeal use of underground space has failed to recognise the potential for underground city
development such as in Montreal and Toronto where giant metropolises have sprung up deep inside
the earth or as in Norway where the most recent development was an underground ice hockey
stadium for the 1994 Winter Olympics. The present approach in Australia has failed to capitalise on
the benefits to be derived from integrated use of underground space shared between fast transit trains,
transport terminals, road bypasses, parking stations, storage and warehousing, shopping malls, light
industry and other commercial uses, pedestrian ways as well as the necessary conduits for power,
water, sewerage and communication.
With this background, The Warren Centre identified the opportunity for Australia to lead the world
in the development and use of underground space through extensive research into this topic, and
thereby initiated The Underground Space Project.

Aim and Objectives


The aim of the project was to develop strategies, supported by engineering technology, for integrating
the use of underground space into the fabric of urban development.
The objectives wereto optimise use of spatial resources in urban development for buildings, services and transport;
to integrate use of facilities in spatial form;
to provide sustainable development with minimal environmental impact;
to develop technologies to enhance opportunities for planning the use of underground space (e.g.
underground mapping); and
to develop engineering technologies for implementing the development of underground space
for buildings, service facilitation and transport.
The Sydney Olympics, in the year 2000, provided an ideal window for show casing how cities can be
better planned to provide benefits for residents, users and tourists alike. The progressive development
of our cities with underground space concepts incorporated was seen to provide an added attraction
to the tourist. At the same time the appropriate use of underground space could enable our cities to
better cope with influxes of tourists without the inherent problems caused by additional surface
development (e.g. overshadowing and traffic on streets).

Study Method
A conventional strategic approach was adopted for the project to Plan the use of underground space;
Develop engineering technologies to use underground space; and

SUMMARY

Prepare case studies


Working parties were established to address the various areas involved.
The process and organisation are depicted below.

Set Vision and Objectives


I

Identity Opportunities, Issues and


Constraints in Use of Underground Space

I
Develop Options with input from
Specialists in Field & Visiting Fellow

I
I

Analyse Options &


Identify Preferred Options

Undertake Research &


Development of Technologies

Produce - Strategic Planning Approach,


City Plan for Use of Underground Space,
Technologies for Planning,
Technologies for Implementation.
Study Process

Warren Centre Board

General Manager

Project Manager

I
I

Steering Committee

Visiting Fellow

I
I

I
I Geotechnical Co-ordination :

: Strategy Co-ordination

j Specialist Working Parties

Planning

Transport

I I Environment I

I
I

Finance

Tunnelling

Study Organisation

R&D

I
I

Legal

I
I Case Studies I

SUMMARY

Strategists, developers, engineers, financiers, lawyers, sociologists, environmentalists, scientists from


government and the private sector - were involved in the project to identifY the issues, the constraints
and the opportunities for the practical realisation of use and management of underground space.
Professor Raymond L. Sterling, Director of the Trenchless Technology Centre at Louisiana Technical
University, a recognised world visionary in underground urban planning, was retained as the Visiting
Fellow for this project.
The project was supported by an extensive public awareness campaign involving metropolitan
newspapers and numerous radio interviews by Professor Ray Sterling and key project personnel.
The project value with input by organisations and individuals was estimated at $3 million.

SUMMARY OF ISSUES, CONCLUSIONS


AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Following is a summary of the major issues, conclusions and recommendations for action developed
by the working parties with Professor Ray Sterling, in preparing the various chapters of this report.

Strategic Aspects and Potential Opportunities


Issues
Australia is increasingly an important tourist destination. It must provide the necessary facilities to
attract tourists without destroying the quality of the environment they are coming to see. This
should be considered as a factor in urban areas as the need for eco-tourism is understood in rural
areas.
The hosting of the Sydney Olympic Games in the year 2000 is resulting in a large amount of
investment in constructing and upgrading infrastructure facilities in Sydney and elsewhere in
Australia. This represents a special opportunity, in keeping with the 'Green Games' concept, for
demonstrating the potential of underground space use to provide this infrastructure with a
minimum environmental impact.
The cost-benefit evaluation of underground space use is strongly influenced by the community
valuation of disbenefits of conventional construction in terms of environmental degradation. For
example, transport in city centres is frequently a 'trade-off' between environment and cost.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to quantifY financially the value of many environmental issues.
Australia represents a small market for the specialist skills involved in underground construction.
There is a need to think globally and look at opportunities to market these skills overseas.
Australia can develop and market its expertise in underground planning, design and engineering
as in other areas of engineering. Cities in Asia will be significant users of underground space to
solve urban problems and represent an important market opportunity.

Conclusions
The use of underground space can be a valuable contribution to the development of our cities
and especially their central business districts. It offers greater surface space for parkland, pedestrian
movement and surface public transport. It provides opportunities for underground transit rail with
underground terminals feeding the city centre; for underground road bypasses that do not
impinge on city operation. It permits secure and accessible conduits to be located for building
services. It allows less desirable surface development - car parks, warehouses and the like - to be
placed underground lessening the visual impact on the city streetscape; it permits underground
pedestrian ways to be established for ready movement in inclement weather. Energy can be
conserved by exploiting the constant temperature and humidity of the underground.
Opportunities exist for use of the underground in the more populated areas of the urban

SUMMARY

environment, where surface problems preclude surface solutions due to physical, environmental or
heritage constraints.
The community is frequently prepared to pay the additional cost for an underground location in
lieu of an aboveground facility.
Many examples of successful use of underground space already exist in Australia but decisions
regarding underground space use have been on a piecemeal basis. Underground space is not an
infinite resource and its use must be managed carefully at both the strategic and detail planning
levels.
Examples exist around the world of almost all kinds of facilities that have been placed
underground but public perception of potential uses is very limited.
Universities are often a natural user of underground facilities because of the need for new
facilities, the desire to retain open space on campus, and the reluctance or inability for the campus
to spread.
The Australian underground industry is in a boom phase with major transport tunnels currently
under construction or about to commence in Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney. Transport
will continue to be a major component of underground uses in Australia.
The large, co-ordinated projects under way for the Olympic Games offer a chance to demonstrate
integrated approaches to mapping and recording the underground

Recommendations
The strategic recommendations echo the recommendations in each of the other working parties. Key
recommendations are:
The Warren Centre to m1t1ate promotion of an awareness of the potential of underground
development with governments and the community. Promote underground development at
appropriate locations - transport interchanges in major urban areas, car parking in town and city
centres, common ducts for utilities in urban areas, warehousing and hazardous materials storage, to
reduce associated risks in developed areas and even sporting facilities, such as squash and indoor
cricket, to save surface space.
State Governments and local authorities to institute underground planning efforts in Australian
urban areas similar to that for above ground uses.
State Governments and local authorities to collect and collate information on underground
geological conditions and existing underground structures and interpret this information for use
in short and long range urban planning.
The Commonwealth and State Governments to provide consistent community standards
governing new utility provision taking into account environmental impacts and community
attitudes. This especially relates to television cables.
The Commonwealth and State Governments to develop a package of uniform legislation across
Australia to rationalise issues of ownership of underground space, with legal responsibilities
between owners of underground space and other affected parties clearly defined.
The Warren Centre with the private sector to pursue the research and development of
technologies to 'see through the ground' to improve database and graphical information systems,
to effectively store the information for rapid retrieval about geological conditions and existing
structures, and to develop visualisation software to allow planners to plan sub-surface uses
effectively
State Governments and local authorities to foster visionary but realistic design examples which
will demonstrate the benefits of the underground with design competitions to focus on the
challenges facing Australian cities, and to demonstrate environmental, institutional and economical
feasibility.
The Warren Centre to initiate the establishment of links with organisations in Japan and other

SUMMARY

Asian countries to promote exchange of experience with underground planning and design and
to institute collaboration on research and development of technologies.

Planning the Underground


Issues
Development space control through floor space ratios, is a primary planning regulation tool.
Limitation on development density does not in itself push building development underground
unless it is coupled with building height restrictions or specific requirements such as for
underground car parking. Accessibility problems caused by high density development does
however encourage increased underground infrastructure including road and rail access.
The climate in Australian cities does not generally encourage underground development.
Preservation of heritage values and maintaining access to sunlight at street level are important
issues in maintaining liveable cities.

Conclusions
Underground development is not an end in itself. It must be viewed as a means of achieving
strategic objectives of the community and government rather than as an aim in itself.
Underground space use can provide solutions to difficult urban problems and provide future
opportunities for development but this must be conceived in response to the planning goals for
the community and not just as a technological push.
This requires that those proposing to market underground projects must be sensitive to the
community concerns and take them into account, not just the financial viability and technical
feasibility. Marketing should involve the assessment of social, legislative and environmental needs
of the country, state and city locality as well as the economic and political sensitivities. The finance
and technology should then be managed/ engineered to meet these needs.
The difficulty and expense of constructing useful underground solutions to urban problems is
often compounded by the past and current piecemeal approach to underground space use in
urban areas. Increases in the use of the underground for major transport related projects and the
rise in the number of private utility infrastructure providers highlights the importance of
underground planning for cities and urban areas.
Plans for urban areas should be based on planning goals and existing land use planning but should
also incorporate the geological conditions and their distribution with the anticipated need for
future underground facilities. Particular attention should be paid to special geological
opportunities in terms of rock/ soil type and easy access from the surface to the favourable
geological conditions.
Development of underground projects should be undertaken by multi-disciplinary teams of
engineers, architects, urban planners and other relevant disciplines, with attention to urban design
issues associated with structures at ground level. Archaeological considerations and implications
should not be under estimated.

Recommendations
State Governments and local authorities to investigate the potential for underground space use in
major urban areas and upgrade the information on existing underground uses.
State Governments and local authorities to include the possibilities of underground space use in
cities and major urban areas, in their conceptual planning and provide for reservation of this space
in their strategic plans. Use of the underground can offer significant potential for improving local
urban conditions - especially those related to road and rail transport and modal interchanges.
Effective solutions may be precluded by other development decisions if the possibilities are not
considered early enough.

SUMMARY

State Governments and local authorities must conceive the use of the underground as reinforcing
strategic objectives and enhancing the environmental quality of urban centres and helping
maintain its street life - not as pulling the urban life below ground.
State Governments and the private sector to pursue technological development aimed at
facilitating cheaper and more risk-free underground construction, as cost is a major barrier to
greater use of underground infrastructure solutions.

Environmental Implications
Issues
Environmental issues relevant to underground development include:
Physical impacts on the immediate environment associated with the construction of the
development.
Impacts on the environment associated with the ongoing operation of the development.
Social impacts of the development on the immediate and adjacent communities.
Broader land use and planning impacts of the development, particularly in terms of its relationship
to the wider urban area.
Design considerations specific to underground development.
Health, safety, psychological and social issues specific to underground development.
Underground environmental considerations that will influence the location of the development.

Conclusions
The impact of underground space developments on the environment will differ according to the
nature and scale of the particular development. Although there are a number of environmental
impacts (e.g. blast vibration and archaeological heritage disturbance) and mitigation possibilities
(e.g. noise and visual impact) particular to underground development, it is not possible to make a
general statement about whether underground development is a 'good' or 'bad' option in terms of
environmental impacts.
As illustrated in the case studies discussed in Chapter 4 - the Park Street Tunnel and the Molineux
LP Gas Storage Facility at Botany Bay, and also in other case studies in the Case Study Reports the environmental benefits of an underground project frequently outweigh its disadvantages.

Recommendations
All parties involved with development continue to improve:
the understanding of the concepts of ecologically sustainable development (ESD);
support with relevant data; and
the valuation and pricing of environmental resources,
to allow a proper consideration and comprehensive environmental assessment over the full life
cycle of a project.
All parties involved with environmental assessment to take on board the precautionary principle
in the design of underground facilities by ensuring that environmental impacts are considered
from the outset and environmental management practices and safeguards are set in train to
minimise impacts.
State Governments and local authorities to include in mapping of the underground, information
on underground heritage structures (e.g. the Tank Stream in Sydney) and foundations which
could be damaged by new excavations.

SUMMARY

Transport
Issues
Road and rail links are long, linear elements that are increasingly difficult to site at the surface or
above ground in urban and suburban communities. The surface is better used for other purposes.
Balance in space allocation in centres is needed between the space available for activity and the
space consumed by transport links and the service infrastructure. Improving the potential balance
by using underground space can allow a real increase in the amount of activity of a centre.
Freeing of space for freight and public transport vehicles to enhance movement should be a
priority in our cities. This can be aided by adding the underground dimension to the available
space resource.
Surface utilities along transport routes in urban areas and suburban areas are visually intrusive and
not welcomed by the residents of the area. In new subdivisions and in more ailluent areas, all
services are put underground. This creates an inequity in impact of the service provision that is
not reflected in the local cost of service.
The current installation of television cables on existing electricity supply poles in urban and
suburban areas runs counter to the previous trends of gradually moving electric and telephone
services underground. Installing new cables underground (where existing services are
underground) and installing them aboveground (where they are still above ground) increases the
inequities among consumers.

Conclusions
The underground offers potential solutions to many transport problems in urban areas - especially
at transport nodes and highly developed areas such as central business districts.
A principal drawback to underground transport solutions is their cost. This can be offset by
capturing land value increases and freeing up surface land or air rights for development. When
cost is the critical issue, underground solutions become more viable when land costs are high and
surface conditions are very restrictive.
Underground transport solutions are invariably pursued because no acceptable surface solution
exists. The issue then is not one of a choice between a surface solution and underground solution,
but one between an underground solution and no solution at all, e.g. at Chatswood in Sydney.
The issue of cost is then related to the need for the facility, rather than a 'trade off' with other
solutions.

Recommendations
State Governments to establish systems for planning, zoning, reserving and regulating
underground space with codes of (best) practice for layout of transport and utility infrastructure.
State Governments and local authorities to encourage consideration of the use of the
underground in planning instruments to reserve corridors for future transport routes, as it does
for surface routes.
State Governments and local authorities to check and modifY building codes where appropriate
so that they do not unnecessarily inhibit underground use.
Local authorities to make a stronger effort to put car parking underground in urban centres, and
thereby retain the surface amenity and environment.
Commonwealth, State Governments and local authorities to continue to move to place services
such as electricity, phone and cable television underground in urban and suburban areas and
reverse the current trend for overhead cable television installation.
Commonwealth, State Governments, local authorities and utility providers to seek opportunities
for grouping utilities in common ducts or utilidors to ease future maintenance and optimise

SUMMARY

future use of the underground beneath the public right-of-way.


Commonwealth Government to settle the issue of Infrastructure Bonds for public infrastructure
projects vis-a-vis tax implication for these projects. This applies to all types of infrastructure
projects, but the lack of uniform application to all infrastructure projects and the uncertainty
regarding potential changes m regulations has a very damaging effect on the development of
infrastructure projects.
The Warren Centre to pursue opportumtles for R&D partnerships funding, related to making
underground infrastructure cheaper, more reliable and better planned. (Note: The transport group
endorsed the emphasis on underground mapping made by the R&D working party.)

Financing Underground Development


Issues
Increasingly, government is looking to private investment or a combination of public sector and
private sector funding to provide major new infrastructure.
Funding jointly by the public and private sectors introduces the additional factors of risk sharing,
taxation treatment and Loan Council involvement.
Risks to financial participants in a project include physical risk, institutional risk and income risk.

Conclusions
The Australian finance community is well versed in the financing techniques applicable to
projects and has demonstrated its willingness to examine underground projects on an equal basis
with conventional above ground infrastructure projects.
The provision of financing for underground projects introduces additional elements for
consideration. These relate to a variety of issues including legal title, increased capital and
operating costs and the uncertainty of tax treatment.
Infrastructure bonds play an important role in the financial evaluation of privately-funded
infrastructure projects. These bonds have been curtailed for toll road infrastructure projects, which
will impact on the possibility of using private finance to help solve transport problems.
Unique projects and projects involving substantial elements of risk are often bypassed for safer
options - even when the potential rewards are high. Government is theoretically in the best
position to manage the risks associated with major infrastructure projects at the lowest possible
cost. However, it seldom manages to do this effectively because of an unwillingness to be
responsible for risk and government financial management procedures concerning risk.
Anomalies in taxation legislation continue to cause problems in the financing and accounting
procedures for infrastructure projects but are not well understood by decision makers and the
media.

Recommendations
Commonwealth Government to remove the financial anomalies in taxation legislation which
provide disincentives to private development of public infrastructure and preserve the financial
incentives necessary to involve private finance in the provision of needed Australian transport
infrastructure projects, e.g. remove the uncertainty relating to infrastructure bonds.
Commonwealth Government to include underground projects as a new category of qualifYing
projects for financial incentives to encourage infrastructure projects that have a lowered
environmental impact.
Commonwealth, State Governments, and local authorities to improve the handling of risk in the
financial management of public or public-private underground projects - with the party
(government or private sector) best able to accommodate the risk, assuming that risk.

SUMMARY

Commonwealth Government and private sector to work together to enable Australia to play an
important role in the financing and management of underground projects in Asia and the South
Pacific. To do this, Australia must be competitive with other countries in terms of tax structures
for expatriates, promotional support of Australian expertise overseas, and the provision of suitable
foreign aid structures.

The Lavv of the Underground


Issues
The depth to which the owner of the surface land owns the ground below the surface and the
interaction with mineral rights are important issues.
The liability issues related to subsidence above underground projects and removal of lateral
support to adjacent properties become more complicated when land ownership is subdivided
vertically as well as horizontally.
Planning, zoning and building code regulations and standard forms of construction contract do
not necessarily properly reflect the nature of underground projects.

Conclusions
Laws regarding the ownership of underground space and administrative procedures relating to
underground development are not uniform across Australia. For example, the State ofVictoria
places a depth restriction on land ownership.
The use of underground space is possible under the legal system in all states but uncertainty
regarding legal liability and risk allocation issues could significantly impede potential
development.
The harmonisation of all laws bearing on commercial activities in Australia will enhance the
development and use of underground space just as much as it will benefit the economy as a whole.
Current trends in the fields ofbuilding and workplace health and safety controls are to be applauded.
However, much more could be done to achieve uniformity in land ownership, land use, and
environmental laws across Australia.

Recommendations
Property LAw
Commonwealth and State Governments to enact uniform legislation limit the depth to which
the owner of the surface owns the ground below the surface to the practical depth necessary for
ordinary use and enjoyment.
State Governments to update State land titles legislation to enhance the ability to subdivide land
into strata. This could be achieved by defining 'land' in the relevant legislation as being expressly
three dimensional with ownership expressed to include the vertical as well as the horizontal.
Local authorities to develop guidelines to deal with the concept of horizontal subdivision to
prevent delay in local authorities approval.
Commonwealth and State Governments to reform the present archaic law relating to right of
support by adjoining land to ensure that buildings are legally protected against subsidence.
Commonwealth and State Governments to address the issue of shared use of existing
underground infrastructure. As the number of utilities servicing cities increases, a legislative
scheme needs to co-ordinate and rationalise further developments in this regard.
State Governments to amend relevant Mining Acts to permit declared minerals to be removed
from sites, such as building sites, where the principal activity is not building, subject to payment of
royalties to the State if required by the Minister. This would clarifY the issue of ownership of
mineral resources for underground space developers.

SUMMARY

The State Governments and the insurance industry to consider the establishment of a statutorybased, but developer-funded, insurance scheme for underground development, similar to that used
for mine subsidence in New South Wales. Such a system could be employed to protect the
interests of surrounding landowners where it is intended to develop underground space or to
develop above existing underground developments.

Planning and Environment Law


State Governments to amend town planning legislation to give express powers to grant different
zoning to different stratum ofland.
State Governments and local authorities to amend legislation and planning instruments to give
express recognition to town planning matters which are particularly relevant to underground
developments. For example, the list of town planning considerations in section 90 of the
Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) should be examined and where
relevant amended so as to include town planning considerations of particular reference to
underground space developments.
State Governments and local authorities to consider whether applications for underground space
developments should be administered and assessed in a particular manner. Because of the
likelihood that special town planning considerations will apply, it may be desirable to introduce
specific planning instruments for underground space development. Consideration should be given
to requiring a higher level of assessment to applications for underground space development. For
example, in NSW town planning applications, some types of development require detailed
environmental impact statements to be prepared; these may be required for many types of
underground space development.

Building Approval Law Riform


State Governments to amend building approval legislation to deal specifically with underground
construction.
State Governments to adapt the new Performance Building Code of Australia to circumstances of
underground development. Although this code is, in principle, well directed at underground
development, the requirement for natural light and ventilation needs modification.

Workplace Health and Safety Laws


State Governments to continue to change their legislative frameworks to adopt the standards
declared by the National Taskforce on the Harmonisation of Existing Occupational Health and
Safety Standards.
State Governments to clarify and unify across Australia the present amalgam of mine safety,
construction safety and general workplace safety laws, regulations and codes for underground,
subject to variations in response to local geology. The NSW Code of Practice for Tunnels under
Construction appears suitable as a basis for adoption in other States.

Underground Construction Contracts


Commonwealth, State Governments and local authorities to review committee generated
standard form construction contracts to introduce genuine risk sharing in relation to latent
conditions.
Commonwealth, State Governments and local authorities to reform mandatory notification
periods in standard contracts for latent conditions to better reflect geotechnical realities.
All stakeholders in underground space development to seek constructive pro-active legal advice at
the earliest possible stage to ensure that the most appropriate form of project structure is used and
that the documentation clearly sets out the agreed risk allocation.

10

SUMMARY

Geotechnical Aspects
Issues
Underground construction projects differ from conventional construction projects principally in
the difficulty of knowing exactly what conditions are present below ground. This especially
applies to offshore projects such as ocean outfalls.
This uncertainty leads to risks of cost and schedule overruns and to unproductive legal battles
over changed conditions that further increase costs.
The level of geotechnical investigation often is not adjusted adequately to match the local
geological variability and geotechnical risk.

Conclusions
Many problems in underground construction projects can be avoided if the appropriate level of
site investigation is carried out and appropriate geotechnical expertise is available to review
deviations from anticipated conditions as they are encountered.
Underground projects usually contain some risk of changing ground conditions. Contractual risks
associated with these changes are best handled by appropriate and explicit risk sharing between
the owner and the contractor. Passing all the risk to the contractor is not often successful legally
and simply results in increasing bid prices to cover the cost of risk.

Recommendations
'Risk-sharing' is recommended to the developer and contractor as the preferred contracting
methodology for underground projects as it will minimise the financial consequences of variable
ground conditions. Funding bodies need to be made aware of the likely extra financial burden to
be incurred by moving away from 'risk sharing'_
Developers and contractors to amend the 28 day period for notification of claims for latent
conditions to allow for ground condition impacts which are not immediately recognisable.
Developers and contractors to allow in funding geotechnical investigations for changes m the
level and nature of the investigation based on what is discovered from preliminary data. Lump
sum approaches to site investigation funding are rarely appropriate.
Developers and contractors to continue geotechnical investigation and review throughout an
underground project to make sure that anticipated ground conditions are in fact present.
State Governments and local authorities to initiate action to retain geotechnical data collected
prior to, during underground projects and 'as-built' structure data, in the public domain to serve
as the basis for future project planning. The integration and accessibility of geological and
underground structure data must be improved (see also the R&D chapter).

Underground Technology
Issues
Improvements in underground construction technology are reducing construction costs and risks.
Higher design standards and environmental mitigation costs have offset much of the cost impact
of technology improvements.
The size of the Australian underground construction market impacts the range of major
specialised which is available for small to medium-size projects and also the incentive to develop
capital-intensive construction equipment.
Information about the impact of recent technological changes on safety, risk and cost needs to be
better publicised in the broader design, planning and decision-making communities.

11

SUMMARY

Conclusions
With its large pool of engineering expertise gained over many years in civil and mining
engineering, Australia is well able to design construct and manage major underground projects.
State-of-the-art technology continues to be used throughout Australia on underground projects
in urban areas.
The cost and duration of underground construction continues to decrease relative to
aboveground construction.
Technology improvements have led to high levels of safety in underground civil engmeenng
projects.
Microtunnelling and other trenchless technologies are making rapid advances particularly in
renewal and replacement of utility infrastructure.

Recommendations
Australian governments and contractors to facilitate technology transfer through active
participation in international organisations related to underground construction in order to
obtain the benefits of international experiences and equipment development.
Australian developers and contractors to take advantage of important export opportunities that
are occurring in Asia on major tunnel and underground development projects including software
development, management, consulting and contracting.
Government authorities to make themselves aware of the technology advances in trenchless
technology to secure the significant environmental and cost benefits available.
The Warren Centre to continue the process of bringing together the need, the available
technology and the resources so that a true evaluation of the benefits of underground space is
made.

Research and Development


Issues
R&D potential must be considered from many different aspects:
Potential for a significant improvement in the technology and in the overall cost-effectiveness of
underground construction.
Availability of resources to fund the research and development from government and/ or industry.
Availability of technical resources to allow state-of-the-art advances.
Sufficient market for the new technologies to make the Research and Development investment
worthwhile.
Exportability of new technology - to increase market size and to further national interests.

Conclusions
The invisibility of the underground is a pervasive problem for planning and building underground
space. 'Seeing through the ground' has been identified as the primary thrust for research and
development, that is, three dimensional (3D) computer modelling of the natural and built
environment. This thrust fits with existing Australian skills in advanced technology, providing strong
potential internationally for investment and commercialisation.
Large amounts of data on underground conditions can be generated by state-of-the-art geophysical
methods, for both the natural and built environment. Numerical modelling is well developed for
analysing the structural interaction between the ground and underground facilities, but the
integration of data for large scale visualisation is still at an early stage. Geological or 3D-earth models
tend to be discrete from computer aided design (CAD) models of man-made structures, although

12

SUMMARY

animation or 'drive-through' simulation is used in both.


Thus, the further development of information systems for 'seeing through the ground' requires the
integration of discrete databases and modelling technologies so that user friendly, 3D underground
maps can become a reality. Such maps should include highly detailed 3D rendering of the geological
conditions in the uppermost 30 to 60 metres beneath an entire urban area. This will involve:
database development, data interchange and identifYing minimum data sets for modelling,
incentives for parties to contribute data and protection against liability for data inaccuracies,
managing data variation with time on a Geographic Information System (GIS), and appropriate
visualisation.
The Australian mining industry has developed and used similar technologies in non-urbanised areas
of the country.

Recommendations
Commonwealth Government to work with the Australian Capital Territory, to develop
legislation, as a model for uniform State and Territory legislation, to provide for government
ownership of underground data related to urban underground mapping, without liability for data
accuracy.
State Governments to legislate for government ownership of underground data related to urban
underground mapping, without liability for accuracy.
Local authorities in each major city to foster the development of underground databases and the
production of 3D underground maps on electronic media, ensuring that the data is suitably
managed in the long-term.
The Warren Centre to adopt a lead position in fostering R&D investment in 3D underground
maps for the urban environment, in ensuring that future information technology development
facilitates the use of historic underground data and allows for data management of large databases
over the long term.
The Warren Centre, in collaboration with the private sector to initiate research and development
for the production of 3D underground city maps on electronic media, based on the integration of
CAD and earth modelling and involving the site/geophysical exploration community, the
computer hardware and software industries, and the mining industry.

THE WAY FORWARD


The findings from the project, its conclusions and recommendations, have been conveyed to the
communities involved with development, through seminars, round tables, briefings and conferences
held in the major cities of Australia and through presentations to government and the business
community.
The most immediate and important opportunities to be pursued are:
Initiation of efforts in Australian urban areas to plan use of the underground and incorporate that
use in planning schemes to protect future opportunities for development. This will involve the
collation of information on underground geological conditions and existing underground
structures, and interpretation of this information for planned future growth of the urban area. It
will require probable transport corridors to be identified and reserved, policies on underground
utility ducts to be instituted (including telecommunication services) and other opportunities for
resolving urban problems by underground development to be raised and resolved.
Development of legislation to rationalise issues of ownership of underground space, with
applicable regulations to set down legal responsibilities between owners of underground space and
other affected parties.

73

SUMMARY

Research and development of technologies, currently used in the minerals industry, to 'see though
the ground', to improve database and graphical information systems, and to develop visual
software which will allow planners to plan the underground and builders to construct
underground facilities with greater certainty.
Support for the existing centres for underground space studies that have been established at The
University of Melbourne and The University of Queensland to ensure continued expansion of
knowledge on underground space development.
While the eventual outcomes ofThe Warren Centre Underground Space Project are yet to be fully
realised and assessed. Already there have been some notable consequences of the study. These include:
Based on the extent of media discussion about various development proposals in Australia cities,
the public now seems to have a much keener appreciation of the opportunities afforded by the
use of the underground.
With guidance from The Warren Centre, a core group of companies has commenced work on the
development of systems to 'see through the ground'.
The City of Sydney's planning department has initiated discussion on preparation of a strategic
plan of the City's underground to provide a policy framework for decisions relating to the future
uses of this area.
Liverpool City Council has established that current works for a bus/rail interchange will nor
inhibit future placement of the rail line underground.
Guidance has been provided to the Royal Botanical Gardens and Domain Trust on development
of the underground naval oil storage tanks in the Domain at Woolloomooloo Bay.
The Warren Centre is developing a compendium of professionals involved in the Underground
Space project as a guide to expertise available in this field.
The managed use of underground space can make a valuable contribution to the development of
our cities. The scope for use of this space is a challenge to our imagination and vision. The
extension of this scope to cities in our immediate neighbouring countries is a challenge to our
opportunism.

74

SUMMARY

About The Visiting Fellovv

Professor Raymond L. Sterling, Director of the Trenchless Technology Centre at the Louisiana Tech
University and a world leader in understanding underground space use in urban areas has been
retained as the Visiting Fellow to the Underground Space Project.
Born in London, England, Ray Sterling obtained his Bachelor's Degree in civil and structural
engineering from The University of Shefield in 1970, winning the Mappin Medal and Premium Prize
for most distinguished graduate in Civil and Structural Engineering. Dr Sterling received his PhD in
Civil Engineering in 1977 at The University of Minnesota after completing a Master of Science in
Geo Engineering in 1975.
Shortly after completing his PhD, Dr Sterling became an Assistant Professor and established the
Underground Space Center at The University of Minnesota, an interdisciplinary centre to investigate
the broad range of engineering and social issues connected to the utilisation of underground facilities.
At the Centre he directed research and technology transfer programs totalling over $11 million with
staff having expertise in civil, structural and geotechnical engineering, architecture, planning,
mechanical engineering and heat transfer.
In 1985 he was named an Advisory Professor of the Chongqing Institute of Architecture and
Engineering, Sichuan, China and in 1988, he took up a 5 year term Shimizu Professorship in Civil
and Mineral Engineering which was awarded again in 1993. In August 1995, he joined Louisiana Tech
University where he holds the Contractor's Educational Trust Fund Professorship in Civil
Engineering and is the Director of the Trenchless Technology Centre.
"Earth Sheltered Community Design: The Design of Energy Efficient Residential Communities" by
Sterling and Carmody, October 1980 won The Association of American Publishers award for best
book in Architecture and Urban Planning in 1981. His sister-text on earth sheltered housing design
was translated into Chinese, French, Spanish and Russian and sold over 250,000 copies.
Professor Sterling has authored or edited 11 books and over 80 papers, technical reports and chapter
contributions. He has been invited to speak at over 30 international conferences with keynote lectures
given in Australia, China, Italy, Japan and the Netherlands as well as presentations in Bermuda,
Canada, England, France, Korea, Morocco, Norway, Russia and Taiwan.
In the business world Dr. Sterling has worked for a number of consulting firms and provided advice
on projects in the USA, Finland and Japan. Since 1994, he has been Technical Director of Pipeform
Ltd, Minnesota, a company developing a new form of composite pipe for microtunnelling
applications based on a pending patent applied for by himself and a colleague.
Dr Sterling has been a member of the Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment of
the National Research Council (USA), a past chairman of the US. National Committee for
Tunnelling Technology and is an elected member of the Academy of Engineering of the Russian
Federation. He has sat on a number of international and American committees for tunnelling
technology, geomechanics, infrastructure, micro-tunnelling, underground structures, building and
energy planning.

15

U N 0 E- R G R 0 U N 0

S P A C E

I N

T H E

U R B A N

E N V I R 0 N M E..N T

D E V E l 0 P M E N T

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'TECHNICAL PAPERS

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Chapter. one
Strategic Dev~l~p~ent aild Use of
Unde~ground
Space
.
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.

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Authors

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.Jo hn M c Ke r ral
David Stew a rt
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Reviewvecl by
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Myer

STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT AND USE OF UNDERGROUND SPACE

Chapter One
Strategic Develop.nent and Use
of Underground Space
SUMMARY
This chapter introduces the concept of using underground space in the strategic development of our cities. The
strategic issues which need to be considered when planning for underground development are introduced and briefly
discussed. Specifically, issues relating to city planning, the environment, transport planning, legal matters and
finance are examined. The current key issues in research and development and the state of underground technology
are dealt with briefly. Finally, the concept of introducing underground space into the strategic planning process, at
both the macro and micro levels, is discussed.
The various topics which are introduced in this chapter are treated in more detail in subsequent chapters.

1.

BACKGROUND

The use of underground space is not new. The discovery of various artefacts indicates a history of cave
occupation by humans extending back several thousands of years. In later times, significant use of
natural caves was made for the execution of art works, often of a ritual or spiritual nature, in many
different parts of the world.
The use of artificially created underground space dates at least from the time of the Egyptian
Pharaohs. The tombs of these Egyptian kings were located either inside or beneath the pyramids,
providing both a monument and a secure environment for the deceased sovereign. A hand dug tunnel
over one kilometre long was constructed for an aqueduct at Athens 2500 years ago. The Roman
catacombs, which cover some 240 hectares, were a series of interconnected burial chambers excavated
in the soft rock on the outskirts of Rome in the second and third centuries AD.
The use of the underground for transport became important in the 1800s with the development of
the world's great railways, which called for relatively flat grades and easy curves, in place of the
mountain passes which had previously served foot and horse traffic. With the urbanisation which
followed the Industrial Revolution, the major cities of the world such as London, Paris and New York
were forced to turn to subways to manage their congested traffic, with the first subway system being
opened in London in 1863.
Today the same incentives to develop underground space still exist - convenience, security,
topographic constraints and the desire to improve conditions on the surface. However, recent years

Moreton Bay Fig trees and this historic school were saved and featured by
the underground development, Greenwood Plaza, North Sydney

17

Chap~er

One

have seen significant advances in tunnelling technology and our understanding of the complex
technical and administrative issues associated with constructing in the underground.
In 1900 the world population was approximately 1.6 billion with 13% of the population living in
urban areas. By 2000 the world population is expected to rise to 6.25 billion and, significantly,
between 50% and 70% of that population will live in urban areas.
Australia is in a similar situation to the rest of the world. Of our 1991 population of 17.28 million,
85.3% lived in urban areas with a massive 60% living in the five major urban areas of Sydney,
Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
It is therefore appropriate that we look at the unused space beneath us, particularly beneath our cities,
and examine whether it can be used effectively to improve our quality of life on the surface.

2.

POTENTIAL IN THE UNDERGROUND

The underground, despite its long history of use, remains under-utilised. We use underground space
either when it already exists, or when we are forced by constraints on the surface to use it. There is a
feeling that excavation is 'difficult' and 'costly' and that underground activity is 'unnatural'.
In truth, with modern technology, underground construction is often no more difficult than aboveground construction and the direct cost differential is reducing. Use of underground space is no more
'unnatural' than the use of the sea or the air. In many ways, this past under-utilisation will prove to be
of value as we come to look more at using underground space; we have the opportunity to apply the
lessons learnt on the surface and in specialised underground activities such as mining and tunnelling
to develop new underground uses in an ordered and informed way.
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It is a truism to say that virtually any activity which can take place on the surface of the earth can also
take place underground. There are a few obvious exceptions such as air and marine ports, but even
these developments offer the potential for storage, maintenance activities and land-side access to be
underground.
There are certainly added direct costs associated with building underground. One of the most obvious
is that the underground is largely filled with soil and rock and this has to be removed and placed
elsewhere to develop the underground space. However, there are also benefits, and as in all
development the objective with any proposal which uses underground space should be that the full
costs, both direct and indirect, are more than matched by the full set of benefits.

78

STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT AND USE OF UNDERGROUND SPACE

When underground development is discussed many people envisage the science fiction concept of a
vast city, entirely underground- Coober Pedy writ large. This should certainly not be the objective of
any attempt to increase the use of the underground. The objective should be to use the underground
for those activities which best fit there and so free up the surface for people.
Chapter 2 presents and discusses a series of case studies of underground developments which have
been implemented or are proposed. These case studies indicate that potential in the underground is
limited only by our conceptual ability. The question is not what we can put under ground but what
we should.

3.

CITY PLANNING

With increasing urbanisation, cities grow. Traditionally, cities have grown in two ways; they have spread
and become more dense. With the advent of structural steel and the elevator a third option was added
-becoming higher. Now there is a fourth option, building down.
In reality, since the advent of modern cities, underground space has always been used, for water and
gas distribution, for sewers, for basements and for metro or subway systems. Now, in many cities of the
world, this use can no longer be ad hoc, but must be planned and co-ordinated, even positively
encouraged.

The Louvre Museum in Paris was extended underground to save


the above ground architecture

As cities become denser and higher, the competition for underground space increases. As buildings
become higher, their basements tend to become deeper. As population and employment densities
increase, the demands by public utilities for pipe and duct space in the city streets become more
competitive. With the growth in movement of both people and freight which a large city generates,
the need to free up transport becomes a matter of priority.
The negative effects of traditional city growth are well known. The loss of productive agricultural land
and the insatiable appetite for private transport with a spreading city, the overshadowing by tall
buildings and the sterilisation of street level in a city growing upward have been documented
throughout the world. Intelligent use of underground space will not cancel these out. It does,
however, provide added opportunities to better manage the development of the city and to minimise
them. It offers the opportunity to concentrate development rather than disperse it, without some of
the problems which added height brings to the city.
While virtually any development can take place underground, there are some developments better
suited to the surface, some which can be as readily placed under ground as above and a limited
number of developments where underground, if not the only option, is the best one.
The affinity of various types of urban development with the underground can be examined broadly
to draw out the opportunities for development of underground space (Table 1).

79

Chapter

One

Activity
Single Housing

Multiple Housing

Above

Either

Generally above ground is preferred, but earth sheltered houses


have environmental benefits.
Living areas desirably above, but car parking, heating and
ventilation and storage can be below. Hillside developments,
with partial use of the underground, can combine good land use
with environmental benefits.

Offices

Industry

Comment

Below

There is a psychological preference for work places with


windows, but many existing above ground offices are fully
enclosed and artificially lit and ventilated.
There are many activities classified as industry. Some are best
suited to above ground locations because of the need for ready
access, etc. Others which require controlled environments
would benefit from being underground.

Storage

Shopping

Walking and cycling are probably best accommodated above


ground (except in inclement weather). Short haul public
transport (buses and LRT) should be at or close to the surface
for easy access. Long haul such as heavy rail can readily be
placed under ground. Private vehicles serve a mix of short and
long trips and so are sometimes best at the surface and
sometimes best below ground. Terminals and parking are often
well suited to underground.

Public utilities- potable and recycled water, drainage,


sewerage, power and telecommunications are normally placed
underground except in areas of low density.

Recreation facilities

Transport

Utilities

'

Many storage facilities can readily be placed underground. The


main constraint is the relative cost of providing large flexible
open spaces for modern warehousing. Both liquid and gas
storage have been successfully provided underground.
Most modern shopping complexes are windowless, fully air
conditioned and lit artificially or by skylights, so could readily be
underground.
Clearly many recreational facilities, e.g. parks and golf courses,
need to be above ground. Others such as cinemas and
gymnasia could just as readily be below ground.

Table 1: Types of Development and the Underground

The opportunities for underground development are extensive and there will be growing
competition for the use of underground space. In many cities there is a danger that the best solution
to a particular issue will not be achieved because previous activity has closed off that option.
We are at the stage, in most major cities of the world, where increased use of underground space is
both a necessity and an opportunity. This emphasises the need to plan the use of underground strata
to ensure options for the use of these strata are optimised. Options for future underground use should
not be closed offby ad hoc decisions.
Chapter 3 discusses in more detail the planning issues which need to be considered when looking at
the future use of this valuable resource.

4.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPLICATIONS

One of the most compelling reasons for developing the underground of our cities is the
environmental benefit which can flow from its use.

20

STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT AND USE OF UNDERGROUND SPACE

Visual Amenity

It is unfortunate that many buildings and infrastructure items essential to the functioning of a city are
barely tolerated by the community because of their perceived ugliness. Responses to this perception
include greater community involvement in planning, relocation to less sensitive areas and improved
urban design. Underground space offers an opportunity to locate the offending facility out of sight.
It must be remembered that most underground activity requires access to the surface. Basement
parking or storage requires convenient access. A transport tunnel normally has two portals and
possibly one or more ventilation structures. These may be perceived to be as ugly as the underground
structure would have been, had it been located on the surface. Undergrounding can help preserve
visual amenity but will not guarantee community satisfaction with a project.

The entrance to the Sydney Opera House Car Park is


unobtrusive behind this fountain

Noise & Vibration

Urban communities are very concerned about noise and vibration, particularly that arising from
transport. Undergrounding a road, a railway, a car park or a warehouse virtually eliminates its noise
and vibration from the surface. However, there are offsetting factors. Excavation and tunnelling result
in construction noise and vibration. There is still a concentration of traffic noise around the portals,
and there may be new noise associated with ventilation. Traffic vibration may also be felt in buildings
close to shallow tunnels unless specific isolation features are adopted.
Air Pollutants

Undergrounding, particularly of motor vehicle traffic, provides an opportunity to contain


contaminated air and to clean it. Unfortunately, there may be a concentration of air pollutants at the
tunnel portals and in the vicinity of exhaust stacks unless a high level of air scrubbing is used.
J!r;ater Pollutants

Gross pollutants such as paper and plastic and fine materials such as heavy metals can be washed by
rain from roadways into adjacent waterways. With an underground facility it is relatively easy to
contain these pollutants and to treat or dispose of them in a satisfactory manner.
There is a danger, however, with underground structures, of interrupting the flow of subterranean
water or contaminating it.
Heritage

Most items of cultural significance, be they buildings, other sites or artefacts are located at, or close to,
the surface. Undergrounding generally makes it easier to avoid disturbing them. However, in old
cities, with a long history of continuous occupation, ruins of earlier cities may be located under the
present surface level and present a challenge to sub-surface construction. Even in Australia there are
items of heritage significance, such as old water supply or railway tunnels and historic mine workings

27

Chapter

One

under cities. The location of these may not be well documented.

Best Use of Suiface lAnd


One strong argument for building a particular structure underground can be that the space which it
would have occupied on the surface can be allotted to a 'higher' use, be it housing, parkland,
conserva_tion area or business premises.

Energy
Because of the natural insulation provided by the ground, underground structures are thermally
efficient. However, they may require additional energy for lighting and ventilation. Energy is used in
their excavation and additional energy may be required for access during their use.
The use of underground space for building structures which are not welcome on the surface is not a
panacea but it does offer opportunities to mitigate some potentially adverse environmental impacts.
Two potentially adverse environmental effects arise when considering construction in the
underground.

Structural Damage
There is a possibility of subsidence and structural damage to buildings located both above and
adjacent to underground structures. The risk is low and is minimised by proper design and
construction and a comprehensive monitoring program.

Disposal of Spoil
The excavation of underground space results in a considerable volume of rock and soil which must be
disposed of at the surface. It should be possible to utilise much of this material productively.
The environmental implications of underground development are discussed further in Chapter 4.

5.

TRANSPORT IN THE UNDERGROUND

Transport and the underground are well suited. Travel is a significant activity permeating all aspects of
urban existence. It is intimately related to land use. As the intensity of land use increases so does the
demand for travel. Hence, transport demand is focused on major land use areas such as central business
districts.
One feature of transport is the desire of users to minimise perceived travel cost (time and distance). As
urban areas become more congested, the willingness of a community to pay more for links which will
shorten trips makes construction of underground transport more viable.

Travel Characteristics
Most trips are multi-modal. Virtually every personal trip includes an element of walking. Many
include both public and private transport modes. A significant factor in favour of private transport is
the time saved by eliminating mode changes. For example, a trip requiring two bus rides, rail travel
and a walk can often be substituted by a single private vehicle trip. Using the underground for public
transport offers opportunities for running trains or buses through congested areas, eliminating a
vehicle change. Careful use of different levels including the underground can simplifY vehicle changes
where these are unavoidable.

lAnd Use -Transport Interaction


Transport and land use are inextricable. Low density suburbs encourage the use of private transport
while a high density city core can foster public transport. In this context, underground space can be
used in two distinct ways. It can improve the efficiency of key transport links and it can assist in
developing those city forms which favour public transport.

22

STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT AND USE OF UNDERGROUND SPACE

TVhy Transport and Underground Go Together


The underground is well suited to transport for two reasons:
Transport is a linear activity and the tunnels it requires are relatively easy to construct and
support.
The capacity and safety of a transport network are determined largely by its junctions. Use of
underground space provides added opportunities for separating conflicting traffic and simplifYing
transfers between modes or lines.

The Ulrious Modes


Any surface transport mode can be placed underground but some are better suited to the
underground than others.
Pedestrian thoroughfares may be placed underground because of topography or weather. However,
pedestrians prefer not to use stairs or to walk through enclosed spaces. For these reasons,
undergrounding pedestrian traffic is not necessarily easy or desirable. Providing shops may attract
pedestrians to an underground route.
Cyclists also prefer not to be underground, and for them the attraction of underground shopping may
not be as appropriate as it is for pedestrians.
Buses are best located close to potential passengers except on long haul lines. Hence it is difficult to
justifY exclusive underground bus ways. It may be appropriate to build underground terminals and
lay-overs, particularly in high density areas such as central business districts. Long haul buses can be
included with the general vehicle stream in motor vehicle tunnels. Light rail (LRT) vehicles also need
to be at or close to the surface to service their customers.
Heavy rail can readily be placed underground. Use of electric traction and close fitting of carriages to
the tunnel profile reduce the amount of mechanical ventilation required. However, access points and
interchanges between lines and modes require careful design to encourage use of the system.
Placing general motor traffic underground can be justified in many instances. Normally motor vehicle
tunnels require considerable mechanical ventilation, but this requirement may reduce as low-polluting
vehicles become more common. It is also common practice to require high lighting levels. A high
standard of fire protection and emergency access and egress is also specified for vehicular tunnels.

Sydney Harbour Tunnel

Freight or People Underground?


There are two types of traffic, people and freight, and they have different requirements. In most
systems they use the same network, although there are obvious exceptions, such as dedicated goodsrail lines and people-only metro systems. Separating or combining people and freight in future
underground transport systems will have implications for construction and operating costs.

23

Chapter

One

Interchange Issues
While a transport network consists mostly of links (tunnels if underground), the weakest parts are its
nodes which account for the bulk of the delay and most of the accidents. Use of underground space
provides opportunities to deal with many of these problems, e.g. highway grade separations or bus/rail
interchanges. However, use of the underground alone is not enough and these nodes require
innovative planning and design to be fully efficient.

Safety and Psychology


Many people have difficulty travelling underground. Largely this can be offset by good illumination
and ventilation (either in the tunnel itself or in the vehicle).
An underground transport system needs to incorporate measures for rapid fire control, low propensity
to emit toxic fumes, quick and effective removal of fumes, storing large numbers of passengers at
stations and vehicles between stations, preventing additional vehicles entering the system, ready access
for emergency teams and easy evacuation.
Transport in the Underground is discussed more fully in Chapter 5.

6.

FINANCING UNDERGROUND DEVELOPMENT

Common Considerations in Financing Property Development


Financing of underground projects has much in common with other infrastructure developments. The
viability of the project will depend on the availability of finance on reasonable terms and conditions.
An underground project may be funded wholly by private investment, wholly by the public sector or
by a combination of public and private finance. With private venture funding, the critical issue will be
the ability of the project to generate income to satisfY both the equity investors' requirement for a
return on capital and the financiers' requirement for debt servicing. There are several examples of
underground infrastructure projects which have been fully privately financed.
Financing of underground developments by the public sector is less complex, although the impact of
construction and environmental risks is still relevant to the assessment of the viability of the project.
Funding jointly by the public and private sectors introduces the additional factors of risk sharing,
taxation treatment and Loan Council involvement.

Risk and Insurance


Financial involvement by either an equity investor or a lender requires the assessment of risk. Some
risks will be judged as sufficiently remote to be ignored. Other risks will be uninsurable on reasonable
commercial terms and need to be allocated to the party best able to manage the risk. The majority of
risks are capable of being insured. As underground projects are still relatively uncommon, insurers may
try to impose more stringent terms than they would for other infrastructure projects.
Risks which normally need to be considered are those associated with:
the assets (for example during construction),
the income stream and
liability (including people liability).
Many major infrastructure projects have large up-front costs and may be difficult to finance solely by
equity and commercial debt, because of the delay until an adequate income stream is generated. In
these cases, particularly if the project is of a public service type, such as a transport link or a public
utility, the balance of the finance may be available from the public sector. For many such projects bids
are called by government and the level of public sector finance required is a major determinant in
selecting the successful provider.

24

STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT AND USE OF UNDERGROUND SPACE

Loan Council
When joint public/private funding is being considered in Australia the question of the Loan Council
will arise if there is a significant degree of public sector risk exposure. The Loan Council consists of
the Commonwealth Treasurer and the Treasurer of each State. It co-ordinates and monitors the level
of borrowing by all tiers of government. Current Loan Council arrangements adopt risk-weighting to
determine the degree of public sector exposure to a particular project involving the private sector.
Risk-weighting is based on three factors:
the ratio of the project's assets to liability,
the variability of the net liability and
the duration of the project.
For projects which are entirely privately funded there is no impact on a government's Loan Council
allocation and hence Loan Council considerations do not apply.

Taxation
Taxation incentives are available for infrastructure projects, including underground projects, by the use
of'Infrastructure Borrowing'. Interest derived from qualifying projects is non-tax-assessable.
Qualifying projects need to be associated with:
power,
drinking water,
sewage treatment,
land transport (now curtailed by the Federal Government),
ports,
aviation (terminals and ground facilities) or
gas facilities (pipelines).
The Commonwealth Government announced on 14 February 1997 that these financial incentives
were no longer available but would shortly be introducing an alternative funding instrument.
Financial issues are discussed in Chapter 6.

7.

LEGAL ISSUES

Most legal issues associated with the underground can be classified under one of three groups,
property law, planning & environmental law and construction law.

Property Law
Underground construction is governed by the same property laws as apply to the surface. In
particular, the property required for construction may be owned, leased or subject to an easement.
Strata freehold or leasehold appear to be particularly relevant for underground projects. The laws
governing property vary in detail from State to State. There is considerable opportunity for clarifying
such issues as the depth of the surface owner's interest (normally, but not always, believed to extend to
the centre of the earth), the ownership of mineral resources and the legal mechanism for permitting
private development under crown land.
The construction of an underground structure is rarely constrained physically by the ownership or
use of land on the surface or by the presence of pre-existing buildings. However, the legal constraint
of land ownership is a different matter and can raise considerable difficulties for a potential
underground developer.
There is a need for uniform and transparent laws governing property throughout Australia if the
potential for underground development is not to be inhibited.

25

Chapter

One

Planning and Environment Law


The framework of statutory planning is the concept of zoning. Within a specific zone a particular type
of use will be permitted, permissible or prohibited. Statutory planning law throughout Australia does
not appear to distinguish between surface and sub-surface use. This does not pose a problem when the
proposed sub-surface development is 'permitted' by the surface zoning. When the surface zoning
'prohibits' a particular use, such as a road, in a zone where in reality underground construction would
not be unacceptable, a legal problem arises. There are various administrative ways around this
difficulty, but there is need for review of the planning statutes to avoid having to deal with
underground development on a case by case basis.
The environmental laws governing construction and operation on the surface also apply
underground. Specifically, the construction of a new facility will require the production of an
Environmental Impact Statement and compliance with the conditions imposed by the consent
authority.

Post Office Square, Brisbane

Specific requirements may include control ofhours of work during construction, requirements for the
location, height and form of ventilation structures and specified maximum levels of various materials
in the exhaust stream. Maximum noise and vibration levels at the surface, during both construction
and operation, may be specified. Specific requirements for the disposal of spoil may be applied
including specification of the means of disposal, and the hours, routes, and methods for transport to
the disposal site.
Specific requirements may also be put in place for the treatment/ containment or removal of
previously contaminated soils and methods to prevent contamination of aquifers.

Construction
The whole gamut of laws applicable to civil construction is applicable to construction underground.
These include the laws of contracts and other commercial law, statutory application of building codes
and workplace health and safety regulations. In addition, laws specifically aimed at mining activities
may be applicable.
An extensive discussion of the legal issues associated with the use of underground space is provided in
Chapter 7.

8.

TECHNOLOGY AND RESEARCH

Underground construction technology and skill in Australia is at a level comparable to that anywhere
in the world. Unfortunately, Australia represents a small market and it is difficult to provide
continuous work for specialised equipment and personnel.
External constraints, particularly in urban areas, often dictate the choice of underground construction
technology. Significant constraints include perceptions of ground settlement, noise and vibration. Air

26

STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT AND USE OF UNDERGROUND SPACE

and water pollution, spoil disposal and construction traffic are also significant issues which can dictate
the manner of construction and cost of an underground project. An extensive range of technologies is
available to deal with these constraints.
Excavation Methods
Excavation can be undertaken in one of several ways. Sometimes it may be appropriate to use more
than one method on the same project. In broad terms, excavation can be classified as:

Open excavation. The material is all removed from the excavation before the construction of
the structure commences. This is the easiest and often the cheapest method. It can be disruptive
for surface activities and its economy depends on being able to support the surrounding rock and
soil simply.
Top down. Top down excavation can be used in poor ground conditions. Generally it involves
construction of columns and footings in situ, excavation in stages from the top and construction
of floors and lateral support progressively as excavation proceeds.
Cut and cover. Essentially this is an open excavation method for constructing shallow tunnels.
The excavation is converted to a 'tunnel' by the addition of a structural roof. It is appropriate
where the surface is to be reinstated as, for example, a road or a park, or a building is to be
constructed above the excavation. The roof may be provided before the full depth of the
excavation is removed.
Tunnelling Methods
Tunnelling methods are often classified by the construction environment. Broadly, tunnelling
environments can be considered as:

Rock. Most tunnel construction in Australia has been in rock and is usually characterised by
straightforward construction and ground support.
Soft Ground. Soft ground tunnelling is differentiated from rock tunnelling by the more
stringent ground support conditions. Regular monitoring of the ground condition is a feature of
soft ground tunnelling and has given rise to such techniques as the New Austrian Tunnelling
Method which relies on continuous monitoring and review of the ground support design.
Sub Aqueous. Sub aqueous tunnelling can be through either rock or soft ground. It is
characterised by the need to pump water from the tunnel and, in some conditions, the use of
methods designed to prevent or slow its ingress.
Immersed Tube. Immersed tube tunnelling under water is in some ways analogous to cut and
cover construction on land. The structural tunnel is constructed away from the site, floated into
position and lowered into an excavation beneath the surface.
Excavation and Tunnelling Construction Techniques
There are four broad techniques for constructing excavations and tunnels:

Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM). Both rock and soft ground tunnels have been constructed in
Australia using tunnel boring machines. A TBM consists of a large rotating head fitted with
cutters which is thrust against the excavation face by hydraulic rams as excavation proceeds. A
TBM will normally produce a circular tunnel. Tunnels of different shapes can be produced by
using the TBM to drive a pilot tunnel and enlarging it using other methods.
Roadheader. A road header is a track mounted excavator with a boom mounted rotary cutting
head. It is suitable for many types of tunnel construction and is often used when excavating large
tunnels using two or three benches.
Drilling and Blasting. Drilling and blasting has been used for tunnel construction for many
years and is still used for a large number of tunnels in hard rock. This technique is often not
favoured for constructing urban tunnels because of noise and vibration.
Earthmoving Equipment. Conventional track mounted earthmoving machines (bulldozers

27

Chapter

One

and power shovels) are normally used for open-cut and cut-and-cover excavations and may be
used to supplement other excavation methods in tunnelling.
Ground Support
There are a great number of ground support techniques available for tunnels and these are discussed
in more detail in Chapter 9. In broad terms they can be classified as follows:
wall systems (for excavations),
piling systems (including horizontal piling systems),
grout systems,
ground anchors, rock bolts and soil nails, and
tunnel linings of various types.
The choice of the appropriate technology is often a critical factor in the success or failure of an
underground project.
Trenchless Technology
There is increasing interest in urban areas around the world in the development of trenchless
technology. The term trenchless technology encompasses a variety of techniques for constructing
pipes and ducts, usually at shallow depths, without the need for open excavation. Openings of up to
1.5 m diameter are possible with some systems with excavations up to 1.5 km long between pits. The
effectiveness of particular trenchless technology methods is influenced to a large extent by the nature
of the ground in which the ducts are to be constructed. Significant development work is being
undertaken into such issues as remote steering of the excavator head.
The needs for research and development (R&D) in relation to underground construction fall into
two main areas:
risk reduction and
increased efficiency
Geophysical Investigation
One of the significant issues with constructing underground is that one cannot 'see' in advance the
nature of the geological material, its stress condition and the presence of existing structures. This
increases the risk and hence the cost of construction. A major research area is the development or
improvement of techniques, such as ground penetrating radar, which will enable accurate
documentation of the underground space ahead of design and construction.
Graphical Information Systems
With improved means of investigating the ground layers, the amount of information representing the
ground conditions for a typical underground project will be immense and the information will
normally be in probabilistic rather than deterministic form. There is a need for research into the
optimum ways of managing large data sets of this nature and presenting the information to planners
and designers in a meaningful, probably graphical, way.
Improved Design Methods
While the behaviour of a single tunnel or cavern in a uniform geological medium is relatively well
understood, the behaviour of related or closely adjoining structures in complex geological strata is a
more usual problem. Numerical analysis has become more potent, and powerful computers have
become cheaper and more accessible. Other research areas will lead to the delivery of considerable
quantities of data on ground conditions. There is a need for the development of investigation and
design techniques for underground construction which will utilise these advances to achieve more
efficient and lower risk design.

28

STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT AND USE OF UNDERGROUND SPACE

Improved Inspection and Repair Methods

No infrastructure item lasts for ever. There is a need for improved methods of monitoring the
behaviour of underground structures, for non-destructive testing and for developing maintenance and
repair techniques which can be used without taking the structure out of service.
Health and Stifety

Stringent standards exist for air quality and safety in the underground, and these can be met using
existing technology. However, research should continue into all aspects of underground health and
safety such as fire prevention and management, air quality and similar issues for both construction and
operation phases of underground projects
Fuller discussions of current underground technology and R&D issues are provided in Chapters 9
and 10 respectively.

9.

STRATEGIC PLANNING FOR THE UNDERGROUND

Good strategic planning is the key to both the efficient development of overall urban structure and
the successful realisation of particular projects. In this respect, the underground is no different from
the rest of the natural environment. However, because the underground is largely unknown, and taken
for granted, we are in danger of overlooking its potential.
Planning should be cyclic. That is, once planning decisions are taken, actions flow which result in
changed conditions. In turn, the data used for planning require updating and the plan needs to be
reviewed and restated. Because of this, the potential for underground use can be introduced into the
planning cycle at virtually any time.
Unfortunately, in many instances, planning tends not to be cyclic but linear. Planning decisions are
formulated by modifying the current plan. Once a concept has been considered and discarded, either
on the basis of the current stage of technical development or of inadequate information it may not be
reconsidered at a later stage. For a concept such as underground construction, where technology is
developing strongly and prime costs are rapidly dropping, it is important that the possibility of using
this concept be reconsidered at frequent intervals. This applies to the strategic level of planning both
for the overall urban scene and for specific projects.
The important thing about strategic planning in relation to the underground is not that underground
use needs special treatment, but that it needs to be considered along with the other infrastructure
development options in the normal strategic planning process.
Figures 1 and 2 (to be provided in new format) present models for the integration of the
underground into both strategic urban planning and project-specific planning.

10.

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The use of underground space can make a valuable contribution to the development of our cities and
especially their central business districts.
However, underground space is not an infinite resource and its use must be managed carefully at both
the strategic and detail planning levels.
There has been a recent upsurge in infrastructure construction in Australia, particularly in Sydney
which is to host the Olympic Games in 2000. There is, simultaneously, increasing pressure to minimise
the environmental impacts of new infrastructure. As the community places increasing value on
beneficial environmental outcomes, the benefit/ cost ratio of underground construction becomes
more favourable.
Unfortunately, Australia represents a small market for the specialist skills involved in underground

29

Chapter

One

Adopt Broad Urban Development Philosophy


(i.e. consolidated or dispersed, single or multi-centred etc.)
Select Planning Time Horizon(s)
(1 0 years, 25 years etc.)

Undertake Demographic Studies


(Forecasts of population numbers, age, employment attributes etc.)

Undertake Transport Studies


(Trip generation, network modelling, assignment by route and
mode, prediction of strategic level outputs)

Conduct Public Debate


(Review by stakeholders of alternative scenarios)

Select Preferred Scenario


(The 'Strategic Plan'- broad brush only, not detail)

Implement Development Control


(Put in place the necessary legal framework to manage the urban
development in accordance with the Strategic Plan)
Define and legally Protect Areas of Potential Underground Use

Recommence Process
Figure 1.1 Strategic Model of Urban Planning Which Includes the Underground
(Specific reference to Underground Space indicated by white type)

30

STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT AND USE OF UNDERGROUND SPACE

Set Project Objectives


Prepare Concept Development Brief
(Document objectives and constraints)
Ensure that brief does not implicitly or explicitly exclude
particular options, such as underground ones
Formulate Broad Options
(Devise options to satisfy project objectives)
Include fully or partially underground options, if appropriate
Select Most Viable Options
(Select set of options on basis of compliance with project
objectives and constraints)
Undertake More Detailed Concept Development
(Undertake design and documentation of most promising options
to more accurately determine environmental effects, risks, likely
economic and financial performance)
Select Most Promising Concept as the 'Preferred Option'
Review Environmental Factors and Determine
if an EIS is Required.
(An EIS will almost certainly be mandatory for a major project)
Prepare Environmental Impact Statement
(In accordance with statutory requirements, document the
environmental effects of the preferred option, both beneficial and
adverse, compare predicted performance with that of other options
and indicate the measures proposed to counter potential adverse
environmental impacts)
If appropriate, the use of underground construction to mitigate
some adverse environmental impacts can be proposed
Exhibit EIS
(EIS exhibited for the purpose of public and stakeholder
consideration and comment)
Assess EIS and Submissions
Determine EIS
(The Determining Authority determines whether the proposal should
proceed as planned, proceed with modifications or not proceed)
Prepare Project Brief
(Specify the design parameters for the project, including the
conditions specified in the EIS Determination)
Figure 1.2 Strategic Model of Project Planning Which Includes the Underground
(Specific reference to Underground Space indicated by white type)

37

Chapter

One

construction. There is a need to think globally and look at opportunities to market these skills
overseas, particularly to south-east Asia.
In summary, with many new infrastructure projects commencing, particularly transport projects,
underground construction is set to increase. There are many types of project which are suitable for
underground, but public perception of this resource is limited. The approach to underground use to
date has tended to be ad hoc, rather than strategic.
Each of the following chapters contains a series of recommendations on specific aspects of the
underground and the reader is referred to these chapters for more detailed discussion on them. Some
of the key recommendations put forward include:
co-ordinate the collection and interpretation of geological data and information on existing
underground structures and services;
improve legislation dealing with the underground and aim for greater national uniformity;
undertake research in improved methods of collecting and managing information on ground
conditions;
seek greater consistency in the location of public utility services underground;
foster design and planning innovations which will demonstrate the benefits of the underground
and
develop links with Asian countries, particularly Japan, to enhance Australian research and
development opportunities for underground technology.
The development of underground space needs to be incorporated in the city planning process and
managed in the same way, using the same general procedures, as the development of the surface. With
this holistic approach the underground can be integrated into the city form effectively and
imaginatively, the best use of underground space can be achieved and future opportunities for its use
can be protected.

32

UNDERGROUND

SPA'cE

IN

TH E

URBAN

E NVIRONM E N T -

D.EVELOPMENI

AND

USE

..

--

.,

'

'

'

:
' I

ChapterT~o

f:'otential in -the

..

Und~rgrou-:-d

'.

'

.,

Authors

~ .

.. .

Ted Nye
Peter .Openshaw
Bill Bamford
Peter May

POTENTIAL IN THE UNDERGROUND

Chapter Tvvo

Potential in the Underground


SUMMARY
This chapter presents case histories of underground space usage. Some of the examples are discussed in other
chapters,Jor example transportation tunnels are also referred to in Chapter 5 'Transport' while some will appear in
the detailed case studies at the end of the chapters. A wide range of underground space utilisation in urban areas is
covered with comment on the underground contribution. The chapter concludes with identification of a number of
potential opportunities for underground projects.

1.

INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVE

Man made use of underground space starting from the 'caveman's' use, by necessity, of natural rock
caverns and extends now to the use of underground space driven by economic, urban planning and
environmental demands.
Most of us are aware of some of the current uses of underground space. If we drive a car we are more
than likely to have used an underground carpark. Both Melbourne and Sydney have well developed
underground railways which are integral with the existing surface network. Sydney was the first city
in Australia with a significant underground transport infrastructure. This included an underground
railway and tramway. In the 1930s the underground rail and tramway interchange at Wynyard Station
and surface buses would have been one of the earliest transport nodes which is now part of'modern'
integrated transport planning.
It is acknowledged that underground space is used outside of urban areas (e.g. in mining and on
major hydroelectric projects). However, the main focus of this chapter is on present and future urban
development of underground space.

2.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Humans probably first used underground space as a refuge. It is easy to imagine early man seeking
protection from inclement weather or wild animals by huddling in natural caves. However, ancient
cave paintings and archaeological evidence suggests that natural underground space was also valued
for cultural purposes. The purposeful development of underground space most likely resulted from a
desire to extend the utility of natural caves for the purposes such as living space and for food storage.
As mankind's ability to extend natural openings and to excavate new purpose built space developed,
many uses were found for the unique qualities associated with the underground.
Urban services, such as drainage and water supply, can be traced back to the ancient Babylonians who
constructed water supply tunnels in about 2500 BC and to the Romans who had well developed
water and sewerage systems. Wherever civilisation flourished people found a use for underground
space. In Europe and Asia underground space was developed for storage, housing and defensive
purposes. The extensive use of the underground was, however, limited by the need for manual
excavation until the development of gunpowder in 1627.
Tunnels were developed to facilitate transport during the Industrial Revolution in western Europe.
Canals and railways were used extensively during the 19th Century and their need for relatively flat
grades required tunnels to pass through mountainous areas. As underground excavation techniques
became more efficient, and as improved technology enabled tunnels to be built through difficult

33

Chapter

Tvvo

ground, underground transport systems became more extensive. The introduction of the compressed
air rock drill in 1857 and the invention of dynamite in 1864, and the later developments in tunnel
boring techniques permitted the rapid development of underground railway systems such as those
serving London and Paris and other great cities. Dewatering techniques, the use of compressed air and
the development of the tunnel shield allowed tunnels to pass under rivers and through saturated
ground. The first sub aqueous tunnel was built by Sir Marc Brunei when he completed the Thames
Tunnel for pedestrians and carriages in 1843.
Underground construction was used extensively during World War II by many nations. The simple
trench fortifications of earlier wars became more extensive and defensive. However, massive tunnel
construction such as the French Maginot Line which was built before the second world war, became
obsolete with the introduction of highly mobile offensive weapons. Civilian defence became an issue
which once again drove mankind to look underground for protection. Air raid shelters were built and
existing underground space was commandeered for this purpose. Military command centres were also
strategically placed underground and other military installations, such as the German submarine bases
established in caverns around the Scandinavian coast, also looked for invulnerability beneath the
surface. Underground hospitals were used by the Japanese in New Guinea, by the USA in the
Philippines and a large hospital was constructed underground by the German army on Jersey in the
Channel Islands. The concept of providing for civilian defence through underground facilities has
continued to present times. The Norwegians combined the utility of a modern sports arena with the
need for strategic defence in the construction of an Olympic ice hockey stadium which can
accommodate over 5,000 people for a sporting event or 7,000 in an emergency situation.
Modern urban planners and developers take advantage of the technology available for excavation and
construction by placing many utility services and other facilities underground together with major
transport infrastructure. Examples include power, telephone and other utility services, libraries,
theatres, carparks and road and rail systems. In large modern cities the underground provides an
opportunity to develop modern and efficient infrastructure in areas of high historic and cultural value
without disturbing the community's surface heritage.
Today, all large modern cities and urban areas benefit from the complementary and integrated use of
the paved street surface, the high rise development and the utilisation of underground space. City
buildings and shopping precincts linked underground and integrated with mass transport systems
allow 'shirt sleeve' conditions when the outside weather conditions are inclement. Below ground
facilities can allow vehicular traffic and pedestrians to be separated for safety and efficiency.

3.

USE OF UNDERGROUND SPACE IN THE URBAN


ENVIRONMENT

3.1

Road Tunnels

Overseas
There are numerous examples of major urban road tunnels overseas. For example, Hong Kong will
soon have three major immersed tube crossings of Hong Kong Harbour when the Western Harbour
Crossing is completed. Boston, on the east coast of the US, is currently placing the existing major
arterial road network in tunnels in a multi billion dollar project.

Australia
Riference: Sydney Harbour Tunnel- Environmental Impact Statement, November 1986.

The Sydney Harbour Tunnel is a four lane road tunnel which is 2.3 kilometres in total length. The
driven and cut and cover portion of the tunnel is 1.3 km long while the immersed tube section under
Sydney Harbour is approximately 1 km in length. One of the unique aspects of this project is the

34

POTENTIAL IN THE UNDERGROUND

location of the air intake structure and the exhaust shaft. The air intake vents match the existing slope
of the park land topography in Bradfield Park and the exhaust vents are located in the north pylon of
the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The tunnel provided another vital harbour crossing in a location where a
bridge structure was unacceptable in the visual landscape.
Riference: Melbourne City Link Authority, December 1995.

Currently under construction and to be completed by the year 2000 the Melbourne City Link will
connect the Tullamarine and West Gate Freeways and the South Eastern Arterial by the construction
of a Western Link and a Southern Link. The Southern Link will comprise a six-lane freeway link
between the West Gate Freeway and the South Eastern Arterial involving the construction of two
tunnels under the Kings Domain and the Yarra River. The Burnley tunnel will be 3.4 km in length,
making it one of the longest three lane road tunnels in the world. It will carry east bound traffic. The
Domain tunnel, which will be 1.6 km in length will carry west bound traffic. This project is further
discussed in Case Study H.

Comment
The advantages of road tunnels compared to the alternative surface road network are many and
varied. These advantages include reduced visual and noise environmental impacts. Underground road
tunnels in urban areas allow the area above the tunnel to be developed for the benefit of the
community which is highly desirable particularly in the inner city where surface space is generally
limited. A social 'railway track' barrier through the community is avoided.

3.2

Transport Interchanges

Overseas
Riference:A. Balan, 'EOLE- A new East- West Crossover Line for Paris'Tunnel, 111995, pp. 6-18.

EOLE, standing for 'Est-Ouest Liaison Express', will provide a very elaborate connection system
between surface TGV (high-speed country rail services) networks, existing metro lines, current RER
(regional rapid train transport service) stations, and the future RER Line E located 30 metres
underground. Two enormous underground stations, 255m long and 58m wide, are being constructed,
and will be linked by two 7.4 m diameter tunnels, each 1.6 km long. Construction commenced in
1993, and will be completed by 1998.

Australia
The Bondi Junction underground railway station and surface bus station is an example of a
moderately sized Australian transport interchange. Another example is Box Hill railway station in
Melbourne. Here an existing surface railway station was placed underground in a cut and cover
excavation. Buses and taxis connect to the station at the surface. The airspace above both these
transport interchanges has been sold for high rise commercial and residential development.

Comment
Transport interchanges are highly desirable in any urban transport system. Underground development
is sometimes the only method available to provide passengers with short walking distances between
each transport mode. Multi-level underground transport interchanges are readily connected with
walkways, stairs, lifts and escalators.

3.3

Pedestrian Tunnels

Overseas
Riference: K. Okuyama, 'A Study if Urban Underground Public Space in japan and the Planning Complexity

35

Chapter

Two

of Pedestrian's Selected Space Functions m Underground Space'. Urban Underground Utilisation 19 91, pp.
347-361.

Twenty-seven underground streets in cmes in Japan are described in this paper. The basis of their
selection was that they have floor areas of greater than 10,000 m2, and the most extensive is the
Yaesu-chikagai underground street in Tokyo, which has an area of 68,468 m2. Most of these
pedestrian tunnels have as their primary aim to take passengers from underground railways to points
on the surface, as close as possible to their intended destinations without having to cross busy surface
roads. A secondary purpose is to allow pedestrians to move for several hundred metres without having
to cross roads or to negotiate crowded footpaths. They reduce transit times and accident injury and
death rates. Opportunities to develop much needed shopping and restaurant space has also been the
result of the pedestrian tunnel development.

Australia
Reference: R. A. Chappel, 'Planning, Design and Construction of a Small Multi-use Tunnel
Environment'. Fourth Australian Tunnelling Conference, Melbourne, 1981,pp. 263-271.

111

an Urban

A service tunnel 140 m long was constructed to link two hospitals, beneath Victoria Parade, East
Melbourne. This allows services to be shared between the two hospitals, with patients and staff being
able to make their way on foot or on trolleys through the tunnel, without having to negotiate busy
arterial roads on the surface. The tunnel has an interior width of 4 m and height at centreline of 2.8
m.
Reference: Pedestrian Tunnels- Perth.

There are a small number of tunnels below extremely busy roads to provide safe and easy transit for
pedestrians. The most recent example provides access to the WACA sports ground where many
thousands of spectators, including a high proportion of children, have to cross a wide, high traffic
density road in relatively short time frames. Despite the fact that the tunnel soffit is immediately
below the carriageway, it has been necessary to use ground anchors within the precast concrete
culvert units to resist hydrostatic uplift.
Comment

Pedestrian tunnels separate pedestrian traffic from motor vehicles and create a safer and more pleasant
urban environment.

3.4

Materials Transport, Warehousing and Storage

Overseas
Reference: S. Kashima et al, 'A Study of Underground Physical Distribution System in High-Density Built-up
Area'. Urban Underground Utilisation 1991,pp. 158-163.

A feasibility study was carried out on the east and west sides of Shinjuku Station, one of the most
densely built-up areas ofTokyo, with a high concentration of commercial and service industries.
Within a total land area of 185 hectares a total of 7000 tonnes of goods are handled daily. A network
of 5 m inside diameter tunnels was designed; 5.1 km of trunk route and 3.5 km of branch route. A
fleet of electric-powered vehicles is planned to each carry 8 roll box trolleys, each trolley containing
120 kg of goods. The total handling capacity of the system is 46,000 roll boxes per day. This would
reduce the surface truck traffic volume by 49%, and reduce NOx emissions by about 33%. Apart from
the environmental advantages, the construction costs would be recovered in 9 years of operation.
Reference:]. Carmody and R. Sterling, 'Underground Space Design', Vcm Nostrand Reinhold, 1993 pp. 109.

More than 20 million m2 of mined space exists in the Kansas City area in Missouri with 2 million m 2
of this in commercial and industrial use. In the old section Kansas city mine near the buff entrances

36

POTENTIAL IN THE UNDERGROUND

the mine has irregular pillars resulting from poor mining practices. The newer sections of the mine
have have taken into account future use of the space with regular pillar spacings, more careful mining,
and special provision for a rail access loop through the mine.

Old mining sites are used for warehousing, Kansas City, USA

Australia
Reference: NR.F Nutt, E. Hudson-Smith & FR. Gordon, 'Geotechnical investigations for the Port Hedland
Harbour Tunnel'. 9th Australian Tunnelling Conference, Sydney, August 1996.

BHP Direct Reduction Iron is expanding its iron ore facilities at Port Hedland in Western Australia.
Supply of iron ore fines to a Hot Briquette Iron Ore plant and transport of ore to the ship loader will
be by a 1.8 m wide conveyor passing through a runnel under Port Hedland Harbour. The potential
rate of transport will be 10,000 tonnes per hour. The runnel will have an outer diameter of 5 m, be
1028 m long, and be constructed by an EPB tunnel boring machine which is currently under
construction.
Comment

Underground storage and transport takes the pressure off surface development, but also allows the
siting of facilities close to centres of population where otherwise such services and facilities would not
have been feasible or desirable as surface structures.

3.5

Utility Services

Overseas
R~{erence: M.C KniJ!hts, 'Planning

a_{ Tunnels in London', NAT'96 Conference, Washington D C, April

1996.

The development of 30 km of high tension electrical cable tunnels has been active for the past five
years. Since the first tunnel 2 km long tunnel was constructed for London Electricity in 1990, they
have approved nearly 30 km of 2 to 3 m diameter tunnels to carry multiple circuits of 132 kV cables
amounting to some $200 million in civil and electrical contracts. The advantages of locating
underground included reduced alignment radii from 250 m to 70 m and reduced cable cost due to
less jointing. Compared to the alternative of open trench construction the impact on traffic, the public
and the environment during construction is minimaL
Reference: F Remmer and G Wittneben, 'The Landfall Tunnel of the Europipe Pro_ject'. Bauingenieur, Vol. 70,
Apri/1995,pp. 163-174.

The 'Europipe' pipeline runs from the Norwegian offshore oilfields to Germany, and comes ashore
through an environmentally sensitive national park. A remotely-controlled pipe-jacked tunnel 3.8 m
diameter, 2.5 km long was constructed below the tidal zone and coastal marshes, from the landward

37

Chapter

Two

side of the national park out to a tie-in chamber constructed by caisson in the sea. The tunnel was
driven at an average rate of 25 m per day, and the project was successfully completed in 1995, with
two 40 inch pipelines installed through the tunneL

Australia
Riference: L M. Grundy, S.C. Gunn and E. G. Wilson, 'Extensions to Melbourne's Telecom Cable Timnel
Network'. Fourth Australian Tunnelling Coriference, Melbourne, 1981, pp. 3 4 7-3 60.

A network of low cover small sized tunnels was proposed to maintain the existing telephone cable
network, and meet the future telecommunications needs of the city of Melbourne. Five concretelined tunnels, 2.5 m internal diameter and total length of 1850 m, were constructed with invert levels
generally less than 10 m from the surface, beneath Queen and Lonsdale Streets. Excavation was by
Alpine roadheader, with rail haulage.
R~(erence:

P.T Lowe, 'The Planning and Design


Conference,August 1993.

cf the Prospect to

Pipehead Tunnel'. VIII Australian Timnelling

Four outlets at Prospect Reservoir are used to supply the Sydney Metropolitan area with drinking
water. Three of these outlets are pipe conduits, while a fourth was an 8 km long Lower Canal to
Pipehead. This Lower Canal was an ageing structure that was in poor condition. When built, the
Lower Canal traversed largely rural areas, however, with increasing urbanisation over the decades it
was traversing largely industrial and residential areas. The open canal was subjected to atmospheric
pollution, contamination from stormwater runoff, infiltration and algal blooms. The Prospect to
Pipehead 3.9 m diameter machined bored tunnel replaced the open channel and is a component of
the Sydney Water Board's multi-million dollar Drinking Water Program.

Comment
The advantages of services tunnels is that they can carry a multiple range of services in the one large
duct which is easily accessible for repair or replacement of services as technology changes with time.
The tunnel is easily located compared to a multiple system of individual underground service ducts. A
single tunnel can also carry services from different service providers.

3.6

Underground Railway and Metro Systems

Overseas
Riference: Tore Braaten and Rith Haug, 'The Gardermoen Rail Link, from Oslo to Gardennoen Airport'.
Norwegian Urban Tunnelling, Publication No. 10 of the Nonvegian and Rock Engineering Association, 1995,
pp. 41-47.

The new Oslo airport, 50 km east of Oslo, is to be opened in 1998. A non-stop travel time of 19
minutes from the centre of Oslo to the airport will be achieved, with trains running at 200 km per
hour. The first 14 km from Oslo will pass through a hard rock tunnel, and a further 2 km of the line
will also be tunnelled. Construction commenced in autumn 1995, and is to be completed in July
1997.

Australia
New Southern Railway - Sydney
The 10 km long New Southern Railway (NSR) will link the Sydney CBD and Sydney Airport by a
conventional rail line. A single 10 m diameter tunnel will carry dual railway tracks. The railway will
link together the existing main Central Station with five new stations along the route. Two of these
stations will be located at the airport, one at the domestic terminal and the other at the international
terminaL The travel time from Central Railway Station to the airport stations will be approximately

38

POTENTIAL IN THE UNDERGROUND

1 0 minutes. Another of the stations will allow transfer of passengers at Wolli Creek between the NSR
and the Illawarra Line. The State Rail Authority(SRA) will fund, own and operate the tracks, tunnels,
catenary and signalling, while the private sector will finance and lease the stations' strata from the
SRA and build own and operate the stations for a 30 year concession period. The completion date for
the project is July, 2000 just before the Sydney Olympic Games. This project is further discussed in
Case Study G.

Museum Station - Melbourne Underground Rail Loop -Melbourne


Reference: R. A. Chappel, D. Simpson and]. Skopakow, 'Museum Station - Structural and Architectural
Design', IV Australian Tunnelling Conference, Melbourne, 1981.

Completed in the early 1980s Museum Station is one of three underground railway stations built as
part of the Melbourne Underground Rail Loop. The structure was built in an open strutted
excavation 170 m long by 22 m wide and 29 m deep at its western end. The completed structure has
four levels, the lower and upper platform levels, the concourse level and the mezzanine level. The
mezzanine level contains office accommodation for railway services while the concourse level
provides direct access from this level for passengers to a major retail and commercial development
(Melbourne Central).
Other examples: Town Hall Station linking with the Queen Victoria Building, Sydney.

The Queen Victoria Building connects office workers and tourists to


Town Hall railway station via beautiful shopping arcades

Comment
Two of the examples above are rail links to major airports. Modern aeroplanes can whisk people
between cities very rapidly. Unfortunately there are still major delays for travellers at airports due to
the lack of public transport. Normal surface vehicles cannot cope, particularly at peak demand
periods. These problems are being solved by connecting major business centres to airports by
underground railway systems. The advantage of an underground railway is that the surface land can
still remain available for airport development. At Sydney airport the New Southern Railway will
release land that would otherwise have been used for staff carparking.

39

Chapter

3.7

Tvvo

Underground Fuel Storage

Overseas
Rock Cavern for Fuel Storage - Harare, Zimbabwe
Reference: R. Sturk and H. Stille, 'Design and Excavation of Rock Cavems for Fuel Storage', Tunnelling ar1d
Underground Space Technology, Volume 10, No. 2, April 19 9 5.

An underground fuel storage facility has been constructed in unlined rock. The facility holds petrol,
diesel and jet fuel. The petrol and diesel caverns are located with the crown 50 m below the surface
and the jet fuel silos are approximately 40 m below ground surface. The principle of storing oil
products in unlined rock caverns relies on groundwater flowing towards the cavern. An underground
fuel storage facility such as this has a number of advantages over surface storage tanks. Freeing surface
land for other uses, greater safety and usually, because of the massive storage capacity, greater
economies of scale. The facility was on program for completion injune 1995.

Australia
Molineux Facility, LP Gas Storage- Sydney, Australia
Reference: Dames & Moore Pty Ltd, 'Environmental Impact Statement', October 1993.

The Molineux Facility is a series of rock chambers excavated in Hawkesbury Sandstone. The
chambers are approximately 130 m below the surface. The proposed facility, commenced in 1996, will
enable significant reserves of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LP Gas) to be maintained in the Sydney
Region (total capacity 90,000 tonnes) and provide a secure supply of LP Gas and a more efficient
distribution network for New South Wales. The facility will enable the importation and storage of LP
Gas from large bulk-liquid transport ships (approximate 42,000 tonnes). The facility will initially store
55,000-70,000 tonnes of propane and 20,000-35,000 tonnes of butane. This project is further
discussed in Case Study L.

Comment
The storage of petroleum products underground is much safer than the alternative of surface storage
tanks. Larger volumes can be stored safely closer to and within urban environments. In the case of the
Molineux Facility this will also mean that overhead costs will also be reduced compared to the
existing facility due to much larger bulk handling ofLP Gas.

3.8

Waste Processing and Waste Storage

Overseas
A waste transfer station is currently under construction at the western end of Hong Kong Island. The
transfer station is being excavated in granitic rock in a high density urban and commercial area. The
waste transfer station is required to be operational 24 hours per day and 7 days per week. These
operational conditions could not have been met by locating the transfer station on the surface. One
reason is operational noise. Trucks enter the higher of two tunnels which lead into an underground
rock chamber and unload the residential and industrial waste into one of three waste compactors. The
compressed waste is transferred into containers and then out of the rock chamber via the second
lower level tunnel to barges at the adjacent wharf. The barges then transport the waste to fill sites.

Australia
Reference: PT Lowe and L.B. McQueen, 'Construction of the North Head Ocean Outfall Timnel' VII
Australian Tunnelling Conference, 1990.

40

POTENTIAL IN THE UNDERGROUND

The North Head Ocean Outfall is one of three such tunnels constructed for the Sydney Water Board
to gently release treated sewage effluent deep beneath the ocean surface up to 3.8 km off shore. The
other two tunnels are at Bondi and Malabar. The installation of the effluent risers below the ocean

Sydney's sewage outfalls are underground from


the treatment plant at Bondi

bed was carried out from a semi-submersible drilling rig. A total of 36 effluent risers were installed at
the North Head site at an average distance of 8 m off the north wall of the tunneL The ocean outfall
tunnels were constructed as part of the beach protection programme. A surface facility, i.e. a pipe
along the ocean floor may be subject to risk of damage from ocean currents, dragging ships anchors
or other marine mishap at some time during its design life. A tunnel is protected from the manne
environment and also has no impact on the ocean floor environment.
Riference: Sludge Digester Tanks- Perth

Currently, two egg-shaped sludge digester units are being constructed in the Perth coastal suburb of
Henderson. Ground conditions near the coast differ due to the presence of calcareous limestone at
varying depths and thickness. In this particular case, the digester tanks are rather tall structures approximately 20 m in total - and planning constraints dictated that the bottom half had to
constructed below ground.

Comment
Waste treatment and storage underground has major environmental advantages compared to surface
facilities, particularly with regards to visual and noise impacts. The underground treatment plant or
storage facility can also generally be placed closer to the source, the built urban environment.

3.9

Commercial and Public Buildings

Overseas
Underground Library - Sweden
Riference: L Lindblom, L Green and G Manell, 'Sweden's National Library Goes Underground', Tunnelling
and Underground Space Technology, Volume 10, No. 2,April1995.

The Swedish Royal Library is the National Library of the country. Originally planned for 200,000
books and 10 employees, the library today employs 250 people and stores 3 million books and prints.
The building was completed in 1877, is surrounded by buildings of high architectural and cultural
value, and is located in one of Stockholm's most beloved parks. Responding to the need of the library
and to the environmental restrictions, all future book storage will be in two large caverns excavated in
the hard rock below the library building. A system of escalators and staircases will connect the storage
caverns with the building. Inside the cavern, a five-storey concrete structure is being erected to house
the books. All works will be completed - with no interruption in library service. The heritage quality
of the existing building has been maintained while the functionality of the library has been increased.
It would not have been possible to retain the architectural and historical integrity of the building by
extending the library with new surface buildings.

41

Chapter

Tvvo

Australia
ANA Hotel Ballroom - Sydney
Riference: E.]. Nye and D. A. Baxter, 'ANA Hotel, Sydney, Excavation Adjacent to a Major Railway Timncl',
VII Australian Tunnelling Conference, September 1990.

The ANA Hotel is a 38 level development including four basement levels. The central lift core of the
building is positioned on the west side of a twin track rail tunnel which passes through the site
between Wynyard and Circular Quay railway stations. The building services are below ground level in
the basement and include the hotel laundry and catering facilities and a 125 vehicle carpark. The
hotel ballroom is also underground. The ballroom can cater for 500 seated banquet guests. The
ballroom extents beyond the building site and under the adjacent roadway which was closed off
during the construction phase. So that vibrations from passing trains in the adjacent tunnel do not
disturb patrons, the hotel ballroom floor is supported on rubber isolation pads.
Greenwood Plaza - North Sydney
This high rise commercial building (which is Optus Communications national headquarters) is sited
on a former school site. The building basement consists of a multi-level underground carpark and
shopping precinct. A glass dome directs natural light into a central open space in the shopping area.
Two underground pedestrian tunnels under adjacent streets connect the building to the south with
North Sydney Railway Station and with the main commercial district of North Sydney to the north
under the Pacific Highway. The existing surface historic sandstone buildings have been preserved
together with several large and significant Moreton Bay Fig trees. This project is further discussed in
Case Study E

Parliament House, Canberra

Parliament House- Canberra


Australia's federal parliamentary building is a partially earth covered structure. The reason for
constructing the building in this way was to retain the topography of Capital Hill thus allowing the
public to walk over the roof of the building. A secondary benefit would have been the environmental
insulation of the building.
Brewarrinna Aboriginal Cultural Museum and Craft Centre
Five intersecting and one separate ferro-cement and shotcrete waterproofed domes form a striking
interior to reflect the aboriginal heritage and history of the area and the aboriginal 'Fish Traps' stone
arrangement in the nearby Barwon River and provide a craft centre for the teaching of traditional
handicrafts. The domes are planted over with mulga and saltbush species and earth covered with 1.2 m
minimum soil cover at the apex and up to 4 m at the base, with the local soil roof ~over profiled to
echo desert sandhill formations. The buildings have succeeded in averting the need for air

42

POTENTIAL IN THE UNDERGROUND

conditioning even in the harsh 460C plus, desert environment with internal temperatures not
exceeding 300C even allowing for heat gams provided by numerous coach borne tourists. (Cost
approximately $1.4 million, 1996.)
Al Noori Primary School
A 110 pupil, earth covered primary school, library and school community meeting hall in Sydney's
Western Suburbs was the outcome of several Land and Environmental Court actions to overcome
local residents' objections to potential noise impacts of the new school in an existing neighbourhood.
A bermed and earth covered building designed to form a large internal courtyard was successfully
proposed as the solution. Council conditions allowed no openable external windows to the central
prayer/meeting hall for up to 250 people. Temperatures remain comfortable with only mechanical
ventilation due to the thermal mass effects of the totally enclosing soil mass. Light is provided by
windows to the internal courtyard and sealed double glazed highlights. (Cost approximately $750,000,
1996.)
Combined Plant Storage/Maintenance Facility and Residence
A 1200 m2, mechanical plant storage and maintenance facility and residence in the Megalong Valley
west of Sydney successfully resolves an unlikely combination of uses for the commercial client in a
rural area. Two major shed volumes are sensitively integrated with a 500 m2 earth-covered residence
in a high scenic conservation value area of the Blue Mountains. The 1 m deep earth covering to the
residence, external aluminium roller shutters to windows and atrium roof sprinklers prevent damage
by bushfires. The energy efficiency problems of an easterly facing slope are solved by introducing two
80 m2 glazed roof tree fern atria into the middle of the plan to provide ample heat gain and
comfortable 'outdoor' living in the cold winter conditions. In summer, automatic external fabric
sunshades, and operable atrium roofs, together with double glazing to the windows in the residence
mean that artificial heating and cooling are unnecessary. (Cost approximately $1.5 million, 1996).
Comment
The ANA Hotel example is a typical commercial development where the consent authority has
placed a height restriction on the building. The developer needs to maximise the commercial return
on the building by having as many hotel rooms as possible. By placing the hotel backroom service
facilities underground together with the hotel ballroom he was able to maximise the number of hotel
rooms within the height limit set for the building.

3.10

Recreational Buildings

Overseas

Reference: P.C. Gomnaes and A. Palmstrom, 'Creative use of the underground m Oslo, the capital city of
Norway'. NAT, 96, Washington D.C. 1996

Norway Civil Defence Shelter and Swimming Pool

43

Chapter

Two

The Holmlia sports hall and swimming pool is a dual purpose facility located in rock. It is also a
defence air-raid shelter for 7,000 persons. Located only 250 m from Holrnlia railway station, it is used
by schools, sports organisations and the public. In addition to the swimming pool, gymnasium,
running track and club rooms, it includes trim rooms, sauna and solarium. Excavation of the caverns
started in 1979 and was completed 18 months later; structural works and installation took another 24
months. Excavated volume is 53,000 m3 and the total floor area 7,550 m3
Riference:J.A. Rygh, 'Large dual purpose rock installations in Norway, in peace time: recreational facilities in war
time: civil difence shelters'. VI Australian Tunnelling Conference, March 1987.

The above paper briefly describes the various underground recreational facilities in Norway from the
capital, Oslo to smaller regional cities and towns. The various uses of underground recreational
facilities include the Vassoyholtet 'all activity centre' which includes a ten pin bowling ally, a shooting
range and a gymnasium. The Skarer sport hall and swimming pool, the Holmlia sport hall are
additional examples. The Vagan sport hall includes a standard 24 x 42 m sports room with club rooms,
showers, saunas and locker rooms and a 30 m long shooting range. A special feature of this hall is a
rock climbing training wall for climbers.

3.11 Carparks
Overseas
The Post Office Square Underground Carpark, USA
Riference: 'Underground Carparks: International Case Studies', Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology,
Volume 10, No. 3,July 1995.

The Post Office Square Development replaced an existing multi-storey surface carpark to create an
open green space and an underground carpark in the Central Business District of Boston. The
development met the important need for public green space in central Boston while offering local
office workers and shoppers a convenient and expanded underground parking facility. In 1987, after
four years of extensive planning and complex negotiations, Friends of the Post Office Square - a
group that includes many area building owners and tenants - was able to purchase the existing
carpark site from the city of Boston. The $100m development was financed through a unique public
and private partnership. After the capital costs of the project have been repaid to investors (in
approximately 40 years time), ownership is to revert to the city of Boston.
Carpark in Schloberg, T-Yertheim, Germany
Riference: 'Subsuiface Construction in Germany', STUVAIITA-Tagung '95, Stuttgart, May 1995.

Within the scope of restoring the old part of the town, additional parking space was created m
Wertheim. The Schloberg hill, which steeply juts upwards close to the town centre, offered an ideal
opportunity to develop a sub-surface carpark with short access to the shops and the sights. The special
advantages of this sub-surface carpark facility were: The old part of the town was not disturbed during
construction, a good link-up with other traffic routes was provided so that vehicles were not
unnecessarily diverted through the business district thus cutting down on traffic movements and there
was no danger of flooding. The parking cavern can accommodate 300 cars on two levels. The
structure was also designed as a civil defence facility for some 4,100 persons. For this purpose it is
equipped with pressure-proof gates, access locks and corresponding filter and ventilation locks.

Australia
Melbourne University - Melbourne
Riference: N Postill, 'The Underground Carpark', Environs, Issue 10, December 1995.

A major problem of the late 1960s for the University of Melbourne was the increasing impact of the

44

POTENTIAL IN THE UNDERGROUND

staff and students on the parking capacity of the surrounding neighbourhood. With Federal and State
Governments unwilling to assist with funding for the carpark to address this problem, the University
decided on a self help plan. This plan also encompassed the University's wish to create a pedestrian
precinct at the heart of the campus, in particular the elimination of the north-south and east-west
roads to the south of the Law Quadrangle. With the introduction of a $60 annual parking fee, the
University began planning for a major carpark under the South Lawn, to be funded by the income
thus generated. The carpark itself has four entry and exit points, one vehicular and three pedestrian.
The vaulted form of the carpark's interior creates a dramatic and evocative space.

Bennelong Point Park Station, Sydney Opera House, Sydney

Reference: 'Underground Carparks: International Case Studies', Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology,
Volume 10, No. 3,july 1995.
The Sydney Opera House is an important landmark. The lack of carparking facilities presented a
problem after the Opera House opened in 1973. These parking problems have been met by the
Sydney Opera House carpark known as the Bennelong Point Parking Station. This carpark is the first
helical underground parking station, comprising 12 stories and providing 1,100 parking spaces. It
consists of a freestanding double-helix concrete structure, wrapping around a central intact rock core

Sydney Opera House Car Park under construction

containing linking drives and services tunnels. The huge doughnut-shaped cavern has been created
with an outer diameter of 36.4 m. In order to avoid detracting from the aesthetic appeal of the area,
all works had to be done without disrupting the surface, within either the Botanic Gardens or the
Opera House forecourt.

Reference: Carparks - Perth


There are many underground carparks in Perth CBD - primarily due to planning constraints. Almost
every basement was created using perimeter Diaphragm Walls, which provide a waterproof surround
with considerable structural and foundation attributes.
A wealthy car collector solved his storage problem by buying the adjoining block, which had a higher
ground level and constructing an underground garage linked to his property. The garden over the
garage was restored to its original level and, outwardly at least, there is no visible difference to the
appearance of the two blocks. Contiguous bored piles were used for temporary lateral support due to
their environmentally friendly installation technique in an exclusive suburb. The permanent structure
was entirely of precast concrete construction, and provided ventilated storage for around 16 cars.

Fully Automated Multi-storey Carpark System

Reference: Brochures from NOELL


To reduce space requirements in carparking stations a fully automated system of car storage has been
developed. This system, an example of which has been developed by NOELL of Germany, would

45

Chapter

Tvvo

significantly reduce the volume of excavation required to use underground space for carparking as it
requires only 40% of the area of a conventional carpark. Cars are transported vertically by lifts and in
the storage areas are transported on individual transport pallets.

Comment
The Bennelong Carpark is a typical example where underground space has been created for a carpark
within walking distance of the facility it was designed to service, in this case the Sydney Opera
House. The carpark was excavated under existing parkland. An alternative surface solution for
providing carparking for the Sydney Opera House would not have been acceptable in this urban
environment of valuable parkland.

4.

OPPORTUNITIES IN UNDERGROUND SPACE USAGE

4.1

Opportunities in Underground Space Usage in Sydney

Extension to the Domain Tunnel - Sydney


The existing Domain Tunnel takes traffic to and from the south end of the Sydney Harbour Tunnel
and the Cahill Expressway. This major thoroughfare continues through to Woolloomooloo and divides
the Botanical Gardens and the Domain Park as it continues on to the Sir John Young Crescent
intersection. It would be possible to connect the gardens and park by providing a bridging structure
over the six lane roadway. The joining of these two opens areas would significantly increase their
effective utilisation of the open space and also increase the quality of this inner city area by reducing
both the visual impact of traffic and traffic noise.

Liverpool Station Lowering - Sydney


It is envisaged that Liverpool shopping centre will develop into a major commercial centre similar to
Parramatta and Chatswood, with a working population of 45,000 mainly white collar workers. The
Georges River is currently cut off from the existing shopping area by Liverpool Station and the
existing twin track railway line. In the future the State Rail Authority have plans to increase the
number of platforms on the station from two to four. To open up the potential city development to
the river will require placing the existing railway station below ground level by approximately 5 m.
This will also involve cut and cover and major ramp works to lower the track on both approaches to
the station (an existing example where a similar project has been carried out, i.e. station lowering, is
Box Hill Station, Melbourne). The Liverpool proposal is further discussed in Case Study P.

Eastern Distributor Road Tunnel- Sydney


This project has recently been let to contract for design and construction as a toll road. The main 1.6
km long tunnel is proposed as a double deck tunnel extending from just north ofWilliam Street to
Taylor's Square. At Taylor's Square there would be a major entry and exit portal in South Dowling
Street with associated entry and exist tunnels with Anzac Parade and Moore Park Road. This project
is further discussed in Case Study B.

4.2

Opportunities in Underground Space Usage in Melbourne

Railway Track Lowering -Dorset Road- Boronia - Melbourne


It is proposed that the existing railway track be lowered to provide grade separation between the
existing road and the railway line. This is a typical example of how a grade separation can be achieved
and has been repeated and proposed for similar situations not just in Melbourne but throughout
Australia.

Federation Square- Melbourne (corner Flinders and Swanston Streets)

46

POTENTIAL IN THE UNDERGROUND

There are several proposals to cover the existing railway tracks just to the east of the Flinders Street
railway station. This is a large area of many hectares and it is proposed that any development would
include a covered area extending from Flinders Street down to the Yarra River. A transport
interchange between surface trams with street level buses and the train platforms below would be
feasible.

Putting Trams Underground beneath Swanston St - Melbourne


The conversion of Swanston Street, between Flinders Street and LaTrobe Street, into a pedestrian
mall, is not successful, as major tram routes both cross and traverse the length of it. The heavy tram
traffic along Swanston Walk renders it both noisy and dangerous for pedestrians to use, and it will
probably not be sympathetic for pedestrians until the trams are separated from them. Tram services
could be diverted underground along Flinders, Elizabeth and La Trobe Streets. This project is further
discussed in Case Study R.

4.3

Opportunities in Underground Space Usage in Adelaide

Extension to Main Runway, Adelaide Airport


It is proposed to extend the main runway of Adelaide's Airport to allow 747 Jumbo Jets to land and
take off. So that the runway can be extended it is proposed to construct a cut and cover tunnel over
an existing road at the end of the runway existing runway. This will allow the runway to be
lengthened and also keep open this road traffic thoroughfare. A similar system was used in Sydney to
establish the two main runways across General Holmes Drive.

4.4

Opportunities in Underground Space Usage in Brisbane

Roma Street Parkland- Brisbane


The Roma Street Parkland Proposal to the Queensland Government involves creating parkland over a
multi-level below ground commercial complex consisting of offices, restaurants and shops, as well as
commercial activities including self-storage, archiving and carparking.

Extension of Existing Quarries - Brisbane


Proposals involving the extension of existing quarries within close proximity to the city centres by
underground methods, thus extending the life of the quarry and utilising existing infrastructure and
providing a mined underground void for future use.

4.5

Underground Space Proposals in Perth

The general geology of Perth does not readily lend itself to the widespread use of underground space.
Predominantly granular surface soils and a relatively high water table, especially near the Swan River
plain, dictate that underground structures remain shallow in relatively open areas or that special
construction techniques are required for deeper underground structures in close proximity to other
buildings. All underground spaces require introduced support mechanisms, nevertheless we are likely
to see more underground carparks and cut and cover tunnels.

City Northern Bypass


This 1.6 km long $160 million cut and cover tunnel, giving an alternative East-West inner city route,
planned to commence construction in late 1996. It is understood that Diaphragm Wall construction
will be selected due to a combination of high water table and nearby structures. The tunnel in general
has a cover of 1 m, a clear height of 5 m, and a base slab of 1 m. The specification calls for the tunnel
roof to be able to support three storey buildings over. The development is funded by taxes and the sale
ofbuilding space over the tunnel. This project is further discussed in Case Study E.

47

Chapter

Tvvo

Subiaco Tunnel - Perth

A similar construction scheme is on the verge of being given the green light for Subiaco, where the
railway line is to be sunk below ground level, covered over and landscaped. Construction should be
less problematic as the water table is below the tunnel invert and the construction corridor is much
wider and rarely nears existing buildings. The project is part of an urban renewal scheme for Subiaco.
Underground Railway - Perth

There are at least two schemes for lowering the railway below ground in central Perth. Currently, the
railway splits the City and the lively, entertainment district of Northbridge. It is also an eyesore in a
modern cityscape. The solution will undoubtedly be another cut and cover tunnel, if the proposals
proceed. Both known schemes have been mooted by private developers, who will require a certain
degree of government support e.g. precommittted leasing of new buildings by government agencies.

5.

CONCLUSIONS

The case histories given here are not an exhaustive list of all the current uses of underground space.
They are intended to promote ideas for the use of underground space in Australian cities which will
improve the visual landscape and enhance the amenity for the users of the city.
Currently the Australian underground industry is in a boom phase with major transport tunnels
currently under construction or about to commence in Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. The
public are becoming rapidly aware of the potential uses for underground space due to this current
underground activity.
Potential opportunities exist in the more densely populated areas of the urban environment, where
surface solutions are not practical due to physical, environmental, social or heritage constraints.

6.

RECOMMENDATIONS
Governments (federal, state and local) as well as private industry need to be made aware of the
potential use of underground space so they may more readily identify potential opportunities.
The potential for developing transport interchanges with vertical connections between transport
modes should be more actively pursued by both government and industry.
More carparking facilities should be placed underground, thereby releasing surface lands for more
sensitive urban development.
Make greater use of common ducts and tunnels for underground services.
Reduce risks associated with surface hazard fuel and chemical storage by placing more facilities
underground.
Consider placing some appropriate sporting facilities such as squash and indoor cricket m
basement locations.

48

UNDERGROUND

SPACE

IN

THE

URBAN

EN V IRONM E NT

D E V E l 0 P M E N

A N D

U S E

.-.
'

-.

TECHNICAL PAPERS.

'

'

Chapter_Three
I

Planning
the Underground
.
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....

'

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'

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Authors

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PLANNING THE UNDERGROUND

Chapter Three
Planning the Underground
SUMMARY
"The evolution cif a great city requires far sighted stewardship. It is a continuous process taking place within a
natural form qffered by providence and a built form guided by its civic leaders.

The real power we have to influence the structure cif our city is in decisions we make about how to build it; how
usiful we make our city; how it supports people's activities; what services we provide; and how we balance
competing interests.
Vlf have the responsibility to make decisions that will enhance our city so that it niflects people's needs and wants
and will ensure long term prosperity. "

Frank Sartor
Lord Mayor of Sydney

1.

BACKGROUND

In the current environmental, political and social climate in Australia, development underground or
aboveground will not occur unless it is commercially viable, and politically and environmentally
acceptable.
All too often in the past, engineers have approached the use of the underground as an aim in itself;
portraying a future world of underground cities with the ground surface being given over to wide
expanses of green fields with collections of modest and well mannered buildings.
In planning our cities we must not only recognise inappropriate development but identify
opportunities which encourage good development. In this regard engineers have a responsibility to
identifY uses for the underground which support the strategic objectives of our cities.
Historically, underground space has been used for utilities services. The opportunity to advance the
use of underground space is limited only by our imagination, planning constraints, structural
considerations and economic viability.
This chapter is intended to examine the opportunities and constraints for underground development
within the planning system. In order to illustrate the effect that planning legislation has on such
development, reference will be made to planning legislation in NSW and the environmental planning
instruments adopted by the City ofSydney.

2.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

The blueprint for a 'living' city should be based on the following principles and aspirations:
It should be a multi-use city with a wide range of activities and opportunities
It should have a critical mass of permanent residents
It should have a high quality public realm; such as parks, plazas, footpaths and streets
It should have arts and cultural facilities to meet the demand of its population
It should be accessible by pedestrians, commuters, shoppers and the disabled
It should value its heritage

49

Chapter

Three

It should encourage sensitive and orderly development rather than speculative development
It should be supported by public services and infrastructure which meet the demands of the city's
population.
It is only with the above aims and objectives m mind, that we can begin to contemplate the
development of the underground.

3.

CONSTRAINTS

Zoning
Planning instruments identify areas (zones) within which certain uses are permissible with the consent
of the local authority. The uses permissible in a zone do not differentiate between development above
or below ground.
The excavation of land to provide underground space for a permissible use will generally be
permissible provided that the proposed use is compatible with surrounding uses and other
environmental considerations.
Floorspace Ratio (FSR)
Floorspace ratio (the ratio of the gross floor area of a development in proportion to its site area.)
varies significantly throughout local government areas. In the Central Business District of Sydney for
example, the maximum FSR achievable is 12.5:1. In fringe areas of the city the FSR is 3:1, and in
suburban areas as little as 0.5: 1. All commercial floors pace is included in FSR calculations irrespective
of whether floorspace is located above or below ground.
Where a development is able to achieve its maximum FSR by establishing a built form aboveground
level it will invariably do so. The reasons for this are as follows:
structure is cheaper to build aboveground than below ground;
aboveground space is more marketable and will therefore bring a better return than underground
space and
people generally prefer being within areas of buildings that have a direct visual link with the
outside environment.
However, in certain instances, planning authorities require elements of a development to be
underground. This is the case, for example, with carparking in commercial developments in central
Sydney where aboveground carparking is prohibited.
In instances where, on a particular site, the maximum floorspace ratio cannot be achieved due to
environmental considerations it is, and always has been, open to a developer to construct that space
underground. To date, there is little evidence that the development industry has taken up that
opportunity. It is considered that the sole reason that this has not occurred is one of economic
viability.
It has sometimes been argued that underground space should be exempt from FSR calculations. The
argument in support of this proposition is that underground development does not add to the bulk of
the city and therefore should not be calculated as floorspace. Whilst this is in part correct, it exhibits a
misunderstanding of the purpose of FSR controls.
Floorspace ratio as a development control has two purposes:
it is a crude tool for limiting the height and bulk of a development (aboveground) and
provides a very effective tool for limiting population densities.
The latter consideration therefore, is independent of whether floorspace is aboveground or below
ground. Therefore because underground space generates just as much population as aboveground
space (for a similar use), it should not be exempt from FSR calculations.

50

PLANNING THE UNDERGROUND

This latter consideration is the major impediment to the use of underground space for commercial
purposes. Once floorspace ratios are established for particular areas, underground space competes
directly with aboveground space, and it is rare, that a developer will choose underground space in
preference to aboveground space.

Heritage -Archaeological Sites


As mentioned above, provided that the proposed use is permissible, excavation for a development will
not generally be opposed by a local authority. However if the subject site has not previously been
excavated, and is located within an area of some historic significance, it might contain archaeological
relics (such as basement and foundations of historic buildings, or implements of the occupants of these
buildings) which, under the provisions of the Heritage Act are protected.
Local authorities may have archaeological zoning maps which identify areas which might contain
items of archaeological significance.
For such sites, prior to excavation an archaeological impact statement must be prepared, by a qualified
archaeologist, which assesses the likelihood of finding items of significance beneath the current
ground level. If it is determined that the site has a high potential of containing such items, then
excavation can only be undertaken under the supervision of an archaeologist. This 'watching brief'
will then establish the significance of the site and record and collate any items of historic significance.
On occasions where the remains of a previous building are discovered, the local authority or the
Heritage Council must determine the significance of the findings. If it is determined that the finding
is of little or marginal significance, the remains of the building are usually recorded in the form of
plans, drawings and photographs, and the excavation is subsequently permitted to proceed.
However, where the findings are of local, regional, or national significance, the local authority or the
Heritage Council might prohibit their demolition together with the further excavation of the site.
In such instances, the nature of the entire development must be reassessed. Such an occurrence arose
in the redevelopment of a major site in the Sydney central business district. The particular site,
bounded by Bent Street, Young Street, Bridge Street, and Phillip Street, contained a number of
buildings constructed in the mid to late 20th century, and a number of terrace buildings of the 19th
century (which were to be retained).

The completed twin tower Building

57

Chapter

Three

Upon demolition and preliminary excavation of the buildings in Phillip Street, the foundations of the
previous building were discovered. On further investigation it became evident that the foundations
were that of the colony's first Government House. The development proposal was consequently
significantly modified such that the proposed development did not interfere with the original
foundations. A plaza was created which incorporated an interpretation of the foundation profile in the
paving. Two multi-storey commercial towers were erected on the remainder of the site.
Heritage constraints on underground development are not common but similarly should not be
underestimated in their significance. With careful planning and sensitive design development, most
heritage 'constraints' can be addressed in such a manner as to cause minimal impact on development
whether it be above or below ground.
Structural and Geotechnical constraints

The development of underground space might be significantly impeded by a variety of structural and
geotechnical considerations. It is not within the scope of this chapter or the expertise of the authors
to expand on this topic further than to identify these matters as possible constraints.
Geotechnical aspects are discussed in Chapter 8.

4.

URBAN DESIGN

A significant advantage of underground development is that it can accommodate public infrastructure


that would be environmentally unacceptable aboveground (e.g. underground roadways in lieu of
'elevated' freeway systems).
However, notwithstanding the urban design benefits of such developments, there may also be
significant burdens on the public domain, particularly in terms of the venting of air from
underground spaces.

Wynyard Park Interchange, Sydney (model)

This issue is usually not a problem for underground spaces incorporated beneath buildings, since the
mechanical ventilation system is able to exhaust gases through vertical ducts within the host building,
venting these gases at roof level. However for large tunnelling works, such as roadways, railways and
underground stations, the exhausting of gases has, and continues to provide one of the greatest urban
design problems. The cross sectional area of venting ductwork for major projects can be in the order
of sixty square metres or more. This area must manifest itself in some fashion at ground level. With
ingenuity and a collaborative approach between architects and mechanical engineers, these ducts can
often be disguised. For example the Sydney Harbour vehicular tunnel is partially vented through the
pylons of the Harbour Bridge and Wynyard underground railway station is vented through ducts in
Wynyard Park that have been disguised as architectural features.
However, there are also many less sensitive design solutions, whereby large ducts protrude in parks and

52

PLANNING THE UNDERGROUND

forecourts of buildings. Often an attempt has been made to give them some sculptural form but rarely
is this convincing.
Other potential blights on the city's streetscape are portals to and from underground tunnels. Again
engineers need to work with architects and urban designers to locate and design such portals and
ramps to minimise their environmental impact.
The urban design aspects of underground development have historically been the least well handled.
In planning underground development it is therefore essential that there is an interdisciplinary team
of engineers, architects and urban planners which guides design development to produce
environmentally sensitive designs.

5.

OPPORTUNITIES

Notwithstanding the above constraints, there is a wide spectrum of opportunities for underground
development. It is also essential that the proponents of underground development identify the
compatibility of such proposals with the strategic vision of the relevant planning authorities. It is also
essential that underground development be promoted on the basis of its environmental benefits rather
than its engineering achievements.
Examples where underground development competes favourably with aboveground development are:
commercial carparks,
warehouses,
entertainment facilities such as theatres and cinemas,
supermarkets, and general retailing which can occur on a number of levels within a development,
including basements and
recreational facilities such as swimming pools, gymnasia and squash courts.
All of the above developments occur underground, in preference to aboveground for a variety of
reasons. Some of the more salient of these are:
the presence of natural light or visual links with the exterior environment are not necessary;
containing these uses underground allows more of the higher rental components of the
development (i.e. office space) to be constructed aboveground without exceeding height limits
which might exist and
by achieving greater rentable floorspace within the permissible aboveground height limits, the
financial viability of the development is enhanced.
Other important categories of underground developments are those which may be required to be
constructed underground, irrespective of the financial consequences. Developments of this type are:
commercial carparking (some local authorities prohibit aboveground carparks);
utility services and, most recently, cable television lines;
vehicular and railway tunnels and railway stations and
coach and bus parking stations.
Opportunities also exist in relocating aboveground structures, such as fly-over roads or rail lines,
underground. The benefits are two fold. First the environmental quality of the area is enhanced and
secondly the area upon which the aboveground structure stood is released for redevelopment. Indeed
in many instances, the value of that released land may go a long way to funding the 'undergrounding'
of the original structure.

53

Chap1:e

6.

Three

THE MARKET STREET CROSS CITY


TUNNEL EXAMPLE

The proposed Market Street cross city tunnel which is proposed to traverse the retail core of Central
Sydney illustrates many of the aspects of planning for the underground. This project is further
discussed as Case Study Q 'Sydney CBD East-West City Link'.

View east along Market Street

The tunnel will commence and end at the periphery of the city centre. At approximately mid-point
and within the retail core of the city a commercial underground carpark is to be constructed
accommodating 1000 cars.
The objectives of the tunnel are:
to remove through traffic and service vehicles from the city core;
to improve the environmental quality of the pedestrian network in the retail core;
to provide an alternative route through the city to the Cahill Expressway;
to assist city retailing by providing a short term (shopping) carparking facility in the heart of the
retail precinct;
to improve pedestrian, vehicular and visual linkages between Darling Harbour and the City
Centre and
to convert the Domain Carparking Station (which would then become obsolete) to a coach
layover.
The constraints facing the proposed tunnel, in summary are:
passage under the City Circle line;
passage under the Bondi sewer;
passage under the Eastern Suburbs railway;
avoidance of the proposed alignments for the proposed 'Metro West' rail tunnel;
poor quality rock through the tunnel corridor, necessitating extra tunnel support and
urban design problems involving:
the location and design of entry and exit portals;
air intakes at traffic entry point at each end of the tunnel and
exhaust stacks in Hyde Park area and the western distributor. The ventilation shafts for the
tunnel would be two in number, each of 50 m2. The venting of the carpark would also
require a duct of 50 m2 in cross sectional area.

54

PLANNING THE UNDERGROUND

The opportunities associated with the cross city tunnel are:


possible connection to the Grace Bros basement;
possible connection to the Queen Victoria Building carpark;
connection to the western distributor;
the rationalisation of the western distributor system;
the creation of a new street along the western edge of the city which will realise new
development sites and
possibility demolish the Cahill Expressway across Circular Quay, re-route vehicles through the
Market Street tunnel and avoid the necessity to relocate the Cahill Expressway underground at
Circular Quay.
This project is illustrative of an underground development which not only realises significant
environmental benefits but may also attract financial benefits (in this case in terms of its beneficial
effects on city retailing).
The proposal is still at 'feasibility study' stage. However, it is one which should be supported by the
community and government because of its environmental benefits in terms of reducing through city
traffic and enhancing the pedestrian environment. This is in addition to the other urban design
improvements that may be possible on the western edge of the city and at Circular Quay.

7.

CONCLUSIONS

The planning and development of underground space is still in its infancy in Australia,
notwithstanding that the opportunities are many.
This may, in part, be due to the fact that it has not achieved the high profile of aboveground planning
and development. This is no doubt due to many reasons, not the least of which are:
aboveground development evokes greater public discussion and interest than underground
development;
aboveground developments are designed by architects, with engineering input, whereas
underground developments are more often than not designed by engineers with no little
architectural input and as a consequence aesthetic considerations are usually not given the
prominence they deserve. Public perception of underground development is therefore heavily
influenced by utilitarian designs which do not promote or encourage underground development
for uses other than public infrastructure
aboveground development is usually more marketable than underground development.
Underground development, undeniably has many inherent benefits. The manner in which 1t IS
perceived by the public and promoted by its proponents will need to be the subject of considerable
attention.
In order to assist the planning and development of the underground it is essential that:
The development of underground space is viewed as a means of achieving the strategic objectives
of the community and government rather than an aim in itself.
Development of the underground is undertaken by multi-disciplinary teams of engineers,
architects and urban planners in order to produce environmentally sensitive designs.
Development of the underground is marketed on the basis of its environmental benefits rather
than its engineering achievement.
Particular attention is given to urban design issues associated with ancillary structures at ground
level.
Archaeological considerations and implications are not under-estimated.
Local authorities prepare strategic plans for the use of underground space in order to maintain
access corridors through urban areas for future infrastructure.

55

Chapter

8.

Three

RECOMMENDATIONS
Local Authorities for major urban areas to investigate the potential for underground space use and
upgrade information on existing underground uses.
Local authorities to prepare strategic plans for underground use to include the possibilities of
underground space use in their conceptual planning. Use of the underground can offer significant
potential for improving local urban conditions - especially those related to road and rail transport
and modal interchanges. Effective solutions may be precluded by other development decisions if
the possibilities are not considered early enough.
The use of the underground be arranged to reinforce the strategic objectives of all spheres of
government and enhance the environmental quality of urban centres. It should not compete with
street-life activities and uses.
Cost is a major barrier to more use of underground infrastructure solutions. Technological
development aimed at facilitating cheaper and more risk-free underground construction should
be pursued.

56

U NDER GROUN D

S P AC E

IN T HE

U RBAN

ENVI R ON M E N T -

DEVELOPMENT.

ANP

USE

\,

',

'

-'
'

'

TECHNICAL PAPERS

...
I

'

.'

'

f:=ot;.~r

. Cha.p ter

r'

'

Environ.tnental ltnplications of
Underground Space
Developtnent . and Use
~

I,

.., t

'
I,

:
Authors

'

Tom Pi nzone
Ron W est
Rod Simps on
Tony Fry
T e r,Y Purcell
Ta mmy Sa 11\Ue l
.Julia p Ardas
Ric h.a rd H eggie
Andre w W earne

.'

R e vie 1Ne d by
Annette Ross

..

-.

-.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPLICATIONS OF UNDERGROUND SPACE DEVELOPMENT AND USE

Chapter Four
Environ.nental lanplications of
Underground Space
Develop.nent and Use
SUMMARY
The aim of this chapter is to put into context the implications ~{,and opportunities arising from,
space detJelopmelll, in terms of both the physical and social environment of urban areas.
The chapter looks at the role
sustainable cities.

~f underground

space in terms

if its contribution

to the development

tmde~ground

~f ecologically

The environmental impacts and considerations relevant to undetground development are identified and diswss Ed.
The advantages and disadvantages of underground space development in terms of its environmental impacts are
summarised.
The chapter also proposes a matrix as a means of assessing and evaluating unde1ground space developmems. Tiuo
case studies are provided to illustrate the environmental issues, and possible design responses, relevallt to
unde1grozmd developments.

1.

INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVES

In terms of the practicality of, and the ability to build underground, it has been contended that almost
any above ground function or development can be accommodated below ground, as long as sufficient
modifications are made. However, there are a range of environmental issues that will need to be
considered in terms of an assessment of the feasibility and impacts of a proposal for underground
development.
Environmental impacts are associated with both above and below ground development, with different
environmental issues associated with each. The impact of underground space proposals on the
environment will obviously differ according to the nature and scale of the particular proposal.
Although there are a number of environmental impacts particular to underground development, it is
not possible to make a general statement about whether underground development is a 'good' or 'bad'
option in terms of environmental impacts.
The environmental issues relevant to underground developments include:
physical impacts on the immediate environment associated with the construction of the
development;
impacts on the environment associated with the ongoing operation of the development;
broader land use and planning impacts of the development, particularly in terms of its relationship
to the wider urban area;
design considerations specific to underground development;
health, safety and social issues specific to underground development; and
underground environmental considerations that will influence the location of the development.
The objectives of this chapter are:
to investigate the role of underground development m relation to ecologically sustainable
development;

57

Chapter

Four

to identify the key environmental implications (both social and physical) of underground
development;
to identifY important design considerations relevant to underground development and
to provide a set of criteria which could be used to evaluate proposals for underground
developments.

2.

THE SUSTAINABLE CITY- UNDERGROUND


DEVELOPMENT AND ITS ROLE IN ECOLOGICALLY
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

The concept of ecologically sustainable development (ESD) has come to international prominence in
recent years as conservation and development issues have captured the attention of the public and
world leaders. Although the idea had been around for some time, it was the release in 1987 of the
Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, entitled Our Common Future
(the 'Brundtland Report') which brought the issue into broad community focus. The Brundtland
Report defined sustainable development as that which 'meets the needs of the present without
compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs'.

2.1

Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) Concepts

The concept of ecologically sustainable development has been given legal definition by the Protection
C!_( the E11vironment Administration Act 1991 (NSVV) which set up the Environment Protection Authority

(EPA). Section 6(1)(a) of the above Act provided that the EPA in protecting, restoring and enhancing
the quality of the environment in NSW should have 'regard to the need to maintain ecologically
sustainable development'. This would require 'the effective integration of economic and
environmental considerations in decision making processes'. The principles which would assist in the
achievement of ecologically sustainable development have been clearly set out in Schedule 2 of the
NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 1994. These include:
(a) The precautionary principle- namely, that if there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental
damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to
prevent environmental degradation.
(b) Inter-generational equity - namely, that the present generation should ensure that the healthy
diversity and productivity of the environment is maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future
generations.

(c) Conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity.


(d) Improved valuation and pricing C!_( environmental resources - namely, that while prices for natural
resources should be set to recover the full social and environmental costs for their use and
extraction, many environmental values cannot be priced in monetary terms.
Relevant issues which have been considered and discussed below include:
climate change and greenhouse effect;
maintenance of ecological processes;
biological diversity;
inter-generational equity;
precautionary principle and
valuation and pricing of environmental resources.

2.2

Climate Change and Greenhouse Effect

Underground facilities have the potential to have a net positive impact on climate change and the
greenhouse effect through the efficient use of energy and subsequent minimal loss of radiation to the

58

ENV-IRONMENTAL IMPLICATIONS OF UNDERGROUND SPACE DEVELOPMENT AND USE

atmosphere although this needs to be assessed for specific uses, e.g. ventilation, vis-a-v1s air
conditioning an office building. Furthermore, the use of underground facilities may assist with
minimising atmospheric emission losses through radiation, and/ or better managing atmospheric
emissions through sourcing emissions at a limiting number oflocations.
Carbon compounds are constructed by vegetation through a process of carbon fixation, or the use of
photosynthetic energy for the net absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide (C02) and
incorporation into organic compounds and eventually into plant tissue. Carbon dioxide is a major
contributing greenhouse gas. Carbon fixation reduces the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse
gas in the atmosphere, by removing C02 from the atmosphere, replacing it with oxygen (02) and
storing carbon in plant tissue.
Facilitating the development of underground facilities and allowing more urban land to be vegetated
may lead to a reduction in the potential for future climate change. Australia, on a per capita basis, was
ranked second in a 1988 listing of greenhouse-gas contributors. Energy efficiency measures involving
reductions in energy consumption are supported by the NSW Government as a measure which will
assist in the overall reduction of greenhouse gases.
The likely net positive impact on atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations stemming from
underground development would yield an incremental benefit which is consistent with current
thought and actions needed to address this issue.

2.3

Maintenance of Ecological Processes

The Commonwealth Government in its document Ecologically Sustainable Development: A


Commonwealth Discussion Paper 1990 defined ecologically sustainable development as: 'using,
conserving and enhancing the community's resources so that ecological processes, on which life
depends, are maintained and the total quality of life, now and in the future, can be increased'. The use
of underground facilities would help to maintain aboveground ecological processes.

2.4

Biological Diversity

Preserving biological diversity generally means that a full and diverse range of plant and animal
species should be maintained.
As a signatory to Agenda 21 (an initiative of the Rio Earth Summit), the responsibilities of the
Australian Government include conservation of biological diversity (biodiversity) with the aim of
protecting native species.
The use of appropriate methods of construction and excavation will generally mean that it is unlikely
that underground facilities will impact any rare or endangered species. However, this should not be
construed as a licence to do things where they do occur. In urban areas, it is unlikely that anything
rare or endangered would remain. Current NSW legislation refers to 'threatened species'.

2.5

lntergenerational Equity

Intergenerational equity is a concept which says that humans 'hold the natural and cultural
environment of the Earth in common both with other members of the present generation and with
other generations, past and future'. In other words, the present generation should ensure the diversity
and productivity of the environment is maintained or enhanced and passed on in a condition which
has a positive benefit for future generations. The most significant aspect of this concept is that future
generations should not inherit a degraded environment.
Designing underground facilities with appropriate environmental safeguards and monitoring would
ensure that the environment would not be degraded for existing or future generations. Underground
facilities would have minimal impact on native terrestrial and/or marine fauna and flora populations.
However, particular care needs to be taken where the development could have impact on existing

59

Chapter

Four

underground structures of possible heritage value.


In general, underground facilities could be designed and operated in a manner which would benefit
both existing and future generations. But be aware of the impact of spoil disposal from the
development site even where this involves landfill sites or ocean dumping. The possibility of
contaminated spoil being encountered and the method of disposal need to be taken into account. Also
potential impact on groundwater should be considered.

2.6

Precautionary Principle

The Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment (IGAE) prepared in 1992 between


Commonwealth, State, Territory and Local Government, provides a definition for the precautionary
principle as follows:

Vfllzerc there arc threats of serious or irreversible en!lironmental damage, lack oj_{tdl scient!fic certainty should not
be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environ men tal degradation.
In the applicatior1 of the precautionary principle, public and private decisions should be guided by:
carcfiil evaluation to avoid, wherever practicable, serious or irreversible damage to the environment and
an assessment of the risk-weighted consequences of various options.
The IGAE states that the precautionary principle is to be a guiding principle for informed policy
making and program implementation by all levels of government in Australia. In this manner, it is to
guide both the public and private sector in its decision making and assessment of different options,
particularly when decisions are being made in the face of uncertainty. In doing so, it requires
avoidance of serious or irreversible damage to the environment whenever practicable.
The design of underground facilities will need to take on board the 'precautionary principle' by
ensuring that environmental impacts are considered from the outset in conjunction with cost and
feasibility of construction, and that environmental management practices and safeguards are set in
train to minimise impacts.
Ongoing monitoring is essential in order to reduce the uncertainties surrounding the possible longterm impacts of the development, and to confirm that the recommended precautions and safeguards
are adequate.

2. 7

Valuation and Pricing of Environmental Resources

The integration of environmental and economic goals is one of the key principles of ecologically
sustainable development set out by the Commonwealth Government and is a feature of the IGAE.
Cost-benefit analysis can be applied to assist in deciding which way to proceed towards sustainable
development. It is a means of helping decisions to be made in an objective and rational manner by
allowing the costs of proceeding with a project to be measured against the benefits arising from the
project in like and numeric terms.
The IGAE and the Protection of the Environment Administration Act both call for improved
valuation, pricing and incentive mechanisms as part of policy making and program implementation.
In other words, environmental factors should be included in the valuation of assets and services.
However, there is no accepted methodology as yet. The NSW Treasury guidelines for cost benefit
analysis explicitly do not include these intangibles. The inclusion of environmental intangibles is
fraught with difficulty and unless managed with care could increase controversy in assessment. Perhaps
this is a project for development by the NSW EPA.
The IGAE also refers to the polluter pays principle. Safeguards and monitoring aspects of
underground facilities would need to ensure that any potential pollution is addressed and considered
in the design of underground facilities.

60

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPLICATIONS OF UNDERGROUND SPACE DEVELOPMENT AND USE

3.

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

There are a number of environmental issues (both physical and social) that need to be considered in
relation to underground developments - in both the construction and operational phases of the
project.
In this section, general environmental issues relevant to underground development are discussed,
followed by the advantages and disadvantages of underground development in terms of its
environmental impacts. This will provide a comparative framework to assist with the assessment of
proposals for underground development and to provide the basis for comparison with a
corresponding above ground option.

3.1
Overview of Main Environmental Issues Associated vvith
Underground Developments
3.1.1

Locational

Geological Suitability
The underground geological structure greatly affects the types, sizes and costs of facilities that can be
constructed. However, full knowledge is not always possible and often can only be inferred from a
limited number of site investigation borings and previous records. This aspect is further discussed in
Chapter 8 - Geotechnical Aspects.
Locating facilities below ground requires a greater interaction with the local geological environment
than for most surface construction. This geological environment may be highly unfavourable for
underground construction, and exact geological conditions are difficult to predict prior to
construction, which in turn increases project uncertainties. Some types of underground facilities are
not restricted to a given area and can be located in a suitable geological environment. However, for
others such as service facilities for existing development, the geological environment in which the
construction must take place is already set.
From the technical and engineering point of view, almost any ground conditions can be utilised for
an underground structure, but at a cost. Chapter 8 covers the main concepts of application of
geotechnical investigations at all stages of the project. Chapter 9 covers the technologies available to
achieve a project.
In terms of excavation and construction, rock is a potentially more stable medium for underground
excavations than soil. This comparison is valid in any groundwater situation, but is particularly
accurate if the soil or rock is saturated. 'Self supporting' ground is the most preferable. However, rock
which can stand safely for a matter of hours or days, until artificial support can be installed, is usually
economic to excavate. Stable rock can pose a problem to excavation if the strength or abrasiviry of the
rock substance is excessive, or there is a notable lack of natural defects within the rockmass. In these
instances, conventional equipment can give poor performance and have a higher cost for consumables
due to higher wear on equipment parts.
The most ideal geotechnical conditions exist when the rock and groundwater conditions display the
least variability. This is because the unexpected ground conditions represent the most common source
of budget variations for underground projects. The geological information required to identify the
type of geotechnical conditions which most influence the actual safety of the workforce underground
and the excavation support costs themselves, often cannot be determined by the methods available for
use in site investigations (which are usually quite broad scale).
Another important consideration will be the geometry of the underground space. Lower construction
and maintenance costs usually apply to projects where the underground structure has been designed
to be compatible with subsurface constraints.

67

Chapter

Four

Coal Seams

Unsuitable geology includes the presence of coal seams which could release gas (methane and carbon
dioxide) in varying degrees and are therefore detrimental to construction. Methane is one of the most
noxious and potentially hazardous gases found in excavations. Higher permeability is also observed at
these locations.
The presence of dykes, which are common in the vicinity of coal seams, can also cause problems.
Dykes affect the features of the adjoining rock in various ways including: localised hardening giving
rise to abnormally hard sandstone; abnormal fracturing; iron oxide filled joints and excessive
weathering. The latter three factors generally give rise to excessive flow of water into subsurface
excavations.
Seismic Activity

Underground structures are less likely to be affected by seismic activity in Australia than in other
continents. The Australian continent is not located on a plate boundary and as a consequence, the
level of seismic activity is much less. All seismic activity in Australia is the result of intra-plate, rather
than inter-plate movements. This means that the level of seismic activity in Australia is relatively low
compared with the active regions along plate boundaries.
Hydrogeology

Hydrogeology is a critical aspect of underground space utilisation, as any excavation will gradually dewater the surrounding soil and/ or rock. This may pose a problem to the surrounding environment. In
an area of water wells, severe diminishing of the water resource could occur as a result of the removal
of groundwater from a saturated layer underground, unless preventative actions are undertaken during
construction of the underground facility.
The environmental impacts of underground developments on groundwater may include the
following:
lowering of regional or local groundwater tables due to pumping or drainage into underground
structures. This may in turn lead to the settlement of surface structures and the deterioration of
existing building foundations;
the potential for contamination of groundwater systems from the underground facility
particularly during construction;
the provision of unwanted connections between different aquifers in a regional hydrologic system
and
loss of groundwater due to dewatering e.g. water from the Cataract Dam and River is no\v
thought to be dispersing down mine shafts.

3.1.2

Operation, Design and Construction Issues

Hazard and Risk during Construction and Operation


During Constmction

Risks are identical to those encountered in decline numng m terms of structural failure and lateral
and vertical retention of the material being excavated. However, the economic impacts of an event
such as a lateral failure of the excavated edge wall can be seen to be far greater as a result of the
likelihood of damage to neighbouring property. Risks encountered during construction may result
from:
material type;
material properties in saturated and unsaturated state;
groundwater and the environmental effects of water table variation caused by temporary or

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ENVIRONMENTAl IMPLICATIONS OF UNDERGROUND SPACE DEVELOPMENT AND USE

permanent dewatering;
penetration of aquifers;
existing inground services and
deflections caused by excavations or lateral restraints and the resultant potential for damage.

Operation
During the operational stage of an underground space, the risks are similar but the structural scope of
risks is reduced. Potential risks include:
flooding and water damage;
ventilation failure;
upward or downward settlement of the structure due to soil or rock consolidation, or medium
term pore pressure variances and
fire, explosion.

Settlement of Ground
The actual occurrence of structural damage to adjacent buildings due to underground construction is
relatively rare in recent times because investigations, particularly geotechnical, modern design and
construction practices have improved. Monitoring for settlement is a normal part of most urban
underground constructions. We seek uniform not differential settlement, if any is to occur.
Nevertheless, the community perceives that tunnelling imposes a threat to settlement of surface
structures. While most buildings have a reasonable tolerance to settlement before any structural
damage occurs, surface finish damage can be induced with very small movements of a structure.
Cracking of plaster and brickwork is already occurring in many of our older buildings due to seasonal
factors and ageing of the materials and hence any further settlement due to tunnelling can compound
the problems.
A further constraint of underground construction is the settlement of ground in which utility services
are buried. Some services constructed of brittle materials, such as cast iron pipe are more susceptible
to settlement than ducts containing communications or power cables for example. Solutions to
potential settlement damage include relocation, relining, diversions or temporary removal from service
of the utilities likely to be affected.
Vibration

Vibrations from construction equipment can be transmitted through certain geotechnical conditions
to surface buildings and thereafter travel through these structures to radiate as noise. This is often
heard as a low rumbling sound. The noise levels are usually very low but can affect residents at night
when equipment is located directly below and at a close distance to the surface.
Vibrations from blasting can be measured and controls put in place so as not to be a problem. If these
controls are very restrictive due to historic buildings being in the vicinity, for example, then blasting
can become uneconomic. Most buildings have a structural tolerance to vibration way above the limit
of human tolerance and perception and hence restraints are often dictated by human comfort levels.
During the operation of most underground space uses, vibration is rarely a problem other than for
sensitive uses of space such as cinemas close to a railway. Techniques for track and/ or building
isolation from vibrations are readily available and used, although they can be expensive to implement.
Vibration during construction (due to drilling or blasting for example) can be mitigated by
dilapidation surveys, monitoring, and selection of appropriate methodologies which are in line with
the sensitivity of surrounding structures.
Spoil Disposal

Spoil disposal poses a problem for many construction sites in urban areas. Spoil disposal from site will

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be inevitable on extensive underground structures as a result of the surfeit of cut over fill that these
projects involve. Approved landfill sites are plentiful, however the potential for contamination needs to
be considered. Preliminary geotechnical site investigation based on a knowledge of the site's history
will yield details of the type, amount and extent of any contamination.
Opportunities should be sought for recycling or reuse of spoil- a potential market opportunity.
Removal from site is usually carried out by trucks travelling along the nearby streets and roads. These
roads are often already congested and the streets may be in residential areas. Wash down areas for these
trucks are necessary to avoid mud being carried into adjacent streets. Dust control is important where
spoil stockpiles are needed at the worksites.
Other methods of spoil removal have been used where the site permits. These include barge removal
to nearby fill sites or dumping at sea. The latter is often not an acceptable solution due to
environmental constraints. Future solutions include the pumping via pipelines of spoil to disposal
areas or to sites better able to handle removal by trucks. The technology is available but the economics
do not currently justifY this method of spoil disposal other than for large sites.
Noise

Worksite noise is a concern on most urban worksites because of the type of equipment and activities
plus the need for 24 hours a day operations at some sites. Noise can be ameliorated by the use of
acoustic enclosures around equipment and the relocation of noisy activities underground. At some
sites an acoustically designed workshed covering the entire worksite has been constructed to contain
night time noise levels to acceptable standards. Vehicle movements, usually trucks removing spoil from
the sites, are often restricted to daylight hours.
Blasting noise problems have decreased in recent times due to the reduced use of explosives and the
better control of blasting operations. At some sites, tunnel doors have been fitted to reduce airborne
noise to the adjacent areas.
Because of its size, power and method of operation, excavation equipment is often a problem where
such equipment is located in the open and particularly when used at night. Where such equipment is
located underground and some distance from the portals, acceptable noise standards can most often be
1net.
Noise from excavating equipment such as tunnel boring machines and roadheaders 1s seldom of
concern.
The Noise Control Act 1971 sets requirements for licensing and approval.
'Transportation systems and noise

The development of underground space for transportation systems (e.g. roadways, railways, car
parking, transportation interchanges, etc) can provide measurable benefits to the community in terms
of reduced noise and vibration once the developments become operational. During the construction
phase however, prolonged excavation may potentially result in noise and vibration impacts which are
more severe than for equivalent above-ground developments.
Road and rail vehicles are major sources of noise and vibration emission. In addition to air pollution,
these emissions are often the primary environmental constraints on large transport infrastructure
projects. Underground confinement of the sources provides an effective means for mitigating the
potentially adverse environmental effects.
Although underground development often introduces additional difficulties such as cost. access,
ventilation and construction effort (sometimes resulting in increased construction noise and
vibration), innovative design and construction techniques and the use of proven acoustical technology
can overcome most potential problems.

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Road Transportation and Tim nels


The growing needs of commuters in our expanding cities, and society's demand for fast, flexible
transportation of freight and services has created the need for new, high volume roadways to service
population centres.
In many instances, designated transportation corridors were set aside by planners many years ago, in
order to cater for these anticipated new roadways. Increasing urbanisation however, has led to the
development of residential and other noise sensitive land uses adjacent to many of these corridors.
Moves to develop the corridors and build roadways have met with strong, and sometimes justified,
resistance from the potentially affected property owners and from sections of the broader community.
As a result, the approval processes for major roadway developments have become quite difficult and
often controversial, and roadway designs have sometimes become less than optimum in order to
ensure that acoustical (and other) impacts are minimised.
Many kilometres of roadside noise barriers (sometimes up to 7 m high) have been constructed in
order to control traffic noise impacts along the roadways. These barriers can have substantial visual
impacts and cost penalties. In some instances (e.g. where dwellings overlook the roadway), even
extensive noise barriers have little effect on traffic noise levels.
Although costly, construction of new urban roadways in tunnels avoids virtually all of the operational
noise and vibration impacts associated with surface roadways. The remaining areas of noise impact
normally relate to noise emission at the portals and noise emission from ventilation systems.

Rail Transportation
In a similar manner to road traffic, airborne noise from trains travelling in tunnels becomes inaudible
in properties near the rail corridor. Special precautions and/ or additional setback distances may still be
required for noise-sensitive land uses near tunnel portals or tunnel ventilation shafts.
With all rail lines in tunnels, ground vibration is often the main environmental impact. In buildings
close to a railway tunnel, ground vibration can cause tactile movement and sometimes rattling of
building contents. While the railway induced vibration levels are rarely of sufficient magnitude to
cause even superficial damage to structures or building contents, they can be of appreciable concern
to the occupants, particularly at night.
Another phenomenon associated with rail traffic in tunnels is regenerated noise. This arises when the
ground vibration causes the walls, floors and other surfaces of structures above the tunnels to vibrate,
and then to radiate a low frequency 'rumbling' noise within the building.
People are significantly less tolerant to this noise than they are to the airborne noise of trains passing
by on the surface, possibly because of its association with 'vibration', and the common (although often
incorrect) perception in the community that where there is vibration, damage also occms. To be
regarded as satisfactory, regenerated noise in residential buildings must be virtually inaudible at nighttime, whereas most people will not be disturbed by moderate levels of noise from trains on the
surface.
Fortunately, modern resilient track systems can mitigate most potential vibration and regenerated
noise problems, thereby freeing up airspace over tunnels and stations, even for residential development
and other moderately noise-sensitive uses, for example the rail line under the Capitol Theatre in
Sydney.

Cmparks and Transportation Interchanges


Provision of underground carparking in built-up urban areas also separates airborne vehicle noise
emissions from potentially affected nearby land uses. Underground parking centres and transportation
interchanges may be pilrticularly beneficial at large entertainment venues, shopping centres as well as
in city centres or commercial districts.

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In suburban areas, the provision of basement or other underground parking for multiple occupancy
residential buildings and local entertainment venues (e.g. licensed clubs, hotels, cinemas and the like)
can assist in overcoming a widespread community noise problem associated with the starting of
vehicles, slamming of car doors and the noise of patrons' voices when leaving venues late at night.
For maximum benefit careful consideration should be given to the siting of the entrances and exits
and the location and silencing of ventilation fans.
Occupied Developments

Where underground commercial or residential developments are proposed, the architectural acoustical
requirements are similar to those applying to conventional buildings. These requirements may include
noise control for mechanical services and hydraulics, appropriate specification of partitions,
reverberation control, and siting of noise sensitive spaces away from major noise sources.
Other factors requiring consideration would include the siting and silencing of air conditioning plant
(elevated, roof top locations may not be available), and proximity to underground vibration sources,
such as railway tunnels. Roadways passing across the top of the underground structure may also
require special attention.
Excavation and Construction Issues

Excavation of large quantities of rock and other material during the construction of tunnels, carparks
and other underground developments involves the use of methods and machinery which cause
substantial noise and vibration emissions.
For cut and cover excavations, these emissions are similar to those associated vvith more typical surface
construction projects (e.g. roadways and buildings). The duration of the works, is often longer (or at
least the effects of the vibration or noise emissions remain at the same locality for a longer period of
time) and adverse noise and vibration impacts can be more severe.
On the other hand, innovative approaches to the works can mimmise these emissions. Such
approaches would include minimising the open area for airborne noise emissions by leaving ground
cover in place, or by providing cover slabs over the excavation early in the project, while deeper
excavation is still progressing.
In hard rock excavations, and to a certain extent also where tunnel boring machines are in soft
ground conditions, vibration and regenerated noise emissions will occur. While the direct effects of
vibration (as distinct from settlement and other ground movement) are unlikely to cause damage,
there is a strong community perception that any vibration which can be 'felt' has the potential to
damage buildings. Vibration emissions therefore often become of great concern to the occupants of
nearby buildings.
Regenerated noise can also cause considerable disturbance to occupants of nearby buildings even
though they may be well insulated from airborne noise. This is particularly likely when large
impulsive machinery such as rockbreakers and jack hammers are involved.
Vibration and regenerated noise emissions can be reduced by avoiding use of high impact force
machinery. Equipment such as roadheaders, rock grinders and other special techniques (e.g. saws,
diamond cutting wire, expanding grout, etc), cause significantly lower vibration emission levels.
Blasting is widely used throughout Australia in the mining and quarrying industries, and also m
excavation for roadways and railways in non built-up areas. Precision, controlled blasting has not
however, gained favour for use in rock excavation in urban areas. This technique is widely used in
many parts of Europe and the United States, and offers significant advantages over the prolonged
adverse affects caused by emissions from alternative forms of rock excavation, such as rock breakers and
jack hammers. The advantages result from the very short duration of blasting events, with long periods
of low vibration activities in between. Consideration should be given to the use of controlled blasting
as a means of minimising impact for long duration underground development projects.

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ENVIRONMENTAL IMPLICATIONS OF UNDERGROUND SPACE DEVELOPMENT AND USE

Air Quality
Air quality considerations have assumed a level of increasing importance in enclosed occupied
buildings in the past decade. Building materials, furnishing materials, products of combustion,
chemicals, odorous materials and biological contaminants all have added to the naturally occurring
contaminants to produce recognisable difficulties for maintenance of an environment conducive to
human health.
Air quality maintenance challenges associated with underground space include dampness/mould
control, scavenging of heavier than air gases, exclusion of ground occurring gases such as methane and
radon and ground resident, man made contaminants.
Contaminants which have been identified in enclosed spaces include, sulphur dioxide, particulates,
combustion organics, poly aromatic hydrocarbons, formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds, radon
and biological contaminants including viruses, bacteria, moulds, insects/ arachnid excreta, pollen and
non-ionising radiation.
Dilution ventilation has most commonly been used to maintain an acceptable level of contaminant.
This may not be cost effective in underground situations, and other solutions involving filtration,
absorption and similar techniques may be required.
Use of indoor plantings has been reported to have achieved some success in removal of contaminants
in enclosed spaces. Further development of this practice could prove both cost effective in terms of
space, installation and operating cost, whilst enhancing the amenity and habitability of the space is an
additional benefit.

Ventilation
Ventilation will be required to address air quality control usmg dilution ventilation and exhaust
scavenging (with or without assistance from other means).
Fire and life safety issues are accentuated in underground spaces, with means of access and egress
restricted. Mechanical ventilation systems to provide safe escape routes, safe havens, smoke exhaust and
smoke free breathing zones are necessary.
Fire and life safety issues may well prove to be the dominant issues. Passive containment, early
detection and suppression systems may need to be more effectively applied than they are in above
ground applications, in order to reduce the impact on ventilation, fire, and life safety systems.
Natural ventilation, which is relatively common and easy to include in an above ground space, is
difficult in underground space and in most situations, is likely to be impractical. Mechanical
ventilation, with its attendant power cost and contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is likely. The
location and appearance of the ventilation system will be an issue with the community - visually and
health wise. A significant proportion of the constructed space will be required for ventilation plant
location and intake and exhaust ducts. These must all be connected to an above ground location to
ensure a reasonable quality of supply air and to disperse exhaust adequately.

Other Design Requirements


Other design considerations include:
water requirements,
operation and safety systems,
lighting,
maintenance,
monitoring and
seepage water management.

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Four

Environmental impacts

Air and Uilta Pollutiotl

The potential problems of air and water pollution during construction activities are similar to those of
most construction activities on the surface. However, sediment contamination of tunnel drainage
during construction usually requires significant treatment facilities that can involve sedimentation
ponds and chemical treatment.
Recent concerns in Australia and around the world involve the prevention of groundwater draw down
and groundwater aquifer contamination. When tunnels are constructed the groundwater levels can be
locally affected and in rare cases excessive groundwater inflow can occur. These inflows can be
restricted by methods such as grouting, concrete lining in certain instances or by the introduction of
an impermeable membrane around the tunnel or underground structure. This latter solution can be
very expensive but usually provides the most preferred solution. In deep tunnels or shafts, preventing
the connection of different aquifers is necessary to avoid contamination, especially if the surface
aquifer contains saltwater and the deeper aquifer freshwater.
Flora and Fauna

Where cut and fill methods of construction are not involved, underground space development usually
has limited impact on flora and fauna and can often avoid the disruption that surface developments
cause.
Where tunnelling is close to the surface, protective measures can be readily implemented to reduce or
avoid impact on surface vegetation. In Sydney and Melbourne, treatment to old fig trees along a route
before excavation took place, resulted in little impact upon these trees.

4.1.4

Land Use and Planning Issues

Sterilisatiotl

The sterilisation of existing and future above ground and underground land use activity is an issue
relevant to underground development. Once underground excavations are made, the ground is
permanently altered. Underground structures are not as easily dismantled as surface buildings. An
underground excavation may also effectively reserve a larger area of land necessary for the stability of
the excavation.
Statutory and Strategic Planning Implications

Urban areas, particularly those in the higher population density and inner city areas, impose
constraints on the development of underground space. While in many cases these constraints are
similar to those imposed on construction of surface facilities, a number of constraints, as listed here,
are more particular to underground developments.
Relevant considerations will include the requirements of the local government's planning schemes
(such as type of use, floorspace ratios etc) and other relevant legislation (including environmental
legislation and requirements.
Visual Impacts

In urban areas, visual impacts of both construction and operation are often important determinants of
the success of a project. These requirements can impose fundamental constraints on a project. An
example was the Sydney HarbourTunnel project where there was a need to avoid visible construction
activities in the vicinity of the Opera House Forecourt. As a result, it was necessary to tunnel further
away in the Domain and for works in the Forecourt area to be constructed underground, thereby
avoiding disruption to pedestrian movements on the surface and also satisfying the visual constraints
imposed.

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ENVIRONMENTAL IMPLICATIONS OF UNDERGROUND SPACE DEVELOPMENT AND USE

One of the major visual impacts of underground developments (such as carparks) is as a result of the
need to vent air from underground spaces. Other visual impacts result from entrances and exits to
underground developments. These need sensitive planning and design treatment to avoid conflict with
adjacent uses and reduce the visual impact.

Air intake and Pylon Exhaust for Sydney Harbour Tunnel

Traffic Impacts

The level of construction activity involved means that most large underground projects generate a
large amount of vehicle movements. These include delivery trucks to site, spoil removal trucks and
construction workforce movement. Where tunnels are involved, these activities are concentrated at the
portals. Visual and noise attenuation measures are often needed around the worksites. Restricting
vehicle movements to weekday daylight hours is common.
Heritage and Archaeology

Where sites are in the vicinity of culturally or historically significant areas, good investigation is
required to firstly establish the precise location and value of the item or area. Then protective
measures must be devised to prevent damage. In some sites, continuous study or monitoring of the
site construction is necessary to avoid loss or inadvertent damage.
An example in Sydney is the historic Tank Stream which was Sydney's first water supply and is now
covered by buildings and streets.
Decommissioning

The decommissioning of underground structures is another relevant issue. Underground structures


permanently alter the ground conditions at a site, and the first underground facilities constructed may
significantly deter or even preclude future uses. This places a burden of forward planning for
competing underground space uses to a much greater degree than is required for surface structures,
which are more easily adapted and renewed.

3.1.5

Social issues

Psychological Factors

These factors are one of the major deterrents to the widespread use of underground space. For many
people, the idea of working or living underground elicits a negative reaction. Negative associations
with underground space generally include darkness combined with humid, stale air. Among the most
powerful associations are those related to death and burial, or fear of entrapment from structural
collapse. Other negative associations arise in relation to feeling lost or disoriented, since normal
reference points such as the ground, sky, sun and adjacent objects and spaces cannot be seen. Also,
with no direct view of the outdoors, there can be a loss of connection with the natural world and no

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stimulation from the variety of changing weather conditions and sunlight. Physiological concerns
with the underground primarily focus on the lack of natural light and poor ventilation. Light and
acoustic quality will impact on psychological conditions.
By its very nature, underground accommodation is the most extreme form of internal space requiring
considerable effort to achieve or emulate the ideal conditions. This would seem to be in direct
opposition to the direction that sustainable building is heading. Sustainable building attempts to use
direct ambient conditions for the operation of the building itself - natural ventilation, natural day
lighting, capture of solar energy through passive design and active systems. Going underground would
seem to severely limit the potential of such systems. Further, the appropriateness is largely determined
by climatic regions. Three quarters of the world's population live in climatic regwns where the
problem is not heat loss but how to shed heat and control humidity.
Occupational Health and Safety
Safety issues may also represent disadvantages for underground facilities. The ability to exit an
underground facility in the event of an interior fire or explosion is hampered in deeper underground
facilities by the limited points of connection to the surface, the need for upward travel on exit stairs,
and the difficulty of venting poisonous fumes from a fire. In ground containing dangerous chemicals
or gases, these may potentially seep into the underground space, causing health problems. Heavier
than air gases from the surface may also fall into underground structures to create higher
concentrations than would exist on the surface.
Resolving safety issues requires careful design and building operation, which translates into higher
costs.

3.2

3.2.1

Underground Development and Its Impact on the


Environment - Advantages and Disadvantages
Advantages

The advantages specific to underground development in terms of the environment include the
following:
potential for reduced impacts on the surface environment (including flora and fauna);
improvement to local air quality (for example, by the use of roadway tunnels to remove traffic
from local streets);
roadway tunnels avoid virtually all the operation noise and vibration impacts associated with
surface roads;
reducing the visual impacts of facilities such as carparks;
locational advantages, including the ability to build in close proximity to existing facilities or on
otherwise unbuildable sites;
small amounts of earth cover are very effective at preventing the transmission of airborne noise this can be very important for structures located in exceptionally noisy locations such as those
adjacent to freeways and major airports and
land use efficiency - the ability to place support facilities below ground and preserve the land
surface for uses requiring the surface environment is an important benefit.

3.2.2

Disadvantages

The disadvantages specific to underground development in terms of its impact on the environment
include the following:
influence of uncertain or unfavourable geology and the associated cost uncertainties;
disturbance of the geological environment;

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ENVIRONMENTAL IMPLICATIONS OF UNDERGROUND SPACE DEVELOPMENT AND USE

heat discharge requirements (it is difficult to reject excess heat production in underground
facilities except through air-conditioning and/ or high levels of forced ventilation);
impacts on hydrogeology;
potential for groundwater pollution;
potential for hazard and risk due to the impacts of flooding, ground settlement, ventilation failure
etc;
noise and vibration impacts of construction and excavation;
human issues, including psychological acceptability, physiological concerns, occupational health
and safety (including fire safety), and personal security;
decommissioning;
transportation and disposal of excavated material and
maintenance and repair difficulties.

3.3
3.3. 1

Summary of Issues, Conclusions and Recommendations


Issues

The environmental issues relevant to underground developments include:


physical impacts on the immediate environment associated with the construction of the
development;
impacts on the environment associated with the ongoing operation of the development;
social impacts of the development on the immediate and adjacent communities;

broader land use and planning impacts of the development, particularly in terms of its relationship
to the wider urban area;
design considerations specific to underground development;

health, safety, psychological and social issues specific to underground development and
underground environmental considerations that will influence the location of the development.

3.3.2

Conclusions

The impact of underground space developments on the environment will differ according to the
nature and scale of the particular development. Although there are a number of environmental
impacts (e.g. blast vibration and archaeological heritage disturbance) and mitigation possibilities (e.g.
noise and visual impact) particular to underground development, it is not possible to make a general
statement about whether underground development is a 'good' or 'bad' option in terms of
environmental impacts.
As illustrated in the case studies described in the following section - the Molineux LP Gas Storage
Facility and the Park Street Tunnel - the environmental benefits of an underground project frequently
outweigh its disadvantages.

3.3.3

Recommendations

The understanding and relevant data, to allow a proper consideration of ecologically sustainable
development (ESD) concepts and the valuation and pricing of environmental resources, must
continue to be improved to allow comprehensive environmental assessments over the full life
cycle of a project.
The design of underground facilities will need to take on board the 'precautionary principle' by
ensuring that environmental impacts are considered from the outset and environmental
management practices and safeguards are set in train to minimise impacts.
Mapping of the underground should include information on underground heritage structures
(e.g. the Tank Stream in Sydney) and foundations which could be damaged by new excavations.

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ASSESSING UNDERGROUND SPACE PROPOSALS IN


TERMS OF ENVIRONMENTAL IMPLICATIONS

The issues outlined above can be considered and used as criteria to assess proposals for underground
developments and enable a qualitative evaluation of the comparative advantages of contemporary
above ground siting of land use activities versus the underground alternative.
The assessment of an underground space proposal may involve an assessment of the proposal purely
on its own merits (in terms of its environmental impacts). It may also involve a comparative
assessment of a number of solutions or options (both above and below ground).
As with any project, the process of planning for an underground space project will involve several
main steps. These are summarised below.
1.

Conceptualise idea.

2.

Determine the needs the project is seeking to fulfil.

3.

Investigate alternatives/options which meet these needs (above and below ground).

4.

Consider environmental issues as listed above.

5.

Discover gaps in information.

6.

Obtain additional information where possible.

7.

Gauge the likely environmental impacts of each option.

8.

Assess options based on the environmental issues and impacts - take into account cost and
feasibility also.

-2

Assessment Criteria

-1

Geological suitability
Seismic activity
Hydrogeology
Hazard and risk
Vibration
Spoil disposal
Noise
Air quality
Ventilation
Other design requirements
Air and water pollution
Flora and fauna
Sterilisation
Statutory and strategic planning implications
Traffic impacts - construction and operation
Heritage and archaeology
Decommissioning
Psychological factors
Occupational health and safety
Property impact- ownership/compensation

Figure 4.1 Matrix Providing a Framework for the Qualitative Evaluation of an Underground Space Proposal

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ENVIRONMENTAL IMPLICATIONS OF UNDERGROUND SPACE DEVELOPMENT AND USE

The use of a matrix is one means of assessing the advantages and disadvantages of underground
developments. A matrix can be used to provide a qualitative assessment of an underground proposal as
well as a comparative analysis of various options.
An example of such a matrix is provided in Figure 4-1. The matrix lists the environmental issues
described above, together with a simple rating system (from -2, indicating a major disadvantage or
significant impact, to +2, indicating a major advantage or insignificant impact).
Alternative Locations and Technologies

In deciding whether an underground solution is advantageous or not for a particular facility, it is


necessary not only to consider whether the project should be built underground or above ground at
the same site but also whether the project could be built on another site or alignment and whether
alternate technologies could be used to obviate the need for building the facility.
Very often it is the need or advantage of building a facility in a particular location that is the driving
force behind the need to place the facility underground. There should be a conscious evaluation as to
whether the location is a necessary condition for the functioning of the facility or simply one of the
options to minimise the environmental impact of a project. Similarly, the possibility and practicality of
alternate technologies may need to be studied when their use can remove or mitigate the need for the
project.
Examples of projects where these sort of locational considerations occurred are the Sydney New
Southern Railway and the Molineux LP Gas Storage Facility. The Sydney New Southern Railway is
planned as an airport connection and hence its locations at the domestic and international terminals
are fixed. A surface route was not feasible through the airport site, therefore an underground location
was the only option. This project is discussed further in Case Study G.
With the LP gas facility, the location was chosen as a result of facility needs and community and
environmental constraints. Under these conditions, the environmental review may consider the
possibility of alternate locations which are feasible from an operational point of view, including the
possibility of surface siting at other locations. With the Molineux facility, the ability to place the tanks
underground at an accessible coastal location has resulted in a lower environmental impact and
enhanced facility safety in combination with its operational advantages.
Examples of the need to consider alternate technologies include a road project and an urban waste
disposal site. A new road project is usually predicated on the need to solve a transport problem, which
is often one of capacity of the existing network. It may be necessary, as part of the environmental
review, to examine whether the use of measures to reduce trip generation and/ or to shift the mode of
transport from private vehicles to public transportation is a feasible option compared with the
construction of the new facility. For a new waste disposal site, the need for the facility is usually
predicated on predictions of waste generation for the foreseeable future. Programs aimed at reducing
waste by legislation, regulation and public information can substantially alter the growth and nature of
the waste stream. Again, it may be necessary to examine whether 1).10ney spent on waste reduction is
better spent and environmentally superior to creating improved disposal options.
When the issue of alternate technologies is considered, it is also important to continually evaluate the
impact of new technologies (and available but unimplemented technologies) in making
environmental analyses. Examples of impacts that affect need may include the possible effect of
telecommunication technologies on travel behaviour. Examples of new technology affecting a
particular part of an environmental analysis could include an improved excavation technique that
reduces construction nuisance through noise and vibration, and improved pollution controls on
vehicles or applied to tunnel ventilation exhausts to reduce the impact of tunnels on localised air
quality near portals or exhaust points.

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5.

CASE STUDIES

5.1

Park Street Tunnel

5.1.1

Description

The Park Street Tunnel project was a proposal for a tunnel and associated developments in central
Sydney, by the NSW Government and Sydney City Council. The project involved a significant
underground component including:
a one km four-lane tunnel below William St and Park and Druitt Streets traversing the city to
facilitate east-west through movement;

a 1200 bay underground carpark and


an underground shopping arcade immediately above the carpark and below Park Street.

5. 1.2

Advantages

The underground nature of the project would provide the following advantages:

Traffic
separate east-west through traffic from central city traffic and
reduce through traffic on city streets.

Visual
improve conditions and increase the space available for pedestrians;

carpark would be hidden from view and


control of unnecessary traffic on the streets of the city.

Parking
The parking strategy for the city recommended that future city parking stations be limited so as
not to create greater congestion on the city's local roads, and/ or should be located on the edges of
the city to be assessed directly from major arterials.
The major advantage of the proposed underground carpark is that predominant access would be
by tunnel with entry and exit points on the edge of the central city, while the carpark itself would
be located below the city centre where there is a demand for parking.

Servicing
It was intended the tunnel fulfil a role as part of an overall strategy to provide service vehicle
access from an underground road network, thus reducing the number of service vehicles on
surface streets.

5.1.3

Design

A range of services would be provided including:


around the clock monitoring;
a longitudinal ventilation system which would draw in air from the entry portals and push it to
the exit portals;
a zonal lighting system that would enable incoming drivers to adjust their eyes to the differences
in light inside and outside the tunnel;
a drainage system that would be designed to handle stormwater run-off, seepage, washing water
and spills;
a closed circuit TV system and in-ground sensors to monitor traffic flows and breakdowns and

74

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPLICATIONS OF UNDERGROUND SPACE DEVELOPMENT AND USE

use of sensors and fans.

5.1.4

Environmental Impacts

Along with the usual construction impacts, the following environmental impacts were expected as a
result of construction, would involve tunnelling and excavation, and operation.

Hydrogeology
as the tunnels were to be constructed in Hawkesbury sandstone, few groundwater problems were
expected.

Air Quality
although carbon monoxide concentration would be decreased along streets, it would be increased
at portals,
the location of carpark exhaust vents would have to be carefully considered m relation to
prevailing winds and building locations, and
the use of sensors and fans was proposed to reduce carbon monoxide build up.

Heritage I archaeology
building foundations and deposits of archaeological significance were expected in the carpark
area, and
construction would affect several historic service conduits.

Utilities and services


Construction would necessitate diversion and relocation of services.

Visual
visual impacts were expected as a result of the carpark ventilation stacks, entrance portals and
carpark access ramps, and
measures proposed to reduce the visual impact of the proposed development included minimising
the height above ground level of the tunnel roof near the portals, and design of portals (form and
finish) and carpark ventilation stacks to maximise compatibility with surroundings.

Noise and vibration (associated with operation)


noise and vibration impacts were not expected to be significant and
to reduce in-tunnel noise, the use of an open graded poro-elastic road surface was proposed.

(Reference: Park Street Tunnel EIS prepared for Concrete-Kumagai Joint Venture by Manidis Roberts
1990).

Consultant;~

This project is further discussed in Case Study Q.

5.2
5.2.1

Molineux Facility - LP Gas Storage


Description

The project involved the excavation to create two underground caverns for liquefied Petroleum Gas
(LP Gas) storage at Molineux Point, Port Botany. The two caverns were constructed 130m below
ground level. They had a storage capacity of 90,000t. Each cavern consists of an operation shaft and a
series of parallel chambers separated by rock pillars.
Throughout the world, it is considered that the most cost effective method of storing large volumes
of hydrocarbon products with a high level of safety and with little or no impact on the environment,
is to utilise underground cavern storage in its various forms.

15

Chapter

Four

The underground storage would utilise pressurised unlined purpose built rock cavern technology
which utilises the hydrological environment to ensure product containment. The rock mass in which
the cavern is mined is kept saturated with water. The pressure of the water in the surrounding rock is
higher due to its depth below the water table than the pressure of the LP Gas in the cavern. Due to
the difference in pressures, the groundwater will always flow into the caverns preventing the
migration of stored LP Gas into the surrounding rock.

5.2.2

Advantages associated with the underground facility

Underground storage has a number of advantages over other forms of storage:


reduced fire fighting costs;
reductions/ eliminations in the need for buffer zones;
reduced visual impacts and
improved safety due to minimal impact of above ground incidents.
Above ground pressure storage would require a large safety zone around each tank, an extensive fire
protection system and the cost of pressurised vessels is high for the storage of large volumes. While
mounded storage is associated with high vessel costs due to the need to provide inspection access and
anti-corrosion cathodic protection.
This project is further discussed in Case Study L.

5.2.3

Design

Each cavern will have its own shaft and extraction system. The operation shaft contains tubings and
casings for instruments and alarms, venting, seepage water extraction pumps as well as product pumps
and filling lines. Casings in the shaft have been designed to consider factors such as corrosion and
seismic activity. Specific design requirements relating to safety and risk are outlined below.

5.2.4

Environmental issues

The main environmental issues associated with this development included the following:

Spoil removal
It was proposed to utilise the majority of excavated material as fill onsite and/or on adjoining sites.

Geological issues
Alternative locations were unsuitable because of the nature of the geology including coal seams and
the possible presence of methane and carbon dioxide.

Seismic activity
Underground structures are more stable than aboveground structures during an earthquake. Given
that the host rock is practically homogeneous, the rock caverns will be very safe from earthquake.

Safety and risk management


The underground storage of LP Gas significantly reduces the likelihood of hazardous events.
Mitigating factors will include:
safe operational procedures,
a fire fighting system,
seismic monitors,
earthquake tolerant design,
emergency shutdown and other mechanical devices,

76

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPLICATIONS OF UNDERGROUND SPACE DEVELOPMENT AND USE

gas and heat detectors and


frequent inspections and preventative maintenance.

Water quality
Because of the pressure differential, LP Gas will not flow out of the caverns to contaminate the
groundwater. During operations, seepage water will be processed in a seepage water-LP Gas stripper
and directed to a firewater pond (provided water quality meets with EPA requirements).

(Reference: Skymill Pty Ltd (Elgas) EIS for the Molineux Facility - LP Gas Storage, Molineux Point, Port
Botany, prepared by Dames & Moore, 1993)

77

U N DERGROUN D

SPACE . I N

TH E

URBAN

E N V I RO N MENT

DEVELOPMENT

AND

USE

''

,_

..
I'

,TECHNICAL PAP~RS
.I

I
'

'

'<

.,
'I

Transport 1n th.e

Chapter' Five

~nderground

.'
I

,.'

Authors

Pie r s B r oga n
D a v id Ste w a rt
D a vid Ande r s on
G e orge V assa llo
Fre d G e nna oui
Vict or A lle n
Bill W e ntwo rth
Bruce Fishburn
Dr Pic!< Da y
J o hn M c Ke rra l

.. ,

.,,

I'

R e vie1Ne d by
K e n D o binson
I

.'

TRANSPORT IN THE UNDERGROUND

Chapter Five
Transport in the Underground
SUMMARY
In this chapter we diswss the bct1cjits and constraints ~(the usc gtmdctground space for transport facilities. Uriliry
services arc embraced and all modes gland transport arc covercd,for people andforfrcight.
T# bri~f/y discuss:

travel and movement in general and how they relate to the usc

0 unde~ground space;

each principal mode of suifacc transport and its attributes in relation to underground space;

0 underground space for transport in Australia and


implementation and management 0 such zmdergrotmdfacilities.
opportunities for the usc

We conclude with some thoughts on the future and recomme11dations to enhance transport in the underground.

1.

BACKGROUND

All transport systems involve linear movement. In the underground context this movement lends itself
to tunnelling and trenching. Transport terminals and interchanges, vehicle depots and storage on the
other hand lend themselves to the use of caverns.
Transport facilities are placed underground in our cities to:
provide vertical separation of modes, such as rail and bus or pedestrian and rail, improving
movement between the modes and increasing the capacity ofboth the mode and the interchange:
remove undesirable transport features from the surface, enhancing the streetscape and improving
safety on the surface streets;
lower the cost of crossing barriers such as rivers and estuaries, and
provide surface space for redevelopment where land costs are high.
In recent years the perceived
locations have led to increased
the case in urban areas. The
technological advances has also

environmental disbenefits of surface transport facilities in particular


consideration of construction underground. This has particularly been
reduction in the real costs of underground construction through
encouraged this consideration.

Many utility services such as water, gas and more recently telephone and electricity cables have been
placed underground. The very recent erection of cable television cables on poles above ground
appears as an unfortunate reversal of that trend.

TRAVEL AND MOVEMENT

2. 1

Transport Space and Time

Both people and goods travel. They do so to participate in other activities.


Activity requires interaction between parties resulting in flow towards centres of activity. As activity
increases it focuses on centres, resulting in a greater proportion of land being consumed by transport
links and increasing intensity of movement on links. That is, in business centres more of the land is
taken up by roads and raihvays and there is more traffic on these roads and railways.

79

Chapter

Five

As the intensity of activity increases in a centre it becomes busier and attracts more activity, generating
more travel, until the transport links servicing the centre become congested. Congestion renders
further increases in access difficult, the growth of activity slows and the business centre stabilises.
There is a dynamic relationship between the space available for activity and the space consumed by
transport links. In major centres the vertical dimension has been used to increase activity space. This
has resulted in increased travel, increased congestion and more horizontal space being required for
travel, especially by car.

Darling Harbour overpass consuming vertical space

Underground space offers an opportunity to create a balance in space allocation in centres. It can be
used to improve conditions for travel by reducing surface congestion, to improve transfer at transport
terminals and to improve goods handling, delivery and collection. Underground space can allow a real
increase in the amount of activity, the business of a centre, by providing more space for transport
below ground level.

2.2

The Shortest Path is Underground

The shortest and cheapest path for travel on transport links often will be underground, when the real
costs of providing an overground path are taken into account. The two components of this cost are:
the physical cost of infrastructure and
the time/money costs of obtaining rights of way and compensating those disaffected by
construction of the link.
Physical costs include infrastructure construction and system capital costs. For tunnels these will
include lighting, ventilation, emergency facilities, control and surveillance. All links include a
maintenance cost.
Right of way costs include resumption, environmental remedial measures (e.g. noise barriers) and loss
of amenity. Some of these costs are not always accounted as financial costs, i.e. they remain as a burden
on the community without being born by the transport operator or user. These right of way costs will
sometimes be lower for underground links because the underground can have lower land value and
because it contains the impacts of the transport link.
On top of this are the operating costs of the link, which are generally lower, the more direct the link
and involve lesser user time in travel.

2.3

Issues for Transport of People

The human scale, a standing or seated adult, dictates the dimensions of underground transport
systems. Thus limits on vehicle size have been reached by modern cars, small buses and railway
carriages for the various transport system types. These dimensions, which are discussed in later
sections, fLx the size of excavation needed for underground person transport.

80

TRANSPORT IN THE UNDERGROUND

Interaction bernreen land use and transport creates conflicts on the surface. These conflicts are often
resolved by separating the vulnerable modes (pedestrians and cyclists) by some form of vertical
movement. Interchange between transport modes similarly concentrates potential for conflicts
between people and vehicles. Underground space presents opportunities for the vertical separation of
transport modes and land uses to reduce conflicts.
Use of the underground for transport \Vill allow more space for pedestrians to use the surface. Lifts
and escalators can provide the connection between strata.

Escalator and Lifts in City Underground,


Wynyard Station

2.4

Issues for Freight Transport

Opportunities for transporting freight underground are potentially greater than those for people.
Freight transport is also more adaptable to technological change than people transport. Containers,
pallets, warehouse pickers, pipelines, container cranes, indicate greater technological innovation than
bicycles, cars, buses and trains.
Delivery of products to businesses in activity centres is presently handled by trucks operating out of
factories and warehouses. This has produced larger trucks with high environmental impact while the
centres they serve have grown more congested and more sensitive to these larger vehicles.
There appears to be potential to transport unitised pallets (of a size suited to their function) partly
underground between large warehouses or factories and central distribution points in underground
caverns in the centres. Central distribution could be; direct, by goods lift into buildings; by small
battery electric transporter cars compatible with pedestrian precincts; or by foot or bicycle.
The development of such a system would require co-ordination across government, manufacturing
and distribution sectors. The system would provide most benefits in large metropolitan centres such as
Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. However, the component elements would be common (pallets,
collection ancl distribution stations, and central transporter cars) and could, in time, be extended to
smaller centres.
Underground space offers an opportunity for the evolution of a new logistic systems for transporting
products in a way that enhances retail centres and improves distribution efficiency, rather than
degrading these centres as present distribution systems do.

81

Chapter

Five

3.

MODE CHARACTERISTICS AND ISSUES

3.1

Cars and Trucks

Commzmity Awareness
The community is increasingly aware and concerned about the visual, environmental and social
impacts of developing the highway network at ground level. Continued growth in population and
travel demand in urban areas has increased the need for improved transport links, both road and rail.
Commonly, urban arterial roads reach their capacity during the day causing vehicular trafiic to 'rat
run' through residential areas. Concerns about residential amenity, local air quality, noise and safety for
pedestrians and other road users have arisen as a result.
The community expects the efficiency of highways and arterial roads to be increased as a way of
keeping vehicles away from residential areas. Much attention is given to optimising traffic flow along
existing arterial routes but missing links and low capacity intersections remain. Local community
resistance to road improvements and funding constraints inhibit removal of these constraints. There is
a growing realisation that we will be unable to 'build our way' out of these issues at ground level.

Congestion
The Bureau ofTransport and Communications Economicsl has estimated that congestion delays in
Australia's capital cities cost about $3 billion per annum. The community appears more prepared to
accept underground solutions to address these delays rather than constructing new surface roadways,
even though they cost more.
The successful completion of a number of major road tunnels in Australia has boosted interest and
confidence in tunnelling as an alternative solution. It is interesting to note that recent shortlisted
options considered for major new urban transport projects through sensitive areas in Sydney,
Melbourne and Perth all involve the construction of at least one section of tunnel.

Twin tunnels for the M2 Motorway save bushland


and recreation areas in Epping Park, Sydney

Freight
The need to move higher volumes of freight through cities and to cater for the needs of road-based
public transport is increasingly being recognised. With costs of road congestion being passed indirectly
onto the consumer through higher prices, the business sector has a strong interest in seeing that a
higher standard arterial network is developed. 'Just in time' delivery is becoming a normal mode of
operation as Australia attempts to compete in the international arena. To remain viable as a business
centre, a city requires a transport system that is efficient and cost effective. Transport efficiency within
cities is increasingly being used as a way of attracting businesses to locate in one State in preference to
another. In many cases the use of underground space is the only solution available to meet this need.

Opportunities
There is usually little constraint to building extra width in a tunnel to increase capacity or to double
decking a tunnel in confined width space.
Construction and operational noise can be better managed underground so that the activity can take
1.

l3un:'JU ofTr;m.;port .:md CommuniCJtion Economics (11.)96). Tr,!JTic


AustraliJn Governmem Publishing Ser\'ice, c~mberr.~.

Ct}/l,r_csri(lJl

82

a11d r(Jad user dia((!CS in .-"1usrr,11im1 capirai citic<, Report 02,

TRANSPORT IN THE UNDERGROUND

place around the clock. Longer hours of operation mean that the road asset, one of the community's
most valuable, can be better utilised. The ability to spread travel demand throughout the day and night
remains attractive as a way of distributing freight at lower cost.
Road tunnels can following a straight alignment rather than follow an existing route at ground level.
The main advantage of tunnels is the ability to avoid conflict with existing land uses and the natural
features of the landscape that need to be preserved. Land values can be preserved and the often severe
social and economic costs associated with disruption to existing services can be largely avoided.
Giving people the ability to move around the city more easily reduces the pressure for urban sprawl,
saving the community money by making more effective use of existing infrastructure and services.
The adoption of world air quality standards is placing pressure on governments to take action to
identify and limit air pollutants from all sources. Social research2 indicates that air pollution is
perceived by the community to be the most important environmental issue requiring action. There is
potential to scrub or dilute air collected from a road tunnel before it is released back into the
atmosphere. The ability to improve urban air quality is likely to become more important as air
pollution becomes a more significant urban social issue.
Tunnels remain dry and are unaffected by rain, wind, smoke and fog. Such conditions are favourable
to both drivers and vehicles leading to higher levels of road safety being achieved.

Constraints
Currently, users prefer to travel at ground level, particularly over longer distances or at speed. Beside a
natural human attraction to the light of the sun, travellers perceive increased risk associated with
underground travel in the event of an accident or delay. From the operator's point of view it is more
difficult to attend to vehicles that have broken down. Often the only way to service a vehicle is to
close the tunnel and send an emergency vehicle in from the opposite direction.
Fears of being trapped in a fire or running out of air are real concerns that need to be considered.
Also, users perceive an increased personal security risk as tunnels are potentially more exposed to
flooding and terrorist attack. Understandably, potential users feel less personal control when guidance
and management systems are operated from remote locations. Tunnel operators require detailed plans
to handle emergency situations effectively.
Road tunnels tend not to cater to the requirements of some types of user. Pedestrians, cyclists and
other non-motorised users are often excluded. Similarly, vehicles carrying hazardous, liquid or
explosive goods can be difficult to manage in a restricted area. Any spill or accident is likely to attract
significant media attention resulting in adverse community reaction.
Tunnel safety can be affected by intersections, sharp curves or steep gradients in the tunnel. In a
tunnel many of the driver cues to judge distance and speed are absent. Tunnels tend to be narrower
than surface highways, due to cost, leaving less room for driver error.

3.2

Buses and Coaches, Pedestrians and Cyclists

Opportunities and Issues


The use of underground space for public transport raises a number of opportunities and presents a
number of issues for public transport.
Underground space has traditionally been used for heavy rail in constrained city environments,
allowing rail systems to penetrate and cross city centres, while avoiding problems of conflict and safety
which could result from a surface solution (such as level crossings).
The underground offers benefits through separation of modes, provision of priority (bypassing
congestion points) and integration of modes. The underground can offer passengers protection from
weather, separation from traffic and better intermodal transfer.

2.

NH.MA Ltd (liJ95), .-\/oJJiTor

4 Puhii( :1rriwde.'- air qualiry rmd rhe car,

NRMA cleJn Air 2000 (NR!v1A Public At1Jirs) Sydney.

83

Chapter

Five

Underground parking, Brisbane

In sensitive urban areas, environmental and urban design objectives can be met by locating elements
of the public transport system underground- for instance to enhance "pedestrianisation". However,
the use of underground space for public transport should only be considered where functionality is
not compromised, for example convenience to destinations and passenger safety, especially for night
travel.

Buses and Coaches


Buses must be readily accessible to patrons to be an effective public transport mode. In suburban
locations, bus routes generally offer regular stops (from 200 to 400 m apart) and are arranged to
maximise the number of dwellings within 400 m of a bus route. In town centres, buses provide a
more effective service when they offer services close to major destinations, such as rail stations and
shopping centres. This philosophy has seen the establishment of transit malls and bus-only links to try
to improve bus penetration in major centres and provide a high degree of accessibility by bus for
town centre visitors.
Underground space can be used effectively for buses over long sections of through route, for example
to bypass surface congestion. Where buses are not picking up or setting down passengers,
undergrounding offers benefits in terms of travel time and directness. The underground can also
provide a convenient terminal for buses. However, buses need to be where people are: if pedestrian
activity is largely on the surface, buses should remain on the surface. This is the usual case in town
centres. Bus operators generally prefer the surface, offering a combination of express and stopping
buses to optimise patronage. This traditional approach overlooks the different functions of local and
route buses.
In Central Business Districts (CBD's), bus travel is frequently hampered by town centre traffic and
parking. For an effective Central Business District service the bus must provide a high degree of
accessibility in terms ofboth location and frequency. Pedestrian activity is on surface and this is where
the bus should be, visible and convenient to shoppers and other users. To remove impediments to bus
travel competing activities could be underground, especially through car movement and parking. The
planned east-west tunnel and associated car parking in the Central Business District of Sydney is an
example of this principle. (See Case Study Q- Sydney CBD East-West City Link).
Underground space can also be used to provide transit priority for buses and other high occupancy
vehicles in highly constrained situations such as Military Road through Mosman and Cremorne
shopping centres in Sydney. Again, it is usually preferable to retain buses on the surface where the
people are and put the other vehicles underground.
One of the strengths of buses is their flexibility in comparison to fixed track modes. Undergrounding
over long lengths may prejudice this flexibility. However, short sections of undergrounding can benefit
buses by providing a bypass of congestion points and major intersections. Underground buses can be
guided (like the 0-Bahn) to reduce the space occupied.
The underground can benefit integration at multi-modal interchanges but raises other issues. An
increase in the value of land in town centres has seen a growth in the commercial development of
airspace over rail lines and stations. These developments have often incorporated bus/rail interchanges,
partially or fully enclosed by a commercial/retail building. The Chatswood interchange is such an
exam pie; Edge cliff is another.

84

TRANSPORT IN THE UNDERGROUND

Use of underground space for bus interchanges can improve interchange efficiency by reducing
transfer distance between modes and separating pedestrians from vehicles. The most efficient
arrangement is for vertical movement between modes, with the bus interchange located directly over
or under the railway station (e.g. Bondi Junction in eastern Sydney). In commercial and retail
development of station airspace, additional elements (such as shopping arcades) are often interposed
between bus and train, while cars reduce efficiency and weaken system legibility, (retail design, which
encourages indirect paths, is not always compatible with the objective of minimising distance between
transport modes at interchanges). The most efficient arrangement for an underground railway station
is likely to be a surface bus interchange.

0-Bahn, Adelaide

Where land values are high, underground space may provide the only opportunity for a transport
terminal. Underground space too will incur high capital and recurrent costs, particularly where bus
storage (layover) is required. Attention also needs to be given to gradients to be negotiated by buses
(generally maximum of 8 to 10%) and passenger comfort in the design of ramps and changes in the
gradient. The operation of diesel buses in enclosed spaces raises issues of air quality and passenger
amenity. In addition, lighting should be designed to provide safely for transitions between natural and
artificially lit environments.

Pedestrians
In Australia, pedestrians are usually best provided for on the surface. However the underground may
be used for access during inclement weather or to provide more convenient access to transport
terminals. For example, North Sydney rail station which is remote from the shopping centre has
direct underground access from it.
The underground may also enhance pedestrian access to public transport by providing a more direct
route, especially where obstructions such as a major road exist.
Where pedestrians are placed underground, attention needs to be paid to:
means of access - stairs, ramps, escalators, lifts;
amenity of underground space - air quality, lighting, noise and
personal safety- modal separation, surveillance and security, especially at night.
Australia's population is ageing and mobility impairment needs to be considered in selecting means of
access to underground space. Ramps at easy grades take up significant amounts of space and escalators
and lifts may have problems of capacity, availability, reliability cost and security. Access facilities should
also be planned to meet the needs of people carrying luggage or pushing strollers and cyclists
In all public transport applications, a mix of pedestrian accesses should be provided, especially at
terminals and interchanges. For example, ramps should not be provided exclusively - stairs should also
be available to minimise walking distances for able bodied travellers. Prevailing topography should be
used where possible to achieve the changes in grade necessary for pedestrian access to underground
space.
Fire and other safety requirements become more relevant m the underground and these can affect
cost and practicality.

85

Chapter

Five

Attention also needs to be paid to pedestrian access in a wider context - integrating with exJStmg
pedestrian networks and adopting safe access routes. An example is in underground railways, where
station location should be governed by pedestrian and vehicle access opportunities and constraints at
the surface, as well as engineering and construction issues sub-surface.
Pedestrians are often reluctant to use an overbridge or underpass where this involves climbing
significant vertical distances or where they have a safety concern. Pedestrian routes should be planned
to be at surface on easy grades with road or rail services elevated or, preferably, depressed. An example
of a difficult pedestrian route is at Chatswood where pedestrians travelling east-west must climb
significant distances to cross both road and rail. The opportunity remains at Liverpool to underground
the rail line and station to provide ready surface access between the town centre and the river. See the
Chatswood and Liverpool Town Centre Case Studies N and P.
People have serious concerns about their personal safety underground in transport terminals - both in
access and waiting areas. Their concerns are associated with perceptions of isolation and lack of escape
routes. Underground spaces such as the Railway Square and the Domain Carpark pedestrian tunnels
in Sydney are perceived as unfriendly, dangerous places. At Liverpool station, the opportunity to use
underground space to improve access to a redeveloped station was vehemently rejected by the
community. Attempting to use underground space in conjunction with public transport without
addressing personal safety concerns could be counter-productive.
Other passenger amenity issues which need to be considered in underground transport terminals are
air quality (especially with diesel buses), lighting and noise. Ventilation of passenger areas will be
required and possibly separation of passengers from vehicles by enclosure. Passenger enclosures may
also be required to limit noise in underground transport terminals. Noise issues include peak noise, as
well as the overall acoustic environment and how long noise takes to dissipate. Lighting of
underground space should be designed to provide good visibility and avoid areas of shadow.
Underground pedestrian facilities need to be planned as part of an interconnecting pedestrian
network, supported by ready access to public transport facilities and other key pedestrian destinations
such as major shopping centres.
Cyclists

Government and transport providers are encouraging the use of the bicycle as a transport mode
linked especially to public transport. The use of underground space in transport terminals needs to
take into account the needs of cyclists for both access and parking. Generally, cyclists and pedestrians
should not share the same underground space, because of speed differential and the potential threat of
injury to pedestrians.
Conclusions

Underground space offers opportunities to enhance public transport services by:


allowing major transport facilities to be located close to the centre ofbusy cities;
improving modal integration and transfer;
providing transit priority and opportunities to bypass points of congestion, and
providing weather protection for passengers.
But at the same time, it raises concerns with respect to:
passenger amenity and safety;
efficiency of modal transfer and
accessibility and mobility.
which could damage public transport efficiency and reduce patronage if not addressed properly.
The key test in the use of underground space for public transport should be whether its use offers
benefits to public transport in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. In short, underground space

86

TRANSPORT IN THE UNDERGROUND

should not be exploited for its own sake; rather it should be seen as a potential solution to specific
problems, with the objective of improving public transport accessibility and efficiency.

3.3

Light Rail

Strategies, Location and Concepts


Light rail is applicable to serve communlt!es of about 75,000 persons. As for bus, to maximise
passenger accessibility and minimise costs, light rail (LRT) is best located at the surface. LRT IS
generally perceived as pedestrian-friendly and can operate in pedestrianised precincts.
Where LRT is placed underground, it is best placed close to the surface and integrated with
pedestrian networks. Unlike heavy rail which requires grade separation from the passenger concourse
level, LRT and pedestrians can be at the one level eliminating the concourse level. The ability of LRT
to climb sharp grades means that LRT can travel at depressed levels, then emerge towards the surface
at stops.Yet LRT may integrate with heavy rail in simple cross-platform transfer.

light Rail

A potential use of LRT in the underground is on Military Road, Neutral Bay to The Spit in Sydney.
This would rely on surface car traffic being reduced, for example by placing through traffic in tunnel.
The LRT could be integrated at stops with building basements and underground pedestrian road
crossings. High density development along the ridge would provide high patronage levels.
A further potential use of LRT is to serve the south-eastern suburbs with interchange at St James
Station with City Circle trains.
High density development existing or planned must always be considered with LRT to optimise
patronage and render projects financially viable.

Physical Requirements
Design requirements for LRT are:
maximum grade 7 degrees, minimum vertical curve radius 305 m for sags and 260 m for crests,
vertical curves exceeding 760 m desirable;
minimum horizontal curve 17.5 m radius for turnouts and intersections, exceeding 100 m for
high speed operation;
minimum corridor width for double track with
overhead on kerb, 6.6 m,
centre pole, 6.9 m,
safety zone 1 side only, 7. 93 m,
shelter 1 side only, 9.09 m;
vertical clearance above railhead, 4.42 m.

87

Chapter

Five

overpasses
27.40 tonnes with axles spaced at 1.75 m, 6.325 m and 1.575 m.
18.75 tonnes with axles spaced 2. 785m apart.

3.4

Guided Bus

An alternative to Light Rail is the Guided Bus (Duobus). The break even point for bus/light rail is
reported as 21,000 peak hour passengers in the peak direction. The Guided Bus is a rubber-tyred
vehicle, which runs on a segregated track (either in tunnel or on the surface) and which is capable of
leaving its segregated track and running as an ordinary bus on normal roads.
On its segregated track it is driven by electric motor drawing power from an electric catenary, but on
normal routes it is powered by electric battery (desirably), or alternatively by LPG or diesel.
It appears to offer the advantages of Light Rail and to have the following additional advantages:
it is less expensive, especially when the route includes normal roads;
it has greater hourly capacity;
it has greater route flexibility and
it can be more readily integrated with other traffic and pedestrians.
Operating and maintenance costs excluding depreciation and interest were reported as $3.00 to $3.50
per vehicle kilometre for a busway and $3.00-$5.00 per vehicle kilometre for light rail while capital
costs are approximately 50% lower for a busway3.
Its major advantage over Light Rail is that it is not confined to fixed routes and can offer a
decentralised service. This is specially significant for Australian suburbs, where residential densities are
comparatively low and likely to remain so.
An example of a Duo bus proposal is included in Case Study 0 'Duo busTunnel for Warringah'.

3.5

Heavy Rail

Strategies:
Heavy rail is best suited to high volume (> 6000 passengers/hr), relatively long distance line haul,
operating on a discrete right of way. It is most efficient when supplied by feeder services using other
modes. Hence bus/rail, LRT /rail interchanges and commuter carparking, are important components
of a heavy rail system.
Broadly speaking, heavy rail performs best in the point-to-point journey times it can provide in
densely populated areas. For example, the estimated journey time from Sydney Central to
International Terminal Station at the Airport using the new Southern Railway is about 10 minutes
with 2 stops. The existing direct bus service takes around 30 minutes in peak periods.
Types of Heavy Rail Systems and Application
There are basically 3 forms of heavy rail systems:
n1etro,
suburban and
long haul
;\;[erro Systems:
Metros are high volume, relatively short distance, systems utilising single deck stock with multiple
doors and limited longitudinal seating. The bulk of them are underground to minimise impact on
cityscapes. They act as very efficient city distributors but on the down side they add the penalty of
interchange from other longer distance services and other modes. Stations are usually closely spaced.
3.

Hanscl1t>r DA and \X/att.rs \VG, Ll/!,ht R11il and Bus


Sydney. Fl'b. 1Y93.

Pritlfity

Systems: Choice or Bli11d

88

Ctli/JilliTil/CIIt?

Institute of Transport Studie-s, University of

TRANSPORT IN THE UNDERGROUND

Metro

Metro's fall into 2 categories:


1.

Automated such as the VAL system in France, BART in San Francisco and London Docklands
and

2.

Traditional such as MTR in Hong Kong, London Underground and many other subways
around the world.

Suburban Systems:
These are similar to the Metro Systems except that journey times are longer, requiring more seating
and a higher level of passenger comfort. Station spacing is traditionally 2 to 5 km. Suburban Systems
usually act as feeders to Metros and because they have been the catalyst for development are normally
located above ground.

Suburban System

Long Haul Systems:


These provide Inter-City services usually to a terminus interchanging to a Metro, suburban or other
mode.
Typically these systems provide limited stopping, point-to-point, high comfort services. The rolling
stock is unsuited for operation in suburban or Metro Systems because of their loading and unloading
times. Hence there is an interchange penalty.

Long Haul System -Inter City

89

Chapter

Five

The Sydney System:


Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth actually operate all 3 railway systems - metro, suburban and
long haul within one integrated system.
Suburban trains and inter-urban train sets operating from as far away as 100 km from Sydney can
access the Sydney City Underground and in effect perform as a Metro system. This has the huge
benefit of eliminating the bulk of interchange, but sacrifices the high capacity and fast loading and
unloading of a traditional Metro system.

Future Developmems:
The gradual re-orientation of Sydney towards the demographic Centre of Parramatta will require a
rethink of future heavy rail development particularly the radial nature of the existing system focusing
on the CBD.
Land use patterns which have created dormitory suburbs and relatively distant employment centres
dictate that future rail development must be underground to minimise disruption to established
communities. This is in contrast to freeways where dedicated corridors have been in existence for
many years although whether the community will now accept surface freeways in these corridors is a
moot point. There is, therefore, a need for dedication of underground corridors for future heavy rail if
this stratum is not to be lost to future generations by underground development for other purposes.

Application:
Heavy rail, as indicated earlier, provides the most efficient means of transporting large volumes of
people over a considerable distance for journey to work purposes.
An example is the New Southern Railway which will link the dormitory suburbs of the South West
of Sydney with the activity centres of the Airport and the City. This project, now under construction,
is discussed in case study G 'Sydney Airport Link -The New Southern Railway'. Other potential
schemes in Sydney include the Rouse Hill - Epping - Lower North Shore - City proposal and an
Epping to Parramatta link.

Constraims:
Heavy rail schemes are relatively expensive particularly when underground. However, these costs can
be offset by land capture and high-rise development at stations.

Physical Requirements:
Design requirements for heavy rail are:
maximum grade, 3%;
minimum Vertical Curve, 3200 m@ 80 kph, 5000 m@ 100 kph;
minimum Horizontal Radius, 600 m for double;
minimum Corridor width, two tracks with access road, 20 m;
vertical clearance to rail head, 6.1 m;
tunnel size, single, 6.1 m x 4.6 m;
tunnel size, double, 6.1 m x 10 to 12m;
train lengths, Suburban 162 metres, InterCity 200m; and
seating capacity, around 900, crushload 2000.

Facilities - Stations
The following list indicates the facilities which are required at a heavy rail station, whether above or
below ground:
passenger lifts,

90

TRANSPORT IN THE UNDERGROUND

amenities - toilets, waiting rooms,


shelter,
seating,
overpasses/underpasses,
interchange facilities,
signa gel communications,
ticketing and
car parking.

3.6

Detailed Mode Requirements for Tunnels

The geometric considerations of tunnels, whether for pedestrians, light or heavy rail or motor traffic
are similar. The horizontal and vertical alignments are as straight and flat as possible and the resulting
sight distances as long as possible.

Pedestrian Timnels
A bored tunnel solely for pedestrians is relatively expensive. A cut-and-cover is usually the cheaper
and better solution, especially where shops and a pedestrian walkway can be placed underground.
Where a bored tunnel is required it should be approached by ramps. Steps may also be provided if
required. Ramps should have a gradient of:
1:8 (12.5%)- absolute maximum and
1:14 (7 .1 %) - desirable maximum.
Ramps with gradients less than 1:14 (7 .1 %) are suitable for most people with disabilities who are
confined to a manually operated wheelchair. The ramp will require provision of regularly spaced level
lengths to allow the wheelchair occupant to rest.
The tunnel should be suitably lit and ventilated and have a minimum width of 1.8 m and a minimum
height of 2.4 m. It should have a continuous longitudinal floor gradient of at least 0.3% to facilitate
drainage and be designed to provide an unobstructed view of the whole tunnel from entrance to exit
to obviate safety concerns.
1525tiH.3xS .1525tMt4.3xS

~I
~I

!I ~I

il jl
-: :~
~

~I

~~~
c:
.
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t

-~1

ii

~I

il
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:;;
'7i

~I
i

T
I
l

~~

Jill

wi ~~
-.-~1 !I
1111
~!
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111 [I
~-

s[m

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J_

M= Displacement of carriage centreline from track


centreline around curve (mm) where M=42000/R
R= Radius of track (m)
S= Superelevation of track (mm)
Figure 1: Vertical and Horizontal Clearances for Rail Tunnels

91

Chapter

Five

Depending on the length of the tunnel, surveillance may be required by television camera or police
patrol.

Light and Heavy Rai!Iimnels:


Clearances to light and heavy railway lines vary and should be checked with the operators during the
planning stages.
The tunnel should be lit and ventilated and have a minimum longitudinal gradient of 0.3% to
facilitate drainage and a maximum grading for light rail or for heavy rail depending upon the desired
speed and loads of operation.
Emergency access to the tunnel may be by the adjacent reverse direction tunnel, constructed with
doors between each.
Speed and loading also determine the horizontal alignment of the tunnel. It may range from a gunbarrel straight to a spiral permitting trains to climb to a higher level by spiralling around inside a
mountain and thereby reducing the grade.
J'v!otor Traffic Tzmnels:

The major problem of this type of tunnel is to provide sufficient ventilation to remove the poisonous
fumes emitted by the vehicles. Traffic engineers must also deal with jams due to heavy traffic and
stalled vehicles by provision of breakdown bays, emergency tow vehicles or a combination of each as
in the Sydney Harbour Tunnel.
The tunnel should be suitably lit with transitional lighting at both ends to provide brighter lighting
for daytime entry and exit and duller lighting for night-time entry and exit. It would have minimum
width between kerbs of
7 m for 2 lane operation,
10 m for 3 lane operation and
13.5 m for 4 lane 2-way operation.
Unreinforced
concrete lining

Luminaires (portal area only)

Wall panels

90JO

0
35GD

----------------

Figure 2: General Cross Section for 2 Lane Road Tunnel

92

TRANSPORT IN THE UNDERGROUND

The horizontal alignment should preferably be straight, but if a horizontal curve is required it must
have the required stopping sight distance to a preceding vehicle. Adopting a reaction time of 1.5
seconds and a consistent vertical alignment the required minimum horizontal curve for a particular
speed are shown in Table 1:
1

Speed (Km/h)

I
I

Stopping Sight Distance (m)

Minimum Horizontal Radius (m)

60

60

225

80

100

625

150

1400

100

Table 1 Speed/Sight Distance/Curve Radius Relationship

The vertical alignment should be at a minimum grade of 0.3% to facilitate drainage. The desirable
maximum grades for the various speeds are shown in Table 2:

Speed (Km/h)

Maximum Grades(%)

80

6-8

60

4-6

100

3-5
Table 2 Speed/Grade Relationship

The minimum length of the over vertical curve at a change of grade required to provide stopping
sight distance is shown in Table 3:

l
I

Speed
(Km/h)

60

I
I

80
100

Stopping Sight
Distance (m)

31

60
100

87

150

I 196

4
1

63
174
391

Change of Grade (%)


10
6
8

12

125

188

94
261

I 587

157

14

16

219

I 250

348

435

522

i 699
i

I 783

978

I 1174

I 1370

696

1565

Table 3 Speed/Sight Distance/Grade Relationship

Sag vertical curves are normally designed on the basis of maximum vertical acceleration. For normal
road design criteria, a ceiling clearance of 4.6m does not cause a sight distance restriction at a sag
curve.
Ventilation may be by fans as indicated in Figure 2 or by fresh air and exhaust air ducts.
Wherever possible a lay-by lane, about 25 m in length, should be provided to where a broken-down
vehicle can either be run, pushed or towed. Where there are twin tunnels they should be constructed
so that emergency doors connect the tunnels. In the event of a an emergency in one of the tunnels
the doors can be used for pedestrian access to the other tunnel.
Natural Ventilation of Roadway Iimnels:

Natural ventilation may be satisfactory in short tunnels, but busy tunnels and longer tunnels require
mechanical ventilation.
Determination of the length limit of a road tunnel which relies on natural ventilation is a complex
problem. It depends on the noxious pollutants from the exhausts of petrol and diesel engines, the
effects of vehicle type, density and speed, the tunnel gradient and cross section, the consequence of
the atmospheric pressure and temperature at each end of the tunnel (which will cause an air
movement through the tunnel) and the orientation of the tunnel to the direction of the prevailing
winds outside the tunnel.

93

I
I

Chapter

Five

4.

OPPORTUNITIES IN AUSTRALIA

4.1

General

For a long time, people in Australian cities have lived with the problems of traffic congestion, noise
and loss of air quality. As the population of Australia increases and as we are likely to remain one of
the most urbanised countries in the world, there are great pressures to address these issues and to
devise strategies that will improve the situation (or not let it deteriorate further).
Congestion relates to transport; transport also contributes to the degradation of the urban
environment by the noise produced by vehicles and the loss of air quality due to emissions from their
engines. Congestion is an insidious problem which consumes a great deal of the community's
resources (mainly from the time lost).
The greatest source of urban congestion is at the nodes of any transport network (where intersecting
streams of traffic compete for space). Traditionally, the road net\vork has resolved this competition by
using 'road rules'. In urban areas traffic signals may be used to allocate a period of time for each
movement to occur. At some sites, traffic streams have been spatially separated by providing bridges at
intersections (although cost generally precludes this approach). Rail transport also uses signals and
some grade separations to resolve these conflicts. Techniques to resolve inter-modal conflicts (points
where different modes intersect) follow similar approaches.
The use of underground space has rarely been considered due to the perceived high initial investment
costs and the on-going operational costs associated with such solutions. However, underground space
has been used for a long time in Australia. Examples include the underground railways in Brisbane,
Sydney and Melbourne which are used to overcome intersection problems with the existing street
network and overcome conflicts with development above. The immersed tube recently constructed
under Sydney Harbour is an example of underground space being used to provide more road capacity
as well as to address intersection and other conflicts, especially environmental conflicts. There are
other advantages of spatially separating transport movements using underground solutions instead of
structures above the ground. These include better townscape, lower user operating costs (due to
grade), reductions in noise, safer vehicle operating environments and opportunities to treat exhaust
emissions. Such solutions provide transport users with protection from wind and rain (particularly at
modal change points) and they can reduce the impacts on the community during construction.
Tunnelling technologies are now becoming available that hold out the promise of reduced costs. This
will allow communities to enjoy the associated benefits that underground solutions can bring.
Opportunities should become available that will:
allow high occupancy vehicles to use a dedicated tunnel at an intersection to give significant
improvements in their trip time;
substitute high capacity transport modes for those with poorer capacity performance and
remove through traffic (particularly heavy goods vehicles) from the normal surface traffic street.

4.2

Other Factors

The integration of transport and land-use has long been recognised. What is less obvious is the equity
effect associated with some of the techniques used to improve the flow of road transport, particularly
through retailing areas. Sections of the community are having their economic opportunities curtailed
in order to reduce the congestion costs to other members of the community. All Australian cities have
substantial investments in the retailing centres that were located on arterial roads in the last century.
The growth of road traffic has now made access to these areas difficult. In some areas access has been
denied in peak hours. This has resulted in the growth of shopping malls located away from the major
arterial routes. The improved community and transport outcomes available by providing a tunnels
under the existing major urban roads where they pass through traditional retailing areas are obvious.
This approach has not been taken up to any significant degree.

94

TRANSPORT IN THE UNDERGROUND

In rural Australia, there are also opportunities to use tunnels to overcome terrain difficulties. On the
eastern coast of Australia the terrain is rugged and the transport costs associated with ascending and
descending hills can be significant. Since the early days of railways, tunnels have been used as a means
of combating grades. The opportunities that tunnels give to road traffic have long been recognised but
again tunnels have often been dismissed on the grounds of cost.

4.3

Technology Improves

The advances in technology already occurring are discussed in Chapter 9 - Underground Technology.
The initial investment costs associated with underground solutions closely relate to the cross-sectional
dimensions adopted. The larger the cross-section, the higher the cost. The use of Intelligent Transport
Systems (ITS) may bring about substantial reductions overall in the dimensions of tunnels required for
road vehicles. Currently, the clearances necessary on each side of the vehicle (because their human
drivers are not particularly good at judging widths) contribute significantly to the cost to a tunnel.
The opportunities available using technology that would steer the vehicle through the tunnel are
obvious. This has been partially realised in Adelaide with the '0-Bahn' buses. Development of this
technology and applying it to buses and heavy goods vehicles, raises a number of opportunities for
better transport outcomes.
In Sydney, there are a host of opportunities to provide better transport links which would overcome
the real estate costs, land form and the existing infrastructure layout associated with that city. These
include:
connections to the northern beaches, discussed in the Case Study 0 'Duobus Tunnel for
Warringah';
links from the city to Macquarie University;
extensions of the heavy rail to connect the city to the airport, now occurring and discussed in the
Case Study G 'Sydney Airport Link- The New Southern Railway';
east-west crossings of the city, to reduce the volumes of motor vehicles on city streets, discussed in
the Case Study Q 'Sydney CBD, East-West City Link'.
In Melbourne there are opportunities for:
undergrounding of tram services beneath Swanston Walk discussed in Case Study R 'Swanston
Walk- Tram Facilities';
provision of underground car parking facilities, using temporarily vacant building sites for portal
access and
underground (or partially underground) connection between Eastern and Tullamarine Freeways,
currently under construction and discussed in the Case Study H 'Melbourne City Link Project'.
In Perth, proposals are being considered to underground part of the route connecting the Burswood
Bridge to the Mitchell Freeway and the Great Eastern Highway, discussed in the Case Study E 'Perth
City Bypass'.
In Adelaide, the development of a scheme to place part of the road linking Glen Osmond to Crafers
in tunnel is well advanced and is discussed in the Case Study D 'South Eastern Highway- Adelaide to
Crafers'.
Many of these schemes are awaiting technologies that will reduce the initial investment costs required.
Tunnels for motor vehicles have traditionally had significant investment and on-going costs associated
with lighting and ventilation. The costs associated with ventilation are largely due to the emissions
from the engines in the vehicles. Different engine technology may substantially reduce ventilation
costs, for example with the Duobus.
Most promising, the benefit of improved technology lie in two areas:
techniques that allow the removal of material more cost-effectively and

95

Chapter

Five

techniques that allow a tunnel crossing section that is more in keeping with the needs of the
transport mode.
An area of research that could provide particular benefits is the area of shallow tunnelling technology.
Currently there is a need to tunnel just below an existing street, without being forced to close the
street above to traffic. The technology sought is a technique which would allO\:v the depth of the
tunnel to be minimised and which would remove the need to provide structural support by the
installation of rock bolts and similar devices. This would overcome the need to take out easements for
such devices.

4.4

Opportunities for Tunnel Options in the Future

Given that tunnels have a real place in the transport future of Australian cities, planning must start
now to ensure that the cost of tunnels that will be built in the future are not greater than they need to
be.
An issue that has to be resolved is that of land ownership. Traditional land title provides owners with
rights relating to the space immediately under their property. How far these rights extend has never
been properly established. This issue has to be clarified so that unnecessary costs are not incurred.
Where devices (such as rock bolts) must be installed, the easement requirements (and costs) must be
clarified and reduced.
Town planning does not extend to the underground area. It may be that town planning is
inappropriate in this environment. But there is a need to ensure that there is a logical treatment
available for transport corridors. In aviation, there are simple rules about heights at which conflicting
aircraft fly; it may be that the town planning of underground space should involve similar measures.
The use of town planning to gain access to the basement of buildings for service purposes would be
an aspect of town planning that should be considered.
The provision of public utilities service in underground areas has been in use for many centuries.
However, the costs associated with shifting these services is always high and the integration of these
services into common utility ducts or utilidors is essential to ensure that the costs of tunnelling are
minimised. It is appropriate that a data base of these services be established. Methods of mapping the
layout of existing service must become more sophisticated.
The issue of taxation associated with underground work must also be considered. In many areas in
civil engineering, the taxation write down provisions that are available for plant have been widely
used by the business sector. Buildings and equipment, can be written off over a period of time.
However, buildings such as tunnels do not currently fall under the taxation umbrella and this should
be addressed. This is discussed in Chapter 7 -Law of the Underground.
The geology of cities also has a great influence on the costs of underground solutions. Two 1ssues
arise. The first is the mapping of areas \Vhich are obviously costly to tunnel. This may be due to
problems with water, poor material, etc. The second issue (which is peculiar to transport solutions) is
the costs associated with the decision to change the system used to build the tunnel. A consistency of
the geological conditions brings its own reduction in tunnelling costs. The definition of desire lines
that may one day translate into an underground solution would make a lot of sense.
Many Australian cities have existing underground facilities where the original use has now lapsed
(passages for utilities, old rail tunnels and so on). These are now available for other uses and care
should be taken to ensure that the best use is adopted.

5.

IMPLEMENTATION/MANAGEMENT

This section addresses the key issues associated with the front end of project planning, followed by the
construction management phase. The key areas include:

96

TRANSPORT IN THE UNDERGROUND

the roles of and consultation with relevant authorities,


planning implications,
preliminary design, staging plans,
utili ties and services,
legal aspects,
operational aspects,
detail design and
"making it happen" I construction schedule, total project management.
These areas are discussed below with particular reference to underground projects.

5.1

Front End Planning

This is by far the most important phase of the project once the funding mechanism has been clarified.
It takes in the key areas of consultation and negotiation with relevant authorities, the private sector,
government departments (both State and Commonwealth) and local councils. The importance of this
phase can be judged by the realisation that typically about 80% of project cost savings can be made in
the initial 20% of the project development.
The key output of the front end planning phase is the formulation of a project d~finition dowmcnr
which provides the basis for refining the project through the preliminary design and sign off phase by
all stakeholders.
It is crucial that this document details all the outputs, assumptions and agreements from the various
authorities and stakeholders to ensure that there are no surprises down the track.
The consultation phase must be output oriented and include the resolution of such issues as:
planning legislation,
competing uses,
evaluation of alternatives,
existing private sector and public sector corporate plans,
disruption of services,
compensation,
global implications, physical and economic and in the underground and
geotechnical aspects discussed in Chapter 8 - Geotechnical Aspects.
Completion of the preliminary design phase, which includes indicative costings, is followed by the
application for the various statutory approvals from the appropriate government departments. They
would include the statutory authorities and public utilities covering the following areas:
fire safety,
mmmg,
planning,
railway,
highway and traffic,
water and
electricity, etc.

5.2

Detail Design

The detail design phase, which includes comprehensive costing data, is undertaken in tandem with
the construction schedule. This should include a detailed staging plan for the project, as this allows for
planning the interfaces with existing services during construction.

97

Chapter

Five

This area of the project can lead to severe blow outs in cost and time if not properly planned and
managed. Geotechnical aspects are a key issue at this stage also, especially where underground space is
used.

5.3

Making it Happen (Design and Construction)

There are currently several common methods of delivering projects viz:


design, tender and construct,
design and construct and
turnkey performance contracts, including Build, Own, Operate, Transfer (BOOT) contracts.
The choice between the above depends on the nature and size of the project. Clearly, constructing a
fairly standard packaged project would be quite different to one which was a "one off" and
complicated one with many interfaces and comprehensive staging, as is generally the case with
underground projects.

5.4

Construction

This phase will require careful monitoring to ensure the project is delivered:
on time,
on budget and
to specification.
Again, managing the interfaces with all stakeholders is of prime importance to ensure the project is
completed with minimum disruption and acceptance on completion. Environmental issues of noise
vibration, traffic generation by construction vehicles, dust etc. need to be managed to avoid disruption
to neighbouring areas and business.

5.5

Completion and Handover

Completion of construction is not the end of the project. Prior to commissioning and handover, the
preparation of some key documentation associated with the ongoing operation and maintenance of
the project, especially the underground components. These must include:
comprehensive maintenance schedules,
emergency plans for major incidents and
statutory approvals for the operation of the work.

5.6

Legal Aspects

These may arise from the construction phase due to mishaps or unforeseen issues not identified
during the stage planning and could be related to loss of business or trade or opportunity cost. These
aspects are fully discussed in Chapter 7 -Law of the Underground.

6.

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

6. 1

Conclusions

The underground offers potential solutions to many transport problems in urban areas - especially at
transport nodes and highly developed areas such as Central Business Districts.
The principal drawback to underground transport solutions is their cost. This can be offset by
capturing land value increases and freeing up surface land or air rights for development. When cost is
the critical issue, underground solutions become more viable when land costs are high and surface

98

TRANSPORT IN THE

UNDERGROUND

conditions are very restrictive.


Other underground transport solutions are invariably pursued because no acceptable surface solution
exists. The issue then is not one of a choice between a surface solution and underground solution, but
one between an underground solution and no solution at all, e.g. Chatswood in Sydney, discussed in
Case Study N. The issue of cost is then related to the need for the facility, rather than a 'trade off' with
other solutions.

6.2

Recommendations

State governments could establish systems for planning, zoning and regulating underground space
including Codes of Practice, best practice for layout of transport and utility infrastructure.
State governments should encourage consideration of the use of the underground in planning
instruments to reserve corridors for future transport routes.
Building codes should be checked and modified where appropriate so that they do not
unnecessarily inhibit underground use.
A stronger effort should be made to put car parking underground in urban centres and thereby to
retain the surface amenity and environment.
The move to place services such as electricity, phone and cable television underground in urban
and suburban areas should be continued, not reversed as is currently the case with some of the
cable television installation.
Opportunities for grouping utilities in common ducts or utilidors should be encouraged for ease
of future maintenance and future use of the underground beneath the public right-of-way.
The Warren Centre should pursue opportunities for R&D partnership funding, related to making
underground infrastructure less expensive, more reliable and better planned. The writers endorse
the emphasis on underground mapping made in Chapter 10 - Research and Development to
Underground Use.

99

ND

E R G R 0 U

!'J

S P A

c' E

I N

T. H E

U R B A N

E N V I R 0 N M E N

DEVELOPMEN. T

AND

USE

'

'
,

.
I
/

'

'
~

'.

'

t'

TECHNICAL PAPERS

r,

I,

.
c~apter ; Six
'

FiQanci~g the U.n~ergrot:~-:-~ -

'

'

.,

Authors
T ed Brogan
!;>avid Fa hy
R a lph Ayesling
Alister M cConne ll

'

FINANCING UNDERGROUND DEVELOPMENTS

Chapter Six
Financing Underground
Developtnents
SUMMARY
This chapter seeks to identify and examine the issues uniquely relevant to developments u11derground, to exami11e
those issues, financiers attitudes and perceptions and the current practice in the financial and investment
comm1mity. It also identifies wrrent impedime11ts and suggests ways cif developing an environment conducive to the
needs ciffinanciers and developers.

1.

Introduction

The availability of funding on reasonable terms and conditions is an essential catalyst for the
participation in underground developments by the private sector.
These are common factors considered by potential equity investors and lenders when reviewing any
'property' type exposure. The introduction of an underground dimension to a project introduces
additional elements for consideration.
The financing of underground developments by the public sector is a less complex issue although the
impact or risk assessment of construction techniques and environmental factors remains relevant. As
with aboveground projects, any joint venture between the public and private sectors does raise factors
such as risk sharing, taxation treatment and Loan Council involvement.

2.

Common Considerations in Financing Property


Related Projects

There are a number of examples of underground projects involving the private sector which have
been commercially financed. These include the Channel Tunnel, the Sydney Harbour Tunnel, various
underground car parks, pedestrian malls and shopping centres plus the Blue Mountains sewerage
tunnel.
A tunnel system in a greenfields site can often involve significant upfront costs which render it
uneconomic initially. However, it can act as a catalyst for adjacent developments which may not have
taken place without the tunnel, thus serving a social purpose. A wider benefit therefore accrues to
government, local residents and the general community. Similarly, direct financial benefits can be
obtained by project sponsors due to rights to the air space above an underground development
increasing in value (the so called 'value capture'). This is one aspect driving the proposed 'Market
Street Tunnel' in Sydney, discussed in Case Study Q. Assuming that a project appears to financiers to
be prima facie financiable then a more detailed assessment is undertaken. This would normally involve
a risk analysis.
Some risks traditionally associated with construction-based projects are cost overruns, construction
risk, industrial relations, joint venture, technical performance, patronage, revenue, tax and nevv
legislation.

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Six

Insurance and Risk Issues

Any financing by a lender of the construction and operation of any structure underground involves
an assessment of the risks associated with that structure. A similar assessment would be made by equity
investors.
As with any risk audit there will be some risks identified which are perceived to be either sufficiently
remote to be disregarded or capable of internal management by the owner.
Other risks may be identified which are seen as significant but are uninsurable on acceptable
commercial terms.
The bulk of risks will be covered under conventional policies of insurance. These would include the
normal loss or damage type covers plus the usual suite of public liability and workers compensation
covers prudently taken out by owners and in some situation, required by law.
Risks associated with the construction and operation of structures (be they above or below ground)
are usually classified by the insurance industry and brokers designing a risk minimisation program
under the headings of Assets, Income, Liability and People risks.

Assets
These risks relate to the damage or destruction of the assets comprising the structure. They include
the risk of such events broadly described as fire, storm, earthquake, subsidence, war and malicious
damage. The risks which seem particularly relevant to underground structures are smoke damage,
ground subsidence and vibration (particularly during construction) the burying of tunnelling or earth
moving machines, earthquake, the leakage of contaminated groundwater and the presence of mould
or mildew on seals or walls. Condensation can be a problem in underground buildings and is usually
prevented by mechanical ventilation. It should not be forgotten that internal climate control in
aboveground office buildings also presents considerable challenges, given the effect of sun and wind
on the outer skin.
Income

Broadly classified as risks causing a loss of revenue or an increase in expense. In the construction phase
a 'construction all risk' policy would provide for losses occasioned by delays caused by such events as
strikes, floods, destruction of key items of equipment and so on. Normally, once the project is
commissioned these risks are covered by 'business interruption' insurance with losses determined in
accordance with pre-agreed formulae and an obligation by the issuer to meet the cost of repairs or
rehabilitation sufficient to minimise loss and restore the structure to its pre loss condition.
In more major loss situations, this obligation may be particularly onerous and may not even be
insurable. For example, some structures may be totally destroyed by ground movement; even if
damage is only partial the cost of rehabilitation may be greater than for a similar above ground
structure. If the structure is in a unique position underground and suffers destruction by subsidence,
burying or collapse it may not be possible to economically excavate the site and remove the damaged
structure. In other words the site may need to be abandoned.
Liability

The classification identifies events which create a liability on parties associated with the structure to
compensate others for loss or damage for events occurring on or in the structure.
These liabilities could fall upon designers, project managers, equipment or material suppliers, owners
or occupiers. The liability could arise as a result of latent defects, environmental hazards, public
liability or product liability. There appears to be no unique risks of liability because the structure is
underground. The presence of radon emanating from certain geological conditions could be seen as
an increased hazard.

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FINANCING UNDERGROUND DEVELOPMENTS

People
In some ways this is a sub set of the 'Liability' classification. It relates to the potential liability to
compensate individuals for health related claims. Insurers may view construction activities
underground as inherently more dangerous than overhead construction and consider the risk of
building collapse to be higher.
Once the structure is operational the difficulties of ventilation could result in air quality problems
such as mould, dust and moisture causing claims for respiratory injuries. There is also some evidence
that workers underground are less comfortable because of the lack of natural light and a feeling of
isolation caused by a lack of an outside view. Other studies show that air quality can be better
underground and that workers will generally be comfortable underground if the work environment is
lively, air quality is high and larger work spaces are provided. The incidence of work-related stress
claims is generally increasing and insurers may consider, in the absence of any historical data, that a
greater volume of claims may result from the employment of people underground.

4.

Financing Techniques For Underground Projects

The funding of underground projects should be no different than the funding for other types of
projects (i.e. above ground). From a financing perspective, the techniques utilised and the principles
involved are identical.
Local trading banks have in recent times been involved in a number of projects that could be classified
as underground projects. For example:
the New Southern Rail Project, which involved the funding of the underground railway station
components of the new rail line from Sydney City to the Kingsford Smith Airport (Case Study
G).
the Eastern Distributor Project which includes a tunnel under William and Oxford Streets to be
funded, during its operating phase, by a toll collection (Case Study B).
Most underground projects envisaged are likely to be classified as infrastructure type financings, for
which, given their typically large capital cost and the requirement to source outside equity (often
from institutions), the use of project financing techniques is often appropriate.
Project financing is where a project is debt funded on a 'stand-alone' basis, that is, the debt servicing
and the equity return is generated by the cash flows from the project alone. The borrower is typically
a special purpose entity set up with its only interest being ownership of the underlying project assets.
No additional sponsor support, other than a specified equity commitment, is normally required and a
lender will look at gaining security from the project assets alone.
The two projects referred to above have utilised project financing as have recent infrastructure
projects such as the AIDC sponsored Pyrmont Light Rail, the City Link project in Melbourne (Case
Study H), the Smithfield Co-generation Plant, the Prospect and Wyuna Water Treatment Plants and
numerous mining and pipeline projects. While techniques are similar, an underground project may
pose some additional technical and legal considerations primarily in the areas of construction and
legal title.

Risk Allocation
Risks in such transactions should be accepted by those that are best able to manage those risks. For
example, bankers are not engineers or constructors and thus they are not in business and are not
willing to take what is referred to as 'completion risk'. A typical risk profile for a project financing is
shown below.

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Assessment Criteria

Design Risk
Construction Risk
Cost
Time delays
Industrial Relations

...
.
.

Operations
Revenue
Operating Costs
Industrial Relations

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Economic
Inflation
Interest Rate

Environmental
Force Majeure
Change of law

Income Tax

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Constructor

Borrower/lender

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Third Party

Can be assumed by an
operator under a fixed
price operations and
maintenance contract

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Possible existing site


contamination indemnity
from owner of land

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Mitigated through
hedging

Often insurable
I

May be some increased


cost clause negotiated with
Government body

Completion risk is the risk that the project cannot be built as required to enable it to be ready to
generate revenue. For a tollway project, the completion risk is that the tunnel, road and other projects
assets are not completed in accordance with the supervising authorities requirements to allow the
road to be open to allow the flow of traffic and tolls to be collected. Completion risk has two aspects:
1) physical construction and 2) timely delivery. Should a project be delivered late, funding costs will
increase and the start of operating revenues is delayed.
A lender will seek to have completion risk allocated to an appropriate third party, by typically a
choice of two methods:
A fmancial guarantee, from an acceptable sponsor, of total debt until completion is achieved
or
A completion guarantee, whereby a constructor (who is in business of delivering timely projects
within cost and budget) guarantees to deliver within a fixed price and within a fixed time. Should
delivery not be as per the contract, the contractor must recompense the project (the lender) and
equity for lost revenues or additional funding costs incurred.
In underground projects the same techniques can be utilised, however it may be that a slightly more
onerous obligation is placed on the contractor due to difficult construction techniques that may be
involved e.g. tunnelling. Hmvever, as this is the contractor's primary business, it is in the best position
to manage and judge whether or not it can accept such a risk.
Regardless of the pre-completion support from the contractor or sponsor, a lender will still require
that their own technical due diligence be conducted to confirm the viability and costs of the project.
Revenue

The projects debt and equity v.rill need to be serviced by the revenue generated from the projects
assets. One of the major changes in the Australian banking market over recent years is the willingness

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FINANCING UNDERGROUND DEVELOPMENTS

of lenders to accept an exposure to patronage to repay their debt over time. By way of example, the
lenders to the Sydney Harbour Tunnel were unwilling to be fully exposed to the risk of patronage
(i.e. the number of cars paying the toll) to generate the required revenue. In recent times for projects
such as the Eastern Distributor and the New Southern Rail, lenders have shown that they are willing
to take a view on patronage and require no additional underpinning, for example, by way of a shadow
toll, from the Government or another strong sponsor.
Thus for an underground project to be successfully funded on a stand alone basis, a strong revenue
earning capacity must be demonstrated. Rail, tollroads, car parks, retail, bulk storage facilities have all
in the past demonstrated such a capacity.
The risks that such revenue may be curtailed or delayed would occur because of events such as
industrial relocation difficulties, equipment failure, the insolvency of project owners or major
stakeholders, capital cost overruns and operating cost increases.

Security
A lender will require first ranking security over the project assets and interests of the project. The
question of legal title to land is thus an important consideration. The land ownership issues for
underground projects are discussed in Chapter 7 -'Law of the Underground'.
In both the projects referred to above, the land required was obtained by way of a lease from the
government entity that owned the relevant land (Roads and Traffic Authority and State Rail
Authority respectively). The lender's security package included a charge over the borrower's lease
interests.
The project itself represents the primary security available to lenders. In addition to the charges over
leasehold interests (or a mortgage over project freehold land), lenders may require a direct assignment
of all project insurances and the benefit of any sales contracts or contracts creating revenue (such as
commercial leases with tenants). A further refinement is to increase recourse to project sponsors and
their financial commitments, such as an obligation to support cash flows or provide additional equity.
It is not unusual for loans to be full or partial recourse to sponsors before commissioning.

Appropriate Levels of Debt and Equity


The level of debt a project can support will be a function of the level of forecast sustainable cash flows
that can be generated by the project. The methodology for determining an appropriate debt level will
differ depending upon the type of project and any unique risks associated with the particular project
being considered. It is not intended that this chapter include a detailed discussion on cash flow
analysis.
The level of debt that a project can bear is not a function of the cost of the project but rather the
finished product's ability to generate cash flows.
Similarly, a project's equity level is a function of the return on equity that can be delivered by the
project cash flows. Equity providers will target a required annual return and, as with debt, the cost of
the project will not necessarily have a bearing on the level of equity committed. Equity providers are
often willing to accept a short period when they receive no cash returns. They are nevertheless keen
to receive a running yield on their investment as soon as possible and this cannot always be reconciled
with a lenders desire to maximise the cash dedicated for debt service.
Given the above, coupled with the possible high capital costs of an underground project, there may at
times be a shortfall in funding available from debt and equity to cover the total cost of a project.
Should the level of funding from debt and equity be insufficient to meet the capital costs of the
project, additional third party funding will need to be sourced or the project may not proceed. The
possibility of sourcing this additional funding will be dependent upon the nature of the project. If, for
example, the project is to deliver infrastructure for community use and/ or it is a project called for by a
government authority (e.g. the Eastern Distributor called by the Roads and Traffic Authority), it may

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be possible that the Government (State or Commonwealth or a mix of both) may contribute to the
cost.
Often such projects are competitively bid by a number of consortia and one of the main selection
criteria is the level of government contribution and the consortium's ability to minimise this
contribution.
Legal and Regulatory Issues

Financiers will be concerned that all legal requirement<; and regulations in connection with a project
are complied with. At present, there is a need for reform of the legal and regulatory framework
affecting the use of underground space. Generally, while the current legislation and regulations do not
prohibit the use of underground space, they are insufficiently developed and/or do not contemplate
the many issues that arise in respect of the use of underground space. Specific areas that need to be
addressed include:
acquisition and titling issues, particularly regarding subdivision of land into strata,
planning laws and schemes,
easements,
land use regulation,
excavation and construction regulation,
right to support for buildings,
building code reform, and
environmental issues.
These are discussed in Chapter 7 -'Law of the Underground'
Loan Council

The Loan Council, which consists of the Commonwealth Treasurer and the Treasurer of each State
Government co-ordinates and monitors the level of borrowings by all tiers of government in
Australia, including public authorities, with a view to ensuring a responsible, orderly and co-operative
approach to the level and nature of public sector borrowing, consistent with sound macro economic
policy.
Loan Council considerations will arise in relation to an underground project and other projects
wherever there is a significant degree of public sector risk exposure. The current Loan Council
arrangements adopt a risk weighting approach to determine the degree of public sector risk exposure
in projects involving the private sector.
The risk-weighting approach is based on three project parameters:
the gearing of a project (expressed in terms of the project's ratio of assets to liabilities);
the variability of the net liability, and
the duration or term of the project.
The Loan Council guidelines specify that the following infrastructure projects fall outside a
government's Loan Council Allocation (LCA):
where the support involved does not generate a financial exposure for the public sector (for
example, the grant of an exclusive licence);
which operate for less than ten years (after taking into account options for renewal);
which do not involve either the provision of services directly to a public sector entity or the
public sector incurring a financial exposure in respect of services provided directly to consumers;
where gross project liabilities amount to less than $5 million;
where the government's support involved is associated with failure by the private sector to

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FINANCING UNDERGROUND DEVELOPMENTS

complete construction of the project. On the face of the guidelines, a completion guarantee
provided by the public sector to debt or equity participants would seem to be excluded. It may
be, however, that this is not intended. Rather, it may simply be that no regard is to be had to the
practical risk of the public sector having to complete an infrastructure project should the private
sector fail to do so, and
where the government's support comprises the payment of, or a commitment to pay grants. The
rationale for this exclusion is that a grant (when paid) is taken into account in determining a
government's surplus or deficit, a separate component of its allocation. Further, this type of
support does not reflect a contingency, it is or will be provided. Hence there is no need to 'riskweight' it.
In terms of projects being relatively attractive from a Loan Council, public sector perspective, it would
seem that:
the more equity, the better. In this regard, it seems unlikely that subordinated debt will be treated
as equity;
the less payable by the government on termination of a project because of private sector default,
the better;
projects of a type with a low variability factor are relatively attractive. Conversely, projects with a
high variability factor are less attractive and
the greater the public sector support structured around a commitment to provide grants, the
better, in the sense that the LCA impact of the commitment will not be felt until a grant is
provided.
The current Loan Council arrangements have been subject to recent criticism on the basis that the
risk weighting approach is too complex, arbitrary, ambiguous and does not properly reflect a
government's risk in relation to a project. Specific criticisms of the Loan Council arrangements were
addressed in the Interim Report of the Private Infrastructure Task Force dated May 1995, and provide
support for arguments in favour of dispensing with all Loan Council directive controls so as to render
the Loan Council purely a monitoring and information providing body.
It must be remembered that under the current regime Loan Council considerations will only apply in
respect of projects with a certain degree of public sector risk exposure. Accordingly, for those projects
which are entirely private in nature there will be no impact on a government's LCA and therefore
Loan Council considerations will be irrelevant.

Infrastructure Borrowings
Infrastructure Borrowings (IB) were introduced by the Commonwealth Government to assist the
development of Infrastructure in Australia. The use of IB 's allows a qualifying project to source a lower
cost of capital due to Lenders (IB Provider) receiving non tax assessable interest on the IB.
Specifically, under provisions contained in the Income Tax Assessment Act and the Development
Allowance Authority Act, interest derived by investors in respect of 'infrastructure borrowings' is
either non-assessable or rebateable, and any profit of a revenue or capital nature which is derived on
the disposal of the bonds is tax exempt.
In order to comply with the scheme a borrower must make an application to the Development
Allowance Authority (DAA) and obtain from the DAA a certificate in respect of the proposed
borrowings to the effect that it complies with all the relevant requirements of the scheme.
Under legislation IB's can only be used for qualifying projects which are limited to those associated
with:
power,
drinking water,
sewerage treatment,

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Fixtures
Fixtures can cause substantial problems in terms of the entitlement to depreciation allowances.
The reason for this is that the depreciation provisions allow a deduction in respect of the capital cost
of an income-producing asset, only where the person incurring the capital expenditure is the 'owner'
of the property.
On the basis of common law, an asset which becomes affixed to land becomes part of the land, and
therefore ownership rests with the owner of the land, not the person installing the fixture.
The Australian Taxation Office has attempted to ameliorate the problem by issuing a series of rulings
which provide broadly that a person incurring capital expenditure on an asset which becomes a
fixture will be regarded as owning the asset provided that person has a right to remove the asset, or
has a right to compensation. There are also special rules in relation to trade or ornamental fixtures,
and certain other assets which can be classified as 'tenants' fixtures'.

Crown Leases
The problems with fixtures and entitlement to depreciation deductions was partially solved by the
introduction in 1992 of special provisions relating to 'Crown leases'.
A 'Crown lease' for these purposes, includes a lease ofland, an easement or any other rights, power or
privilege over, or in connection with land, granted by an eligible government body.
A person acquiring or constructing a depreciable asset which becomes a fixture under a Crown lease
is deemed for the purposes of the depreciation provisions to be the owner of the asset, thus preserving
the entitlement to the depreciation allowance.

Other Leases
Fixtures under leases which are not Crown leases still represent a significant problem area. Indeed, the
extent of the problem was exacerbated by a UK House of Lords decision in 1995 ('the Melluish case')
which appears to have confirmed (in the Australian context) that a person installing an asset which
becomes a fixture at general law, did not have an interest in the asset which would amount to
ownership.
The Australian Taxation Office has undertaken to have legislative amendments passed to correct the
deficiencies in the current law, as soon as Parliamentary time permits.
More recently Gune 1996), the Treasurer announced that amendments would be introduced, which
would have effect from 1 July 1996, to ensure that lessors of chattels would retain their entitlement to
depreciation in respect of a leased asset which became a fixture, provided the lessor had a right to
remove the asset.
While the provisions relating to Crown leases and to leased chattels are a welcome response to the
overall problem of fixtures and depreciation entitlements, the more general problem relating to
tenants' fixtures (in the general sense, not the legal sense) remains.

Implications if Fixtures Exist


Care will need to be taken to ensure that any depreciable plant installed in a project does not become
a fixture such that the entitlement to depreciation is lost. Emphasis will need to be placed on ensuring
wherever possible that any leases granted qualifY as Crown leases.
Lessors of chattels affixed to leased property should be protected by the terms of the Treasurer's
announcen1ent.
In other cases, assets which are installed and become fixtures will need to f1t under the Australian
Taxation Office's guideline to ensure continued entitlement to depreciation allowances. Where this is
not possible, it may be necessary to lobby government to expedite legislative amendments to the
depreciation provisions.

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FINANCING UNDERGROUND DEVELOPMENTS

Other Tax Concessions


Consideration needs to be given as to whether there may be public interest considerations which
would justifY consideration being given by government to granting additional tax concessions in
connection with the financing of underground projects. This would require an analysis that the public
benefit from underground projects justifies these tax concessions as compensation for the additional
construction costs of underground projects.

6.

Conclusions

The Australian financial community is well versed in the financing techniques applicable for projects.
The provision of financing for underground projects introduces additional elements for consideration.
These relate to a variety of issues including legal title, increased capital and operating costs and the
uncertainty of tax treatment. In general, these issues are capable of resolution in the context of putting
together an appropriate financing.
Infrastructure bonds play an important role in the fmancial evaluation of privately-funded
infrastructure projects. These bonds have been curtailed for toll road infrastructure projects, which will
impact on the possibility of using private finance to help solve transport problems.
Unique projects and projects involving substantial elements of risk are often bypassed for safer options
- even when the potential rewards are high. Government is theoretically in the best position to
manage the risks associated with major infrastructure projects at the lowest possible cost. However, it
seldom manages to do this effectively because of an umvillingness to be responsible for risk and
government financial management procedures concerning risk.
Anomalies in taxation legislation continue to cause problems in the financing and accounting
procedures for infrastructure projects but are not well understood by decision makers and the media.

7.

Recommendations
Commonwealth Government to remove the financial anomalies in taxation legislation which
provide disincentives to private development of public infrastructure and preserve the financial
incentives necessary to involve private finance in the provision of needed Australian transport
infrastructure projects, e.g. remove the uncertainty relating to infrastructure bonds.
Commonwealth Government to include underground projects as a new category of qualifYing
projects for fmancial incentives to encourage infrastructure projects that have a lowered
environmental impact.
Commonwealth, State Governments, and local authorities to improve the handling of risk in the
financial management of public or public-private underground projects - with the party
(government or private sector) best able to accommodate the risk, assuming that risk.
Commonwealth Government and private sector to work together to enable Australia to play an
important role in the financing and management of underground projects in Asia and the South
Pacific. To do this, Australia must be competitive with other countries in terms of tax structures
for expatriates, promotional support of Australian expertise overseas, and the provision of suitable
foreign aid structures.

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TECHNICAL PAPERS
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Chapter Seven
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Jon Gunn
Duncan M e Gre g o r
M atth e w Seymo ur
M a rgarl!t M c M a hon
Alec R a m s la nd
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LAW Of THE UNDERGROUND

Chapter 7
La1N of the Underground
SUMMARY
This chapter identifies key components of the legal framework for the development and use of unde1;ground space
in Australian cities and suggests possible areas for law reform to enhance the integracion of tmde1;ground space into
the fabric of city development in Australia.

1.

BACKGROUND

So far as we are aware, there has been no comprehensive research or analysis carried out in relation to
the legal aspects of the interface of the many disciplines concerned with underground development in
Australian cities. As is often the case, the law is a silent partner in large property developments, but in
the case of underground development the conceptual limits of the existing la\v expose its seminal role
and point to the need for greater analysis and reform.
The sources of law affecting underground development include diverse statute law and common
Gudge made) law dating back centuries and originating in other jurisdictions. The laws relating to
titling and planning control which regulate property development in Australia do not specifically
address underground space development or use, but nor is it specifically excluded. The difficulty lies in
the inherent discouragement to developers in trying to marry a non-specific system of laws to the
modern technology that allows them to develop underground space.
Adaptable as our legal system is, there comes a time when the accommodation of new technology by
the existing law can twist, stretch and bend it just a bit too far to be plausible. The absence of
supporting legal infrastructure tends to discourage (or at least make more difficult, and therefore more
expensive) the appropriate use of underground technology.

2.

OBJECTIVES

The objectives of this chapter are to identifY:


key legal issues relating to underground space development and use in major Australian cities;
the scope of the law applicable to these issues and
possible areas for law reform to enhance the integration of underground space into the fabric of
city development in Australia.
The laws focused on in this paper are those in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and
Queensland, as it is in their respective capitals (Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane) that there
is the greatest scope for development and use of sub-surface areas.

3.

PROPERTY LAW

3.1

Who ovvns the underground?

England, America, Canada and Australia have all based their respective laws governing the rights of
land owners to the airspace above and the soil below on the maxim 'cujus est solum eius esc usque ad
coelum et ad inferos '. The effect of the maxim is a common law rule that the owner of the surface owns
from the heavens above to the centre of the earth below'.

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The ramifications of this rule have been considered by many commentators over the years, and the
rule has been varied and refined by judge made law and academic learning. Essentially however, the
maxim remains the first port of call in an analysis of ownership of land above and below the surface.
Most jurisdictions explicitly restrict the rights of the land owner to the airspace above the surface. The
law has historically confronted, and therefore been quick to interpret the legality of activities such as
the firing of bullets, flying of aeroplanes and mounting of crane jibs over the surface of another's land.
In Australia, the English case of Bemstein v Skyviews & General Ltd [1978] QB 479 is taken to be the
current law. That case states that the owner's rights to the airspace should be restricted 'to such heights
as is necessary for the ordinary use and enjoyment of his land and the structures upon it, and ... above that height
he has no greater rights in the airspace than any other member of the public'. This common law, coupled with
legislation in all states which now precludes action for trespass by overflying aircraft, seriously curtails
the land owners' proprietary rights to the 'heavens'.
The technology which makes the development of underground space feasible has perhaps been
slower to develop than the technology that has enabled use of aboveground space. The law, keeping
pace with commerce, has developed at the same slow rate. Therefore, there appear to be no English or
Australian cases specifically throwing light on the question of the depth to which a freehold title
should be taken to extend.
US cases are equivocal - they favour both the a!jus est solum maxim and an analogous application of
Bernstein. In one US case, Edwards v Sims (1929) 24 SW 2d 619, the court was faced with the question
of ownership of and trespass to a cavern deep below the surface. Applying a literal application of the
maxim, the court held that 'whatever is in a direct line between the surface of the land and the centre
of the earth belongs to the owner of the surface' - the freehold owner therefore also owned the
cavern. There was, however, a strong dissent to the effect that ownership only extends below the
surface to such depth as the surface owner can control and use for profit and pleasure.
In another case, when there was a tunnel 55 feet below the surface, the surface owner's rights were
considered to extend downwards sufficiently to prevent trespass by tunnelling at this level: City of
Chicago v Troy Laundry Aiachinery Co (1908) 162 F 678.
It seems reasonable to argue that the restriction in Bernstein's case relating to airspace would be equally
applicable to the underground, so that a freeholder's ownership should only extend as far as is
necessary for the ordinary use and enjoyment of the land. If this is the case, the residue that is not
necessary for the owner's ordinary use and enjoyment remains vested in the State, and can therefore
be the subject of a Crown lease or a further Crown grant. The only difficulty with this concept is that
the owner of underground space who does not have ownership of the surface has no natural right of
access to the underground property unless it owns adjoining land.
This situation can create problems for the property developer, who would simply want to acquire an
indefeasible title to underground space with appropriate rights of access. The developer could not
afford to proceed if the sanctity of the law creating the title were questionable.
It is open to the State to limit any land grants to the extent of ownership. For example, in New South
Wales, since 1884 Crown grants have always reserved minerals to the Crown, so regardless of the
depth to which one's title goes, minerals are excluded. In addition (again since the late 1800s)
property titles in the Sydney Coal Basin, which runs from Wollongong in the south to Lithgow in the
west and Newcastle and Muswellbrook in the north, have had a depth restriction in the Crown grant
of 50 feet (and more recently 20 m). This has the legal effect of a stratum subdivision, so that the
freehold title to the surface would include a cube of land starting 50 feet/20 m below the surface and
reaching up to the point necessary for the ordinary use and enjoyment of the land.
In Victoria, the Land Act 1958 provides that all land alienated from the Crown is only alienated down
to such depth below the surface as the Governor-in-Council may direct. Ordinarily, this has been 50
feet (more recently 15 m). The relevant provisions of the Land Act do not apply to land alienated prior
to 1891 where no depth limitation was provided for. Under section 9 of the Mineral Resources

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LAW OF THE UNDERGROUND

Development Act 1990 (Vic), the Crown owns all minerals in land, regardless of who owns the freehold
interest in the land, except to the extent that there may be any minerals exemption or the minerals are
extracted from the land under a licence.

In summary, the owner of the surface freehold owns the ground (excluding minerals) below the
surface but this title might be limited:
by any depth restriction in the Crown grant and
to a practical depth necessary for the ordinary use and enjoyment of the land.
In the absence of legislation clarifying what is the practicable depth, it could be difficult for a
developer planning a development deep below private land to know who should be approached for
the purchase of or acquisition of that land or an easement under that land. Is it Crown land or is it
land owned under the surface freehold?
While legislative reform should be encouraged in this area, there are few current practical
ramifications of this difficulty because most underground developments at this stage are by or through
public utilities or other public infrastructure, and these are usually supported by a legislative scheme
that overrides the surface freeholder's title. Examples include the rights given to the Snowy
Mountains Hydro Electricity Authority when developing its infrastructure in the 1950s, rights given
to suppliers under the Pipelines Act 1984 (NSW) and the statutory rights given to utility companies
such as Optus. It would be unusual (although of course not unknown) to have a private development
of tunnels or other facilities deep below privately owned land.
In the case of developments closer to the surface, there can be no doubt that the land has to be
purchased or an interest acquired from the owner of the surface land. In all urban areas, details of the
freeholder can be obtained from the Land Titles Office in the relevant state.
In New South Wales, in the case of public roads, under the Roads Act 1993 (NSW) the owners are
variously the RTA, local authority or the Crown depending on where the road is. Information about
Crown Land can be obtained from the Department of Land & Water Conservation. In Victoria, public
roads are vested in the Crown or the council of the municipal district in which the road is located. All
materials comprised by the road itself (such as sand, bitumen etc) are owned by the Roads
Corporation created under the Ti'ansport Act 1983 (Vic), with the exception of roads owned by local
councils.

3.2

Hovv is underground space acquired?

The first hurdle is the acquisition of the development site. Significant titling issues can arise if there
are to be different owners of the land above and below the surface.

(a) FJ'eehold subdivisiotz


Freehold title is the best private tenure available under our property law system. Unless there is some
specific advantage or commercial reason for taking a leasehold tenure, a private developer would be
likely to want to purchase the freehold in underground space before proceeding with a development.
The ability to subdivide land into sub-strata is implicit in the nature of a freehold land holding
(subject to the limitations on this right in planning laws). Land can be divided horizontally in exactly
the same manner that it can be subdivided vertically. Examples include:
the New South Wales Roads & Traffic Authority's acquisition of a freehold stratum for the F4
freeway viaduct in the early 1980s at Parramatta in Sydney;
the development of the 'Elan' apartment building above the Kings Cross Tunnel in Sydney;
the proposed development of the airspace above Bondi Junction station in Sydney;
the Crown Casino development above and below the Kings Way elevated carriageway m
Melbourne, and

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the Greater Union Cinema Complex in Adelaide.


In Queensland a developer may be able to create a stratum subdivision under the .Mixed Use
Deuelopment Act 1993 (Qld). This Act sets up Mixed Use Development Schemes. The minimum
requirements for a Mixed Use Development Scheme are that the site is freehold land, and that the
proposed mixed uses are consistent with the relevant local authority planning scheme.
A Mixed Use Development Scheme may provide for a stratum subdivision under which lots are
created that are limited in height or depth. The developer is able to subdivide and sell portions of its
underground space without having to form a body corporate. Instead, the stratum lots are regulated
by a 'management statement', which is intended to regulate the rights of occupiers vis a vis one another
and the site. If the owner does so develop its site and creates 'community stratum lots', a developer
can acquire the required underground lot or lots.

(b) Crown land (excluding Queensland)


Crown land is land which belongs to the Crown in right of the State (as a principle of sovereignty)
out of which the Crown has not granted a freehold estate, or where the freehold has reverted to the
Crown.
In New South Wales and Victoria, the Crown in right of the State can make a Crown grant in
freehold of a stratum lot. That being the case, the position outlined above in relation to subdivision of
freehold title applies equally to Crown grants of the freehold.
In South Australia, there is no specific power under the Crown Lands Act 1929 for the Crown to grant
freehold interests in a stratum allotment. It may be possible to do so, but we are unaware of any
examples.

(c) Crown land in Queensland


In Queensland, section 14(3) of the Land Act 1994 (Qld), prevents the Governor-in-Council (ie the
Cabinet and State Governor) from granting in fee simple layers or strata above or below the surface of
the Crown land. The Governor-in-Council is restricted to granting a special lease of the strata.
However, this law is currently under review.
If, as part of the project, a developer needs to develop underneath land which is Crown land, for
example a road reserve, it cannot obtain a freehold of that Crown land in strata. The developer is
restricted to applying for a 'special lease' of the strata. This requires the Crown to close the road reserve
in that strata before issuing the special lease. In a temporal sense, the Land Act 1994 makes provision
for two types of lease, a term lease of not more than 50 years (not more than 100 years in the case of a
'significant detJelopment'), or a perpetual lease. In relation to a lease ofland in a reserve, the lease must be
for a term and not a lease in perpetuity (s.15(1) Land Act 1994).
Examples of developments utilising Crown leaseholds in strata include:
the Royal Pines Resort on Queensland's Gold Coast, where both the footbridge that passes over
the road, and the golf buggy path which passes under the road involve strata leases from the
Crown, and
the once proposed Queen Street Downunder Project between Edward and Creek Streets in
Brisbane.
(d) Leasehold subdivision

In all states it is possible to lease freehold land in strata. Given the capital expense likely to be involved
in any underground construction project, a very long term lease would be needed to provide a
developer with the required security of tenure.
As long as the parcel of land subject to the lease can be adequately defined, a leasehold title is an
effective means of dealing with some of the difficulties experienced in creating a freehold subdivision.
Because a lease is a contract as \vel! as an interest in land, it allows a developer to codif)' in detail the

776

lAW OF THE UNDERGROUND

relationship between the surface and the subsurface lots.


In New South Wales and Queensland, if the lease is for a term exceeding five years, it is treated as a
subdivision and requires approval from the relevant planning authority. For this reason the need for
council approval for the proposed development cannot be avoided by leasing land.
In Victoria, section 134A of the Land Act 1958 states that the Minister may not grant a lease for a
stratum of Crown Land unless certain conditions are satisfied. 'Stratum of Crown Land' is defined in
section 3 to mean 'a part of Crown Land consisting of a space of any shape below, on or above the
surface of the land or partly below and partly above the surface of the land or partly below and partly
above the surface of the land, all the dimensions of which are limited'. This definition clearly applies
to underground construction. There is a similar provision for the licensing of a stratum of Crown
Land.
Leases in Victoria are not required to be registered on title as a tenant in possession is afforded specific
protection against indefeasibility by virtue of section 42(2) (e) of the Transfer of Land Act 19 58. If the
proposed development or use of the land is other than an 'as of right' use given the particular zoning
of the land, council approval will be required. If the use of the land is 'as of right', then no council
approval is required, that is to say, the zoning allows the particular use without the requirement of a
permit.
In South Australia a lease for greater than 6 years of a portion of land may require development
approval under the Development Act 1993.

(e) Land Titles Office Requirements


l'lew South Wales

The New South Wales Land Titles Office will give effect to plans subdividing land into strata lots
whether:
the stratum lot is above or below or partially above or partially below the surface of the ground;
or
extending upwards or downwards indefinitely from a defined level.
The Land Titles Office requirements in relation to plans of subdivision of stratum lots are that the
plan must show as a separate lot the residue of each current plan lot affected. Consequently, in every
plan there must be one or more lots extending upwards or downwards (or both) indefinitely, unless
the plan illustrates a subdivision of an existing stratum lot. These requirements extend to a plan for the
purpose of a lease lodged on behalf of the Crown or a statutory body representing the Crown.
This concept of 'stratum subdivision' relates to the division of land into strata by reference to levels
related to a fixed datum, as distinct from similar divisions by reference to floors and ceilings under the
Strata Ti ties Act 19 73 (NSW).
Queensland

Although subdivision into horizontal strata has been achieved, it is an anomaly. Given its uniqueness,
there are presumably no local authority guidelines to deal with the concept. Consequently, this may
delay or even prevent local authority approval even before achieving compliance with the
requirements of the Land Titles Office.
The Land Titles Act 1994 (Qld) does not expressly refer to an ability to subdivide horizontally as well
as vertically. The administrative processes in the Queensland Land Titles Office do not currently cater
for horizontal subdivision as a matter of course.
There are current proposals for amendments to the Land Titles Act 1994 (Qld) intended to enhance
the ability to subdivide land. The proposed amendments provide for the inclusion of generic sections
that allow for the subdivision ofland with flexibilities to fit future development. 'Land' will be defmed
as being three dimensional and ownership of land will be expressed to include not only the

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horizontal but also the vertical. This definition of land will allow parcels to be defined by plan
volumetrically in a three dimensional format and will facilitate developments \Vhere title is desired on
a parcel lying above or below another parcel without the need for a body corporate or physical
structure for support. Presumably, administrative procedures in the Land Titles Office providing for
the issue of appropriate title will follow suit.
These amendments have recently been approved by State Cabinet. Their enactment would facilitate
the development of underground space. They enunciate in written word what, until now, has been a
legal possibility but never formally legislatively expressed, and clarity can only help to promote future
development.

Victoria
The Subdivision Act 1988 (Vic) sets out the procedure for the subdivision of 'land' which the Act
defines to include buildings and airspace. The Act contains no restriction on the manner in which
land may be subdivided and the Act contains provisions relating to implied easements which are of
particular use in the case of the subdivisions ofland into strata.
Plans subdividing land into strata are common in Victoria and a simple example of such a plan 1s
contained in the Subdivision (Procedures) Regulations 1989 made under the Subdivision Acr 1988.

South Australia
Lateral division of land is possible in South Australia under the Law of Properry Act 193 6. That Act
includes under the definition of 'Land': 'building or parts of buildings (whether the division is
horizontal, vertical or made in another way) .. .'This type of development occurs mainly in the City of
Adelaide and usually involves a building that cantilevers over an adjacent property. Despite the nature
of the development, normal development rules apply.

Tilestern Australia
Approximately 92% ofWestern Australia's land mass is Crown land, although most urban land is
private freehold. Long term leases in relation to urban land are uncommon. There is precedent
however for Crown leases of underground cubic space underneath St George's Terrace. That cubic
space was then leased to an adjoining land owner for the purpose of construction of a tunnel/ arcade
under St George's Terrace.
Under the Town Planning and Development Act 1928 (WA) the approval of the Western Australia
Planning Commission is required for any lease of a portion of a 'lot' (as defined in the Act) for a term,
inclusive of all options, exceeding 70 years. That requirement is modified in the case of a lease of part
of the building where the building is constructed with the approval of the relevant local authority and
in such cases the term inclusive of options can be 21 years before the Commission's approval is
required.
There is also a Western Australian precedent for the creation of horizontal freehold titles. In 1985 the
Main Roads Department required air space on which to construct an extension of the Mitchell
Freeway. The freehold title was divided into two titles, one for the space above a defined plane (the
roadway) and the second in respect of the land belO\v that plane.
In Western Australia there are two forms of strata titling. The first is the common form of strata titling
of a building by registration of a 'strata plan'. Since April 1996 it has been possible to create vacant
strata lots. In an ordinary strata plan it is possible to include cubic spaces external to a building but
those external spaces must be related to some defined part of a building. In the case of survey-strata
plans, no buildings are necessary and the cubic space lots can be defined in relation to Australian
Height Datum.

General
One practical difficulty m the registration of stratum subdivisions in all states 1s that like all

118

LAW OF THE UNDERGROUND

subdivision, subdivisions into horizontal strata would require local authority approval. Current
experience is that local authorities do not have guidelines to deal with the concept of horizontal
subdivision, and therefore delay may be experienced in obtaining the approval, which is an essential
element in the creation of a freehold or leasehold title.

3.3

Native title

(a) Ulhere native title lias not been extinguished

The Native Title Act 1993 (Cwth) provides that, in relation to land where native title has not been
extinguished (and this would be the case with all Crown land):
If native title has been established, the Crown is not permitted to do anything in relation to that
land without the consent of the native title holder.
If native title has not been established, applications can be made to the Native Title Tribunal for a
determination whether native title exists. If no native title claims are lodged within two months
in response to such an application, the Crown can proceed to do any act in relation to the land
without needing to negotiate with the native title holder. If native title is later found to exist, the
acts of the Crown are not invalidated, but compensation may be payable by the state government
to the native title holder.
Each of the states has enacted legislation of some form within its jurisdiction supporting the
Corrunonwealth Native Title Act. Due to the uncertainty of whether or not native title still exists in
most areas of Australia, and given the uncertainty as to the effect of European grants of title (such as
pastoral leases) on native title, issues of land access and native title must be determined on a state by
state basis.
For example, more than half of the total land area of South Australia is subject to native title claims
under the Native Title Act. Land projects outside populated areas in this state have a better than even
chance ofbeing affected by native title claims.
If native title exists but the Crown purports to grant title to a third party, it might be an impermissible
act and the title might therefore be invalid.

(b) Ulhere native title lias been extinguished


If native title to the surface land has been extinguished, it is unlikely that native title could be shown
to exist in relation to the subsurface land. If native title were established, a developer would not be
able to purchase the Crown land without the consent of the native title holder. The obtaining of this
consent may take time and money. If a claim for native title is lodged in response to an application to
the Native Title Tribunal then the process of establishing the validity of that claim may take time and
delay the issue of the title and the commencement of the development.
Where freehold title is subject to a depth restriction and unalienated Crown land lies below the
private freehold, that Crown land could, in theory, be subject to a native title claim. However, to
succeed, the claimant would need to establish the fairly unlikely proposition that native title has
existed over the relevant underground space. Further, the land is still subject to compulsory
acquisition by government agencies for easements for statutory purposes.

(c) Sacred Sites


Aboriginal heritage issues must also be considered, and most states and territories now have specifiC
Aboriginal heritage protection legislation. This legislation can be a potent vehicle on behalf of the
interests of Aboriginal people and has the potential to be used injunctively to delay development
projects. The Hindmarsh Island Bridge case in South Australia, which involved a Commonwealth
equivalent to the South Australian Aboriginal Heritage Act, is a good example of the injunctive
operation of this legislation.

779

Chapter

3.4

Seven

Acquiring and establishing easements


over underground space

(a) Easements for access and services


The acquisition of a freehold parcel of underground space does not automatically give the purchaser
any rights of access or rights for the provision of services, nor does it give the vendor any right of
support for the existing buildings on the land. These are matters to be negotiated between the parties,
and are most likely to be resolved by the granting of easements.
An easement is a right annexed to specific land (or a statutory authority) to use other land of a
different ownership in a particular manner, for example, to gain access or for the provision of services.
Developers of underground space would need to ensure that access and service easements are
established, for construction purposes and ongoing purposes such as maintenance.
The principles relating to the creation of easements for access of services to an underground
development are no different fiom those applying to easements over the surface.
In NSW, the recent addition of section 88K to the Conveyancing Act 1919 gives the Supreme Court
power to impose an easement 'if the easemmt is reasonably necessary for the effective use or developmenr ~f
other land that will have the benrifit if the easement'. However, the Court can only make such an order if it
is satisfied, amongst other things, that:
the owner of the land to be burdened by the easement and each other person having a registered
interest in that land can be 'adequately compemated for any loss or other disadvantage that will arise from the
imposition if the easement', and

'all reasonable attempts have been made by the applicant for the order to obtain the easement or an easement
having the same effect but have been ~msuccessful'. (Section 88K(2)(b) and (c))
If the Court does impose an easement, it must provide for the payment of such compensation as the
Court considers appropriate, unless the Court determines that compensation is not payable because of
special circumstances.

(b) Easements for support


Owners of the surface freehold intending to carry out a horizontal sub-division of the underground
space need to ensure that easements for support of existing buildings on their land are established,
especially in light of the presently archaic state of the law in most of Australia on rights of support of
buildings (see section 5).

(c) Statutory easements


Government authorities such as utilities or transport authorities have the statutory right to acquire
easements for their statutory purposes, such as construction, use and maintenance of rail or road
tunnels, water pipelines and telephone cables. These easements are called 'easements in gross'. The
freehold owner is entitled under these statutes to fair compensation.
Access to underground developments for the supply of utilities could probably be achieved under the
existing legislative framework.
Ironically, however, it is in the area of statutory easements that there is most room for reform aimed at
rationalising the use of underground space. Currently utility companies in all states have varying
degrees of power to utilise public space to run service conduits and, where necessary, to obtain
easements over private land for the supply of services. It appears that as the plethora of utilities
servicing our cities increases, little has been done to coordinate and rationalise a cooperative approach
to shared utilisation of an underground infrastructure.
Legislative reform could address the issue of shared use by utility companies of existing underground
infrastructure, and coordinate further developments.

120

LAW OF THE UNOERGROUNO

3.5 U7ho owns excavated materials?

It is common knowledge that ownership of mineral resources is reserved to the Crown. This raises the
interesting question - what do developers of underground space have to do if, in the process of
excavation, they discover mineral resources?
Generally, developers are not entitled to extract and sell mineral resources without appropriate
approval but equally a developer is not under any express obligation to report discovery of mineral
resources to the Crown unless it holds an exploration permit, which is unlikely to be the case.
Developers are under a general obligation, however, not to unlawfully interfere with a Crown right,
so this may imply an obligation to report the discovery.
There is clearly potential for the sale of excavated materials to provide financial benefits for
developers. There is a basic distinction to be drawn in this regard though between declared minerals,
which are owned by the State, and other materials, which are generally the property of the freehold
owner. However there are differences between jurisdictions and depending on when title to the land
was granted by the State.
New South T#lles - Private freehold owners generally own all quarrying materials in their land.
However grants of titles under the Croum Lands Act often reserve ownership of gravel, sandstone and
other materials to the Crown.

In New South Wales since the mid 1980s there has been a gradual increase in the number of
substances declared as nlinerals and therefore reserved to the State out of land titles when title grants
are made. A mining lease under the Mining Act is normally required for a developer to extract and sell
nlineral resources. An amendment to the Mining Act has been proposed however to permit declared
minerals to be removed from sites, such as building sites where the principal activity is not mining,
subject to payment of royalties to the State if required by the Minister. This proposal has obvious
benefits for underground space development.
The ownership of coal in New South Wales has had a varied history. Until 1981 whether the State
owned coal depended on whether the Crown Grant of title reserved coal to the Crown - before
1850 the grant rarely did, but from 1850 coal became reserved to the State.
In 1981 the Coal Acquisition Act made all coal, whatever its previous ownership, property of the State.
Since 1985 the Coal Compensation Board has administered a scheme to compensate property owners
for loss of their rights to coal resumed by the 1981 Act. To complicate matters, some property owners
have accepted back their title to coal as an alternative to accepting compensation!
Victoria - Under the Extractive Industries Development Act 199 5 (Vic), a private freehold owner owns
all quarrying materials in their land despite any reservation to the contrary in the original Crown
grant. A mining licence under the Mineral Resources Development Act 1990 is required before a
developer can extract and sell mineral resources.
Queensland - Historically, deeds of grant in fee simple have contained a reservation of all sand, clay,
stone and gravel to the Crown. The Land Act 1962 discharged such land from that reservation,
returning those resources to the freehold owner. However, a 1991 amendment to the Land Act
reintroduced the reservation to the Crown of all quarry material, excluding topsoil, where a deed of
grant was issued after 5 February 1992 and where the quarry material was owned by the Crown. This
position was preserved by the 1994 Land Act. Given this history, it is dangerous for developers in
Queensland to assume that as the land owner they will be free to deal with the aggregate they find in
their lot. It is important to ascertain when the land was freeholded from the Crown, in order to
determine whether, as owner of the land, they own any quarry material in their lot. Developers are
required to obtain a tenement under the lvfineral Resources Act 1989 to deal with the mineral resources
they find.
South Australia - Under the Mining Act 1971, all minerals are vested in the Crown. Included in the
definition of minerals are quarrying materials such as gravel, sand, stone, slate and clay which are

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specifically defmed as 'extractive minerals'. Property in extractive materials will pass to the lawful
miner upon payment of the appropriate royalty. If, however, the materials are extracted pursuant to
another Act, then a royalty may not be payable.
In conclusion, the procedure to be followed by a developer of underground space may need to be
clarified to ensure that the discovery of a mineral resource does not hinder the progress of the
development.

4.

RELATIONS WITH NEIGHBOURS

4.1

Right of Support

An owner has, as an incident of ownership of land, a right to have its land supported by the land of an
adjoining mvner. The theory behind this concept developed from the fact that no piece ofland is selfsupporting; invariably its position depends on the surrounding land and the owners of other land.
In most states however (Queensland is an exception), an English House of Lords decision over a
century ago, Dalton v Henry Angus & Co (1881) 6 App Cas 740, is still the law. The Court in Dalton
held that an mvner does not have a natural right of lateral support for its buildings on the land. Such a
right of support for buildings can only be conferred by grant or prescription (i.e. uninterrupted
support for 20 years). In the absence of such a right, the owner of the adjacent soil may with perfect
legality dig that soil avvay, and allow his neighbour's house if supported by it, to fall in ruins to the
ground (Dalton at 804, per Lord Penzance).
This decision was consistent with the prevailing attitudes at the time, when the principles of
negligence had not been fully established. The rule in Dalton has been criticised by the courts as
outdated on several occasions. One High Court judge considered Dalton to be ill-adapted to
conditions in modern cities: Stephen] in Storeman & Lyons (1975) 133 CLR 550 at 567.

Dalton also gives rise to anomalies.


Due to the apparent primacy ofland ownership in our law, notwithstanding the spread of the law
of negligence in the past 60 years or so, it appears that an owner can legally still excavate
negligently on its land.
If land subsides as a result of the withdrawal of support from that land by the adjacent land, and
the subsidence is not caused by the additional weight of buildings on the land, Dalton does not
apply and the landowner can recover damages for the injury to the buildings as well as the land.
The liability of non-adjoining but nearby landowners in negligence is not affected by Dalton
Although the landowner is not required to support a neighbour's buildings, this is no bar to an
action against third parties such as the owner's contractor or, as in Pantelone v Alouie (1989) 18
NSWLR 119, a consultant engineer.
The presently archaic law relating to support of buildings therefore needs to be reformed to ensure
that buildings are legally protected against subsidence. This has already been achieved in Queensland
by statute, where section 179 of the Property Law Act 1974 (Qld) provides a positive right of support
in relation to land and buildings. Similar reforms are being considered to Western Australia's Property
Law Act 1969. It is understood that the NSW Law Reform Commission is considering a different
approach - the simple abolition, by statute, of the rule in Dalton . This would leave the general law,
including negligence and nuisance, to govern the rights of support.
Existing protection in New South Wales for owners of adjoining land is found in the following areas:
Under the Local Government (Approvals) Regulations 1993 a building cannot be approved if, to erect
that building, an excavation is required that goes below the level of the base of the footings of a
building on adjoining land. The excavator must, at its own expense, preserve and protect the
adjoining building from damage and if necessary underpin and support the building in an

722

LAW OF THE UNDERGROUND

approved manner. There is no reason why this cannot apply to underground development,
imposing a requirement on the developer to support the building above and beside the
underground development.
An easement by prescription gives rise to a right to support over buildings. Such an easement can
be acquired by uninterrupted enjoyment of a right to support over a period of 20 years.
An action can lie against someone other than the owner of the land where that person owes a
duty of care to the adjoining landowner.
The position in other states is similar to that in New South Wales. In Victoria, under the Building Act
1993, an owner may when conducting works under a building permit, be required to carry out
'protection works' in order to protect adjoining land . Also, under the Building Regulations 1994 an
owner may be required when carrying out excavations to provide retaining walls or other means of
maintaining the stability of the soil surrounding the development.
In Western Australia the only protection is under the Local Govemme11t Act 1960. Section 391 of that
Act provides that a building owner intending to erect a structure within 3 m and to a lower level than
a building belonging to an adjoining owner, may, and it required by the adjoining owner shall,
underpin or strengthen the foundations of the building of the adjoining owner to such extent as is
necessary.
If underground development is to be promoted, one possibility is that such developments could be
made the subject of a statutory insurance scheme similar to the scheme created by the lvfine Subsidence
Compe11sation Act 1961 (NSW). This regulates the manner in which land above mines can be
developed, to minimise the risk of subsidence. Having control over surface developments enables the
Mine Subsidence Board to minimise compensation to land owners affected by subsidence caused by
mining. Conceptually at least a similar system could be employed to protect the interests of
surrounding land owners where it is intended to develop underground space or to develop above
existing underground developments.
The advantage in a scheme like this is that the burden of indemnity is shifted from the developer to a
third party (a statutory insurer) and the risk mitigated by careful regulation of development. In this
way the affected landholders are not reliant on an indemnity granted by an individual or corporate
developer for compensation if the integrity of their surface development or adjoining subsurface
development is affected by an adjacent underground development.

4.2

Liability in Nuisance

The withdrawal of lateral support from adjoining land gives rise to a strict liability in nuisance. While
that action usually lies against the occupier of adjoining land, the liability more accurately lies with
the person who created the nuisance. Consequently the liability does not run with the land, so that if
an action for nuisance is instigated after the date on which the liability arose, and between those dares
the land was sold, the purchaser of the adjoining land would not be liable, whereas the previous
owner as the creator of the nuisance still would be.
There may also be a potential liability in nuisance to owners of adjoining land arising out of
incidental aspects of construction such as noise, vibration and fumes. For example, actions in nuisance
have resulted from the persistent noise of drills during working hours, dust from haulage trucks
leaving a construction site, and noise from a circular saw.
Whether an 'interference' such as noise or dust causes a nuisance is a question of degree, and in this
regard the common law has taken a common sense view. The English decision of Andreae v Sc[fiidgc
Co Ltd [1938] Ch 1 held that provided building works are carried a reasonably and all proper and
reasonable steps are taken to ensure that no undue inconvenience is caused to neighbours, the
neighbours must generally put up with potential nuisances.

123

Chapter

4.3

Seven

Liability in Negligence

In this area of the law, the rule in Dalton is gradually being worn down.
In 1994, the High Court in Bumie Port Authority v General Jones Pty Limited (1994) 120 ALR 42
expressed a general principle that a person who takes advantage of control of premises to carry on a
dangerous activity owes a duty of reasonable care arising in negligence to avoid a reasonably
foreseeable risk of damage to the property of another. In a case where the property of the other
person is located outside the premises, that duty of care varies in degree according to the magnitude
of the risk involved. An activity is a dangerous activity if, given the magnitude of the foreseeable risk
of an accident happening and the magnitude of the foreseeable potential damage if an accident does
occur, an ordinary person acting reasonably would consider it necessary to exercise special care or to
take special precaution in relation to it.
Underground construction may well be a dangerous activity on this test. If so, developers of
underground space have a duty of reasonable care to avoid damage to nearby buildings. Such damage
typically includes cracks due to vibration during construction. Vibration during use of constructed
underground space such as rail tunnels can also be actionable in negligence. Developers should seek to
ensure that the constructor and the designer are under a contractual obligation not to do anything
nor omit to do anything which exposes the owner to liability for a breach of this duty.

5.

PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

Much to the frustration of many property developers, the mere acquisition of property does not
enable them to deal with the land as they please. In particular, the use to which they can put the land
and the type of building they can construct on the land are strictly regulated.
Put simply, urban land use is regulated by planning controls established under various pieces of
legislation on a state by state basis. The primary pieces of legislation in each of the eastern seaboard
states are:
New South Wales- the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979;
Victoria- the Planning and Environment Act 1987 and
Queensland- the Local Government (Planning and Environment) Act 1990.
Each of these pieces of legislation allow the establishment of zoning systems (of varying degrees of
complexity) under which land is able to be used or is prohibited from being used for various
purposes. Often, particular uses of land are only able to be carried out after a government body
(either at local or state government level) has carried out an environmental assessment of the
proposed use and has consented to that use. The level of assessment often varies depending on the
nature and impact of the proposed use.
None of these pieces of legislation make express provision for the horizontal delineation of land use.
In effect, the zoning of the surface of the land dictates the permitted use to which the underground
space can be put. Therefore, if the proposed underground use is a permitted use under the planning
scheme as it applies to the surface, zoning is not a concern (leaving aside for the moment issues
related to the assessment of proposals for underground land use). Problems arise however where the
proposed underground use is a prohibited use under the surface planning scheme.
In light of this, consideration should be given by state and local government as to vvhether
applications for underground space development should be administered and assessed in a particular
manner. In New South Wales for instance, State Environmental Planning Policies have been
introduced for a number of different types of development such as cattle feedlots and manufactured
home estates. Because of the likelihood that special town planning considerations apply it may be
desirable to introduce specific planning instruments for underground space development.
State and local government legislation and planning instruments should also be amended to grve

724

LAW OF THE UNDERGROUND

express recognitiOn to town planning matters which are particularly relevant to underground space
developments. For instance, the list of town planning considerations set out in section 90 of the
Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) should be examined and where relevant
amended so as to include town planning considerations of particular relevance to underground space
developments.

6.

BUILDING PERMITS AND STANDARDS

The assistance of Jack Bramwell, Director - Code Development, Australian Building Codes Board,
with the Building Code aspects of this section is gratefully acknowledged.

6. 1

National Overview

Each Australian jurisdiction imposes, through enabling acts and regulations which call up the Building
Code of Australia, standards on building work which are designed to ensure that buildings:
are safe from structural failure and fire;
present no hazard to their occupants or adjoining property and
are designed and constructed to protect the health and safety of their occupants and the
community.

6.2

The Process

While the detailed processes differ between jurisdictions, the broad architecture is similar:
the erection of a 'building' or carrying out of 'building work' cannot be carried out without local
authority approval;
the applicant must submit its design for approval to local government (with the option in Victoria
and South Australia of submission to a private certifier);
a building surveyor or inspector must or may inspect the work to ensure compliance with
building regulations and
on completion, the building surveyor or inspector issues 'occupancy permissions'.
The Australian Building Codes Board has recently carried out a comparison of building regulatory
legislation. The position is somewhat fluid at present, with the legislation in Queensland and Western
Australia in the process of significant reform. A brief summary of the study is set out in an article in
the March 1996 edition of Australian Building Codes Board News, a copy of which is in Appendix A
to this chapter.

6.3

Application of Building Controls to


Underground Space Development

The precise coverage of the enabling legislation is not uniform.


New South Ulales Position

In New South Wales, s68(1) of the Local Government Act 1993 relevantly prohibits the carrying out
of the following activities without prior approval of the council:

'1. Erect a building.


2.

Demolish a building.'

'"Building" includes part of a building and any structure or part of a stmcture .. .'
'"erection" [in relation to building] 'includes any stmctural work and any alteration, addition or rebuildin:z'.

125

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These broad definitions probably encompass underground developments which involve nonconstructed sections which, like much of the Opera House Carpark in Sydney, use rock as part of the
structure.
Victorian Position

Section 16(1) of the Building Act 1993 ('Act') states that a person must not carry out building work
unless that person has obtained a building permit in respect of that work. Section 16(2) states that
subsection (1) does not apply to building work exempted by the Act or the regulations. The relevant
regulations are the Building Regulatio11s 1994 ('Principal Regulation') and Buildi11g (Amendment)
Regulations 199 5. The Principal Regulation sets out in Table 1.6 in regulation 1.6 certain works which
are exempted from 'building work', for example, fences of a certain height and distance from the street
alignment, buildings which are being used temporarily for the construction of other buildings and
swimming pools of a certain size and depth.
The following terms are defined in the Act:

"'Building work" means work for or in connection with the construction, demolition or removal q( a building.
"Building" includes structure, tenzporary building, temporary structure and any part q( a building or a structure.
"Construct", in relation to a building, includes:
build, re-build, erect or re-erect the building;
repair the building;
make alterations to the building;
enlarge or extend the building and
place or relocate the building on land.'
The above definition of 'building work' is wide enough to include any kind of construction work done
to any kind of structure and would therefore, probably include underground development.
The objects of the Act should also be kept in mind in considering whether underground
development would be covered by the Act. These objects are set out in section 4 of the Act and
includes in subsection (c) 'to enhance the amenity if buildings and to protect the sqfety and health of people
who use buildings and places if public entertainment.' If the safety and health of people are affected by any
underground development, it would be likely that a court would find such underground development
to be included in the definition of 'building work'.
Furthermore, the courts in Victoria have given a very broad meaning to the word 'building' which was
previously defined in the Building Control Act 1989 (the predecessor of the Building Act 199 3). Even
pie carts were held to be included in the definition of a 'building'.
Queensland Position

In Queensland, building approval law clearly extends to underground work, although less clearly to
the physical underground 'works'. 'Building work' is defined to include the making of any excavation
that may adversely affect the stability of any building on the allotment on which the excavation is
made or on any land adjoining that allotment.
In Queensland, 'Building' is defined to mean 'a fixed structure that is wholly or partly enclosed by 1mlls and
is roifed'. It is not clear whether an underground structure which includes rock as part of the structure
fits vvithin this definition; presumably it should.
Conclusion

It may be necessary for some state building approval legislation and the Building Code ofAustralia to
be amended to address issues particular to underground construction. However, the need for a wide
geographic perspective would indicate local government is not the appropriate instrumentality to
approve major underground infrastructure, which typically crosses local authority borders. Special
legislation may be required in these instances.

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LAW OF THE UNDERGROUND

6.4

The Building Code of Australia and new


Performance Building Code of Australia

(a) Overview
The Building Code of Australia (BCA) is adopted by all Australian states and territories as setting up
the technical requirements for regulation of the design and construction of buildings and certain
other structures. It covers matters such as:
structure,
fire resistance,
access and egress,
fire fighting equipment, mechanical ventilation,
lift installations,
services such as air and water and
certain aspects ofhealth and amenity.
The BCA makes allowance for variable factors such as climate, geological or geographic conditions.
The goals of the BCA are to ensure that acceptable standards of structural sufficiency and safety
(including safety from fire, health and amenity) are achieved and maintained for the benefit of the
community.
A new edition of the BCA known as the 'Peiformance Building Code if Australia' (PBCA) is expected
to be introduced in late 1996. This edition has been drafted in a performance rather than prescriptive
format, to provide greater flexibility for the use of new building products, systems and designs. Any
materials, components, design factors or construction methods may be used if they comply with the
Performance Requirements of the Code, whether or not they are included in the 'deemed-to-sati.ify'
provisions, which provide solutions to achieve compliance with the Performance Requirements.
The emphasis in the draft PBCA (referred to in this chapter as the PBCA) switches to adding
verification methods and procedures to show, in a quantifiable sense, that an innovative approach
meets the required performance/base standard.
The philosophy of the PBCA is that it 'extends no further than is necessary in the public interest, is cost
rdfective, easily understood m1d not needlessly onerous in its application' (page 1 of the draft PBCA dated
20.9.95).
The PBCA sets out a 'pe~formance hierarchy' for the technical requirements for the building. The
hierarchy, from top to bottom, includes:
Objectives -which set out what the community expects from buildings;
Functional Statements- which describe how buildings achieve the objectives;
Performance Requirements - which outline the level of performance which must be met by
building materials and methods for a building to meet the objectives and functional statements,
and
Building Solutions - which are the means of achieving compliance. The new Code also provides
for process pathways which can be followed to develop building solutions.

(b) Application of the PBCA to underground development


Except for the possible doubt about the application of the PBCA to non-constructed underground
spaces, the PBCA is, in principle, vvell directed at underground development. This is because the
PBCA is limited to generalised criteria only, as underground developments are more determined by
the variability of ground conditions than are surface developments.
Structural requirements are set out in relation to basement areas. The PBCA recognises that in relation
to water control, it is not necessary in all cases for basements to exclude water, and that 'wet basements'

727

Chapter

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(where water is allowed to enter the area, but is then collected and disposed of) are not objectionable
for uses such as car parking.
However, a potentially significant impediment in the PBCA for underground development for
housing is the requirement for natural light and ventilation.
The PBCA makes an interesting concession in relation to underground developments, which are not
deemed to be exposed to the risk of fire. However, the Code places an increased priority on exits
from the underground areas. This is presumably because in extreme cases, the fire brigade can still
reach above ground areas which are subject to fire, but cannot always access underground areas.

(c) Classification of buildings and stmctures under the PBCA


This is dealt with in part A3, which identifies 10 different classifications of buildings. 'Building' is not
actually defined in the PBCA. This is left to the enabling legislation within each jurisdiction.
The PBCA attempts to extend its application to non-constructed elements of underground
development by applying its structural provisions (in section B) to not only the building but also
'sitework'. This is defined as 'work on a building site, including earth works, preparatory to or associated with the
construction, alteration, demolition or removal of a building'. Therefore only if an underground structure is
entirely self-supporting, with no constructed element, could it be potentially argued that the PBCA
does not apply to that development.
(d) Structural requirements

The key structural requirements of the PBCA are of particular relevance to underground
developments:
BFl (Functional Statement) - 'A building and sitework are to withstand the combination ll.f loads and other
actions to which they may be reasonably su~iected'
BF4 (Performance requirement) - 'sitework, where necessary, must be designed and constructed to:
provide stability for construction on the allotment and
avoid the likelihood

if damage

to other property'.

'Other property' is defined in Section A of the PBCA as 'any building, whether or not on the same or on an
allotment, or land on or a~ioining allotment, and includes a road'.

a~ioining

6.5

Fire Regulation

The PBCA sets out performance requirements m relation to (following the PBCA numbering
system) the following:
C 1 Fire Resistance and Stability
C2 Compartmentation and Separation
C3 Protection of Openings
El Fire Fighting Equipment
E2 Fire Hazard Management
E4 Emergency Lighting, Exit Signs and Warning Systems
The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) is conducting a long term project to establish a Fire
Code which will specifY in detail acceptable methodologies for complying with the performance
requirements set out in the PBCA.
The Fire Code Reform Centre Limited, established by the ABCB, is undertaking a systematic review
of every fire-related provision of the BCA. It has identified two of its projects as developing:
'Fire Engineering Guidelines' to identifY appropriate procedures and verification methodology
for fire engineering, building fire-safety designs intended to achieve equivalence with the BCA

728

LAW OF THE UNDERGROUND

performance requirements.
a fully performance-based Fire Safety Design Code (FSDC) to provide an approved alternative
means of complying with the BCA's specified requirements, for use whenever the prescriptive
design approach is not applicable or desired.
The FCRC approach is discussed in an article in the March 1996 Newsletter of the ABCB, a copy of
which is in Appendix C to this chapter.

7.

WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY LAWS

7. 1

The Underground as a Workplace

The underground is a workplace both during development, when excavation and construction
activities take place, and later when the developed space is used for commercial or social activities,
such as storage, shopping, parking or transport.
The underground workplace in both senses is regulated by general workplace law, which is both
common law and statute-based. Additionally, specific statutory safety requirements apply to
underground development.

7.2

National Overview

In all Australian jurisdictions there is occupational health and safety legislation which applies not only
to the excavation and construction of underground environments but also to their use as a workplace.
In addition, construction safety laws apply specifically to the underground as a workplace during
excavation and construction.
In the past 5 to 6 years, all states and territories have moved toward a harmonisation of their
underground safety laws to a greater or lesser extent through:
a performance based legislative framework and
progressively repealing, to varying degrees, the existing prescriptive regime.
The National Taskforce on the Harmonisation of existing Occupational Health and Safety Standards
was established in March 1992 by Worksafe Australia. Worksafe Australia is the National Occupational
Health and Safety Commission (NOHSC) which is made up of representatives of all state and
territory WorkCover authorities. The Harmonisation Taskforce reflected the view that 'micro-economic
reform and equity aspects of occupational health and safety practice required uniform national standards'
(NOHSC, 1.992:26).
The Taskforce has declared seven major national occupational health and safety standards, for matters
such as:
manual handling - National Standard NDHSC:L1001 (1990); National COP NOHSC: 2005
(1990)
noise- National Standard NOHSC: 1007 (1993); National COP NOHSC: 2009 (1993)
plant- National Standard NOHSC: 1010 (1994)
hazardous substances - National Model Regulations NOHSC: 1005 (1994) and National COP
NOHSC: 2007 (1994)
major and hazardous installations
certified occupiers
These standards by themselves have no legal effect. However, the states and territories are expected to
change their legislative frameworks to adopt the standards, although the detailed wording of the
legislation may not be identical in each jurisdiction. The concept is to ensure consistency between
jurisdictions to enhance effective competition in Australia. However, only some of the states have

729

Chapter

Seven

implemented some of the required legislation (namely the manual handling standard and the plant
standard).
The harmonisation approach is not only national but also regional to some extent, extending to New
Zealand in recognition of the significance of the trans-Tasman market. This accords with the 'Closer
Economic Relationship' (CER) entered into between Australia and New Zealand.
In April 1995 the Australian Industry Commission released its draft report on national occupational
health and safety issues, including:
the appropriate legislative approaches and roles for federal and state and territory agencies in
promoting occupational health and safety, and
the development and implementation (particularly the extent of acceptance in the workplace and
state agencies) of national occupational health and safety standards.
The Commission found that the total cost of work-related death to employers is $5 billion in
worker's compensation premiums and $2 billion in lost productivity. The Commission considered
however that improved outcomes are not to be found in mandatory workplace regulation, but rather
in the application of comprehensive quality management principles by employees and employers. It
stated:

'The aims should be to promote best practice by encouragi11g those in the workplace to take grater responsibility for
management of the risks to health and safety. This means changing the focus of legislation and the govemmenr
programs that support them. They have to shift from direct imposition of the workplace solutions towards
facilitating an informed choice by those at the workplace.'
The Commission further proposed that the common law duty of care should be elaborated and
codified to ensure that the duties to health and safety of all persons in the workplace are clearly
defined.
The Commission's table of occupational health and safety legislation around Australia is in Appendix
D to this chapter.
In addition to National Worksafe Australia Standards the Standards Association of Australia have
already published standards for most of the topics mentioned above and these often incorporate the
Worksafe Statement: e.g. Safe Working in a Confined Space (AS 2865-1995).

7.3

The General Legislative Scheme

Occupational health and safety statutes in all states and territories impose a basic duty on both:
employers and
those in control of workplaces (such as head contractors),
to ensure, so far as is 'practicable' or 'reasmzably practicable', the health and safety of their employees and
other people in such workplaces:
Cth

Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991, section 16;

NSW- Occupational Health and Safecy Act 1983, subsection 15, 53;
Vic- Occupational Health and Safety Act 1985, section 19 and
Qld- Workplace Ocwpational Health and Safety Act 1989, section 19.
In Queensland the legislation does not address the issue of civil liability for breach, while in New
South Wales (section 22) and Victoria (section 28) civil action is excluded.
However, under workers or accident compensation schemes, employers remain liable civilly at least to
some extent in most Australian jurisdictions for breach of certain statutory duties: NSW - !Vorkers
Compe115ation Act 1987 and Victoria- Accidem Compensation Act 1985.

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LAW OF THE UNDERGROUND

7.4

Construction Safety Laws

Underground developers must also consider whether specific construction safety laws apply. In New
South Wales, for example, excavation work is specifically targeted by the legislation (Construction Scifety
Act 1912) which includes 'excavation work' (itself d~(ined as 'work involved in the excavation or _filling ~{
trenches, ditches, shqfts, dr[fts, rises, t111mels, pier holes, cuttings, be11ches, wells, canals or any similar work') in the
concept of 'Constwction work': section 3.
Regulations may relevantly be made relating to:
the manner of carrying out construction work and
safeguards and measures to be taken for securing the safety or health of people engaged in
construction work: section 22(g)(iv) and (v).
Part 7 of the 1\.TSW Construction Scifety Regulations specifies the safeguards and measures to be taken for
securing the safety and health of people engaged in excavation work. This provision is structured as
follows:
A

General - Safeguards

A1 Dust Control

reg 95
reg 95A

Cofferdams and Caissons reg 96

Trenches

reg 97

Shafts, wells and tunnels

reg 98

The key provision is this in regulation 98:

'Every drive and tunnel shall be securely protected and made scife for persor1s employed therein.'
V.Jhat is the position if a tunnel is not safe - is it a breach of regulation 98 for an employer to direct
staff to enter an unsafe tunnel and make it safe? In Fematti z; Utah Construction & Engineering Pty Ltd
[1964-5] NSWR 1929, the NSW Supreme Court took a practical view and said no; while the
obligation was absolute, it could only be complied with by sending staff in to carry out the necessary
work, and the employer could not be in breach for doing what was necessary to comply with the
obligation.
It should be appreciated that because of the very nature of underground excavation, a totally 'safe'
workplace can never be guaranteed. A residue risk of the unexpected ground condition will always
remain, no matter how much money is spent on the site investigation.
Regulation 73 prescribes safeguards and accident prevention measures for construction work
generally, including excavation work. It imposes an obligation on employers to 'take all measures that
appear 11ecessary or advisable to minimise accident risk and to prevent inju11' to the health if persons e11gaged in
suclz construction work ... '. It then sets out a number of more specific requirements. Some applicable to
underground development include:
(2) provide and maintain safe means of access;
(4) provide suitable lighting;
(6) where practicable provide overhead protection;
(9)&(11) provide adequate ventilation and ensure exhaust gases are conducted to open air and
(17) take all practicable precautions by shoring or otherwise to prevent danger from building or
structure collapse.

7.5

Code of Practice for Tunnels under Construction (NSW}

This was developed by representatives of the NSW Work Cover Authority, Sydney Water Corporation,

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Chapter

Seven

a construction engineer assigned from AUCTA, representatives of unions, and an engineering


geologist representative from Dames and Moore Consulting Engineers. The Code sets out minimum
requirements for tunnel construction work. A copy appears in Appendix E to this chapter.
The Code itself stipulates that it is not to be taken to 'be construed to waive or modify any obl('.(ations
imposed under the Ocwpational Health and SC!fety Act 1983, and associated legislation'. It is unclear from this
whether the Code is intended to replace or override Regulation 98 of the Consrrucrion SC!fery Act
1912 (NSW), referred to above. Because the Code itself has no legal effect, however, this may not be
an ISSUe.
The Code is structured as follows:
1.

General

2.

Ventilation

3.

Hazardous atmosphere

4.

Dust control

5.

Underground support systems

6.

Places of refuge

7.

Transportation of persons

8.

Men and material hoists- rail type (winders)

9.

Locomotives

10. Tracks-Rails
11. Trains
12. Warning lights on trains and men and material hoists
13. Other vehicular traffic and machinery
14. Self rescue units for personal use
15. Personal protective equipment
16. Fire Control
17. Dark tunnels
The Foreword to the Code refers to the following safety laws which provide the context for the
Code:
Regulation 98 of the Construction Safety Act 1912, which states in part 'every drive and tlll117el should
be semrely protected and made safe for persons employed therein'.
Section 15 of the Occupational Health and SC!fety Act 1983 which imposes general obligations on
employers to ensure health, safety and welfare of employees, provide safe systems of work and
necessary training instruction and supervision.
Section 16 of that Act which requires employers to ensure that non-employees are not exposed to
risks to their health and safety arising from the conduct of the employer's undertaking while at its
place of work.
Although the Code in effect amounts to what is acceptable practice to the WorkCover Authority,
there is some flexibility in that it invites applications for variations or exemptions to be submitted in
writing to the Chief Inspector, who will consider those applications having regard to health, safety
and welfare.
It is understood no other states have yet compiled a similar document.

7.6

Implied vvorkplace safety obligations

(a) The obligations


Employers of staff performing underground space development or using it as a workplace are also

732

LAW OF THE UNDERGROUND

subject to non-statutory obligations:


an implied term in the contract of employment to take reasonable care not to expose employees
to unnecessary risks to their health and safety, and
a duty arising in negligence to people trying to rescue or help employees endangered because of
the employer's failure to take reasonable care for the employee's safety: Bankstown Foundry Pry Ltd
v Braistina (1986) 16 CLR 301 and 65ALR 1.

(b) The nature of the duty - what is reasonable care?


Although what amounts to a reasonable standard of care has become higher in recent times, as more
stringent community expectations are reflected in more onerous legislation, the duty to take
reasonable care is not absolute. The risk of injury must be reasonably foreseeable and real, rather than
fanciful.
What is reasonable depends on:
the magnitude of the risk,
the likelihood of it occurring and
the inconvenience, expense and difficulty of avoiding the risk.
The Courts have split the general duty to take reasonable care into three areas, requiring employers to
provide:
safe systems of work,
safe premises and equipment and
competent staff.
However, as underground excavation and construction is inherently dangerous, with a high
magnitude of risks of injury and likelihood of such risks occurring, employers and others in control of
such activities have in practice a correspondingly high standard to meet in order to discharge the duty
to take reasonable care.

7.7

Recent Nevv South Wales Experience in


Underground Safety

Anecdotally there have been radical changes in WorkCover over the last year, and at the time of
preparation of this report, the situation is very fluid. The number of underground inspectors has been
drastically reduced to only two, who are both in training, despite the fact that there are several major
underground projects under way.
WorkCover seems to have been pursuing a 'get tough' prosecution policy which has in effect shifted
the onus of responsibility for safety entirely onto the employer, and away from Work Cover.
As part of a project's planning, the contractor is required to submit an 'Occupational Health & Safety
Plan' to WorkCover for approval. WorkCover now appears to take the view that as a matter of policy,
if there is any accident causing injury the employer should be prosecuted (even to the extent of a
manslaughter charge if a death occurs) as there is an assumption that the worker could not have been
either trained or briefed by the employer sufficiently to avoid the accident.

7.8

Application of Mine Safety Lavvs

Mining is the most commonly thought of underground activity. That raises the question of the
applicability of the mining legislation to non-mining underground excavation projects.
In general, mining legislation does not apply to non-mining underground projects except in coal
measures strata. However the situation varies from State to State.
The Aiines Regulation Act 1964 (Qld) is concerned with the regulation and inspection of mines and

733

Chapter

Seven

the safety and health of persons employed in mines. The Meralliferous lvfining Regulacions 1985 (Qld)
make provision relating to ventilation standards, noise standards, illumination, fire prevention, ground
support, explosive storage and use, sanitation, hygiene and other matters. Primarily the Act applies to
every mine in Queensland and 'mining', as defined in the Act, involves the extraction of any metal or
mineral. Consequently, on first appearances, the 1\1ines Regulation Acr would appear not to apply to
urban underground excavation for the purpose of underground space development.
However, the 1Vfines Regulation Act makes provision for the Governor-in-Council to prescribe that the
provisions of the Act and Regulations under the Act apply to any other excavation. That occurred
most recently in relation to the construction of the inner city railway tunnels between Roma Street
and Turbot Street, and between Creek Street and Barry Parade, Brisbane.
The Mines Act 195 8 (Vic) similarly makes provision for the Governor-in-Council to make regulations
with respect to health and safety in mines. However, 'mine' is defined broadly in the Act to include
'any tunnel under construction'.

8.

CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTS- RISK ALLOCATION


AND STRUCTURING

8.1

Structuring

Underground projects may be structured in a wide variety of ways. Traditionalh construct-only


contracts have been used. However, the trend of the past decade or so in some Australian cities has
been towards private sector provision of public infrastructure such as roads and water using Build
Own (Operate) Transfer [BO(O)T] forms of project structure. These involve typically 20 or more
project documents between parties such as the consortium, the government, the relevant agency, the
contractor, the designer, the financier and the operator.
Where non-BOOT forms of contract are used, there is increasing sophistication and refinement in
the use of project structures such as design and construct [D&C], design, document and construct
[DD&CJ, and design, novate and construct. Because the cost of underground projects is heavily
dependent on the geotechnical investigation and resulting design and whether this is adequate for the
conditions encountered, this is reflected in the shift from construct only to contracts which involve
some responsibility for design.

8.2

Partnering

To ensure that all players understand the project's objectives and their mutual interests, partnering is
increasingly used in both the public and private sectors for underground work.
Partnering is the notion of commercial parties working closely and cooperatively rather than
adversarially as has been traditional and establishing a relationship which overlays the legal structure.
The concept was first used in any formal sense by the US Army Corps of Engineers in the late 1980s.
Since around 1992, it has been widely adopted in Australia and is the policy of several state and
federal public works authorities. The 'Parwering Charter', which sets out the parties' mutual objectives,
often requires them to act in good faith toward each other. However this is rarely reflected in the
contract, as in Australia at least, there is as yet no implied obligation to act in good faith in a
contractual context.
Although partnering has been hailed as one of the major success stories in the construction industry,
partnered projects have produced a spate of litigation recently, and opinions on its usefulness are
divided.
The challenge for the industry is to ensure that construction and other project contracts reflect the
non-adversarial approach which partnering brings to bear on the parties' relationship. The New South
Wales Department of Public Works & Services is on the way in this regard, and has recently released a
new form of contract called 'C21'.

134

LAW OF THE UNDERGROUND

8.3

Risk allocation

Underground development projects raise a number of special risks which must be identified and
allocated. Carrying this process out during project planning will result in a less costly project with
fewer disputes and claims.
Design obligations for example are influenced by the need to minimise the impact on adjacent
buildings and occupiers during (and often after) construction by controlling ground disturbance,
subsidence, noise and vibration. The steps necessary to achieve these objectives will vary from project
to project. The developer may want a warranty from the designer that its design is fit for its intended
purpose, but this may not always be commercially feasible when there are significant uncertainties
about the structural quality of the geology and the surrounding built environment.
The basic principle of risk allocation is that each party should bear the risk which it is best able to
manage and minimise.
All involved in the design and construction process benefit when appropriate risk allocation principles
are applied. The need for contractors to include contingencies for uncertain risks can be removed by
the contract saying that the owner assumes certain risks and that the contractor will obtain some
financial compensation if specified events occur or do not occur. Lower bid prices result.
Underground construction contracts should clearly allocate the risk of key events such as delay.
industrial action, damage to the works and to neighbouring properties, and encountering
unanticipated sub-surface conditions. The latter is of obvious significance and is expanded below.

8.4

Continual Monitoring

In the urban environment underground projects always need constant monitoring of a number of
factors, such as subsidence, noise and vibration. Provision needs to be made in the contract for the
allocation of the responsibility for and cost of this constant monitoring, the acceptable range for each
of these factors, and the action to be taken in the event of an adverse finding.

8.5

Insurance

The risks involved in underground projects in urban areas, due to greater density of population,
buildings and other structures, increase the potential exposure of a party involved in the development
for personal injuries, property damage or even economic loss such as loss of profits due to business
interruption. The negotiation of insurance provisions for an underground construction contract is
therefore an important consideration.

8.6

Latent Conditions - General

The risk of encountering unexpected sub-surface conditions constitutes a very significant risk to the
contractor in any underground project. It is therefore important that those involved in underground
construction understand how the risk may arise, on whom it can fall, and ways in which it can be
allocated effectively.

8. 7

Allocation of Risk of Encountering Latent Conditions


at Common Lavv

Generally, in the absence of a latent conditions clause assigning this risk to the owner, the risks
associated with latent site conditions will rest with the contractor: Thorn v London C01poration [1876] 1
AC 120. It has generally been held that the contractor should have informed itself of all relevant
details associated with the works and the practicability of executing the \vork under the contract.
An example of this principle is found in Pearce v Her~{ord C01poration (1968) LGR 647, where the
contractor had agreed to construct a sewer. To complete the construction, it was necessary to tunnel

735

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under an existing road. An ancient sewer had been marked on a plan provided to the contractor,
traversing the road at an angle diagonal to the crossing to be effected by the new sewer under
construction. The depth of the ancient sewer was not known.
The contractor encountered the sewer approximately 10 feet from its plotted position. At this stage
the weather conditions were extremely bad and the old sewer had been carrying a considerable
amount of water. As a result, the contractor's heading collapsed and was flooded. The contractor was
obliged to stank off the old sewer at a point some distance from the site of his own works, sink a shaft
at the far end of the road and work back in open cut before being able to complete the crossing.
Naturally, extra costs were incurred as a result. It was held that, in these circumstances, the contractor
was not entitled to recover any additional expense so incurred.
This risk allocation demonstrated in Pearce will, in general, only be altered by either an express or
implied term of the contract.
Contractors faced with the full burden of extra costs associated with adverse unforeseen site
conditions have on occasion formulated imaginative claims based on an implied term in the contract.
A successful example of such a claim can be found in the English case of Bacal Construction (iVlidlands)
Ltd v North Hampton Development C01poration (1975) 8 BLR 88.
Under this contract, Bacal (the contractor) undertook to construct 518 dwellings and 131 garages
together with the associated drainage, footpath and site works. The size of the site was 35 acres. The
contractor was provided with designs of the buildings required. Bore holes were sunk at various
points, mostly near the extremity of the site, and the details of the soil at these points were recorded
and given to Bacal. On the basis of the information contained in these bore logs, Bacal was asked to
provide various designs together with prices associated with each type of foundation. During the
course of the work, material known as 'TUFA' was discovered on the site. The effect of this discovery
was that the contractor had to significantly alter the design of the foundations. It was found by the
Trial Judge, and confirmed by the Court of Appeal, that no provision in the contract dealt with this
situation. The contractor successfully argued that a term had to be implied into the contract which
would effectively entitle the contractor to the extra costs associated with the changed designs.
The decision in the case permitted the Contractor to shift the responsibility of the extra costs
incurred by way of an implied term in the contract. Given the restrictive test for implied terms
adopted by the High Court in Codelfa Constructions Pty Ltd JJ State Rail Authority c:f New South Wales
(1982) 56 ALJR 459, it seems unlikely that a contractor would be able to succeed in respect of
unforseen adverse physical site conditions on this basis in Australia.
Accordingly, for a contractor to make a claim in contract for latent site conditions, there must be a
specific clause in the relevant contract. In the case of the NPWC edition 3 standard form, there is no
such clause. An attempt to imply a term relating to unforseen site conditions into this form of
contract failed in Commonwealth c:f Australia z; Citra Constructions Led (1985) 4 ACLR 94. DM
Campbell J, in holding that no such term could be implied, applied the Codelfa decision, and
indicated that terms will not readily be implied into a standard form contract.

8.8

Why change the common lavv allocation of the


latent condition risk?

The rationale for changing the common la\v allocation of risk by the inclusion of a specific clause in
the contract is basically commercial. Contractors, faced with the assumption of risk. price their
tenders accordingly (in theory at least), and such a clause is intended to prevent the various renderers
from increasing their prices to take account of an unlikely risk occurring. The proposition underlying
a risk sharing approach is that the parties should make provision at the outset, on a sensible and
businesslike basis, for contingencies inherent in the work contracted for eventuating.
The English Privy Council in A1itsui Constmction Co. Ltd z; The Attorney General of Hong Kong (1986)
33 BLR 1 (albeit on a claim for re-rating in respect of changed estimates from the billed quantities

736

LAW OF THE UNDERGROUND

under the Variations Clause for increased difficulty of working in a contract for tunnelling under
Hong Kong) stated:

'... if the co11traa dowments were tmderstood in the sense contended for by the [Principal], Engineering
Contractors tendering for work would have two options. I11ey could either gamble 011 encountering more or less
fauourable ground conditions or they could amicipate the worst case and price their tenders accordingly. Ir is clear
from what happened here that the worst case might double or more than double the time required to do the work
with the consequent increase in time related costs. On this basis, tenderers gambling on favourable ground
conditio11s will risk a large loss, or conversely, if all renderers anticipated the worst case, but in the event reasonable
conditions were encou11tered, the [Principal] would be the loser: It follows that, !f the [Principal] is right, there is
a large elemellt of wagering inherent i11 this contract. It seems to their Lordships so1newhat improbable that a
responsible Public Authority on the one hand, and a responsible Engineering Contractor on the otlw; contractinp_
for the execution of Public Ulorks with many millions of dollars, should deliberately embark on a substantial
gamble.'
Their Lordships in this case decided on the basis of commercial realities and expectations that given
the inherent uncertainty as to the scope of work, contractors would tender at a realistic price based
on the expectation that the scope of work was reasonably to be inferred from the billed quantities, but
if unexpectedly bad ground conditions caused so large a departure from those quantities that in the
opinion of the engineer, the billed rates were rendered unreasonable or inapplicable, those rates would
be suitably adjusted. Their Lordships observed that this:

' ... would seem an eminently sensible means q{ ensuring that the contractors received no less, and the [Principal]
pay no more, than a reasonable price for the work actually done.'
Where the contract does not accurately define a risk and provide a clear allocation of that risk, when
the risk is realised (in circumstances where it has not been priced by the contractor) the contractor
will often attempt to construct an argument based either on the vagaries of the language used in the
clause or base its claim on some misrepresentation or perhaps some misleading and deceptive conduct
within the 11-ade Practices or Fair Hading Acts.
A risk sharing approach generally enhances the prospects of harmonious working relationships,
leading to cost efficiencies and better progress with the job. However, it is understood that funds are
generally allocated from the federal government to the state governments for use on construction
projects as follows: amounts to cover latent condition risks are allocated a high degree of certainty that
payout will occur, instead of being dealt with only as a contingency amount which may never be
needed. When allocated in this way unspent contingencies are then not available for other necessary
state projects. This can result in state governments endeavouring to pass the financial risks associated
with latent conditions to the contractor, who has to price the job accordingly to cover all likely
adverse events.
Consequently, the end result is that the total project price is considerably higher than it well might
have been. However, as such projects can produce a higher level of disputation, unexpected extra costs
can still arise for government.
Possible approaches to a latent conditions clause include:
A set of reference conditions known in the industry as the 'Geotechnical Model' is prepared and
provided to the renderers to ensure that all tenders are based on the same geological assumptions.
This will reduce dispute as to what could have been reasonably foreseen by the contractor.
Unit rates are included in the contract for common unexpected conditions.
Whichever approach is adopted, it is obvious that extensive geotechnical investigation is paramount to
minimising the possibiliry of encountering latent conditions and to identify sensible unit rate items
for realistic likely situations. If the contractor is to accept the risk, bids can be expected to be
considerably higher than otherwise.
Owners such as public utilities or private developers must also be careful when working to a fixed

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budget without any flexibility to pay for changed ground conditions. Even when there is no risk
sharing, contractors may choose to tender a job at cost just to continue cash flow and to keep their
experienced crews together. However, this can also result in renderers bidding below or at cost, with
the intention of pursuing latent condition claims on every potential basis and to the fullest.

8.9

Case Studies

Burwood Beach Ouifall Tunnel, Newcastle


One of the first major tunnels in New South Wales where the contract made provision for automatic
payment for extra cost associated with specific ground conditions was the Burwood Beach Sewer
Ocean Outfall Tunnel, in the Newcastle area. This \Vas done by geotechnical formulae prescribed in
the contract.
This was a very difficult shaft/tunnel excavation to design a location for because of the presence at
the site of abandoned coal mine workings both under the land and under the sea. Consequently there
had to be a detailed geotechnical site investigation which included research of the presence of the
workings. The geotechnical and design uncertainties were accommodated in the contract by way of
prescribed formula for assessing variable items, for example the strength of the rock. The contract
allowed also for changes in grade and direction to be made during construction, if it turned out the
workings and the coal seam were not where they were expected to be.
This project was completed with no latent condition claims being made. It was seen in the industry as
one of the most fair and equitable contracts undertaken in New South Wales in recent years.

Ocean Ouifall Tunnels, S}'dney


Similar ocean outfall tunnels excavated off the Sydney coastline, but in much more simple geological
conditions, and with no mine workings to contend with, were subject to millions of dollars of latent
conditions claims. These contracts did not reflect a risk sharing approach.

Brunswick Street Railwa}' Iimnels, Brisbane


Following the successful example of the Burwood Beach Project, the Brunswick Street Raih.vay
Tunnels in Brisbane were contracted on a risk sharing arrangement. The time-related costs associated
with latent conditions were dealt with in that contract by inclusion of pre-agreed delay rates for
variable (time related) construction items which had an inherent risk of delays because they were the
result of variable ground conditions. This allowed for the unequivocal evaluation of the extra time
needed if ground conditions required additional ground support.

8.1 0

Risk Allocation under Australian Standard Form Contracts

Probably the most widely used Australian standard form contracts in underground projects, at least in
the public sector, are the construct only AS 2124-1992 or its design and construct equivalent, AS
4300-1995. Clause 12 of both of these contracts entitles the Contractor to an extension of time or a
variation if it encounters a 'Latent Condition'. This is defined as:

'(a) physical conditions 011 the Sire or its surroundings, including art{ficial thiz1gs but excluding weather conditions,
which d{[(er materially from the physical conditions which should reasonably have been anticipated by the
Contractor at the time of the Contractor's tender !f the Comractor had:
examined all information made available in writing by the Principal to the Contractor for the pznposc of
tendering;
examined all izifomwtion relevant to the risks, comingencies, and other circumstances baving an
tender and obtaitzable by the making of reasonable enq11iries, and
inspected the Site and its surroundings, and

738

~ffect

on the

LAW OF THE UNDERGROUND

(b) any other conditions which the Contract specifies to be Latent Conditions.'
The test of whether the conditions encountered 'differ materially' is essentially subjective, with an
overlying element of reasonableness.
The clause requires the Contractor, if required by the Superintendent, to provide a statement setting
out certain information and estimates concerning the nature of the Latent Condition, and the likely
delay and cost effects. No time limit is specified, but a reasonable time would be implied. However
difficulties may arise in practice given that the Contractor may not, when requested to provide a
statement, be able to give more than factual information that there are adverse physical conditions;
typically the details of those conditions and their possible consequences may only be established much
later.
The clause does allow the parties to agree upfront what is a 'Latent Condition' in clause 12.1 (b). Here
it would be sensible for the parties to specify that conditions materially different from the conditions
disclosed by the Geotechnical Reports are Latent Conditions. This important provision allows the
Principal to allocate the risk in a more definitive way than has been previously available under this
style of contract. In this way, disputes about what could reasonably have been foreseen can be
reduced. The advantage is that the allocation of risk of encountering Latent Conditions is made
abundantly clear.
The equivalent provision to clause 12 in the current draft AS2124-1996 edition, clause 25.1, is similar
to clause 12(a) of AS2124-1992 and is as follows:

'25.1

Scope

Latent Conditions are physical conditions on the Site and its near surrounds, including artificial tlzi11gs but
excluding weather conditions, which differ materially from the physical conditions which should reasonably /zaz;c
been anticipated by a reasonably competent contractor at the time cif the Contractor's tender !f the Contractor lzad
inspected:
all written information made available by the Principal to the Contractor for the purpose

~f tendering;

all il:formation injlue11cing the risk allocation in the Contractor's tender and reasonably obtai1wble by the
making cif reasonable enquiries, az1d
the Site and its near surrounds.'
However, in the draft 1996 version, the equivalent of clause 12.1 (b) of the 1992 edition of AS2124,
i.e. 'any other condition which the Contract specifies to be Late11t Co11ditions', has been dispensed with. The
authors of this paper have, through The Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering at The University
of Sydney, made a submission to Standards Australia that a clause 25.1 (b) similar to clause 12.1 (b) of
AS2424-1992 be added to enable the risk of encountering unexpected conditions to be allocated in a
way which can properly take into account the relevant geological engineering considerations.
Another major standard form of contract used in Australia is the NPWC 3 1981 contract. Although
on the wane, it is still used by some public authorities. These conditions do not contain a Latent
Conditions provision. Indeed, clause 12 deems the Contractor to have familiarised itself with the Site.
However this deeming provision has not always worked. Some government authorities recognise the
need to provide a measure of entitlement to the Contractor, and use a provision similar to clause 12
of AS 2124 of 1981 as a Special Condition. This version is significantly narrower than that in the 1986
edition of AS 2124 in that it:
deems the Contractor to have done various investigations and satisfied itself that the price in its
tender is adequate in much the same way as clause 12 ofNPWC 3.
places a high onus on the Contractor and limits are placed on the ambit of a Latent Condition
which may entitle a Contractor to a variation under the clause. Further, the final paragraph of
clause 12.2 does not expressly state that the Contractor has a right to extra payment. However the
Courts have held in passing at least that the clause is the fount of an entitlement to money

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Chapter

Seven

reqUinng a determination, and that, if reasonably and equitably performed, leads to an


entitlement: Brisbane City Councilu !1/ood Hall Ltd [1983] 1 Qd R 563. (Fortunately the 1996 draft
AS2124, in clause 25.3, recognises this by deeming the effect of a Latent Condition to be a
Variation to be valued under the pricing clause for variations.)
Despite the apparent constraints of the clause, it has been used successfully by Contractors.
Careful consideration is required before using any latent condition clause. Time should be taken to
ensure that the clause reflects the parties' requirements, and adds to rather than detracts from the
certainty of risk allocation.

8.11

Notice Provisions of Latent Conditions Clauses

(a) Time for Notifying the Encotmtering of Latent Conditions


The notice requirements in clause 12.2 of the of the AS 2124 1985 and 1992 Standard Form
contracts refer to notice in terms such as 'as soon as practicable' and :forthwith'. Clause 25.2 of the 1996
draft requires notice to be given 'promptly', but requires the Superintendent to notifY the Contractor
within 3 days of the Contractor's notification if it requires information about how the Contractor
proposes to deal with the Latent Condition.
The authors of this paper have submitted to Standards Australia that the 3 delay limit be deleted. The
Contractor must respond to that notice 'as soon as practicable'. As this will typically be several weeks,
because the Contractor \Viii need to seek expert geotechnical and other advice, site inspections and
the like; we have therefore submitted to Standards Australia that 'as soon as practicable' be follO\ved by
'having regard to the nature and extent ~f the relative physical conditions'.
It is of paramount importance to ascertain whether the giving of notice in accordance with the clause
is a condition precedent to a claim -in other words, is the failure to comply with the clause is fatal to
the claim? In support of the view that compliance with such a notice provision is not a condition
precedent, the following points may be made:
It is arguable that, as the purpose of the notice is to enable the Superintendent to investigate the
conditions, notice ought not be required to be given until the contractor has all of the necessary
facts to support the notice.
The courts often require a clause to use clear and unequivocal words before it can be said that
non-compliance with the clause acts as a bar to the claim.
Conversely, there is body of authority to suggest that time limits prescribed in contracts must be
complied with strictly, and the failure to do so will bar the contractor from claiming. An example of
this approach is the decision ofThomas J of the Supreme Court of Queensland in Z & T Constnmions
Pty Limited v The Council ~f the City if Logan (unreported, 10 November 1986). In that case, Thomas J
decided that a notice must be given within the timetable referred to in the clause, and that failure to
do so prevented the contractor from bringing a claim. Whether the timetable has been met is a
question of fact to be determined in the circumstances of each case.
See also J !1/ Armstrong Constructions Pty Ltd v Cormcil ~f the Shire ~f Cook, Supreme Court of
Queensland, 25.2.94.
(b) Time hal's on latetlt conditions claims

There are often other provisions in the contract which are relevant in a particular case, or which
contain further formal requirements for notification of'claims' in general. An example is, clause 12.4
of the AS 2124 form of contract, which denies the contractor any entitlement to compensation for
additional work carried out or extra cost incurred 'more than 2 8 days before the date on !llhich tlze
Contractor gives the written notice required by the first paragraph of Clause 12.2'. The purpose of this time
bar is to ensure that latent condition claims are made in a timely fashion as the project progresses, and
to stop a massive 'end of project' claim.

140

LAW OF THE UNDERGROUND

However, delays are most costly, and therefore of most concern, to contractors when the changes in
the ground conditions are subtle and not immediately obvious - a situation known as 'creeping
diseases'- compared with individual geological features.
It should be appreciated that in nature geological variations as they impact on construction come in
two types:
The first type is when a specific adverse geological feature is encountered unexpectedly, eg a fault,
dyke or a different but much weaker or stronger rock type which is present over a short interval of
excavation. In this situation, the adverse impact on the progress of the work is usually immediate,
unequivocal, readily demonstrable to both parties alike, and in need of urgent identification,
evaluation and remedial treatment. Clearly, in this instance the 28 day time bar is reasonable.
However, by far the most common situation is when ground conditions are subtly different from
those expected. Superficially the differences may appear slight, but they are sufficiently different to
mean the equipment chosen for excavating and mucking are less compatible with the actual ground
conditions encountered than when the equipment was chosen. More to the point, the cycle advance
rates expected by the contractor and priced into its tender prove to be less and this has a domino
effect on every aspect of the underground activities and therefore on the overall progress of the work.
The consequences of this are often slow to become evident. Initially the planned programmes
become inappropriate, the contractor moves into 'crisis management mode'.
However, gradually as the job progresses, the contractor's site personnel start to doubt the fault for
slow progress is theirs. They start to question the ground conditions - the ground seems different to
what they visualised at the time of tender, based on the geotechnical investigation information
provided by the owner at that time.
Usually the project is at least half way through before the contractor's delays and extra costs become
sufficiently worrisome to warrant a formal notification under the contract. By then, the contractor
realises that it is unlikely to meet the timing or budget allowed for the project, and may face
liquidated damages for delay.
Some examples of unexpected features from recent projects are:
Fissility in the roof rocks, which changes the stand up time, and therefore the cycle advance (say
from 3 m to less than 1 m) can have a marked impact on production rates.
The presence of swelling clay material when none was predicted, particularly with extra
groundwater inflows, can have very adverse effects on floor conditions, which can give significant
trafficability problems.
Rocks which are more brittle than expected can produce sharp jagged blocks in the spoil, which
tear conveyor belts.
Clearly in these instances, the problems are fundamental to the ground conditions, and the 28 day
time bar is inappropriate. Nor is the 28 day limitation workable in reality, as Arbitrators typically are
keen to find for a meritorious claim if possible.
In both the 1992 and draft AS2124 1996 Contract, the Contractor is barred from recovering the extra
cost incurred more than 28 days before the date on which the Contractor gave the initial notice.
Although the 1996 draft allows the Contractor's other costs for each compliance with the notification
clause (25.2), the 28 day general time bar on costs is inappropriate when as is very often the case, the
very existence of the Latent Condition is only apparent or demonstrable in hindsight. The authors
have made a submission to Standards Australia to this effect.
Although the Courts have been less than consistent in their approach to time obligations, cases such as
!Vormald Engineering Pty Ltd lJ Resources Conseruation Co International (1989) 8 ACLR pt. 1 page 28 and
Rheem Australia Limited u Federal Ai1ports Corporation (1990) 6 BCL 130 have illustrated a greater
willingness in recent times to regard time requirements as mandatory conditions precedent, and there
is thus some considerable scope for argument that a failure by the contractor to comply strictly with

747

Chapter

Seven

the notice requirements in the latent conditions clause operates as a bar to claims under that clause. As
a matter of practicality however, the subjective nature of the time bar in AS2124 1992 (in that it
arguably operates from when the contractor 'considers' the conditions to be materially different from
those anticipated) may render a confident enforcement of the clause difficult. Despite this, in a clear
case it may still operate to afford a substantive defence to a claim by the owner.

8.12

Claims Outside the Contract

The existence of a right to recovery under the contract for latent conditions will not, of necessity,
preclude the contractor from recourse to claims outside the contract, and this may be especially
important if a contractual claim is the subject of a time bar under the specific clause.

(a) Claims tmder the Trade Practices I Fair Trading Act


Sections 52 and 82 of the Trade Practices Act 197 4 (Cth) provide certain entitlements to recover
damages resulting from 'misleading and deceptive conduct'.
It should be remembered that neither the Tiade Practices Act provisions nor those in the State Fair
Trading Acts contain a requirement that a contract come into existence between the complainant and
the person making the misleading or deceptive statements. Consequently, any professional consultants
involved in the preparation of geotechnical information may face liability under the Tiade Practices Act
(and indeed under the Fair Tiading Acts) where the misleading conduct is causative of the damage
suffered: Bond Corporation Pty Ltd u Thiess Co11tractors Pty Ltd & A nor (1987) 71 ALR 615.
A decision of the Federal Court in Phillip & Anton Homes Pty Ltd u Commonwealth q( Australia [1988] 7
ACLR 39 has important implications for liability arising under the Tiade Practices Act (and the Fair
Tiading Acts) for false and misleading statements about the nature of sub-soil conditions.
In this case the developer successfully sued the Commonwealth Government in an action framed
under the Tiade Practices Act for a false and misleading statement in relation to sub-soil conditions on
blocks of land offered for sale by auction by the Commonwealth in the ACT. The developer, Phillip &
Anton Homes Pty Ltd, purchased a leasehold interest in land at public auction. Before the auction,
various documents were made available to prospective purchasers, one of which was a drawing
depicting two relatively small areas of fill on the land. This was expressed to be as a result of
'Engineering Works'. The documents contained a disclaimer in general terms, such as is commonly
found in tender documentation of the 'purchaser should rely on his own enquiries' type. When Phillip
& Anton Homes started excavation, it discovered that there was much more extensive fill on the land
than was indicated in the drawings and commenced action to recover the increased cost of excavation
and foundations in the sum of $15,705.00, alleging a false and misleading statement about the nature
of the sub-stratum.
Interestingly, there was no finding that Phillip & Anton Homes was guilty of imprudence in not
carrying out site investigations prior to purchase.
In the event, it was what was left unsaid by the drawings which was significant in the result. The
Court held an incomplete picture as to the true extent of adverse sub-stratum conditions may attract
liability under the Act as a misleading statement as much as supplying a full, inaccurate picture. The
statement in the drawing was false or misleading concerning the characteristics of the land, because it
implied that there was no fill on the land other than that depicted on the drawing.
The general disclaimer of liability was held to be ineffective to shift the risk of sub-stratum conditions
being other than that supplied in the information. What the Court in effect said, was that such
disclaimers are so common in commercial documents that a reader is not likely to take their presence
as a particular indication that information supplied is not thought to be reliable.

142

LAW OF THE UNDERGROUND

(b) Negligence

(i)

No warranty!:!_( accuracy

There are numerous cases which support the proposition that just because information is provided or
events included in the contract documents, it does not necessarily follow that the owner warrants its
accuracy. Notwithstanding this, liability can accrue to the owner as a result of negligent misstatements. However, for a contractor to be successful in such an action, it must show something more
than the fact that the information provided at the time of the tender was incorrect. The contractor
must also show:
a)

that some person owed the contractor a duty of care in relation to the compilation and
communication of the information relating to the site conditions;

b)

that that duty was breached, i.e., that reasonable care was not taken in the preparation or
presentation of the tender information relating to the site conditions;

c)

that the contractor has relied on the information supplied to him. (Indeed, failure to show this
was one of the reasons why the Contractor failed in its action in Dilli11gham Constructions Pty Ltd
v Downs [1972] NSWLR 49) and

d)

that as a result of that reliance the contractor suffered damage.

Proof of b) above may often be difficult in view of the fact that the information provided to the
renderers about site conditions will usually be prepared by engineering consultants after making the
necessary tests. In order to establish a cause of action, it must be shown that there was a lack of
reasonable care in the preparation of the tender information.

(ii) Who owes the duty?


The duty may be owed to the contractor by the owner, or the professionals involved in the
compilation of the information relating to the site conditions, or by both.
The test for determining whether a duty of care exists in any given situation was considered by the
High Court of Australia in L Shaddock & Associates Pty Ltd and Anor v Parramatta City Council (1981)
55 ALJR 713, where it tended to adopt the formulation of the rule suggested by Barwick CJ in The
Mutual Life & Citizens' Assurance Co Ltd v Evatt (1968) 122 CLR 556, (particularly at page 572). As
Mason J stated at 723:

'... VVhenever a person gives information or advice to another upon a serious matter in circumstances where the
speaker realises, or ought ro realize, that he is being trusted to give the best of his il!(ormation or advice as a basis
for action on the part of the other party and it is reasonable in the cirwmstances for the other party to act on that
i1iformation or advice, the speaker comes under a duty to exercise reasonable care in the provision of the
information or advice he chooses to give. In this formulation, there are several points to be noted. First, liability for
negligent mis-statemem is nor COI!fined to those who carry 011, or profess to carry on, a pr!:!_(ession, business or
ocwpation involving the possession of skill and competence.'
(Page 723 of Shaddock, citing pages 573-574 of l\1LC v Evatt)
On the above test, and in light of the general trend in recent Australian and English cases, there are
reasonable prospects of a duty of care being owed by the owner and/ or by the other professionals
involved in the preparation of the relevant information.
Of course, the decision about whether or not such a duty of care exists will involve a detailed
consideration of all the relevant facts and circumstances, including the pre-contractual relationship
between the owner and the contractor during the invitation to tender, post-tender, and pre-award
periods; whether the professionals involved in the preparation of the site information were aware of
the purpose for which the information was required; the nature of the project; the special knowledge
of the owner about such matters as ground conditions at the site; the respective resources and
opportunities of the Principal and the renderers to carry out site investigations, and the general
conduct of the various parties.

743

Chapter

Seven

(iii) Engagement of prc:fessionals


Where the owner has engaged a suitably qualified independent professional to prepare the site
information, the owner may seek to raise the defence that the third party who prepared the site
information was an 'independent contractor', and that the owner is not liable for the negligence of
that professional. Such an argument was in fact raised by the owner in ComlfJ01JWealth of Australia u
Citra Constructions Ltd (Supreme Court of Queensland, DM Campbell J, 26 April 1985, Aust. Const.
L.R., 1985 Vol 4 No 4, p 94). His Honour found it unnecessary to consider the defence, as he held
that the owner had 'put forward the site investigation report as its own and must therefore accept
liability for the erroneous information it contained'. It appears that the owner had included the site
investigation report in the tender documents, and had stated that the report had been prepared 'by or
on behalf of' the owner.
It should be emphasised that it appears that the professional who prepares the site information may be
held to owe a duty of care to the contractor in relation to that site information, notwithstanding that
the information was actually given or supplied to the contractor by the owner, rather than directly by
that professional to the contractor. In Bell Bros Pty Ltd u i\1etropolitan TVater Supply Sewerage & Drainage
Board (Supreme Court ofWestern Australia, Brinsden J, 11 April 1980, reported in part in BCLRS
Volume 3 at page 114), Brinsden] stated as follows:

'I haue also reached the uiew, though with less C01!fidence, that it is arguable that the duty of care rests on the giuer
of the i1!(ormation or aduice euen when the information or aduice is not giuen directly to the plaint![( (i.e., the
contractor/tenderer} as is the case here. No case was cited to me where a plaint![( had succeeded in these
circumstances but I am unable to _find any case which clearly denies reliif. .. . accountants, exercising a calling
requiring knowledge and skill [owe} a duty to use care not only to their clients but to third persons to whom they
[know} that [their} reports [will} be shown.'
Bell Bros concerned a dispute over allegedly misleading tender documents and negligent testing of
materials in relation to the construction of the Wungong Dam in Western Australia. The judgment of
Brinsden J contains useful observations in relation to that part of the action in which the plaintiff
alleged a breach of duty to ensure that the tender information provided to the plaintiff was complete
and accurate so as not to be misleading.
Brinsden J held that it vvas arguable that, where the advisor has a financial interest in the matter about
which the advice or information is given, it is sufficient to render the advisor liable in damages if the
advice or information has been negligently given or supplied. He also considered it arguable that a
duty of care exists where the information or advice is given in such a way that a wrong implication
may reasonably be drawn. However, he held that the law does not impose upon suppliers of
information, short of contract, a warranty of accuracy, and confirmed that the duty in negligence is
not absolute, but is only a duty to take reasonable care.

(iu) Breach of duty


Once a duty of care has been established it is necessary for the contractor to demonstrate that there
has been a breach of that duty.
For this purpose it is not enough for the contractor to merely demonstrate that the information was
not accurate. The relevant test is to determine whether, on a proper review of the facts, the consultant
did not exercise reasonable care when preparing the report. When making a determination in this
regard it is necessary to consider whether the work performed by the consultant meets the standard of
a consultant who is reasonably skilled in the field in which the consultant is practising.
(!;) Reliance and damage

For a contractor to successfully claim that it was misled by negligent information included in the
tender documents (or otherwise provided), it is necessary for it to demonstrate that it has relied on
that information. If it has not done so, no cause of action will arise, because any loss which has been
sustained would not be causally related to the representation which has been made. It will also be

744

LAW OF THE UNDERGROUND

necessary for the contractor to establish as a fact that it has suffered loss as a result of that reliance.

(vi) Disclaimer and exclusion clauses


Most construction contracts contain disclaimers of liability for the accuracy or sufficiency of the
information provided with the invitation to tender. However, such disclaimer clauses have not met
with great success in Australian courts.
One of the major cases on such disclaimer/exclusion clauses is the decision of the High Court of
Australia in i\1orrison - Knudsen International Co Inc & Anor v Commonwealth c:_( Australia (1972) 46
ALJR 265. The plaintiffs were contractors in connection with the construction of Melbourne's
Tullamarine airport. The contractors alleged that the site information given with the invitation to
tender was misleading, in that, contrary to what they had been informed, clay at the site contained
large quantities of' cobbles' which made the work more difficult.
It was held by the High Court that the various express disclaimer clauses did not necessarily deny the
plaintiffs a cause of action, as those clauses did not demonstrate that it might not be reasonable in all
the circumstances for the contractor to accept and act upon the information that the Commonwealth
had provided concerning the ground conditions which would be experienced.
A clause in identical terms to clause 12 ofNPWC was considered in Commonwealth if Australia v Citra
Constructions Ltd (Aust. Const. L.R., 1985 Vol. 4 No. 4, p94). In that case, the Supreme Court of
Queensland applied Morrison - Knudsen, and held that the clauses in question in that case did not
amount to a disclaimer of responsibility for negligent mis-statements. A similar view was taken by
Cole J in Ullzite Constructions (NT) Pty Ltd v Commonwealth if Australia (unreported; Supreme Court of
NSW; 30 May 1990) and indeed for NPWC 3 His Honour went so far to suggest that clause 16.2
imposes a contractual obligation not to be negligent, and the owner was held liable for its negligent
failure to draw the contractor's attention to a risk recognised by the owner but not by the contractor.
From the owner's point of view, a more effective exclusion clause about the information supplied can
be seen in Texas Tunnelling Co v City if Chattanooga, Tennessee (1964) 204 F. Supp. 821. The clause in
that case provided:

This information is furnished for the convenience if bidders and is not part if the contract. The information is not
guaranteed and any bids submitted must be based on the bidders' ow11 investigations and determinations.
Barwick C.J. of the High Court of Australia, in his judgment in Morrison - Ktwdsen, quoted the above
clause, and impliedly indicated that such a disclaimer may be effective - see (1972) 46 ALJR at page
267.

(vii) Possible

D~fences

Possible relevant defences to an action in negligence include:


that the owner owed no duty of care to the contractor;
that the contractor did not in fact rely or act upon the advice/information in question;
that there is an effective disclaimer or exclusion clause in place between the contractor and the
owner;
that, even if the information is false, inaccurate or misleading, the defendant was not negligent,
i.e., that the defendant did not fail to exercise reasonable care, and
that the contractor has contributed to the loss, e.g., by failing to take reasonable steps to himself
investigate the conditions of the site. (This is particularly so in view of the deeming provisions
under some of the standard form contracts, which require the contractor to acquaint itself fully
with the site conditions).

745

Chap'ter

Seven

9.

RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION

9.1

Property Lavv

(a) Depth Restriction Legislation


Legislation should be enacted limiting the depth to which the owner of the surface O\Vns the ground
below the surface to the practical depth necessary for ordinary use and enjoyment of the land.

(b) Horizontal Subdivision of Land


State land titles legislation should be updated to enhance the ability to subdivide land into strata. This
could be achieved by defining 'Land' in the relevant legislation as being expressly three dimensional,
with ownership expressed to include the vertical as well as the horizontal.

(c) Subdivision Guidelines


Local authorities need to develop guidelines to deal with the concept of horizontal subdivision to
prevent delay in local authority approval.

(d) Rifol'm of Right to Support of Buildings


The presently archaic law relating to right of support by adjoining land needs to be reformed to
ensure that buildings are legally protected against subsidence. It may be possible to achieve this by
abolishing the rule in Dalton v Angus as it is believed is being considered by the New South Wales
Law Reform Commission.

(e) Infrastructure Co-01'dination


Legislative reform should address the issue of shared use by utility companies of existing underground
infrastructure. As the number of utilities servicing our cities increases, a legislative scheme could coordinate and rationalise further developments in this regard.

(f) Mineral Procedures in Development Sites


Amendments such as those proposed for the JV!ining Act in New South Wales should be enacted to
permit declared minerals to be removed from sites, such as building sites where the principal activity
is not building, subject to payment of royalties to the State if required by the Minister. This proposal
would clarity the issue of ownership of mineral resources for underground space developers. In any
event, the procedure to be followed by a developer of underground space who discovers minerals
needs to be clarified to ensure that this discovery does not hinder the progress of the development.

(g) Subsidence Insurance


A statutory-based, but developer-funded, insurance scheme for underground development similar to
that used for mine subsidence in New South Wales could be considered. Such a system could be
employed to protect the interests of surrounding landowners where it is intended to develop
underground space or to develop above existing underground developments.

9.2

Planning and Environmental Lavv

(a) Express Zoning Powers for Underground


Consideration should be given to amending state town planning legislation so as to give express
powers to give different zoning to different stratum ofland.

(b) Specific Planning Considerations


State and local government legislation and planning instruments should be amended to give express
recognition to town planning matters \vhich are particularly relevant to underground space

746

LAW OF THE UNDERGROUND

developments. For instance, the list of town planning considerations set out in section 90 of the
Environmenral Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) should be examined and where relevant

amended so as to include town planning considerations of particular relevance to underground space


developments.

(c) Specific Planning Instruments


Consideration should be given by state and local government as to whether applications for
underground space development should be administered and assessed in any particular manner. In
New South Wales for instance, state Environmental Planning Policies have been introduced for a
number of different types of development such as cattle feedlots and manufactured home estates.
Because of the likelihood that special town planning considerations apply it may be desirable to
introduce specific planning instruments for underground space development.
(d) Higher Assessment Levels

Consideration should be given by state and local government to requiring a higher than normal level
of assessment to applications for underground space development. In New South Wales for instance,
town planning applications for some types of development require detailed environmental impact
statements to be prepared. These may be required for many types of underground space development.

9.3

Building Permits and Standard

(a) Building Approval LAw Riform

State building approval legislation should be amended to deal specifically with underground
construction.

(b) Building Code Riform


Although the new Performance Building Code of Australia is, in principle, well directed at
underground development, the requirement in the PBCA for natural light and ventilation for
example should be adapted to the circumstances of underground development.

9.4

Workplace Health and Safety Lavvs

(a) Harmonisation

States should be encouraged to continue to change their legislative frameworks to adopt the standards
declared by the National Taskforce on the Harmonisation of Existing Occupational Health and Safety
Standards.

(b) More Uniform Underground Safety LAws


The present amalgam of mine safety, construction safety and general workplace safety laws, regulations
and codes should be clarified and made uniform across Australia, subject to variations in response to
local geology. The NSW Code of Practice for Tunnels under Construction, which sets out what is
acceptable to the NSW WorkCover Authority, should be adopted in other states, with variations
according to local geology.

9.5

Underground Construction Contracts

(a) Risk Sharing

There is scope for review of some of the committee-generated standard form construction contracts
by introduction of genuine risk sharing in relation to latent conditions.

147

Chapter

Seven

(b) Notice Periods

Mandatory notification periods in standard form contracts for latent conditions should be reformed
to better reflect geotechnical realities.

(c) Appropriate Projessiot1al Advice


To ensure that the most appropriate form of project structure is used and that the documentation
clearly sets out the agreed risk allocation, all players in underground space development should seek
constructive pro-active legal advice at the earliest possible stage.

9.6

Conclusion

The harmonisation of all laws bearing on commercial actiVIties in Australia will enhance the
development and use of underground space just as much as it will benefit the economy as a vvhole.
Current trends in the fields ofbuilding and workplace health and safety controls are to be applauded.
However, much more could be done to achieve uniformity in land, land use, and environmental laws
across Australia.

1 0.

REFERENCES

Asche H.R. and Baxter D. A., 'Design and Ground Support Monitoring of the Brunswick Street Rail
Tunnels, Brisbane', Proceedings of the 8th Australian Tunnelling Conference, Sydney, 1993, p.233.
Baxter D.A., 'Construction of the Brunswick Street Rail Tunnels', Proceedings of the 8th Australian
Tunnelling Conference, Sydney, 1993, p.109.
Gunn J. C.M, 'Effective Partnering', IES Conferences, 1996.
McMahon M.D., 'Burwood Beach Tunnel Ocean Outfall in Review -A Case for the Geotechnical
Adviser in Successful Underground Construction', 7th Australian Tunnelling Conference, September
1990, p.303-308.
NSW Law Reform Commission, Discussion Paper 27;The Right to Support by Adjoining Land.
Smith R.J., Modern Contracting Practices forTrenchless Projects, 1995.

148

LAW OF THE UNDERGROUND

Appendix A
A Comparison of Building
Regulatory Legislation
By Lex Borthwick
Director Policy Development ABCB
The governmental responsibility for building regulatory matters rests solely with the States and
Territories. To fulfil this responsibility, each jurisdiction has put in place an over-arching Act of
Parliament and a set of secondary legislative instruments. The outcome is that there are a number of
differences between each building regulatory system, some of them quite major.
The Australian Building Codes Board has recently undertaken a comparison of some of the
legislation which forms the basis of the building regulatory system in force in each State and
Territory.

The Study's Aim


The study is intended to provide a tool to assist States
and Territories in their on-going, legislative review processes. Neither the study nor this article should
be seen as attempting to be critical of any jurisdiction or its legislation - it simply draws out some of
the differences which exist. It is not the place of the ABCB Directorate to imply that there is
necessarily any specific 'right' or 'best' way of doing things with regard to building regulatory systems,
nor that all States and Territories should necessarily have identical systems.

The Study's Content


The study primarily concentrates on some key factors relating to the process by which permission is
received to build, through to completion of construction. This includes some of the primary
definitions, the 'building approval' process, inspections, the 'occupancy permit' process and the
regulation modification and appeals process. The study does not at this stage look at private
certification, as that was the subject of another ABCB report, noted in an earlier Newsletter.

The Study's Coverage


It should be noted that the current draft of the study has not yet undergone an accuracy cheek from
two of the States (NSW and South Australia), nor does it take into account the non-legislative aspects
of the various systems or the many ways the systems are actually administered in the field.
Nonetheless, a number of issues can be raised and conclusions drawn. It is stressed here that the
conclusions and comments included in this article are those of the writer, and do not necessarily
reflect the views of the ABCB or any of its members or its other staff. It is also noted that at least
three States (WA, Tasmania and Queensland) are currently in the process of significant review and
reform of their building regulatory legislation.
What follows is only an extremely brief summary of what is an extensive document. Many of the
exceptions and variations to the norm are not included. To kick off the list, let's start at the beginning.
Where have the States and Territories located their building regulatory legislation?

Legislation
Four jurisdictions (ACT, Qld, Vie, NT) have located their building regulatory legislation in

749

Chapter

Seven

specific building regulatory Acts


Three jurisdictions (NSW, WA, Tas) have located it within the context of legislation covering the
Local Government sector
One jurisdiction (SA) has located its building regulatory legislation within the context of an
overarching Act covering the general range of development matters

'Approval'
What are the various 'approval' documents called? It is noted that inverted commas have been placed
around approval' purposefully, because some jurisdictions specifically try to avoid that terminology.
Four jurisdictions (ACT, Vie, Tas, NT) have a building permit (although the ACT has a two-Stage
process which also involves a plan approval)
Two jurisdictions (NSW, Qld) have a building approval
One jurisdiction (WA) has a building licence
One jurisdiction (SA) has a building rules consent

Applicant
Who may apply for an 'approval'?
Four jurisdictions (Qld, SA, WA, Tas) allow anyone to apply, although
- Qld requires land owner's consent
- Tas requires land owner's name and address
- WA provides that the actual document can only be issued to a builder
Two jurisdictions (Vie, NT) allow applications from either the building owner or land owner or
their agent (Vic also allows applications from land purchasers in limited cases)
One jurisdiction (NSW) only allows an application from the land owner or their agent
One jurisdiction (ACT) has a two-stage process, one of which is undertaken by the land owner
or specified type of agent, and one of which is under taken by the builder

'Approval' Authority
To whom do you direct your application?
In four jurisdictions (NSW, Qld, WA. Tas), to Local Government
In two jurisdictions (Vic, SA). to either Local Government or a private certifier
In one jurisdiction (NT), to a private certifier
In one jurisdiction (ACT), to the Territory Government

'Approval' Timeframe
How long does the 'approval' authority have to make a decision?
One jurisdiction (ACT) has no time limit One jurisdiction (NSW) provides for:
- 80 calendar days for all buildings if consultation is required
- 40 calendar days otherwise
One jurisdiction (Qld) provides for:
- 30 calendar days for Class 1 and 10
- 40 calendar days for other Classes
One jurisdiction (Vic) provides for:

750

LAW OF THE UNDERGROUND

- 18 business days for Class 1 and 10 if consultation is required


- 10 business days for Class 1 and 10 otherwise
- 30 business days for other Classes if consultation is required
- 15 business days for other Classes otherwise
One jurisdiction (SA, which I note is one of the jurisdictions which has not yet supplied an
accuracy check, so these figures may not be absolutely correct) provides for:
- 98 calendar days for Class 1 and 10 if concurrence is required from a prescribed body
- 70 calendar days for Class 1 and 10 if consultation is required with a prescribed body
- 28 calendar days for Class 1 and 10 otherwise
- 154 calendar days for other Classes if concurrence is required from a prescribed body
One jurisdiction (WA) provides for:
- 60 days for all buildings if the relevant heritage Act applies
- 35 days for all buildings otherwise
One jurisdiction (Tas) provides for:
- A minimum of 30 days for the smallest buildings
- A maximum of 60 days for the largest buildings
- No time limit if consultation is required
One jurisdiction (NT) provides for 20 days from the receipt of all information required for the
making of a decision

Additional Information
What kinds of timeframes apply to requests for additional information by the 'approval' authority?
Four jurisdictions (Qld, WA, Tas, NT), have no limit on the number of times such requests can be
made, and the application clock reverts to zero upon each request being made:
- Qld has no time limit within which such a request must be made (although there is a time
limit within which the application must be decided)
- three require that a request be made within 7 (Tas), 15 (WA) and 20 (NT) days of receipt of
the application or any previously requested information
Two jurisdictions (Vic, SA) provide that while there is no specific time limit within which further
information must be requested, the application clock stops at the day reached when the request is
made, and starts again at that point when the information is received - there is no additional time
within which to make a decision
One jurisdiction (NSW) requires that a request must be made within 21 days of receipt of the
application, the application clock stops at the day of the request and starts again at that point
when the additional information is received
One jurisdiction (ACT) has no time limit

Modifications/Variations
Most States and Territories have systems under which the building regulations can be modified or
varied under specific circumstances. There is, however, considerable disparity in the way these systems
are administered, although the comparative study does not go into this matter in extensive detail.
Nonetheless, in brief
four jurisdictions (Qld, Vic, Tas, NT) have tribunals or boards made up of building practitioners
(and in two cases. including other experts- Vic, NT) which have the capacity to modify/vary the
building regulations
one jurisdiction (SA) utilises a special Court to modify/vary building regulations

151

Chapter

Seven

one jurisdiction (NSW) has a process under which the application of the building regulations
may be varied by the relevant council, if the council obtains the relevant State Department's
agreement
one jurisdiction (ACT) which has a central government 'approval' authority provides that the
'approval' authority can approve matters not otherwise allowed in the BCA
one jurisdiction (WA) does not strictly speaking have a modification/variation process, although
the relevant State Minister may vary the regulations on appeal if an application is refused because
of non-compliance

Occupancy Permissions
All jurisdictions have 'occupancy permissions' of one sort or another. In brief
three jurisdictions (NSW, Qld. WA) require a 'certificate of classification', NSW and WA for
Classes other than 1 and 10, and Qld for Classes other than 1a and 10
three jurisdictions (ACT, Vic, NT) require an 'occupancy permission' for all Classes, Vie and NT
call it an 'occupancy permit', and ACT calls it a certificate of occupancy' . two further
jurisdictions (SA, Tas) require a ,certificate of occupancy', Tas for new Class Is and all other Classes
except 10, and SA for all Classes other than 1 a and 1 0

Occupancy Permission Timeframes


How long does the 'approval' authority have to make decision on a request for an 'occupancy
permission'?
Four jurisdictions (NSW, ACT, Qld, WA) appear to have no legislative timeframe on this matter
Two jurisdictions (Tas, NT) have a single set timeframe for all buildings required to have
'occupancy permissions', Tas of 14 days, and NT of 20 days
One jurisdiction (Vie) provides:
- 9 business days for Classes 1 and 1 0 if a reporting authority report is required
- 2 business days for Classes 1 and 10 otherwise
- 20 business days for other Classes if a reporting authority report is required
- 5 business days for other Classes othervv-ise
One Jurisdiction (SA) provides:
- 20 business days from receipt of all required information if a report is needed from a fire
authority
- 5 business days from receipt of all required information in all other cases

Appeals
All States and Territories have appeal processes of one sort or another. Again there is considerable
variation in the way these systems are administered, although the comparative study does not go into
this matter in extensive detail. Nonetheless, in brief
three jurisdictions (Vie, Tas, NT) provide for appeals to specialist Boards made up of building
practitioners (and in Vie and NT, including other experts)
two jurisdictions (NSW, SA) have special Courts which hear appeals regarding building regulatory
matters, among other matters
one jurisdiction (Qld) provides for appeals to a specialist tribunal made up of building
practitioners, from which there may be an appeal to another Committee which ordinarily takes
the role of advising the jurisdiction on building regulatory matters
one jurisdiction (ACT) provides for appeals on building regulatory matters to its Administrative
Appeals Tribunal

752

LAW OF THE UNDERGROUND

one jurisdiction (VIA) provides for appeals to the relevant State Minister

Matters For Appeal


There is some variation on matters which may be considered on appeal:
it appears that all jurisdictions bar one (SA) allow appeals on a failure of the 'approval' authority to
decide on an application for a 'building approval but 1 note that SA is one of the jurisdictions
which has not yet provided an accuracy cheek on the draft comparative study
all Jurisdictions provide for appeals on 'building approval' refusals (at least Tas, and possibly NSW
appear to also provide for an application to the 'approval' authority to review its decision)
all jurisdictions bar one (VIA) appear to provide for appeals on 'building approval' conditions
three jurisdictions (Vie, Tas, possibly ACT) appear to provide for appeals on failure to decide
'occupancy permission' matters
five jurisdictions (NSW,Vie, SA, Tas, possibly ACT) appear to provide for appeals on 'occupancy
permission' refusals
three jurisdictions (Vie, Qld, possibly ACT) appear to provide for appeals on 'occupancy
permission' conditions - both Vie and possibly ACT provide for appeals by applicants and/ or
reporting authorities, and Qld appears to provide for appeals only by the Commissioner of Fire
Service

753

Chapter

Seven

Appendix B
Fire Code Reforn1 - 1Nhat Is
FCRC'' and 1Nhat is it Doing
By Dr John Nutt
Chairman FCRC
Fire Code Reform Centre Limited (FCRC) is an independent, non-profit company specifically
established to facilitate technical advancement of Australia's building fire-safety regulations. It seeks the
necessary funds to implement and manage on behalf of government. industry and research
contributors a defined, fire related Research Program. the progressive outputs of which will facilitate
ABCB's specific commitment to reform, cost-effective codes, advanced technology and establishment
of an efficient regulatory environment.
Organisations (in alphabetic order) and the senior consultants involved in FCRC's Research Program
to date have been:BHP Research - Melbourne Laboratories

Dr Ian Thomas and Dr Ian Bennetts

CSIRO Division of Building Construction & Engineering.

Mr Stephen Grubits and Dr Caird Ramsay

Scientific Services Laboratory, Aust. Construction Services.

Mr Peter Johnson and Mr Graham Timms

University of Technology, Sydney

Assoc. Prof. Hamish MacLennan

Victoria University of Technology

Professor Vaughan Beck

The defined projects are briefly described below and follow two streams of endeavour:to advance the technological basis of the "deemed to satisfy" provisions in the BCA; and
to develop a separate fire engineered, performance based Design Code
A special feature is the synergetic relationship between the projects. Outputs from each will produce
direct benefits - whilst also enhancing other project outputs and achievement of the total Program.

Project 1 - Re-structure BCA Fire Provisions


For performance-based regulations, the fire safety subsystem requirements compnsmg the total
"prescription" for any particular "building identity" must be considered collectively. To achieve this
every fire-related clause and sub-clause of the BCA must be identified on a systematic basis.
Over 400 "building identities" are included in the BCA and output from this project (commenced in
November 1994 and nearly completed) will detail in tabular form the fire-safety requirements for
each of them. This provides the basis for other work in the FCRC Program and will permit future
addition of alternative prescriptions in each occupancy category.

Project 2 - Fire Performance of Materials


The validity of testing some materials in accordance with AS 1530, as currently required by the BCA,
has been questioned. Taking occupancy and likely fire loads into account. this 2 year project started in
April 1995, is evaluating the fire performance of the wall, ceiling and flooring materials typically used
in building construction. Outputs will identify appropriate material test procedures for inclusion in
future editions of the BCA and will contribute to the modelling activities of Project 4. The use of fire
retardants will also be investigated.

154

LAW OF THE UNDERGROUND

Project 3 - Fire resistance and Non-combustibility


Fire resistance levels, non-combustibility and compartmentation are the "corner stones" of the current
BCA prescriptions. This 3 year project, commenced in August 1995, will scientifically research what,
when and how fire resistance and non-combustibility need to be specified for different forms of
construction and types of occupancy. Additionally the necessary performance levels to be specified
will be established by extensive real fire testing.

Project 4 Fire Safety Design Solutions


This major 5 year project, commenced in April 1995, forms the "heart" of the fire engineered, risk
assessed approach to performance-based requirements. Complex risk assessment modelling, validated
by extensive real fire testing, will develop reliable procedures for performance measurement of fire
safety systems and sub-systems. Outputs, progressively developed for different occupancy categories.
will permit the risk levels of existing BCA prescriptions to be evaluated, so that alternative
prescriptions (and hence flexibility) can be introduced. The outputs will also provide the basis for
progressive development of the Fire Safety Design Code (Project 5B).

Project 5A - Fire Engineering Guidelines


Difficulties have been experienced by consultancies submitting alternative-fire-safety designs for
approval, as no coordinated understanding exists (amongst designers and regulators) of appropriate
procedures and the extent of verification necessary. Without resolution, these difficulties \Viii increase
when the Performance-based BCA is adopted into law.
Project SA, commenced in November 1994 and now completed, addresses this situation. FCRC's
"Fire Engineering Guidelines" will shortly be available to identifY appropriate procedures and
verification methodology for fire engineered, building fire-safety designs intended to achieve
equivalence with the BCA performance requirements. These Guidelines form a precursor to the full
Design Code to be developed under Project 5B.

Project 58 - Fire Safety Design Code


This project cannot start until sufficient progress has been achieved on Project 4. It will develop a
fully performance-based Fire Safety Design Code (FSDC) to provide an approved alternative means
of complying with the BCA's specified requirements. for use whenever the prescriptive design
approach is not applicable or desired. The project will develop progressively over its four year
completion period, a Code, Commentary, Manual and user-friendly computer program for each of
the different BCA occupancy categories.

Project 6 - Fire Safety Systems for Sprinklered Lovv-rise Shopping


Centres
This recently added project will investigate current fire-safety requirements for sprinklered low-rise
shopping centres, seeking appropriate opportunities for construction economies and cost-effective
fire-safety design solutions. Outputs will recommend BCA amendments for national application. The
project commenced in October 1995 and is of 15 months duration. It will both draw on - and
contribute to - other FCRC work, particularly Projects 3 and 4.

FCRC promises vvorld-leading outcomes


By Claude Eaton, Business JV!anager FCRC

Australia's Fire Code Reform Centre Limited (FCRC) is applying world-leading technology which
will deliver bottom-line results for property investors, the commercial sector generally and all
Australians. Moreover. the work is being recognised internationally, particularly the recent preparation

755

Chapter

Seven

of documented "Fire Engineering Guidelines" identifying appropriate procedures for performancebased building fire-safety design.
Prescriptive building regulations can prove inflexible and restrictive to change, but when these
appropriately match a building's needs, this traditional approach offers ready made design solutions for
which there will always be demand by designers and developers.
On other occasions. the disadvantages of prescriptive recreations are:subjectivity regarding the need for specified requirements and their contribution to fire-safety;
conservatism, possibly resulting in over-design of building fire protection;
significant extra cost, adding up to $10 million to major development costs; and
protracted time delays, whilst arguing the merits or otherwise of alternative solutions.
"Our role is to coordinate research and provide ABCB with technical recorrm1endations to facilitate
change from the traditional regulatory environment into requirements which are performance-based,
flexible and objective" says Dr John Nutt, FCRC's Chairman.
"In recent years, significant advancements have been made around the world which have led to
demand for fire safety strategies based on performance instead of prescriptions. Recent work done by
Australian scientists has been in the forefront of this trend and has materially influenced these
international developments."
"Now, in return for modest financial outlay, we have unique opportunity to apply these advancements
into Australian building regulations and, without prejudice to historic levels of protection, ensure very
significant cost savings for industry participants".
FCRC's project outputs will enable the ABCB to introduce flexibility into the "deemed to satisfy"
provisions of the BCA by providing multiple, cost-effective prescriptions for each type of occupancy.
The Fire Safety Design Code will encourage innovation and adoption of new technology.

Farevvell to Peter Wyrdeman


Peter is leaving the team at the ABCB Directorate in March to return to the ACT Public Service and
will work with ACT Building, Electrical and Plumbing Control.
Peter's involvement in building control includes a period as Building Controller for the ACT. He
joined AUBRCC in the early 1990s to -assist in the technical development of the building code and
subsequently continued on with the ABCB.
His colleagues at the ABCB wish him every success in his new role.

756

Commonwealth
Main Act

Victoria

Queensland

Western Australia

South Australia

Tasmania

Australian Capital
Territory

Northern Territory

Occupational Health and


Safety (Commonwealth
Employment) Act1991

Occupational Health and


Safety Act f983

Occupational Health and


Safety Act1985

Workplace Health and


Safety Act1995

Occupational Health,
Satety and Welfare Act
1984

Workplace Health and


Safety Act1995

Workplace Health and


Safety Act1995

Occupational Health and


Safety Act1989

Work Health Act1986

Comcare, on behalf of
Safety, Rehabilitation and
Compensation
Commission

Work Cover Authority

Department of Business
and Employment

Division of Workplace
Health and Safety in the
Department of
Employment, Vocational
Education,. Training and
Industrial Relations

Dept. of Occupational
Health. Safety and
Welfare assists the
Minister for Labour
Relations

WorkCover Corporation

Industry Safety and Mines


Division of Tasmanian
Development and

Work Health Authority

Resources

OHS Office, which reports


to the Deputy Chief
Minister and the Minister
for Industrial Relations

Persons to whom the duty employees, persons at or


is owed
near a workplace and
contractors {under certain
conditions)

all persons (including


those who are not
employees) at any
workplace

employees, and others


affected by workplace
undertakings

employees and other


persons(including those
who are not employees)

all persons

employees and other


persons (including those
who are not employees)

employees and third


parties at or near the
workplace

workers or any other


persons working at the
workplace, and the public
in relation to work
activities

Administration of Act

New South Wales

Persons on whom the employers, employees,


duty is placed
manufacturers, suppliers
and installers

employers,
manufacturers, suppliers,
importers, designers,
employees and the sellemployed

Private right of action for civil and criminal prodamages


ceedings as per general
legislation. Threshold limits
under SRC Act may app~
Provision
committees

employees including
independent contractors
and their employees

employers. employees.
self-employed persons,
occupiers of workplaces,
designers, manufacturers,
importers and suppliers

employers. self-employed, employers, occupiers,


persons in the control of
manufacturers, suppliers,
workplaces, principal
importers, designers,
contractors. designers
employees and the sellmanufacturers, importers employed
and suppliers, erectors
and installers, owners of
high risk plant

employees. self-employed, employers, principal


occupiers, building
contractors, occupiers,
designers and owners
owners of premises,
designers, importers,
suppliers, manufacturers,
installers and employees

employers, contractors,
sell-employed persons,
manufacturers, erectors
and installers and
employees in the private
sector

employers, sell-employed,
occupiers, manufacturers,
designers, importers,
suppliers and workers

threshold requirements on s.28 - expressly negates


claims for damages for
private action for breach
both economic and nonof general duties
economic loss

no limits

no reference - must look


at the intention of the
legislation

no limits

no limits

s.34 -expressly negates


private right of action

where more than 20


employees and a majority
requests it, or where
directed by OHSR Council

HSRs have the right to


request commiltees

workers are entitled to


elect one HSR (or more
than one, if agreed by
employer)

On request of HSRs if
there are more than 10
employees

on request of HSRs.
in workplaces with more
majority of employees or 5 than 20 employees where
of employees in
requested by the majority
workplaces with more
of employees
than 20 workers

not required but are


encompassed in the Act

in workplace with more


than 20 employees where
requested by the majority
of employees

Provision of health and may be selected for each


safety representatives designated work group
(HSRs)

no provision

employee may request the


establishment of
designated work groups
which may elect a HSR

if requested by employees, employee may request it


or directed by the
Authority for particular~
hazardous workplaces

each work group is


workplaces with more
entitled to a representative tllan 10 employees

workplaces with 10 or
more employees

no provision

Power of HSR to yes


accompany inspectors

na employees or union
officials may accompany
inspector if requested

After consultation with the


employer's representative
or representatives

no

only when requested

yes

yes

yes

no provision

Right of HSR to stop work

na

yes

no

only inspectors

yes

workers themselves may


refuse dangerous work

no

workers themselves may


refuse dangerous work

$150,000

$100,000

na

$50,000

$20,000
Up to 2 years' gaol

$5,000

lor

OHS workplaces with more


than 50 employees. or
where a HSR or union
official requests it

yes (in certain


circumstances)

--
$100,000 (GBE's only)

$250,000

$250,000

$120,000

$50,000

individuals

$5,000 (in GBE's only)

$25,000

$50,000
Up to 5 years gaol

$24,000
Up to 6 months gaol

$5,000

-----

no

na - not applicable
Source: Industry Commission

yes

provision in Act but no


regulations to give effect

penalties are set out in


division from:
Division 1 up to
$f00,000
Division 7 up to $1000
Up to 5 years gaol
These apply to both
corporations and
individuals

no

. - ~
0 0

U) ~ ,
U) Q) ..

_o

;;n

cU) mU).

. ~
e.;U)

provision in Act, but no


regulations to give effect

no

~.

a. ..

fnf

!-a
m::!.

.< n
~

-no

Q) Q) 0

---

yes

,.n n
n :r
m -a-a
lllc=: ID
,. -a Q) :s
n a- c.

fltQ)O

------

corporations

,. :1: ~.

--

Maximum Penalties

Onthe-spot fines

no limits

,. 0 ...

no (currently before
Parliament)

-aQ)

....

>
:;;
0

-,

-<
:c
m

c:

"'m

"'"'"'

c:

"'

Chapter

Seven

Appendix D
''NS1N Code of Practice for
Tunnels under Construction''
Table of Provisions
Foreword

[56,951]

General

[56,955]

Ventilation

[56,960]

Hazardous atmosphere

[56,965]

Dust control

[56,970]

Underground support systems

[56,975]

Places of refuge

[56,980]

Transportation of persons

[56,985]

Men and material hoists - rail type (winders)

[56,990]

Locomotives

[56,995]

10

Tracks - rails

[57 ,000]

11

Trains

[57 ,005]

12

Warning fights on trains and men and material hoists

[57,010]

13

Other vehicular traffic and machinery

[57,015]

14

Self rescue units for personal use

[57,020]

15

Personal protective equipment

[57,025]

16

Fire control

[57,030]

17

Dark tunnels

[57,035]

[56,951]

Forevvord

This code of practice provides practical guidance for safe tunnel construction. It was developed by
representatives from:
The WorkCover Authority of New South Wales. The Water Board, The Australian Workers Union,
The Australian Underground Construction and Tunnelling Association, The Construction Safety
Officers Association of New South Wales, and Dames and Moore Consulting Engineers.
Nothing in this code of practice is to be construed to waive or modifY any obligations imposed under
the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1983, and associated legislation.
The code sets out minimum requirements for tunnel construction work. Applications for variations or
exemptions should be submitted in writing to the Chief Inspector. All applications will be considered
with the emphasis being on health, safety and welfare.
General legislative provisions relevant to this code include:
reg 98 of the Construction Safety Act, 1912, which states (in part). -

758

LAW OF THE UNDERGROUND

- every drive and tunnel shall be securely protected and made safe for persons employed
therein.
s 15 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1983, which requires (in part):- Every employer shall:
- Ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees:
- Provide and maintain plant and systems of work that are safe and vvithout risk to health:
- Provide such information, training, instruction and supervision as may be necessary to
ensure the health and safety at work of their employees:
- Maintain any place of work under their control in a condition that is safe and without risk
to health:
s 16 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1983, which requires (in part):- Every employer shall ensure that persons not in his employment are not exposed to risks to
their health and safety arising from the conduct of his undertaking while they are at his
place of work.

[56,955]

1 General

1.1

At least one person must be on duty outside every tunnel extending 1OOm or more
underground whenever a crew is working underground on operations normal to tunnel
construction. Those persons outside duties shall not be such that they would be unable to
secure aid for those underground in the case of an emergency.

1.2

Solitary employment in tunnels, underground chambers, raises and shafts is prohibited


unless that person can be seen, heard or is in direct communication with or by a person on
the surface, or with a person who has direct communications to the surface.

1.3

Unnecessary accumulation of muck, spoil and/ or debris shall be avoided. Particular


attention shall be given to the maintaining of clear areas at shaft stations, rail areas. places of
access, egress and safety alcoves.

1.4

All air hoses shall have a safety chain and/ or pin connecting the two hoses at every
connection to prevent the hose ends from whipping in the event of accidental
disconnection.

1.5

Guniting and shotcreting hose ends shall be secured with safety chain and/ or pin and
pumpcrete lines shall be secured from accidental displacement.

NB When clearing a blockage the open end should be secured to prevent it from whipping. When
cleaning the lines a net or similar device should be placed over the open end to prevent the cleaning
medium (ega sponge) from discharging any distance.
1.6

Visitors shall not be allowed underground unless accompanied by a responsible person


delegated by management or the owner. Visitors shall wear all appropriate personal
protective equipment and where applicable be trained in its use prior to entering the
tunnel (eg in the use of self rescue units).

1.7

A checklist or other acceptable method shall be used on the surface to check every person
in and out of the tunnel and to identify each and every person underground.

1.8

No person is or shall be permitted to use or carry intoxicating liquor, narcotics or drugs in


a tunnel and no person affected by the aforementioned shall be allowed to enter any
tunnel.

NB This sub-section does not apply to persons taking prescribed medication that will not unduly
afl:ect their ability to work safely.

759

Chap1:er

[56,960]

Seven

2 Ventilation

2.1

A continuous supply of clean respirable air containing not less than 20% of O}.:ygen shall be
supplied to all underground work areas and to every place where persons have access.

2.2

The air supply shall be via an exhaust ventilation system.

2.3

The lineal velocity of the air flow shall be not less than 10m per minute and also be
sufficient to prevent dangerous or harmful accumulations of dust, vapours, gases or other
airborne contaminants.

NB In chamber and tunnel cross sections this velocity may vary providing the requirements of
Section 2.1 are complied with and the aforementioned accumulations do not occur.
2.4

The entire ventilation system shall be inspected at least once a week by a competent
person. Records shall be kept of the inspections.

2.5

Air flow velocity shall be tested and recorded once a day. The tests shall be carried out
within 10m of the face and any other locations necessary to ensure compliance with
subsections 2.1 and 2.3.

2.6

Any temporary fluming used shall be positioned as close as practicable to the face to ensure
compliance with subsections 2.1 and 2.3.

[56,965]

3 Hazardous Atmosphere

3.1

When the atmosphere in any part of a tunnel is known to contain or suspected of


containing a hazardous atmosphere, it shall be tested before any person is allowed to work
therein.

3.1.1

Tests for flammable or explosive gases or vapours shall be conducted:


(a) In the exhausted air.

(b) Not less than 10cm from the roof, floor, walls and face.
(c) In an open workings.
3.2

No person shall enter, work or remam m any tunnel where the exposure limits exceed
those laid down by Worksafe Australia.

NB This does not exclude persons carrying out remedial, testing, or rectification work providing that
their health and safety is positively ensured.
3.3

Tests shall be carried out as often as necessary in the prevailing conditions. Continuous
monitoring may be necessary and an inspector may direct more frequent testing than is
being carried out by the person in charge.

[56,970]

4 Dust Control

4.1

Maximum concentrations of dust are laid down in Regulation 95A of the Regulations
under the Construction Safety Act, 1912, as are the means for the testing of dust
concentrations.

4.2

Special areas of concern are at the face, conveyors and transfer stations.

[56,975]

5 Underground Support Systems

5.1

Where necessary, every working place underground shall be kept securely supported with
an appropriate support system specifically designed for that purpose.

5.1.1

Any method used to support a tunnel or tunnel section shall be designed by an


appropriately qualified and experienced person.

5.2

Details of tunnel support systems shall be kept on site for sighting by an inspector if
required.

5.3

Adequate protection shall be provided for workers exposed to the hazard of falling ground
while installing tunnel support systems.

160

LAW Of THE UNDERGROUND

5.4

Where necessary tunnel portals shall be adequately secured and protected by sloping,
benching, installing wire mesh and/or rock bolts or equivalent methods to ensure the
stability of the portal.

5.5

After each blast, tunnel supports within the zone of influence of fly rock or significant
vibration, shall be inspected and adjusted as necessary.

5.6

In the area up to a minimum of 50m from the face, the person carrying out the work shall
inspect the roof, face, walls and every ground support system at the beginning of each shift
or daily, whichever is the more frequent.

5.7

The entire tunnel roof and walls shall be inspected weekly by a competent person and
records shall be kept of these inspections. The inspection shall include tunnel support
systems. Any loose or dangerous ground shall be dislodged or adequately supported.

NB Persons not actively engaged in barring down must be kept well clear of this work area. The
erection of temporary barriers and/ or signs may be necessary.

[56,980]
6.1

6 Places of Refuge

In every tunnel while mechanical haulage is employed where


(a) a person is required to access or egress on foot or;

(b) a person is required to work and there is less than 1m of clearance between the
widest part of the mechanical haulage and the side of the tunnel, there shall be at
intervals of not more than 60m, places of refuge afiording at least 1m clearance from
the widest part of the mechanical haulage.
6.3

Every refuge shall be kept constantly clear of debris and materials as shall its access.

6.4

Every place of refuge shall be made readily visible by contrasting lights or other effective
means.

6.5

If the nature and/ or design of a tunnel makes it impracticable to provide refuges, alternative
methods acceptable to the Chief Inspector must be provided.

[56,985]

7 Transportation of Persons

7.1

Locomotives or men and material hoists used m the conveyance of persons must be
approved by the Chief Inspector.

7.2

No person shall or attempt to get on or off any tunnel car while it is in motion.

7.3

Man cars shall be so constructed so as to fully enclose its passengers. Safety chains or rails
shall be positioned before the vehicle moves off.

7.4

Other vehicles used for the transportation of persons must be suitable and safe for the
purpose for which they are intended.

7.5

Man cars shall not be shunted with persons on board.

7.6

Vehicles transporting persons shall not be shunted.

7. 7

Locomotives conveyancing persons shall only be used in the pull or tow mode.

[56,990]

8 Men & Material Hoists - Rail Type (Winders)

8.1

All operators shall be the holder of the appropriate Certificate of Competency issued by
the Chief Inspector. (When persons are on board).

8.2

Every hoist shall be approved by the Chief Inspector before being used.

8.3

The car to which the hoist rope is connected shall be fitted \Vith a braking system capable
of automatically stopping all the cars in the train in an emergency eg runaway and/ or
overspeed.

161

Chapter

Seven

8.4

A field test of the braking system in the runaway mode shall be carried out in the presence
of an inspector from the Authority before the hoist is put into service.

8.5

At the beginning of each shift or daily, whichever is more frequent, the operator shall
manually test the overspeed braking system. If it fails to hold the vehicle then the hoist shall
not be used.

8.6

An inspection of the hoist, and its analogous fittings shall be carried out by an appropriately
qualified person at least once a month. Records of the inspection shall be kept.

[56,995]
9.1

9 Locomotives

Only locomotives acceptable to the Chief Inspector shall be used.

9.2

Operators oflocomotives shall hold the appropriate Engine Drivers Certificate.

9.3

All locomotives shall be equipped with an audible bell, horn or whistle which shall be
maintained in working condition.

9.4

Locomotives must have some type of "deadman" control that shuts off the power
automatically when the operator leaves the post or compartment.

9.5

Locomotives shall have a safe means of access and egress. Footboards shall have a nonslip
surface and handholds shall be provided where necessary.

[57,000]
10

1 0 Tracks - Rails

Tunnel tracks (rails) shall be uniform and maintained in good condition commensurate
with the safe passage of trains at their normal operating speeds. They shall be kept clear and
free of obstructions.

[57,005]

11 Trains
line

11.1

Coupling shall not be shifted or lined up on moving cars. If couplings are not in
the car shall be stopped before they are shifted or aligned.

11.2

When railed equipment is left standing on a track a positive means shall be provided and
used to prevent accidental movement of such equipment eg wedging or chocking.

11.3

Appropriate safety chains shall be used in addition to the principal coupling, when the
grade exceeds 1%.

11.4

Trains shall not operate at excessive speeds. Speed limits shall be designated as job
conditions warrant.

11.5

Brakemen shall be equipped with whistles or handlights for signalling the movement of
trains when conditions warrant.

11.6

Materials carried on a train shall not project beyond the sides of the car and shall be secured
against accidental displacement.

11.7

Flying sv.ritches are prohibited.

[57,01 0]
12.1

12 Warning Lights on Trains & Men & Material Hoists

All trains and men and material hoists used in tunnels shall have a flashing or rotating
light(s) visible from the front and rear. The light(s) shall operate at all times when the
vehicle is in motion.

[57 ,015]

13 Other Vehicular Traffic and Machinery

13.1

No petrol driven engine shall be used under any circumstances in any tunnel or shaft.

13.2

Every engine used in a tunnel or shaft shall have fitted and maintained an exhaust emission
control unit capable of removing impurities from the engine's exhaust that may be
injurious to a persons health.

162

LAW OF THE UNDERGROUND

[57,020]

14 Self Rescue Units for Personal Use

Any person entering a tunnel where self rescue units are required shall have received instruction in its
use before entering the tunnel.
Every self rescue unit must be capable of supplying a minimum of 30 minutes life support when
properly used.
14.1

Self rescue units are required in the following circumstances:(a) where a person is required to work a distance of 300m or more from the portal or
shaft access; or

(b) where a person proceeding at normal walking speed would take 15 minutes or
longer to reach the portal or shaft access from their place of work; or
(c) when directed by an inspector.
14.2

When self rescue units are required there shall be sufficient units for each person in the
tunnel.

14.3

Self rescue units shall be kept in a place clear of water and contaminants, in known
designated areas. They shall be readily available and in close proximity to each person for
use m an emergency.

14.4

No person shall wilfully misuse or interfere with a self rescue unit.

[57,025]

15 Personal Protective Equipment

15.1

Approved safety helmets and footwear shall be worn by every person in a tunnel. All
helmets shall have a reflective strip or similar illumination on the front and back of the
helmet. The strips should be at least 80mm x 25mm (or have an equivalent area).

15.2

Approved eye protection shall be worn by any person who may be exposed to an eye
hazard.

15.3

The requirements of Regulation 157 of the Regulations under the Construction Safety Act
1912 regarding to hearing protection and noise limits must be met.

NB In this section approved means approved by the applicable Australian Standard.

[57,030]
16.1

1 6 Fire Control

An adequate number of appropriately rated fire extinguishers or equivalent protection shall


be provided for use in areas where in the event of a fire there is a possibility of that fire
spreading. Examples of areas where an extinguisher would be required are:(a) Transformers
(b) Flammable storages
(c) Machinery areas
(d) Head and tail pulleys of conveyor belts and at 100m intervals
(e) Crib huts
(f) Work shops

16.2

All persons working underground are to be instructed in the correct usage of fire
extinguishers and fire control underground.

16.3

Every mobile vehicle used underground shall carry an appropriately rated fire extinguisher
at the driving station.

16.4

Standby water hoses or adequate fire extinguishers shall be on hand and in the immediate
vicinity whenever any burning or welding is carried out near combustible materials

16.5

An inspector may direct more extinguishers to be provided.

763

Chapter

Seven

16.6

Every fire extinguisher shall be periodically tested in accordance with the manufacturers
requirements. A tag or label displaying the date of the last test shall be permanently fixed to
the extinguisher.

16.7

A flash back arrester unit shall be fitted to the regulator of all 0:\.)'gen/ acetylene units used
in a tunnel.

[57,035]

17 Dark Tunnels

Whenever any form of mechanical vehicle is used in a dark tunnel, no pedestrian access is permitted
nor shall persons on foot work within a dark tunnel unless the following precautions are taken:17.1

At the driving station of every vehicle that travels or may be required to transit in a dark
tunnel there shall be prominently displayed a notice advising the number and location of all
persons on foot in the dark section.

17.2

Sufficient lighting shall be provided and placed to provide adequate warning to the drivers
of approaching vehicles of the locations of the persons on foot.

17.3

On approaching any area where persons on foot are, the driver of a vehicle shall reduce
speed and regularly sound its horn (or bell etc) until such times as the persons are sighted.

17.4

Where there is less than 2.0m clearance between a vehicle (including its carriages) and the
side of the tunnel, the vehicle shall stop and the persons on foot shall walk past the
stationary vehicle. Where the clearance is greater than 2m the vehicle may proceed slowly
and with care.

164

U N D E R G R 0 U N D

S P A C E

I N

T H E

U R BAN

DEVEL,OPMEN T

E N V I R 0 N M E N T

'AND

USE

.
.

..
~.

.,

TECHNICAL PAPERS

'
,I'

'.

.,

..

.,
,

Cha.p
' ter Eight :

GeotechnicalAspects
'

.
I.

"

Authors
P et,e r Ope n s h a w
M .a,rga r e t M c M a h o n
. Bill B a mfo rd
T e d Nye

'.

..

'

I'

,. .

'

'

GEOTECHNICAL ASPECTS

Chapter Eight
Geotechnical Aspects
SUMMARY
This chapter covers the basics of how Nature's variability produces ground conditions which always impact, but at
times constrain, an underground construction project, and why geotechnical investigations should always be an
integral part if every stage of a project.
How this risk is evaluated itz the present economic scene is also reviewed. Readers should note the environmental
impacts relevant to geotechnical conditions are not presented here as they are more relevam to Chapter 4. 'Enviromne11tal Implications q_[Underground Space Developme11t and Use'.

1.

BACKGROUND

It is a fundamental principle that all engineering works have some level of risk applicable to them, if
the project is to be achieved in an efficient cost-effective framework.
Ground conditions contribute to these risks because of the uncertainties in trying to predict Nature.
However, worldwide, tunnelling and other civil underground works have a much higher incidence of
problems during construction, because of unexpected subsurface conditions, than surface civil works
or mining activities in general. Methods and strategies for successful management of these risks are
not readily understood by planners, owners or financiers, who can often contribute to the problem by
unrealistic expectations and design concepts, and by inappropriate methods of financing and risk
allocation.
If the financial risks are to be minimised and the investment in underground projects optimised for
the benefit of the community, a greater appreciation of the realities of nature must be incorporated
into underground construction projects.
Problems caused by adverse ground condition can relate to the local soil or rock conditions, or to the
groundwater regime of the district, or to more regional factors such as in-situ stresses, either ancient
or relating to present day global plate tectonics. This is because there is no such thing as certainty
when dealing with and trying to predict and design for Nature. The traditional deterministic approach
of engineering has frequently been shown to be inappropriate for geotechnical situations. Even so, the
concept of probability has only become recognised as a valid and more appropriate approach to soil
and rock engineering over the last two decades (References 1 and 2). Likewise the concept of the
'Working Geotechnical Model' being developed by site investigation techniques and progressively
upgraded during the construction is now recommended as the preferred approach by the Australian
Geomechanics Society. The 'Working Geotechnical Model' comprises the geotechnical information
provided and the results of compilations and analyses undertaken.

Working Geotechnical Model


The results of the field investigations to explore the subsurface soil, rock, groundwater
and gas conditions are compiled and reduced, and then analysed using empirical and
theoretical methods to produce the most likely interpretation which is consistent with all,
(or at least most) of the data available at that point of time. This preliminary
interpretation then becomes the working conceptual model referred to as the Working
Geotechnical Model. It represents the best available concept at that time, to use as a basis
for project planning and design.

765

Chapter

Eight

However, it should be recognised there is no certainty that it will prove to be correct,


particularly on the level of detail needed for construction. Because it is only a temporary
concept for working purposes, prepared at a given point of time and based on a given
amount of preliminary data, it will need to be updated throughout the project as more
data becomes available, so as to provide an increasingly more accurate interpretation for
design and construction.
The need for this methodology in geotechnical work rests in the fact that design and
construction decisions based only on the initial preliminary geotechnical concepts and
without these later refinements, may prove to be inappropriate for the real ground
conditions. Very often geotechnical data which may appear to be inconsistent with the
early 'Working Geotechnical Model', can become more understandable as the Model is
refined, so that their consequences to the project can be evaluated.
Not all the geological characteristics which are relevant to a project's success can be
expressed in quantified terms, but wherever possible the data reduction is aimed at
producing the most accurate 3-dimensional picture of what lies beneath the ground
surface. This is usually done using plans and sections of various sorts, often supplemented
with lists, tables and graphs, all tied together by written explanatory text, which
comprises a report. Even where computers are used extensively for the analyses,
representative plans and sections are usually presented in the report. As a project
progresses, those drawings initially produced depicting the 'Working Geotechnical Model'
may require modifications and revisions as part of the upgrading process.
The amount of detail comprising the initial model, (and therefore the reliability of it)
and the degree of upgrading, will depend on the amount and type of data collected,
which are themselves determined by the size and budget for the project.
Despite the development of the 'Working Geotechnical Model' the concepts of soil and rock
mechanics, engineering geology and groundwater and the way they need to be investigated and
analysed for the underground situation, are far from well understood, even amongst those involved in
designing underground structures. Nor are the principles of engineering geology as applied to the
underground domain always fully appreciated by geotechnical engineers who mainly work on surface
projects such as building foundations. In a surface foundation, the rockmass is in a more confined
situation than it is in the roof of an underground excavation. Where the rockmass is less confined the
defects have a greater influence on rock failure behaviour.
Terminology confuses the issues as to who are the professionals best trained to carry out this rype of
investigation and geotechnical design work. It should be appreciated that within the geotechnical
communiry, the term 'geotechnical engineer' is defined in most recent publications to include the
various disciplines practiced by engineering geologists, geological engineers, rock mechanics
engineers and soil engineers. However, in the Australian urban environment, underground
construction has primarily been in some type of rock, albeit weak rock, displaying some soil
properties. The most noteworthy current exception to this is the new Southern Railway in Sydney.
Most underground construction requires mainly the specialist skills of engineering geology and rock
mechanics. For those parts of the construction through the overburden layers overlying the bedrock
and in the weathered zones within the bedrock itself, a knowledge of soil mechanics is certainly
necessary.

2.

INFLUENCE OF GEOTECHNICAL ISSUES


AT PLANNING LEVEL

Planning is required to optimise the use of a scarce resource. Although underground space may not
appear to be scarce, that part of it that can be used cost-effectively most certainly is. Geotechnical
conditions, particularly if they represent constraints, are among the main factors influencing

166

GEOTECHNICAL ASPECTS

construction costs and as such should rightly have a place in the planning process.
For the major Australian cities, sufficient information on subsurface conditions already exists to allow
outline planning for the use of underground space to be carried out. However, for a feasibility stage
cost estimate, a geotechnical study is required, even in our largest cities where there is already a body
of local knowledge. Otherwise, significant geotechnical aspects, which introduce potentially costly
uncertainties to the project budget, can easily be overlooked.
In European cities, and particularly in old coal mining areas in Australia such as Newcastle,
underground space excavation was being used before there were effective planning regulations or
accurate recording of existing openings. It is therefore not uncommon for unknown excavations or
mine workings from previous times to be encountered unexpectedly. Quoted cases include a ground
anchor for an underground carpark which penetrated an adjacent railway tunnel, and an excavator
working 5 levels below ground level which vanished into a deeper, pre-existing void. IdentifiCation of
these previous civil or mining works is part of the initial geotechnical feasibility study. Underground
space can rapidly become crowded in what appears to be an almost infinite dimension. Even if perfect
records exist, it would not take many randomly sited carparks or other localised underground
developments to greatly inconvenience an engineer having the task of planning a railway tunnel
alignment, with all the related problems of radius of curvature and gradient. His task would be all the
more difficult if unfavourable ground conditions in the vicinity placed further restrictions on the
alignment.
Many of the risks are significantly lessened when a geotechnical review is undertaken at the
Conceptual or pre{easibility stage. Natural caverns or tunnels are located;. the geology has determined
mining activities, and the mine location as a geotechnical constraint. The geotechnical investigation at
this stage would most likely be a desk top study. However, preliminary field investigations may be
necessary to assist in identifying uncertainties.
By comparison with the comprehensive site investigations carried out by the engineering geologists
of the Snowy Mountains Authority in the 1950s and 60s, when this hydroelectric scheme was
considered to be one of the engineering wonders of its time, much less attention is sometimes given
nowadays to geotechnical investigations for civil projects. Indeed it is of concern to some in the
geotechnical industry that less attention is given to the development of geotechnical risk management
strategies now than was given even only a few decades ago.
When best practice is applied to traditional contracts, input on geographical aspects should be made
from the very beginning of conceptual planning, throughout the design process of feasibility and
detailed design stages including tendering and contracting, and then throughout the construction
period of work right through to the end of the project. Geotechnical evaluations may even be
required later during the operational life of the structure, e.g. the Bondi Pumping Station and
Bennelong Carpark roof monitoring programmes.
Experience is showing that in the newer style of design and construct, or Build/Own/Operate
contracts, these processes can be modified and condensed. However, the basic requirements for
continuous geotechnical input into the project team from start to finish still applies, and in fact can be
more so on these arrangements, and is much to the benefit of the project. The lack of geotechnical
considerations undoubtedly often causes more costs in the long run. This is because the 'fast track'
approach undertaken for this style of contract has a greater potential to overlook critical geotechnical
issues which can cause unexpected problems, and financial overruns. These projects lack the scientific
and emerging cross-checking procedures present in traditional contracting procedures.
The planning of underground space where it has regard to geotechnical conditions, allows a corridor
to be reserved both in plan and elevation for future projects such as a future transport link, so all make
the best use of suitable ground conditions. The planning consequences of such a corridor would
clearly include a prohibition to encroach upon it, but could also lead to a requirement to take
superstructure loads within a certain distance of the corridor down to below soffit level.

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Where ground suitable for economic tunnelling is of limited depth, an overall planning consideration
should be to avoid, if possible, using the whole depth for a tunnel running in one direction, thus
forming a barrier for an economical tunnel needing to run crossways to it sometime in the future.
This may influence a decision on whether to place two carriageways on top of one another or side by
side.
Planning also needs to address the interaction between a given development and future potential
developments. Proximity may be a problem in certain ground conditions but not others. The
cumulative effect of several projects may also raise issues that are of no consequence if each project is
considered individually. For example, there is interaction between any underground openings which
come within three to four diameters of each other, but reinforcement of the rock pillar between two
openings can enable them to be closer, without unacceptable ground responses. A recent example is in
Sydney where there is only about 1 to 2 m of sound rock cover between the roofs of the twin
Harbour tunnels near the Opera House and the two access tunnels for the Bennelong Underground
Carpark. There is no optimum distance as the proximity of openings is highly site-specific and
dependent on the local geotechnical conditions.
Just as naturally occurring features at surface level present opportunities for planners, so they do in the
underground. Natural caves have been used for habitation, and more imaginatively for wine storage,
etc, since time immemorial. A rock escarpment may provide an opportunity to produce quality
aggregate for concrete, with the resulting void finding use for cold storage, a recording studio or a
cathedral.

3.

GEOTECHNICAL INFORMATION AT PROJECT LEVEL

3.1

Introduction

Conditions beneath the surface at a given site have a major influence on the feasibility and viability of
underground development. Even minor uses of underground space require an appropriate level of
geotechnical information. The extent of the information required depends upon a number of factors
including project size and purpose, variability of conditions across the site and the environmental and
financial consequences of failure of the structure.
As the project progresses from concept to detailed design, the level of geotechnical information
should increase. The 'field truth' and reliability of the 'Working Geotechnical Model' must progress
from existing knowledge of regional conditions in the general area to project-specific, detailed
refinement of the relevant data and interpretation comprising the Model. This is done using
investigative 'tools' such as subsurface drilling and field testing for rockmass characteristics, material
properties and groundwater assessment; field and laboratory testing of soil, rock and groundwater
samples; engineering geological, groundwater and rock mechanics analyses and evaluations.
Geophysical methods can also be useful. Experience, judgement and intuition must be applied to the
results to make realistic sense of them. Greater weight should be given to those results which display
greater field truth. However, apparently 'inconsistent' data should not be disregarded as it often
represents the rarer situation which can later become a construction problem if ignored or if
discounted in some way. The recognition of what is or is not realistic is a fundamental aspect of good
geotechnical work.
The traditional reticence to utilise underground space, despite its benefits to improving the surface
environment, is undoubtedly partly due to the financial risk inherent in construction in an
environment that cannot be seen and surveyed in advance. The environmental impacts of
underground versus surface work often cannot be put into the financial equations. Whilst this risk
cannot be eliminated, historically much of the difficulty has arisen through inadequate or
inappropriate gathering of subsurface information and inexperienced interpretation of the
information to hand. To avoid these pitfalls it is necessary to address the geotechnical issues at the

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earliest stage of the project, and follow through with the chosen geotechnical risk management
strategies, in a consistent and responsive way, as new facts become available.

3.2

Relationship Betvveen the Project and the Site

The manner in which the treatment of geotechnical issues is integrated into the overall planning of
the project will depend upon the relationship between the project and the site. By way of illustration,
Sydney projects such as the Opera House Carpark or the proposed Underground Station at the
International Terminal at Kingsford Smith needed to be very close to the Opera House and
International Terminal respectively. In such instances geotechnical considerations have limited
influence on the choice of site. The exercise then becomes one of determining how best to proceed
on a site despite whatever constraints the geotechnical conditions might impose. Conversely, an
otherwise desirable site for underground gas storage could be precluded from consideration on
geotechnical grounds alone. In the context of an integrated plan for large scale underground urban
development, subsurface conditions may favour one side of a city over the other. Where flexibility of
location is available, reliance is placed on the sources of existing information to select sites worthy of
closer scrutiny.
An appreciation of how highly geotechnical matters rank at the site selection stage can only be

Construction of International Terminal Station

attained after careful consideration of any imperatives or preferences relating to the project and some
preliminary assessment of the sensitivity of the viability of the project to differing ground conditions.

3.3

Planning of Geotechnical Data Acquisition and Assessment

By the time the site has been selected there is usually some generalised knowledge of ground
conditions, but it is highly unlikely to be sufficient to carry the project to completion. A wide array of
drilling, testing, sampling techniques and laboratory procedures are available to obtain data necessary
to produce the 'Working Geotechnical Model' for project implementation. All of these cost money
but not all are cost effective or appropriate in a particular circumstance. All have different levels of
reliability and accuracy. For the expenditure on geotechnics to be used to best advantage, certain
characteristics of the project must be known.

The Site Investigation Brief


At each stage of pre-feasibility, feasibility, detailed design, and construction, geotechnical investigations
should cover the owners' and designers' needs developed through consultation. Well before time of
tender the possible impacts of the ground conditions on the actual excavation methodologies likely to
be considered as options by contractors, need to be addressed. This is because designers are not always
as aware of the practical and financial limitations of particular underground excavation equipment, as
is an experienced contractor. For example site investigation for a proposed underground mine, may
only investigate the primary purpose and may not recognise the special needs of the contractor who

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is to excavate the access declines in the surrounding rock, and who is bound by contractual, financial,
and equipment utilisation constraints.
Similarly, an assumption on the part of a designer, that a particular shape of opening in a rockmass is
needed, may cause enormous problems for the contractor trying to achieve that shape, if working
against the natural tendency of the rockmass to break in a different direction. There may be no real
imperative to have that shape of opening anyway. It is a common complaint by contractors that design
engineers do not recognise the difficulties of doing a task underground compared to a surface project.
Designers usually seek in the site investigation brief aspects relating to roof, wall, and floor long term
stabiliry and durabiliry, bearing capaciry and parameters for lining design. Parameters for abrasivity, clay
content and composition, and gas or dust potential are critical aspects for a contractor in the brief to
the geotechnical advisers. For example, a contractor needs to know the clay content of the rock to be
excavated, so as to assess the floor conditions likely to be encountered, which may not be data
required by the designers for the actual design of the faciliry.
The different perspective and technical needs of the various parties involved may even be in conflict.
In an extreme situation, the designers may ignore the potentially negative impacts of likely ground
conditions on the contractor, even though this may be sufficient to 'kill' the project from the owners'
point of view. As owners take the financial risk, they should have the benefit of all necessary
information upon which to evaluate the risk before deciding to proceed. Perhaps this is best achieved
by the geotechnical advisers being commissioned directly by the owners.
It would seem, site investigation should be sufficiently thorough to resolve uncertainties rather than
have them raised in litigation and claims for latent conditions.

Geotechnical Investigation Philosophies


Those who work closely with rock core logging realise just how differently a core log can be
produced from the same core by different persons. The interpretation will depend on the experience
of the person logging, that person's perception of the requirements of the project, the employers'
philosophy of the need for standardisation of geotechnical usage within their company, and the
attitudes and methods of expressing geological variability. This is because nowadays in cost-driven
projects, core logging is frequently done by junior personnel. Experience from the claims area has
demonstrated that this lack of experience on the part of the field worker can lead to later problems.
There is no doubt that low cost site investigations can attract higher risks to the project.
It must be emphasised that geotechnical conditions which can be 'good' from the point of view of
roof stability can represent 'adverse' conditions for excavation equipment. A typical example is strong,
unjointed massive sandstone - excellent as a roof rock but very difficult to cut with a roadheader.
Consequently, core needs to be logged from both points of view, to be useful to all parties involved.

Geotechnical Terminologies
The geotechnical investigation report should contain a section defining all the terms used and
explaining the particular terminology chosen. This enables the reader to understand the borehole core
logs, geological plans and sections etc, and fully comprehend the interpretations and reasons for the
recommendations provided in the report. Backup documentation for field work and laboratory
testing and the methods used should be appended to the report.
Numerous geological 'codes' and 'standards' are available throughout the world, to suit the specifics of
local geotechnical conditions. Local codes usually have been prepared by local professional bodies. In
Australia, such bodies include the Australian Geomechanics Society, Geological Society Engineering
Specialists Group and Geological Society of Australia Standing Committee on Coalfields Geology.
Standards Australia has also produced a 1993 Version of AS 1726 Geotechnical Site Investigations
(Reference 3).
Because of this local derivation, some terms can have special usage locally which may not be the usual

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worldwide usage e.g. 'talus' in the Sydney area is used with specific meaning, not as defined in
geological dictionaries.
The uniqueness of the engineering properties of Sydney rocks, particularly weathering, led in 197 5 to
a paper 'Engineering Classification of Sedimentary Rocks in the Sydney Area' (Reference 4) being
prepared by a subcommittee of the Sydney Group of the Australian Geomechanics Society. This paper
tends to have wider acceptance for local projects than the AS 1726-1993 because of its greater
applicability to local conditions. Likewise the 'Terminology for Classification and Description of
Coalfield Rocks' (Reference 5), prepared by the Standing Committee on Coalfield Geology of NSW,
is more detailed and more specific to the special characteristics of coal strata in the Sydney
Sedimentary Basin, than AS 1726-1993, although there is much agreement between the two in broad
terms.
In default of terminology developed locally for a particular area, or for a specific rock domain (e.g.
coal measures strata of Sydney Basin), AS 1726-1993 is generally adequate provided the geotechnical
limitations due to its generalisations are recognised. These limitations result from the variability of
nature, which means a single 'standard' terminology can embrace a wide range of variance. Good
geotechnical work, incorporating experience, judgement and intuition, the 'geological art' can
overcome this concern with geological assessment achieved by pattern recognition and extrapolation
from one geological setting to another.
However, the benefit of standardisation and quantification of the more commonly used descriptive
terms is to make their usage more consistent over a wider geographic area. This allows comparison of
data from sites throughout the world to become more reliable and valid, with the overall advancement
of the state of world wide knowledge.

3.4

Geotechnical Design Concepts

Dimensions of Project
The 'Working Geotechnical Model' needs to provide a picture of conditions over the area and depth
which will be affected by the construction of the project. This includes zones outside the actual
footprint of the project, because of the unavoidable impact which construction has on the stability
and groundwater regime of the regional surroundings. It is also necessary for the variability of the
subsurface conditions to be reliably assessed, from the wider geological picture.

Magnitude and Distribution of Loads


High, concentrated loads require attention to be given to locating a high strength bearing stratum.
Conversely, low distributed loads require information on the engineering properties of material to
which the loads could be transmitted. The overall load imposed by an underground structure will
influence the depth to which significant changes of the stresses in the ground will be felt.
However, of more relevance to the performance of the rockmass is the re-distribution of the existing
in-situ stresses within a rockmass, imposed by the actual opening as it is excavated. This re-distribution
influences the whole of the surrounding rockmass, and the surfaces of the opening, contributing to
the need for support. The influence zone is dependent on the dimensions of the tunnel. Any extra
loads imposed by an engineered structure built underground have to be superimposed onto this
changing stress regime, to provide a realistic prediction of rockmass behaviour.

Sensitivity to Total and Differential Movement


Even though the ground immediately below or adjacent to the structure may be capable of
withstanding the load imposed upon it by the structure, underground construction may cause
movements of a magnitude incompatible with the stiffness of the structure itself, thus possibly causing
structural damage. They may also be incompatible with the function of the structure or cause distress

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at interfaces with incoming services. lf total or differential movements are considered to be an issue of
importance then the site investigation needs to be more comprehensive to provide the necessary data
to carry out the analyses required for a proper assessment.

Design Life of the Structure


Design life relates principally to the durability of the materials used in the construction in the specific
environment of the project. A long design life such as expected from a major infrastructure project
requires a greater knowledge of the aggressiveness of soil and groundwater conditions than would be
the case for a lesser life. When the rock itself is the actual wall of the structure, then corrosion of the
bolts or cables being used for support becomes a critical consideration. Also the durability of the rock
surface becomes an issue, as fretting surfaces which are traceable or chemically reactive can
progressively fret and deteriorate with time.

Existing Adjacent Structures


The condition and sensitivity of adjacent structures to possible deflection can have a dramatic effect
on the choice of construction techniques and even on the choice of site. Where applicable this
information should be provided as part of the geotechnical report.
How an existing structure will react to the lowering of the groundwater level or to the partial
removal of support is as dependent on subsurface conditions as it is on the nature and condition of
the structure itself. Possibly means of protecting or underpinning the existing structure require
information in the geotechnical report. Parameters for excavation processes are also required to
forewarn the constructor of particular rock zones which might cause excessive vibrations from his
excavating equipment, and exceed the allowable limits imposed by the relevant environmental
protection authorities.

Special Hazards
The extent and detail of site investigation is influenced by the severity of the potential consequences
of some unforseen and troublesome subsurface condition. This is particularly so in areas prone to
earthquakes, or where the site may be subject to flooding. The scope of work and the programme for
site investigation must be devised by the geotechnical advisers with a knowledge of what special
engineering or environmental hazards may be associated with the project.

3.5

Objectives of Geotechnical Reports for Underground


Projects

Throughout a project, numerous geotechnical reports need to be prepared for various stages and
different requirements. Geotechnical Reports present the information collected and the results of the
compilations and analyses, i.e. the 'Working Geotechnical Model'. They should also make predictions
based on likely ground conditions and provide recommendations on geotechnical parameters for
design and provide advice on construction matters. Whether the totality of the report is produced in
one or several phases, or in pairs as a 'factual' and 'interpretive' report, the information it contains
needs to be sufficient to resolve the issues discussed below.

Establish and Confirm the Feasibility or Viability of the Project


The feasibility or viability of the project will usually have been assessed on the basis of assumed
construction costs which, in turn, will have been based on assumed ground conditions. Construction
costs can be quite sensitive to fairly minor changes in ground conditions and projects are routinely
altered as a result of detailed information. These minor differences can have major adverse
consequences to the construction progress if it means the equipment chosen is no longer suitable for

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achieving the production rates expected. A large number of construction claims arise where the actual
ground conditions, though not dramatically different on a broad scale to those expected, are different
on a microscale.

Provide Parameters for Input Into Design


Generally the type of parameters sought are the engineering properties of the soil or rock substance,
the quality of the rockmass, groundwater levels and, if appropriate, the likely behaviour of the ground
in earthquake conditions. There is also a need to provide parameters for input into operations and
maintenance, e.g. gas detection procedures in an operating unlined tunnel, if there are stratal gases
anticipated.
It is important that the actual geotechnical conditions encountered during construction are checked
by an experienced underground engineering geologist, to confirm they are at least as good as those
assumed for the design. If conditions are worse, then the design needs to be re-evaluated, and the
appropriate adjustment made. The contractor also has a legal obligation to bring to the notice of the
owner and the designers, any ground conditions which may represent a worse condition, or which
could impact adversely on the design performance of the structure. This aspect is covered in Chapter
7 -'Law of the Underground'.

Assess Interaction Between the Structure and Wider Environment


As well as the effect on adjacent structures, the construction of an underground project can affect the
wider environment in a number of ways. An extensive project intersecting important aquifers can
create a significant danuning effect to underground water flows. The raising oflevels on the upstream
side and the lowering of levels downstream can have equally damaging consequences. A project of this
type would require subsoil and hydrogeological information sourced well away from the footprint of
the project to establish the existing regime and hence the likely ramifications of construction and
occupation at the site.
If the underground work is close to the surface, settlement may occur and affect properties above.
If the work involves the excavation and disposal of contaminated spoil, the extent and nature of the
contamination can form an important part of the information to be collected by the site
investigation.
If the work is of a nature that significant levels of noise, vibration or dust will be generated, control
strategies will require an understanding of the underground conditions. The contractor will need to
plan special prevention strategies to control these geologically-related factors.
For example noise can be severe underground. Workers' ears must be protected by earplugs and/or
muffs. Noise to the outer environment can be contained in 'noise sheds', as used on the M2 Tunnel in
Sydney. These are designed with baffles to dampen the sound and are very effective.
Another example - abrasive sandstone, particularly when cut by a roadheader, produces a silica-rich
dust, so stringent adherence to the wearing of dust masks by workers must be enforced in addition to
dust suppression. Outgoing air must be put through scrubbers to collect the dust before it enters the
outside environment.
Yet another example - non-explosive excavation methods such as roadheaders and rock breakers may
need to be used, to avoid unacceptable vibrations from blasting, but even they produce some vibration
which will need to be monitored. It may be appropriate to relocate and compensate local residents, if
conditions warrant. On the M2 Tunnel in Sydney, one such residence was dealt with in this manner.

Select Suitable Construction Methods and Equipment


Sufficient information must be obtained to determine which construction methods are appropriate
and what equipment is required.

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Provide Information for Assessment of Quantities and Productivity


In underground construction the quantity of work to be performed is frequently a function of
ground conditions. For example, the amount of work to take a cut-off \vall down to an impermeable
layer is dependent on the depth of the layer. The amount of drilling, grouting and the types and
quantities of materials are dependent on soil or rock type, permeability and other factors.
Similarly, the cost of construction of a shaft will depend on many factors such as the presence or
absence of boulders or other obstructions in overburden soils, or the need for temporary shoring of
those loose materials. Rock strength, abrasivity of the rock substance and degree of fracturing of the
rockmass will impact on the cost of rock excavations. Excessive water is always a problem and the
risks need to be evaluated during the investigations. For estimating and tendering it is desirable to
have as much confidence about the site conditions as is reasonably possible, and economically
achievable. This will allow contractors to price the work with more confidence and hence with a
lesser contingency for risk.

Identify Areas of Remaining Uncertainty and Risk


The site investigation should identify the most likely unknowns. It will not identify all of them,
although, some can be inferred from the geological setting of the site. Even so, some 'geologic
unknowns' may still be there, but if the conditions are highly variable, it will most likely not be
practical to search further to identify them. The site investigation may reveal a part of the site which is
particularly sensitive in some way. So, for a variety of reasons a geotechnical report may recommend
that additional investigation be undertaken as part of the works, or that specific observations be made
as the project proceeds.
In most underground work, some residual geotechnical uncertainties remain at the end of the
construction work, despite all the geotechnical investigation undertaken throughout the project. These
may or may not have an impact on the structure during its lifetime.
If any impact is anticipated, this should be highlighted in the 'End of Project Construction
Geotechnical Report'. This report should cover all the important aspects of the investigations, design
parameters, and any changes made to the design during construction and the geotechnical reasons for
the change.
Historically, the most common and important situation to note is when methane from coal seams is
present in the strata. This lighter than air gas is hazardous in most situations, but flammable and
explosive within certain concentrations. The NSW Joint Coal Board circulates a document called
'Coal Mine Gases' in which the characteristics of this gas are given as: colourless, odourless, tasteless,
non-poisonous but does not support life; forms flammable mixtures with air; lower flammable limit
5.3%; upper flammable limit 14%; most easily ignited mixture is 7.5% and most explosive mixture is
9.8%;. is it soluble in groundvvater and, in the rockmass, responds to changes in atmospheric pressure;
its presence in an excavation can be weather-related and so is very unpredictable. In tunnels or
caverns during operation, methane can pose a problem during dewatering for maintenance due to
ingress of the gas as dewatering occurs. This has caused fatalities. A case in Great Britain arose from an
explosion caused by methane leaking into a water supply pumping station during dewatering of the
tunnel. It killed 16 local visitors (Reference 6). This case is discussed below in Section 5.8.

4.

BASIC CONCEPTS OF GROUND STABILITY

'Ground' usually comprises a surface layer of soil, overlying bedrock which in most cases displays
progressive weathering, with the effects of deterioration becoming less evident with increasing depth.
Close to the ground surfaces the weathering processes eventually turn the rocks into residual soils.
The depth of the soil material (often referred to in civil work as 'overburden') can vary from zero to
hundreds of metres. Unweathered rocks usually become weaker as they become more weathered.
However in some cases, the weathering process actually increases the rock strength and exacerbates its

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GEOTECHNICAL ASPECTS

difficulty of excavation. This causes significant problems in Hawkesbury sandstone in the Sydney
Basin where contractors even price the haematite, weathered product as 'ironstone'.
When soil and rock material of this nature is removed as part of the excavation, its removal can result
in relaxation of the remaining ground, due to lack of support at the excavated surface. Depending on
the physical characteristics of the soil or rock, this relaxation occurs by different physical processes. On
the microscale of millimetres the response is usually from loss of bonding strength of adjacent grains
within the rock substance. On a macroscale of metres it is usually by opening up of naturally
occurring detects within the rockmass, such as fissures, joints, bedding plane partings and the like.
In weak rocks, rockmass movements may be by creep, but in most rocks, movement is usually by a
combination of blocks sliding along planes of weakness and brittle fracture through the rock
substance.

4. 1

Soil Strength

The ability of ground to support itself totally, partially or not at all, is crucial in the consideration of
underground construction. At one end of the spectrum is sand which will not span the width of even
a tiny hole. At the other end is massive relatively defect-free crystalline rock in which caverns several
tens of metres wide can be constructed with minimal artificial support. In engineering terms, the
material is said to have shear strength.
Soil strength is characterised by friction and cohesion. Soils are described as cohesive (e.g. clay) or
non-cohesive (e.g. sand). Non-cohesive soils rely primarily on friction for their strength. Cohesive
soils depend on both friction and cohesion depending on the stress conditions. Cohesive soils possess
shear strength, albeit low compared with a typical rock. The shear strength of clay may be attributed
to a number of components, including the behaviour of the free water in the pores between the clay
particles.
A sand, clean and dry enough to run is a rare thing to find on site, although dune sand can come
quite close. Most moist sands have sufficient strength to allow them to stand vertically over one metre
or so. As with clay, but far more rapidly, the sand strength will usually reduce with time as negative
pore water pressure dissipates and effective stress (and hence strength) reduces. This has led to a
number of fatal accidents in unsupported shallow trenches, even 2-3 m deep.

4.2

Rockmass Strength

'Rockmass' is made up of the rock material itself, (i.e. the substance), together with all the 'defects'
which have developed over the geological history since the rock was formed. Thus the actual origin
of the rock, whether igneous, sedimentary or metamorphic, has a profound influence on its make-up
and physical properties, and consequently, on its engineering characteristics and behaviour in response
to the excavation process.
The fundamental limitation of site investigations rests in the fact that site investigations can usually
only identifY general conditions. Yet it is the detail that represents the potential hazard to the worker
underground and has to be understood and taken into account. One joint block failure from a roof
can kill a worker, yet the spacing and orientation of the joints determining the failure may not be
'significant' on the scale ofbehaviour for the whole rockmass.
Clearly then, prediction of the likely stability of the surfaces exposed by the excavation is one of the
main imperatives of the geotechnical investigation, as the programme must be designed to allow the
best assessment to be made. Safety issues are paramount.
The difference between the 'strength' values obtained from a soil or rock sample tested in the
laboratory (i.e. the rock substance or material strength) and the actual 'strength' of the rockmass as a
whole, in-situ is often misunderstood. It is the rockmass which provides the confines of the
excavation underground, yet it is usually only the rock substance which can be tested in the field or

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laboratory and its strength obtained.


The directional bias of subsurface drilling is another limitation during site investigation. A borehole
tends to miss the defects parallel to it. This is unavoidable as there are practical and financial
limitations to what direction and orientation boreholes can be drilled. All geological interpretations
have to take this bias into account.
Bias can exist when samples are collected from drilling cores for laboratory testing. This also has to be
taken into account during the evaluation of the data obtained from the investigations.

4.3

Rockmass Classifications

In recent years systems have been developed to assess rockmass stability, as an overall design tool.
However these systems have severe limitations from the point of view of geological logic, that is they
mix different parameters of rock substance and rockmass, which may not be compatible because of
scale or their different impacts on rock behaviour in different circumstances. Well known systems are
Barton's 'Q' system, Bienawki's 'RMR', and several others.
These systems were all initially developed empirically for specific geotechnical settings in one
geographic area. They were later extended by adding data from other projects in other geographic
areas to the database in the hope they may prove to have wider applicability. Their drawback comes
from the fact that they are not based on criteria from 'failed' projects, but only on data from
'successful' projects. Thus they do not give reliable data for 'stand-up' times. This depends on the
relationship between the size of the opening and particular site geotechnical conditions, for how long
a span will hold up before support must be installed. This 'stand-up' time dictates the advance cycle
for the project and is a critical factor in determining safety and progress.
Closer scrutiny of the graphs provided in the publications expounding rockmass quality systems,
identifies considerable illogical aspects. Unfortunately the graphs are becoming more widely used as
an alternative to rigorous site-specific data collection and analysis. They have become part of the
'cookbook' philosophy to geotechnical investigation and design instead of remaining one of the many
'tools' to be included in a comprehensive site investigation package.

4.4

Self Supporting and Non-Self Supporting Ground

Even in the early stages of a project, it is possible to make some broad generalisations about the
degree to which different types of ground may be considered self supporting. The fact that ground is
not self supporting, or not sufficiently so, for a given situation in no way prevents a project from
proceeding.
Chapter 9 - 'Underground Technology', outlines the array of methods available for providing
temporary and permanent support. The spans that can be achieved become a function of structural
design using familiar construction materials.Very large openings can be formed in even the poorest of
ground. It should be noted that the abiliry of ground to span horizontally across an opening is almost
always dependent upon the formation of an arching mechanism. However in stratified rock, where
the joints are prominent (as is the case in the Sydney Basin), this may be difficult to achieve and very
often there is loss of joint blocks from the shoulders of the arch. For an arching response to be
achieved in the rockmass there must be sufficient thickness of rockmass above the opening.
The choice of the rype of excavation equipment also influences the stability of the opening e.g.
roadheaders and Tunnel Boring Machines (TBM's) produce a smoother, potentially more stable
profile compared with drill and blast methods. However, circular tunnels produced by TBM may have
special needs for additional support due to re-orientation of the in-situ stresses.

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5.

REVIEW OF GEOTECHNICAL RISK CONCEPTS

It is unfortunate that there are always practical and economic limitations to how much site
investigation can or should be undertaken at the feasibility and design stage of a construction project,
and how much geotechnical uncertainty must remain to be resolved and further evaluated during
construction.
This limitation has to be balanced against the needs of the designers who require sufficient
geotechnical information to enable them to prepare design drawings and specifications upon which a
contractor can prepare a realistic tender price.
These two conflicting requirements must come together in a compatible way for a workable contract.
Otherwise the contractor's tender based on the chosen methodology may prove to be inappropriate at
best, but at worst will be so inadequate to eventually lead to conflict on the job between owner and
contractor, costly litigation and financial loss to one or both parties. In extreme circumstances, the
situation can lead to unforeseen geotechnical problems which can cause engineering failures and may
even result in loss of life.

5. 1

Marine Versus Land Projects

This situation is more critical in offshore underground construction (such as outfalls off the coastline
adjacent to urban centres) than on-land projects. The very high cost of marine investigations leads to
less information per dollar usually being achieved than is normally considered a basic necessity on
land. By contrast, if a land tunnel is to traverse inaccessible (say mountainous) terrain, it may be
considered equally difficult to investigate intensively as a marine tunnel.
Reconnaissance mapping of the more accessible region surrounding a land site, and air photo
interpretation over the less accessible area, allow interpolation which can often give a broad brush
estimate of the probable rock types to be encountered, generalised stratigraphy, lineaments which
indicate faults, etc. This is not the case in offshore outfalls where only one portal is usually available to
be investigated in detail by borehole drilling and/ or other investigative tools, while the alignment and
other 'portal', (i.e. the risers) are hidden from view under the sea and usually can only be investigated
in a generalised statistical way, from widely spaced borehole information, marine geophysics and the
like.

5.2

Site Investigation Limitations

By their nature, site inspections can never answer all the questions regarding the sites' sub surface
conditions. At best they can provide an assortment of field and laboratory data. It is invariably up to
the skill and experience of the geotechnical specialist to analyse these data, draw conclusions and
make the best estimate of the Working Geotechnical Model and the consequences to the design and
construction.
The different levels of geological uncertainty associated with the collection methods for the field and
laboratory data are not always clear to non-geological members of the design and construction team.
limitations of the investigation data should be brought to the attention of the designers and
contractors by direct presentation of the geotechnical information. Claims litigation has shown that
no matter what level of uncertainty is associated with geotechnical data, is all legally binding on both
parties if it \Vas relied upon by the contractor when preparing the tender, and later, if as the successful
tenderer, it is used to plan construction detail.

5.3

'Facts', 'Opinions' and 'Interpretations'

It is a commonly held view within the geotechnical community that 'factual' data should be separated
from 'interpreted' data which is based on reduction and analysis of the facts collected, and from
'opinion' which is based on past experiences and judgement, superimposed on the interpreted data
(Reference 7).

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However, there is still a widely differing set of views about what constitutes a geological 'fact'. Some
argue, that only the actual drill cores are 'fact' and that a core log is not fact but interpretation. Others
put forward the viewpoint that a log which is described in non-generic terms, using quantified
defined terms is, for all practical purposes, 'factual' enough to withstand the scrutiny of reproducibility
by a second geologist using the same defined terms logging the same core. Likewise the separation of
interpretation and opinion, would seem to negate the fundamentals of experience, judgement and
intuition of the 'geological art'.
This separation was the rationale behind the presentation of geological information for the Burwood
Beach Tunnel Ocean Outfall project at Newcastle NSW which is recognised as one of the best
examples of a risk-sharing contract (Reference 8). In this example, the 'factual' report on geology
provided core logs, groundwater investigation results, field and laboratory test results, and without
correlation or interpretation, except where hearsay evidence required evaluation, e.g. verbal
information about the old sea workings provided by the old miners from the Burwood Colliery
needed critical and selective reporting. The 'interpretive' report to designers provided the same
information but with the most favoured interpretation for stratigraphic correlation, piezometric
surfaces, weathering boundaries, watertable, etc. drawing on both quantifiable and non-quantifiable
geological evaluations. Recommendations for geotechnical design criteria were also issued in this
report.
Queensland Rail Tunnels also followed this philosophy. The numerous reports for all the technical
aspects were provided with supplementary commentaries prepared by the design engineers, who
explained the scope of the report. The degree of reliability of the data presented was also explained in
the various reports (Reference 9). In addition, all the available previous reports were provided at the
time of tender, to the prospective renderers, with commentary regarding their applicability to the
project.

5.4

The Tender Process

There is a viewpoint expressed, mainly by owners (and particularly by developers), that geotechnical
reports which may indicate potential problems on their site, should be excluded from the tender
documentation, as it may produce a higher price from the renderers. This is often the case, where later
geotechnical investigations have indicated the likely ground conditions should be better than the
earlier report suggested.
Experience has shown that when latent ground problems arise in this situation, and some evidence of
its potential existence on the site from the earlier work was withheld from the contractor, then even
though additional geotechnical work may not have confirmed the adverse conditions, the subsequent
claim which the contractor mounts is almost always ruled valid by an arbitrator. The owner has not
avoided the eventual cost of the ground conditions which actually existed and has to pay the extra
amount consequent to the problem.
Indeed, more often than not, the cost of defending the contractor's claim, together with the eventual
pay out for the problem incurred, is much greater than the tender price would have been if all the
information had been provided. The tenderer, being forewarned of the problem, could have etTectively
engineered past it. Adverse geological conditions do not usually become 'problems' if they are
anticipated in time.
Consequently, the more widely held viewpoint is that all the geotechnical information prepared by
the investigations should be issued to the contractor. This is the 'Working Geotechnical Model' which
represents the state of knowledge as the job starts. It represents the 'geotechnical datum', so to speak.
Subsequently on the project, all conditions contrary to this represent changes. These changes may or
may not impact on the construction, and on the costs to the contractor. Where conflicting data does
exist, the interpretative report should review the likely consequences of each condition, and provide
the best estimate as part of the 'Working Geotechnical Model'.
Information is prepared by the site geologists often over a period of months to years. It seems

178

GEOTECHNICAL ASPECTS

unreasonable and unrealistic to expect a contractor to evaluate and interpret such information in the
short time frame available to prepare a tender. Realistically, the tenderer can rarely in the time
available 'fully inform himself' and make his own interpretation based on his own observations as
most tenders and contracts require him to do. Eventually use will be made of all available data even
that suppressed or withheld by the owner, when a claim is lodged and legal discovery sought.

5.5

Briefing of Tenderers

The logical extension of this principle is to provide renderers with a 'guided tour' through the
geological documents and cores, at a 'Briefing ofTenderers' at the time of tender. This is best done
with all the contractors present, together with the geotechnical advisers who can explain the reports,
the limitations of the data, the geotechnical constraints applicable to the projects design and draw the
attention of each of the contractors to any particular geological aspects which could affect the
excavation process. Questions from the contractors can be answered to all renderers equally, and a
clear mutual understanding be established between contractor and owner, as to what constitutes this
'geotechnical datum', i.e. the best estimate of the subsurface conditions. Beyond this, if the ground
varies, it is seen by owner and contractor alike, to represent a valid variation under the contract, for
which the contractor can be fairly reimbursed. In this way, all renderers are competing on an equal
geotechnical basis.
At the time the contractor prepares his tender, there is a case for either:
a.

A construction-oriented report for the contractor's assistance prepared by the owner's


geotechnical advisers, to aid in the choice of equipment and method of excavation or

b.

A requirement for the contractor to issue a geotechnical construction-oriented report with the
tender, to support the choice of construction method and equipment, showing an appreciation of
the real geotechnical constraints of the project, and that these have been incorporated realistically
into the tender.

At the present time, to the authors' knowledge, such special construction reports are not routinely
part of the tendering process.
At the time of tender, there is merit in having the owner's geotechnical advisers review the technical
parts of the renderers' submissions, to establish whether any unrealistic expectations have been
assumed by the contractor, indicating a basic misunderstanding of the 'Working Geotechnical Model'.

5.6

Construction Phase

Once the contract is let, and construction commences, the role of the site geotechnical adviser is less
well defined. Much variation has been noted by the authors. It ranges, on the one hand, from close
involvement ori the decision making level between the geotechnical adviser and the owners
representative, and complete responsibility for monitoring all geotechnical aspects relating to
geotechnical design verification and dealing with construction problems on a day to day basis, to, on
the other hand, more limited involvement of providing only documentation of tunnel geology by
geological logging well back behind the working face, i.e. Prospect to Pipehead Tunnel and Blue
Mountains Sewer Transfer Scheme tunnels in NSW.
The amount of advice and guidance provided by the owners' engineering geologist to the contractor
appears to vary greatly too, based on the owner's view ofhow any geological variability on the project
should be handled under the terms of the contract. At one extreme, for example in the case of
Burwood Beach, the owner gave permission for geological information and advice to be provided by
the geotechnical adviser to the contractor during the construction period. This can avoid many
situations where a potential claim would othenvise have arisen, but may work against the contractor
when a really adverse ground condition arises, which might represent big dollars. This is because the
owners may withdraw their permission at any time for their commitment to work for the contractor
and the contractor loses the advantage of having their adviser gathering data during the earlier stages

779

Chapter

Eight

of the work.
In a claim situation, the owners invariably do withdraw this permission- based on the philosophy the
geotechnical consultant's primary professional responsibility is to the first client, i.e. the owner or his
designer, whoever may have commissioned the initial pre-contract site investigation.
At the other extreme, absolutely no information is given by the owners to the contractor during
construction, on the basic philosophy that it may be used against the owner in a claim situation.
Experience on projects such as Burwood Beach, has demonstrated unrestricted communication of
geological information is a contributing factor to the success of a project. In principle it has the
benefit that it eliminates one of the main sources of problems on large underground projects, viz.
communication problems about ground conditions. These occur on all projects, and the larger the
project the more difficult it becomes to ensure important details of the geotechnical design are
actually implemented in practice. Good communication also contributes to the establishment of
respect and co-operation between the owner and the contractor, and breaks down the confrontational
aspects which experience has shown can be detrimental to the smooth and efficient progress of a job.

5. 7

Verification of Geotechnical Design Parameters


During Construction

During construction, exposures become available for the first time, and these enable the preliminary
evaluations developed at the time of the site investigation to be more fully, and therefore more
reliably, assessed.
It is essential for the geotechnical advisers to establish that the ground conditions encountered are as
good as those relied on for the design. If they are not, the geotechnical advisers must relay revised
geotechnical parameters at once to the owners and designers, whose responsibility it is to make the
appropriate adjustments to the design. This reassessment of the design should also pass through to the
operation of the structure. It should be appreciated that the 'Working Geotechnical Model' needs to
be upgraded and re-evaluated, throughout the installation and working life of the project. This lack of
construction monitoring can have fatal consequences as demonstrated by the Abbeystead Disaster
(Reference 6).

5.8

Risk and Liability

In the Abbeystead case, a gas explosion in a water supply pumphouse, in the Lancaster Region in the
United Kingdom killed 16 people. In the subsequent court case for negligence, which was brought by
31 plaintiffs, and appealed to the House of Lords, the cause of the explosion was tracked back to
methane leaking out of the rock and into the water supply tunnel, then into the pumping station,
during its 16-day shut-down for maintenance. The presence of the methane had been recognised
during construction, but its behaviour and consequences to the facility in operation were never
investigated or reviewed by the designers, contractors or owners, and no guidelines were given for
safety procedures during operation.
Initially all three parties were found to be at fault by the presiding Judge, but later this was modified
under Appeal, leaving only the design engineers at fault. It was found that the gas must have leaked up
through the strata over a vertical distance of 1,000 m, (which is much deeper than usually expected)
and that not enough geological investigation had been undertaken by the designers either during
planning or later during construction.
The risk of encountering methane or other hazardous gases is present in any geological environment.
The Coal Measures Strata of the Sydney Basin represent one of the greatest hazards for gas emissions
in urban underground construction in Australia. This risk applies equally to projects associated with
civil and mining construction in the urban and semi-urban environment. It applies to traditional
urban civil projects such as water, sewage, road and rail tunnels, carparks etc. It also applies to those
projects associated with local mining activities, near urban environments, such as access and haulage

780

GEOTECHNICAL ASPECTS

declines for coal mines close to townships. It can occur around the coalfields in NSW on the flanks of
the Sydney Basin in the Hunter Valley, Illawarra districts in NSW and elsewhere. Under Sydney, coal
has been mined at approximately 1,000 m from the Balmain Colliery. Methane was actually
encountered in the Balmain Birthday Shaft, and in the ocean outfall tunnels too, in all cases
stratigraphically much higher than the actual coal which was mined.
It should be appreciated that in old mined-out areas under cities and towns (such as Newcastle),
leaking gases from old mine shafts and adits are a continual event, and can occasionally pose a
problem. Any underground usage, say of the abandoned workings for storage, or any new
underground usage projects, clearly have to take into account and continuously monitor emissions of
both stratal and mine gases. New projects must be designed to engineer around any old workings, as
was done for the Burwood Beach Project at Newcastle, where the proposed works were going to be
close to two abandoned collieries, one flooded, one gas-filled.
Town gases can also find their way into excavations, particularly in the older established cities where
cases have been known where gas pipes have completely corroded away, leaving the gas moving
through only an unlined cavity in the clay soil. Obviously this can pose a hazard to any nearby
excavation or when surface excavation work breaks through into the gas filled 'pipe'. The case of the
obelisk explosion in Newcastle some years ago demonstrates the potential hazard of town gas leakage.

5.9

Contractors' Geotechnical Adviser

In today's litigious world, the contractor has a responsibility to bring to the notice of the owner any
different ground conditions which may affect the structure's design. Many contractors feel they need a
geotechnical adviser of their own to assist in this regard. The geotechnical adviser to a contractor has a
different role to the site geologist or owner.
The adviser's main function is to protect the interests of the contractor. The advisor should ensure all
the relevant geotechnical information becomes known to him, assist in construction decisions and
cover the contractor's legal responsibilities. Regular construction monitoring enables data collection
to be made at appropriate intervals, so there is early recognition of changed geological conditions
which may incur extra costs to the contractor. This is particularly the case for slight changes in the
ground conditions which are not immediately obvious but which adversely effect the performance of
the contractor's equipment. These are known as 'creeping diseases' as the losses they bring (financial,
time and production) on the job usually progress slowly and only become apparent well into the
contract. By then, without these regular visits, usually insufficient data has been collected by the
contractor to substantiate a claim which represents his real losses. A 28 day limitation on the claim
notification, although present in many contracts, is in real terms unforceable as most arbitrators
overrule it. This aspect is covered in Chapter 7 -'Law of the Underground'.
Likewise, an experienced construction engineering geologist can advise on the likely impact of
ground conditions on excavation, on water inflows, rock support, floor conditions, etc. This
particularly applies to those structures which fall into the category of 'temporary works', which are
usually at the contractor's risk.

5. 1 0

The Latent Condition Claim

The preparation of latent ground condition claims represents time, money and unnecessary
aggravation. Much of this is avoidable if the contract has allowed for the variability of the ground
conditions the geologists consider are likely to occur.
There can be benefits to the project by involving geotechnical advisers in the preparation of the
contract documents, in addition to preparing the geotechnical information to be issued. When a
contract realistically reflects the way the project will unfold, most changed subsurface conditions
represent legitimate claims which can and should be settled as the job progresses. This is the time
when memories and field notes are fresh and the issue can be settled clearly and quickly if a
mechanism has been provided in the contract. This aspect is discussed in Chapter 9 -'Underground
Technology'.

787

Chap1:er

5.11

Eigh1:

Risk Sharing

It appears a hotly disputed topic within the construction industry as to who should take the
responsibility for the cost of the variations in a site's subsurface conditions on the proposed structure.
Some owners endeavour to pass this responsibility entirely onto the contractor. Other owners see site
problems as inherent in their ownership of the site, but feel the onus of discovering them can be
passed onto the geotechnical advisers who are expected to foresee all the site conditions and give
guarantees as to the adequacy of the site.
A large section of the geotechnical community consider these attitudes are unrealistic and
inappropriate by virtue of the very nature of their discipline and the materials they have to deal with.
Nature is variable, and even at the end of a large project such as Burwood Beach, which was probably
subjected to closer geotechnical scrutiny during site investigation and throughout the construction
than most similar projects of its size, there were still residual questions regarding the geotechnical
conditions which remained unanswered and had to be taken into account in the maintenance
strategies.
It is important that all involved with underground structures - planners and architects, owners and
their design engineers - recognise the inherent limitations to predicting contentious aspects and the
risks of constructing engineering structures in uncertain conditions. More emphasis needs to be given
to quality input from geotechnical advisers who are suitably trained and experienced in the
investigation and evaluation of Nature's variability as it impacts on underground excavations.
Equally there is a need to choose the most suitable working regulations for a project, based on the
potential geological hazards - mining or civil construction. The construction of Burwood Beach shaft
and tunnel through coal measures strata, with the tunnel within 8 m of a known major coal seam has
demonstrated that mining regulations are not automatically required, providing adequate precautions
are taken.
This has also been demonstrated by the even more recent Illawarra Water Supply Tunnel at West
Dapto, NSW. This tunnel was driven through coal measures strata. Safety measures for gas were
implemented but full mining regulations were not applied.

6.

SUMMARY

Geotechnical uncertainties are fundamental to underground construction. Even greater geotechnical


uncertainties are inherently associated with ocean outfall investigation and construction compared
with on-land tunnelling; this arises from the logistics and expense of offshore investigations and the
usual lack of regional geological information out to sea. Consequently, projects benefit from having
those uncertainties realistically assessed as they relate to the design and construction, and a framework
of risk sharing established.
A flexible contract which recognises the likely geotechnical uncertainties associated with a particular
type of project or geological domain and which provides for a straightforward method of dealing with
any design changes required during construction, is likely to lead to the most geotechnically
appropriate and most cost-efficient, project.

7.

FUTURE DIRECTIONS

The body of geotechnical information available worldwide is mind boggling, compounded as it is by


the academic imperative to publish regularly and prolifically. Conferences occur throughout the world
every week, and even on a specialised topic such as Underground Space Utilisation there is usually a
conference happening somewhere in the world every one or two months.
Library databases are therefore an essential part of keeping up to date with modern technology. The

782

GEOTECHNICAL ASPECTS

Worldwide Internet is clearly a valuable source of information.


Use of computers is now fundamental to all engineering work. Computer modelling, using powerful
tools such as FLAC, UDEC and PFC to analyse data, are becoming more widely used.
However, the financial imperative of the present economic scene in Australian construction seems set
to downgrade the construction stage geotechnical investigation. The experience of several recent
NSW tunnels suggests that geotechnical input has now deteriorated into a nominal logging exercise
of a generalised geological profile (say section down the centre line of a tunnel) and in some
instances, no geotechnical input at all, with just rough sketches of the face being done by the site
personnel (miner or engineer), recorded onto the shift report. In these instances there are no valid
geotechnical compilations, upgrading of the 'Working Geotechnical Model', or checking of the
design geotechnical parameters by qualified personnel.
This is of great concern to those within the geotechnical community who specialise in underground
work because of the belief that it is a potentially dangerous direction for the industry to take.
It also means stagnation of the state-of-the-art, as less and less construction stage 'geotechnical facts'
are being gathered to check against the initial site investigation stage predictions. This is the only valid
test of the accuracy of the methodology used to make those predictions. Upgrading of concepts and
methods then becomes part of the increase in the state of background knowledge, available for those
on the next site investigation so it can be done better.
The modern design and construct or BOOT styles of contract include no fmancial incentives for the
winning tenderer to pursue social or scientific responsibilities in this regard, compared with the earlier
contracts for major projects where the government utilities took this role. End of project construction
geotechnical reports, were once considered a fundamental requirement, and were justified financially
by the enormous cost benefits to future projects.
Greater emphasis should be placed on geotechnical investigation for underground contracts. These
investigations should continue from conceptual planning stage right through to the end of the
construction phase. An end of project construction geotechnical report should be prepared and
submitted into the public domain, as an essential requirement to any contract, of any type, given out
by Government. It should also be a requirement of all State and Commonwealth environmental
agencies responsible for approving underground projects.

8.
1.

RECOMMENDATIONS
'Risk-sharing' is recommended as a preferred contracting philosophy to nummise the financial
consequences of the ground conditions in any works requiring contact with soil, rock and
groundwater. This water may be natural, or as a result of man's engineering.
Funding authorities should be made aware of the extra financial burdens incurred by the industry
and the community as a whole, by the Australian trend away from 'risk sharing', particularly for
underground construction. The International Tunnelling Association (ITA) survey on this subject
shows risk sharing is common practice overseas.
Market forces, which appear to minimise costs for projects inevitably result in cost cutting for
geotechnical investigations, leading to inferior and inadequate geotechnical work. Lump sum
financing for underground geotechnical work which is becoming routine now for designers and
contractors to insist on, is totally inappropriate to geotechnical investigations. It is conducive to
inadequate \Vork.

2.

The 28 day limitation for notification of claims for latent conditions should be deleted from all
the relevant Standards Association and Institution of Engineers documents and replaced with the
words 'should be notified at the earliest practical opportunity after the changed geological
conditions have been recognised'. The relevant Australian Standard is AS 2124-1992 is now in
redraft and the new clauses are less in keeping with those recommendations than for the earlier
versiOns.

183

Chapter

3.

Eight

All construction projects subject to government approvals, particularly those approved by the
environmental protection agencies, should be required, under the terms of that approval, to carry
out geotechnical investigations throughout the project. These reports, particularly the end-ofproject construction report outlining the geotechnical conditions encountered during
construction, should be required to be submitted to that relevant approving body, and thus
become available in the public domain. These geotechnical investigations and reports must be
carried out by suitably qualified professionals who can demonstrate the appropriate experience.
Final acceptance of the project 'As Built' should be subject to these reports demonstrating that the
works have been, in fact, carried out in an appropriate way for the actual geotechnical conditions
encountered.

REFERENCES
1.

McMahon B.K., 'Geotechnical Design in the Face of Uncertainty: Australian Geomechanics


Society' E. H. Davis Memorial Lecture. Australian Geomechanics News, Number 10, December
1985,p.7-19.

2.

Walker B, Dale M, Fell R, Jeffrey R, Leventhal A, McMahon M, Mostyn G and Phillips A:


'Geotechnical Risk Associated with Hillside Development', Australian GeomechatJics News Number
10, December 1985, p.29-35. (Report of the sub-committee of the Australian Geomechanics
Society).

3.

Australian Standard.AS1726-1993. Geotechnical Site Investigations.

4.

McMahon, B.K., Douglas DJ and Burgess PJ, 'Engineering Classification of Sedimentary Rocks
in the Sydney Area'. Australian Geomechanics Joumal1975.

5.

Standing Committee on Coalfield Geology of NSW, 'Description of Coalfield Rocks', NSW


Geological Survey Records 22(1) pp. 105-122.

6.

McMahon, M.D, 'The Abbeystead Disaster: Its Consequences to Underground Construction


within the Sydney Basin Strata', Proceedings: AUCTA SEMINAR: Cost Effective Ti11melling i11 the
Sydney Basin. Sydney, july 1988.

7.

Institution of Engineers, Australia, Provision of Geotechnical Iriformation in Construction Contracts,


1987.

8.

McMahon, M.D., 'Burwood Beach Tunnel Ocean Outfall in Review - a case for the
Geotechnical Adviser in successful underground construction', Proceedings of the 7th Australian
Timnelling Conference, September 1990, pp. 303-308.

9.

Asche H.R. and Baxter D.A., 'Design and Ground Support Monitoring of the Brunswick Street
Rail Tunnels, Brisbane'. Proceedings ~f the 8th Australian Cot~{erence, Sydney, 1993, pp. 233.

10. Baxter D.A., 'Construction of the Brunswick Street Rail Tunnels'. Proceedings
Timnelling Conference, Sydney, 1993, p.109.

784

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UNDERGROUND TECHNOLOGY

Chapter Nine
Underground Technology
SUMMARY
There have been notable advances in unde~ground technology over recent years. This chapter discusses wrrent
technology in Australia and overseas, the trends in technology and current issues and cotJstraints in specific areas of
technology. It highlights the benefits to be derived with technology development and the way Jonuard for Australia
to capitalise on knowledge if technologies available.

1.

BACKGROUND

Australia has undertaken significant underground developments extending back for over 100 years.
Busby's bore, a water supply tunnel for Sydney constructed by convicts and commenced in 1827, was
one of the first of these significant projects. Since then major road, rail, water supply, sewerage and
cable tunnels have been constructed in our major cities as part of the infrastructure needs.
Commercial developments of recent years have demanded an increased use of underground space,
particularly in these major cities. The latest international technology is readily available and known to
Australian companies, although construction specific equipment and specialist staff are often required
from overseas, particularly from Japan, Europe and USA, for the major projects. This is due to the
small size of the Australian market. Australians have shown a commitment to new underground
technology and to adapting it to our needs. The knowledge and experience developed on Australian
projects will increasingly be exported and used in Asian countries. The further development of the
home base market will be important to support of these offshore projects.

2.

OBJECTIVES

The objectives of the Underground Technology Chapter, in its contribution to the Underground
Space Project, are:
to outline common urban area constraints imposed upon the development of underground space;
to provide a general summary of current technology including trenchless technology used in
construction of recent Australian projects;
to investigate some of the overseas technology that could be applied to future projects in
Australia;

to document perceived trends in technology including some of the more unusual and visionary
technology advances;
to outline waterproofing and ventilation methods commonly required for underground projects;
to list the benefits of technology development that are making the option of going underground

more attractive and beneficial and


to provide technology input to the other working groups.

3.

ISSUES
Improvements in underground construction technology are reducing construction costs and risks.
Higher design standards and environmental mitigation costs have offset much of the cost impact
of technology improvements.

785

Chapter

Nine

The size of the Australian underground construction market impacts the range of major
specialised equipment which is available for small to medium-size projects and also the incentive
to develop capital-intensive construction equipment.
Information about the impact of recent technological changes on safety, risk and cost needs to be
better publicised in the broader design, planning and decision-making communities.

4.

URBAN AREA CONSTRAINTS

Urban areas, particularly those in the higher population density and inner city areas, impose
constraints on the development of underground space. While in many cases these constraints are
similar to those imposed on construction of surface facilities, a number of constraints are more
particular to underground developments. These constraints on the development of underground space
must be taken into account when evaluating the benefits provided by underground development.
The most significant of these constraints are:

4.1

Settlement of Ground

The actual occurrence of structural damage to adjacent buildings due to underground construction is
relatively rare in recent times due to better investigations, particularly geotechnical, modern design
and construction practices. Monitoring for settlement is a normal parr of most urban underground
constructions.
Nevertheless, the community perceives that tunnelling Imposes a threat of settlement of surface
structures.
While most buildings have a reasonable tolerance to settlement before any structural damage occurs,
surface finish damage can be induced with very small movements of a structure. Cracking of plaster
and brickwork, already occurring in many older buildings due to seasonal factors and aging of the
materials would be exacerbated by any further settlement due to tunnelling.
A further constraint of underground construction is the settlement of ground in which utility services
are buried. Some services constructed ofbrittle materials such as cast iron pipe are more susceptible to
settlement than say ducts containing communications or power cables. Solutions to potential
settlement damage include relocation, relining, diversions or temporary removal from service of the
utilities likely to be affected.

4.2

Noise

Because of the type of equipment and activities plus the need for 24 hour a day operations at some
sites, worksite noise is a concern for most urban \Vorksites.
The noise can be ameliorated by the use of acoustic enclosures around equipment and the relocation
of noisy activities underground. At some sites an acoustically designed workshed covering the entire
worksite has been constructed to contain night time noise levels to acceptable standards. Vehicle
movements, usually trucks removing spoil from the sites, are often restricted to daylight hours.
Blasting noise problems have decreased in recent times due to the reduced use of explosives and the
better control of blasting operations. At some sites tunnel doors have been fitted to reduce airborne
noise to the adjacent areas.
Because of its size, power and method of operation, excavation equipment is often a problem where
such equipment is located in the open and particularly when used at night time. Where such
equipment is located underground and some distance from the portals then acceptable noise standards
can most often be met.
Noise from underground excavating equipment such as tunnel boring equipment (TBM) and
roadheaders is seldom of concern.

186

UNDERGROUND TECHNOLOGY

4.3

Vibration

Vibrations from underground construction equipment can be transmitted through certain geological
conditions to surface buildings and thereafter travel through these structures to radiate out as noise.
This is often heard as a low rumbling sound. The noise levels are usually very low but can affect
residents at night when equipment is located directly below and relatively close to the surface.
Vibrations from blasting can be measured and controls put in place to prevent real
problems. If these controls are very restrictive, due to say historic buildings being in the vicinity, then
blasting can become uneconomic.
Most buildings have a structural tolerance to vibration way above the limit of human tolerance and
perception and hence restraints are often dictated by human comfort levels.
During the normal use of most underground space, vibration is rarely a problem other than for
sensitive facilities such as cinemas close to a railway. Techniques for track and/ or building isolation
from vibrations are readily available and used, although they can be expensive to implement.

4.4

Air and Water Pollution

The potential problems of air and water pollution during underground construction are similar to
those of most surface construction. However, sediment contamination of tunnel drainage during
construction usually requires significant treatment facilities that can involve sedimentation ponds and
chemical treatment.
Recent concerns in Australia and around the world involve the prevention of groundwater draw down
and groundwater aquifer contamination. When tunnels are constructed the groundwater levels can be
locally affected and in rare cases excessive groundwater inflow can occur. These inflows can be
restricted by such methods as grouting, concrete lining, or introducing an impermeable membrane
around the tunnel or underground structure. This latter solution can be very expensive but usually
provides the preferred solution. In deep tunnels or shafts prevention of interconnection of different
aquifers is necessary to avoid contamination, especially if a shallow aquifer contains saltwater and a
deeper aquifer freshwater.

4.5

Spoil Disposal

Due to its volume the disposal of excavated material (spoil) poses a problem for some urban sites.
Depending upon the nature of the spoil, in many cases it can be used as fill material at construction
sites and is a sellable material.
Removal from site is usually carried out by trucks travelling along the nearby streets and roads. These
roads are often already congested and the streets may be in residential areas. Wash down areas for these
trucks are necessary to avoid mud being carried into adjacent streets. Dust control is important where
spoil stockpiles are needed at the worksites.
Other methods of spoil removal have been used where the site permits. These include barge removal
to nearby fill sites or dumping at sea. The latter is often not an acceptable solution due to
environmental constraints.
Future solutions include the pumping of suitable spoil via pipelines to disposal areas or to sites better
able to handle removal by trucks. The technology is available but the economics do not currently
justify this method of spoil disposal other than for very large sites.

4.6

Traffic Congestion

Because of the level of construction activities most large underground projects generate a significant
number of vehicle movements. These include delivery trucks to site, spoil removal trucks and
construction workforce movement. Where tunnels are involved, these transport activities are

187

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Nine

concentrated at the portals. Visual and noise attenuation measures are often needed around such
worksites. Restrictions are common on vehicle movements, for example to daylight hours and to
weekday and part of Saturday.

4. 7

Heritage/Archaeology/ Artefacts/ Aboriginal Heritage

Where construction sites are in the vicinity of areas of cultural or historic significance then particular
measures are needed for the protection of these areas. Usually underground development avoids such
constraints far better than surface developments.
However, in some cases continuous study or monitoring of the site construction is necessary to avoid
loss or inadvertent damage. In certain geological formations geologists are employed to make
observations of the excavation process and to collect fossils.

4.8

Flora & Fauna

Underground space development usually has limited impact on flora and fauna and can often avoid
the disruption that surface developments inflict.
Where tunnelling is close to the surface, protective measures can be readily implemented to reduce or
avoid any impact on surface vegetation and trees. In Sydney and Melbourne treatment to old fig trees
along routes, carried out before excavation took place, has resulted in close to zero impact upon these
trees.

4.9

Visual Constraints

In urban areas visual appearances both during construction activities and in the final development are
often important ingredients to the success of a project.
These requirements can impose fundamental constraints on a project. This was evidenced on the
Sydney Harbour Tunnel project by the need to avoid visible construction activities in the vicinity of
the Opera House Forecourt.
This necessitated tunnelling from further away in the Domain and for works in the Forecourt area to
be constructed underground, thereby avoiding disruption to the pedestrian movements on the surface
and also satisfying the visual constraints imposed.
Entrance and exits to underground space need sensitive planning and design treatment to avoid
conflict with adjacent uses and also to be visually pleasing.

4.10

Summary

In practice the constraints on underground construction usually relate to the following activities:
construction vehicle movements: traffic generation and contamination of roads.
worksite noise: particularly night time noise and equipment noise.
stockpiles: both dust control and visual appearance.
water and air pollution: generally related to contaminated water and dust control.
The extent of these constraints often relates to the sensitivity of the surrounding neighbourhood.
Inner urban areas have a variety of both public and private uses that are sensitive to construction
activities. The degree of sensitivity can, in some cases, be determined by the emotive reaction of the
adjacent occupiers, particularly if they are not informed of the project and construction activities.
Public uses that can be sensitive to underground activities, but more particularly construction
acnvrnes, are:
hospitals,
radio/TV studios,

188

UNDERGROUND TECHNOLOGY

computer centres/laboratories,
parliament buildings,
schools, universities and
law courts, art galleries, etc.
All these sensitivities can be managed by adhering to regulations and standards and by providing
regular information to residents, occupants, government agencies and the general community.

5.

CURRENT TECHNOLOGY IN AUSTRALIA

5.1

Introduction

The technology currently available and in use in Australia for the creation of both underground and
below ground spaces covers a wide range of construction methods, individual techniques and specific
equipment.
Although it is easier to relate technology to more specific construction techniques it would not be
complete without a broader view of how and where these techniques can be used. Hence, fmtly, a
brief outline is given of the main construction methods in use or available and secondly, a description
of the individual techniques which can be used across one or more of these methods.
The range of specific equipment for any construction technique is enormous and can vary
tremendously from manufacturer to manufacturer and is considered beyond the scope of this chapter.

5.2

Excavation Methods

Open Excavation- Bottom Up Construction


This is the most common method of excavation due to its simplicity and cost effectiveness. It involves
completing the entire excavation before any work on the structure is commenced. Construction than
usually commences from the bottom, with the footings, and proceeds progressively to the top.
The technology involved here lies primarily with the method of ground support which may be
required before and during excavation. These methods are outlined in a separate section below. A
major disadvantage of this method is that construction of the structure cannot proceed until the
excavation is complete.

Top Down Construction


Generally, the method involves constructing the columns and footings down to the full depth and
then excavating the site in short depths and placing or casting the floors of the structure one level at a
time which in turn act as permanent lateral bracing for the ground support.
This method is often used in poor or soft ground conditions which would otherwise require difficult
and costly ground support techniques. It allows fast tracking of construction, with an earlier start on
the above ground building work.

Cut and Cover Tunnels


This method is generally used where the tunnel is required to be close to the surface and/ or where
soft ground would make conventional tunnelling expensive or impractical. One disadvantage is that
the full length of the tunnel must be completely free of surface structures.
It is essentially a form of open excavation where the tunnel is excavated similar to that of a large
trench. The roof of the tunnel, usually of reinforced concrete, is placed progressively as excavation
proceeds. When complete it is sometimes possible to erect buildings over the top of such tunnels

789

Chapter

Nine

which can also act as the tunnel roof.


This method is also used where necessity dictates, such as in inner city areas where roads would be
severely disrupted for long periods with a conventional open excavation. In this case the excavation
proceeds to a shallow depth when the roof slab can be placed and the road reinstated. Excavation then
proceeds underground.

5.3

Tunnelling Methods and Tunnel Types

In Rock
The majority of tunnelling carried out in Australia has been in rock and a wide variety of techniques,
including tunnel boring machines and drilling and blasting, have been developed to cope with the
differing requirements and ground conditions.

In Soft Ground
Soft ground tunnelling can be similar to hard rock tunnelling but due to the more stringent
requirements for support, the tunnel must be advanced in short sections allowing rapid support.
Because of the high cost of ground support new methods have developed in recent years, such as the
New Austrian Tunnelling Method, which constantly monitor ground conditions in order to optimise
the ground support used.

Sub Aqueous
This is where the tunnel is driven below the water level of the district and hence the strata are
charged with water. Considerable pumping is usually involved, and these tunnels often descend to
considerable depth to pass under a river, harbour, etc.
If tunnelling through rock the methods adopted are much the same as for a non sub aqueous tunnel,
except that water must be pumped. If tunnelling through permeable strata various methods may be
used to prevent the ingress of water, such as the use of compressed air or grouting the ground ahead
of the tunnel. Compressed air techniques are now used less frequently due to their health risk and the
advent ofTunnel Boring Machines.

Submerged Tube
By this method the tunnel is precast, often in sections, floated into pos1t10n and then sunk into a
channel previously dredged in the bed. The joints between concrete units are sealed with rubber
gaskets, which may be inflatable initially, and sometimes welded plates and concrete filling are used as
the permanent seals. Finally, the tunnel is buried with dredged material and rock to prevent uplift and
protect it from scour, future dredging or ships anchors.

5.4

Techniques for Excavation

Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs)


For tunnelling in soft ground or rock TBMs have found widespread use. No blasting is required and
in sound rock the machine produces a smooth bore tunnel. In fractured rock and in soft ground the
machine is fitted with a shield and tunnel supports can be installed as required.
Generally a TBM consists of a large rotating head fitted with cutters which are thrust against the 1ce
by hydraulic rams pressing against the tunnel sides or previously placed tunnel lining.
Many Australian tunnels have been driven with conventional full face TBMs in soft and medium
rocks, with the ground being lined with the shield of the machine as work proceeds. Alternatively, a

190

UNDERGROUND TECHNOLOGY

shield alone may be used with the excavation being done mechanically by a boom type excavator
mounted within the shield.

Robbins Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM)

Road headers
Suitable for large or small tunnels, Roadheaders are track mounted excavators carrying a rotary
cutting head at the end of a long movable boom. Collecting and loading the spoil is usually achieved
by loading arms and a chain conveyor, feeding to the muck train, rubber tyred loader or rear
conveyor. Roadheaders and TBMs are usually purchased for a specific project.

Drilling & Blasting


Drilling and blasting techniques can be used for both open excavation in rock and in tunnelling. This
method generally involves drilling holes into the rock and inserting explosive cartridges. The
explosives are fired at specified intervals to produce proper fragmentation of the rock.

Roadheader showing rotating cutterhead with picks, elevating


and extending boom, apron for spoil collection, conveyors and
tracks for support of machine and advancements

A large number of tunnels in hard rock are still driven by conventional drilling and blasting although
the trend is to a greater use ofTBMs or Roadheaders. This applies particularly in urban areas, with the
development of hard rock cutters and improved tunnelling speeds at the cutter head.
Drilling and blasting is not commonly used for open excavations in urban areas because of
environmental factors.

797

Chapter

5.5

Nine

Techniques for Ground Support and Treatment

The following is a brief summary of the recognised ground support and treatment techniques
currently in use throughout Australia.
In most types of excavation except for those in intact rock, some form of ground support is required,
either temporary or permanent. This support usually involves the placement of a wall around the
perimeter of the site before excavation commences. A brief summary of the common types of
retaining wall used today is as follows:

Diaphragm Wall
A continuous trench is excavated around the perimeter of a proposed cut to the depth required for
the provision of an impermeable retaining structure. Prefabricated reinforcement cages are inserted
and concrete is usually placed insitu. Alternatively precast concrete panels can be used to form the
walL
A Bentonite Slurry Wall is a version of the diaphragm
the trench collapsing during excavation. The trench
and finely ground bentonite clay which gels when
Concrete is placed through a pipe to the base of the

wall used in soft ground, where there is danger of


is held open by filling it with a mixture of \Vater
undisturbed. When agitated it regains its fluidity.
wall, displacing the slurry.

Bored Pile Wall


A series of insitu reinforced concrete bored piles is placed at intervals around the perimeter of a
proposed excavation. Once excavation commences the space between the piles is generally shotcreted
to form a permanent face. This type of wall is rigid preventing movement of the surrounding soil
mass, and may be permeable to ground water flow.
The Secant Pile Wall is a version of this type of wall where the primary piles are placed in a manner
similar to that above, but are left unreinforced. A series of secondary reinforced piles are placed
between and overlapping the primary piles and if well constructed can form a rigid wall impermeable
to ground water flow.

Steel Joist Pile Wall


Steel joist piles are driven at suitable intervals around the periphery of a proposed excavation. Ground
support between the piles is provided by bolting horizontal lagging plants to the inside faces of the
piles as the cut proceeds. The steel piles may be removed when the work is complete.

Steel Sheet Pile Wall


This consists of driving in a series of overlapping, interlocked shaped steel sheets along the boundary
of the proposed cut. Because of their great strength and high salvage value steel sheet piles are
commonly used for the construction of cofferdam walls, which are temporary structures built to allow
construction work below water leveL Once complete the sheet piles can be extracted by means of
extractor hammers.

Reinforced Soil Walls


This method of ground support is essentially a gravity wall, either permanent or temporary. It
comprises a facing of precast concrete or steel interlocking panels tied back to an earth fill by layers of
reinforcement in the form of either synthetic straps (known as Paraweb) or steel straps, usually
galvanised. Construction is relatively simple and repetitive and requires minimal heavy or specialised
equipment.

792

UNDERGROUND TECHNOlOGY

Ground Anchors
Ground anchors comprise a tie rod or a prestressing tendon with a buried anchorage, whose function
is to supply a fixed anchor in the ground. Amongst their many applications they are used extensively
to tie back retaining walls for basement excavations and to provide a reaction to uplift of structures
below the water table, by anchoring back to sound ground or rock. They can be used in conjunction
with most of the retaining walls described above, and they can be either temporary or permanent.
There are a wide range of proprietary ground anchors currently available to suit a variety of ground
conditions.
Recent developments include a removable ground anchor. This type of anchor (a patented system)
can be removed and the hole grouted up upon completion of its retaining function. These are
particularly useful where excavations take place adjacent to an existing structure, or standard anchors
could cause an obstruction to later excavation.

Soil Nails & Rock Bolt


Soil Nails/Rock Bolts are methods of stabilising steep excavations or existing slopes, and are
extensively used throughout Australia. Soil nails often consist of steel bars grouted into the soil across
potential slip planes, to form integral tensile members within the soil mass.
Rock bolts perform a similar function, but as the name implies, are used in rock to help stabilise
cuttings and tunnels. The bolts can be anchored into the rock either by cement grout or a fast drying
epoxy resin. They can also be mechanically anchored into the rock by means of an expandable fixing
at the end of the bolt.

Foundation Grouting
There are several types of grouting methods depending upon the requirements and particularly the
ground conditions.

Compensation Grouting - used where settlement of ground may arise adjacent to excavations or ahead
of tunnelling work. It involves pressure injecting cement grout to jack up' the ground to compensate
for future settlement.
Consolidation Grouti11g - can be used to control ground water flow and eliminate seepage through
cracks, joints and pores. A grout curtain is formed under and around existing foundations to fill
crevices and cracks.

Tunnel Linings
Except in very sound rock, tunnels require lining to support the adjacent ground. The selection of a
tunnel lining material and method of installation requires much thought, as the cost of the lining may
represent up to one third of the total cost of the tunnel. Linings are required to have a long life, low
maintenance, small deformation under load, simplicity of construction and the use of local materials
for economy.
The choice of lining type is usually dependent upon the ground material and method of tunnel
construction.

Insiw Concrete linings are commonly used in conventionally driven (drill and blast) tunnels and with
sound rock. Large travelling forms follovv behind the face and the line is poured in sections by means
of a concrete pump. Once the concrete has hardened sufficiently, the form is lowered and rolled along
to complete the next section. Grouting the voids between the ground and the lining is usually carried
out.
Shotcrete (sprayed concrete) linings are often used in tunnels driven through rock, in conjunction with
rock bolting, where the lining is not required to carry large loads. This can be an economical method

793

Chapter

Nine

as formwork is not required and the concrete is placed by spraying directly onto the rock under high
pressure. Shotcrete can be built up to quite thick layers with steel mesh reinforcement or fibre
reinforcement.

Precast Segmental Linings are often used in conjunction with TBMs where the placing of the segments
is incorporated into mechanisation of the tunnelling method. The segment placing operation is often
within the tailpiece of the TBM and consists of placing precast segments in a ring around the tunnel
and sealing the gap between the segments and the ground with a grout applied under pressure.
Steel and Cast Iron Linings for tunnels have largely been superseded due to the advancement in
concrete technology and resultant reduced costs. However, steel linings (as a pipe) may still be used for
tunnels carrying high internal hydraulic pressures.

Pipes and Tubes


Pipes and tubes are a form of ground support used particularly in the construction of small diameter
holes. There are a wide variety of techniques available today in Australia for installing such pipes and
tubes many of which involve trenchless methods such as pipe jacking and micro tunnelling.

Pipe jacking is one specific trenchless technique for installing pipes of man-entry size (generally greater
than 900mm) by using hydraulic rams to push sections of the pipe into a hole formed by a cutting
head or shield.

5.6

Trenchless Technology

Trenchless technology largely eliminates open-cut excavation for underground pipes (and cables). A
variety of techniques is used for installing, replacing or renovating subsurface utilities without
disturbing the surrounding ground or surface conditions, apart from discrete pit locations.
The principal techniques for 'horizontal boring', described in Table 1, include the actions of pushing,
hammering and cutting (by scraping, grinding or eroding).
Contemporary horizontal boring systems include electronic instrumentation for locating, tracking
and possibly steering the drilling head. Pipe jacking and microtunnelling applications are depicted in
Figures 1 and 2. In unstable and waterbearing ground, the use of a slurry or earth-pressure balanced
shield tunnelling machine may be indicated.

Technique

Microtunnelling
Pipe jacking

Description

Rotary boring with a small, steerable


tunnelling machine

I Pipe pushed through using a hydraulic jack


I

Thrust boring

Solid tool pushed through to make a hole,


without rotation or impact

Impact moling

I Solid tool hammered through using


1

Impact ramming

I Diameter (mm)

hydraulic or pneumatic percussion

150-900

30

' 50-150

150-150

i
i

I
i

50-1200

20

I 2o-3o
Ii

Rotary drilling with a helical flight (screwlike) drill stern

100-1500

Directional drilling

Rotary drilling with various types of drill bit


and possibly a steering head

50-1500

Jet cutting

High pressure water jets used (distinct from i 50-250


low-pressure jetting)

[ 20-130
i

794

30-1000

>90

j Pipe hammered through using an impact

Table 1: Horizontal Boring

I 30-165

1tool
Augering

I Length (mm)

65-1500
20-150

UNDERGROUND TECHNOLOGY

Figure 1: Pipejacking

A small diameter guided boring system is shown in Figure 3. The soil conditions at a site will
influence the selection of an appropriate boring technique, and also the length of horizontal bore
which is feasible. The suitability of various techniques is rated against soil types in Table 2.
As well as installing new utilities, trenchless technologies are available for replacing, upgrading or
renovating existing pipes and cables. For example:
on-line replacement methods include extraction and pipe bursting.
structural renovation techniques include slip lining, spraying, temporary diameter reduction, soft
collapsed or folded liners, and spiral windings.

Figure 2: Microtunnelling arc river crossing

GUIOEORll~

FJELD POWER

BOAlNG UNIT

UNIT

FLUtUJEl HRILL *1"EAO

Figure 3: Guidedrill directional boring System

795

Chapter

Nine

Ground
Conditions

Pipe
Jacking

Micro
Tunnelling

Auger
Boring

Impact
Ramming

Directional
Drilling

Impact

Jet
Cutting

i Moling

Thrust
Boring

Soft to very soft clays, silts and


organic deposits

and highly

Very loose to loose sands above and

below the water table


Medium to dense sands above the
water table

Medium to dense sands below the


water table
I

Gravels and cobbles less than 50100mm d.

Soils with significant cobbles,


boulders and obstructions larger than
100-150mm d.
Weathered rocks, marls, chalks and
firmly cemented soils
Slightly weathered to unweathered
rocks

Medium to very stiff clays and silts


Hard

Generally suitable: by
experienced contractor
with suitable equipment

I
I

0 I 0

I 0

i
I

I
I

I 0
II
I

I
I

0 I 0
I

Difficulties may occur: some


modifications of equipment and/or
operating procedures may be needed

!
j
I

I 0

iI

II

i'

i
I

I
I

Substantial problems: generally


unsuitable or unintended for these
conditions

Table 2: Ground conditions and the Suitablity of Various Trench less Methods

6.

CURRENT TECHNOLOGY OVERSEAS

6. 1

Overview

Overseas tunnelling markets are much larger than that in Australia, as illustrated by the following
statistics:
in USA, tunnel contracts are worth about $1.3 billion per year;
in Japan in 1990, the value of tunnelling work was approximately $23 billion;
also in Japan, private sector R&D spending for underground construction is of the order of $150
million per year (5% of relevant turnover);
the Japanese government allocated $200 million over 7 years for R&D targeting underground
infrastructure in Tokyo (specifically, large spherical cavities to be constructed by remote-controlled
equipment in soft-saturated rock at depths of more than 50 m below the water table) and
in Australia rhe value of tunnelling averages approximately $200M a year.
Naturally, the large overseas markers for underground space also include very large projects, widely
distributed in place and time, for example

Large Undersea Tunnels


The major undersea tunnels listed in Table 3 are notable for their size and/ or complexity, and may be

796

UNDERGROUND TECHNOLOGY

regarded as milestones in the development of tunnelling technology. The mam features that make
deep underwater tunnels different from land tunnels are:
reduced accuracy of underwater geological investigation,
great length of uninterrupted single drives,
high pore water pressures and seepage gradients,
large long term loads due to hydrostatic pressure and
requirement for high speed tunnelling systems to reduce construction time and financing costs.
Tunnel

Country

Kanmon

Japan

Seikan
Chunnel
Storebaelt
Gibralter

I
I
I

Japan
UK-France
Denmark
Spain-Morocco

I
!

I
I
I

I
I
I

Length (km)

19.3

53.8
49.3
7.9
53.6

I
I

Depth (m)

240 (deep)
100
shallow
deep

Dates

/ completed 1944

I
'

I
I

1969-1984
1986-1991

II completed 1995
!

under study

Table 3: Notable Undersea Tunnels

For very deep undersea tunnels (like the Seikan), grouting the ground ahead of tunnelling is
appropriate not only for construction purposes, but also to reduce the long term loading on the
tunnel lining. For high performance tunnelling (as in the Chunnel), sophisticated TBMs must be used.

6.2

Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs)

Modern hard rock TBMs, which have been developing since about 1950, are predominately used and
produced in Europe and USA. The technology is now highly developed both for machine control
and for the disc cutters, which have a crushing action on the rock.
Soft Ground TBMs have developed in recent years in two forms; the slurry shield (originating in the
UK) and the earth-pressure balance shield (from Japan). The slurry shield uses a pressurised bentonite
slurry to support the ground, instead of the earlier use of compressed air which was both expensive
and dangerous. The earth pressure balance method controls the rate of removal of the loosened soil to
maintain support for the tunnel face. A variation of these methods, called the 'Shaving Foam' Shield,
uses a chemical foam to support and stabilise the ground.
The state-of-the-art in TBMs is illustrated in the following developments:
automatic shield guidance systems based on laser technology.
automatic segment handling including storage, loading and transport through the tunnel, assembly
of tunnel lining and installation of bolts. This approach is faster and more accurate than
conventional methods.
high pressure tail seals for the joint between shield and completed lining.
slipformed reinforced concrete lining, the alternative to segmental lining, which can be used for
both hard and soft ground conditions.
non-circular cross sections to improve space utilisation, achievable by adding trim cutters behind
the main cutter, and also by having a moveable main cutter head.
multi-face shields to produce a tunnel cross-section of overlapping circles, and optimise the tunnel
configuration for its intended use. Double overlapping tunnels can be twisted while driving from
a horizontal to vertical orientation of the cross-section. Multi-face shields can be detached while
driving to form a bifurcation of the tunnel. A triple shield is also in use.
vertical to horizontal shield providing for the construction of a shaft and tunnel in soft,
waterlogged ground using an adjustable TBM. After boring the vertical shaft, the cutterhead and
shield are reduced in size and rotated to the horizontal direction.

197

Chapter

6.3

Nine

NATM (Nevv Austrian Tunnelling Method)

Also referred to as the 'sequential support method' or the 'observational method', NATM is neither
new nor strictly a tunnelling method. However, the term is widely used to denote the following
combined procedures:
immediate support of tunnel excavations by shotcreting (spraying concrete) and/ or systematic
ground anchoring.
instrumentation and monitoring of ground movement (tunnel convergence) and other
geotechnical parameters.
The observed ground response to the tunnelling process is used for continually adjusting the design of
the support system to optimise the tunnel structure. The use of shotcrete usually includes mesh
reinforcement, and additional support elements such as lattice arches may be used.
NATM is a pragmatic technique which is extremely flexible and can be used in a wide variety of
ground conditions. However, in soft ground, additional stabilisation measures may be required, such as
grouting and soil nailing. The flexibility of NATM accommodates changes in the cross-sectional
geometry of tunnels. It was therefore the construction method selected for the Chunnel crossover
caverns. A similar approach was used for a 61m span cavern in Norway designed as the venue for ice
hockey and 5,000 spectators at the Winter Olympic Games.

6.4

Rock Savv Precutting

An unusual tunnelling method, mechanical rock saw precutting involves cutting a slot with a
chainsaw-like milling machine. The saw travels around a frame shaped to the tunnel cross-section.
Cutting is usually conducted in five stages around the periphery, with the slot for each stage being
filled immediately with wet shotcrete. Thus, a concrete shell is formed around the tunnel section
before it is excavated, in contrast to more conventional approaches in rock.
The cutter blade is angled slightly outwards so that the precut slots have a conical shape, each one
overlapping with the previous one. If necessary in soft ground, grouting of the surrounding soil ahead
of the excavation can be conducted from within each slot. The main excavation, and additional
support if necessary for the overlapping concrete shells, may be undertaken by conventional methods.

6.5

Horizontal Secant Piling

This technique uses 'horizontal piles' of various types, either contiguous or overlapping in crosssection (i.e. secant piles), as temporary ground support for a tunnel excavation. As with the precutting
method (above), the piles are angled slightly outwards so that they form a conical arch, which overlaps
longitudinally with similar adjacent arches.
The horizontal piles may be:
formed in-situ by grouting or soil stabilisation or
installed by a combination of pipe jacking and micro tunnelling.

6.6

Ground Freezing

Ground freezing is used as a dual purpose system for providing temporary support and simultaneous
groundwater exclusion during construction of shafts and tunnels.

6. 7

Drill and Blast Excavation

The technology of drill and blast excavation has developed so that blasting vibrations can be
controlled to a high degree. An example of this was in Sweden, where a network of access tunnels
under a hospital was constructed by drill-and-blast.

798

UNDERGROUND TECHNOLOGY

An aid in reducing blast vibration is computer controlled rock drilling, because of its accuracy.
Automatic positioning of the drill rig, combined with extensive data logging and remote control, also
improve productivity.
Overall efficiency can be greatly enhanced with integrated drill-blast-shoot systems, with which
evacuation of the blast area is not required. These systems use pumpable or impact sensitive explosives.
Other methods are secondary rock-breaking technologies such as electrical/thermal, chemical
splitters, mechanical splitters, impact hammers, water impact, customised explosives, projectiles and
resonant impact.

6.8

Tunnel Bag-Sealing Systems

Airbag seals are a proven safety technology for sealing tunnels, to divert ventilation or prevent gas
escape. Bag-seals can also be filled with blast and fire suppressing media, to control blast overpressures
and flame fronts.

6.9

Numerical Analysis

The techniques of numerical modelling and analysis for underground structures are relatively well
developed, including continuum and discontinuum methods. The former include elastic, elasto-plastic,
finite element and finite difference solutions. A discontinuum approach using distinct elements may
be more appropriate for modelling the behaviour of jointed media subjected to quasi-static or
dynamic conditions.
These techniques can be used with personal computers, work stations or high performance
computers to predict, analyse, simulate and design for:
ground subsidence owing to excavation
ground-structure interaction
slope stability
excavation support
sequential construction methods
Conceptually, numerical modelling can be extended to the simulation and visualisation of the
underground environment, with potential to 'see through the ground'. The possibility of producing
3D maps of the underground is discussed in Chapter 10, 'Research & Development to Underground
Use'.

7.

VENTILATION OF UNDERGROUND SPACE

The ventilation of underground space is a topic that is commonly raised by the general public as an
area of concern in their perception of the safety of underground space usage. It can also be a costly
addition to an underground project.

7.1

Reasons for Ventilation

Ventilation of underground developments is required for the majority of urban area uses. This
ventilation can occur naturally or by artificial means such as fans.
The need for ventilation usually derives from the use of the underground space. Commonly fresh air
requirements for occupants dictate the air circulation needed. Air quality standards, based upon
medical criteria, are set by the National Health and Medical Research Council for various pollutants.
For road tunnels maximum pollutant levels due to vehicle exhausts have been set to provide safe
exposure for the vehicle occupants and for worker protection. The most common method of control

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is by means of dilution of the polluted air with fresh air introduced at the portals.
Ventilation can also be required if air temperature or odour levels are to be reduced in underground
spaces. Rail tunnels can be subjected to high air temperatures due to the waste heat from trains and
their passengers. In some caverns and tunnels ventilation is required to reduce air temperatures due to
the high rock temperatures encountered at depth.
Smoke control ventilation systems are usually installed in underground spaces where the risk of fire is
significant or where the consequences of the fire or smoke are serious. Ventilation is also needed
during construction to provide fresh air and to control the level of dust and pollutants from
equipment during the excavation phase. This ventilation is a temporary system and is not part of the
final installation.

7.2

Types of Ventilation

Natural ventilation due to the 'chimney' effect can be used to assist ventilation and for short tunnels
the piston action of vehicles can be sufficient to avoid the need for fan ventilation systems. However
for long tunnels extensive ventilation systems are required to meet air quality standards.
For road tunnels longitudinal air flow can be induced by fans in the tunnel crO\vn for tunnels up to 2
km long. Thereafter semi-transverse ventilation systems are often used whereby air from a supply duct
is fed into the tunnel at closely spaced inlets along the tunnel and the air returns longitudinally along
the road space usually to a portaL A variety of other ventilation arrangements are also used to provide
fresh air and to remove pollutants from road tunnels.
The cost of provision, operation and maintenance of these ventilation systems is significant for road
tunnels, but less so for rail and sewerage tunnels. Where tunnels or basements are constructed in
trenches or open cuts that are relatively shallow, then the provision of roof openings or slots can
significantly lower ventilation system costs as well as provide daylight to underground space.

7.3

Trends in Regulation Requirements and Standards

Air Quality Standards and Occupational Health and Safety Standards have generally become more
stringent during recent years.
Road tunnels have seen the allowable maximum limits of carbon monoxide (CO) reduce from 400
parts per million (ppm) to less than 100 ppm. However, vehicle emissions have become cleaner due to
regulation. With the reduced level of CO in car exhausts the critical pollutants can now be nitrous
oxides or hydrocarbons. Again, these pollutants are usually managed down to acceptable levels by
dilution. In the future, air purification systems are likely to be developed that remove pollutants from
the air, thereby reducing the large qualities of air now needing to be handled. The difficulty in
developing systems to date stems from the need to handle large volumes of air with relatively low
levels of contamination.
Ventilation systems to control smoke are now an important requirement of new underground
facilities and tunnels. Well ventilated emergency egress routes are a necessary part of the planning,
design and construction of underground facilities.
The siting of surface structures for air intakes or exhausts and for equipment and personnel access can
be difficult in inner city urban areas. Visual, noise and air pollution constraints often arise but can
usually be satisfied by careful and sensitive design treatment. Numerous examples are present whereby
these functional requirements are integrated with existing buildings, structures or surroundings, e.g.
the air outlets and intakes for the Opera House carpark in front of the forecourt and the Harbour
Bridge pylons for air exhaust from the Sydney Harbour TunneL

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UNDERGROUND TECHNOLOGY

8.

WATERPROOFING OF UNDERGROUND SPACE

Other commonly expressed concerns of the general public are the safety and structural life of
underground facilities that are below ground water levels.
Underground spaces need to be protected from the ingress of water in order to provide a safe and
comfortable environment for human occupation as well as to protect any machinery or equipment
installed therein. Furthermore, in certain environs the structure itself needs to be protected so that it
has an adequate life span and reasonable maintenance costs.
Besides the need to control the quantity of water entering a tunnel or structure so that pumping costs
are acceptable, it is important for aesthetic reasons that any such leakage not be evident in the normal
use of the space.
This ingress of ground water can be controlled by a number of ways, such as:
Collection of water in drains external to the structure and connected to a sump containing
pumps. This is often used in underground car park areas so as to reduce seepage over the concrete
surfaces and to reduce water pressures on the floor and walls, thereby providing an economic
structure.
Sealing of the perimeter walls and floors with membranes, waterstops or coatings.
Grouting of the surrounding ground to reduce or prevent water entering the structure.
Allowing the water to penetrate the structure usually at joints and thereafter collect the seepage in
drains hidden behind cavity walls.
The most common method of waterproofing structures is to provide a structural concrete lining that
resists the external hydrostatic and ground loads and controls the water inflow. The concrete needs to
be dense, durable and free of large cracks. The joints between adjacent concrete pours or between
precast units need to be sealed and/ or drained. Waterstops are generally provided at joints in concrete
to prevent or at least reduce water flow through the joint by providing a continuous seal. They are
used in underground basements, tanks, dams, immersed tubes and cut and cover tunnels. Waterstops
come in a variety of rigid or semi-flexible material types including copper, stainless steel, plastics
(PVC), elastomeric rubber, hydrophilic injectable resins, clays and the like. The most common
material is PVC because of its elasticity, resistance to aging, alkalis, acids, ozone and many other
chemicals.
Concrete can be placed insitu by pumping or via shotcrete applications or by erection of precast
concrete segments. With precast concrete the sealing of joints is particularly important due to the
length of these joints. Modern erection methods allow near automated placement of these segments
in tunnels. Sealants are used on the variety of precast concrete joint shapes. Common types of sealants
include bituminous gaskets, caulking materials, epoxy, rubbers and plastics.
In summary a waterproof structure can be readily constructed provided a sound and durable concrete
is placed, joints are suitably treated and drainage systems installed. Where leakage does occur for
whatever reason, maintenance and repair methods are available to reduce the inflows and to protect
the structure and the finishes or the equipment within the underground space.

9.

TRENDS IN TECHNOLOGY

9.1

Explosives and the Trend tovvards Mechanical Excavation

In recent history (the past 15 years) the technology surrounding explosives has advanced to the extent
that more stable high powered explosives are available for a range of applications. These advances are
complemented by improved initiation devices (detonators).
The use of non electric detonators and a wide range of millisecond delay detonators has meant that
large blast patterns may be used with lower vibration emissions and air overblast pressures resulting.

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This aspect of technological improvement has been extremely important for environmental
considerations in the urban areaso
Notwithstanding the advances in explosives there has been an even greater technological
advancement towards the use of mechanical equipment which is now cost competitive with the use
of explosives for hard rock excavationo
Improvements in:
hydraulics,
electronic control systems,
steel material designs and
cutting pick profiles
have meant that equipment such as road headers (for tunnelling), tunnel boring machines and rock
breakers are increasingly more capable of the rapid excavation of significantly harder rock strata than
was possible as little as five years agoo
Consequently as these machines become larger with greater engine power and break out force
capabilities, we will continue to see an increase in the economic viability for underground space in
con1petent rock stratao

9.2

Exotic Excavation Methods

As the technology advances, we will see the development of


laser excavation methods,
the use of continuous chain rock saws to excavate the rock in blocks which will then be reusable
as masonry,
chemical excavation techniques that are cost efficient, silent and environmentally unobtrusive and
robotics for excavation and support installationo

9.3

Transportation Methods

Technological improvements will not be limited to the excavation process aloneo


Currently the majority of excavations incorporate the use of conventional rail wagon spoil disposal
systems, rubber tyred trucks or conveyors bolted to the side walls of the tunneL
In the future we are likely to see:
an increase in slurry pipeline techniques for transfer of spoil over long distances,
use of pneumatic transportation techniques and
recycling of spoil material as part of the transportation process through cyclones, and crushers and
then conveyor transporc

9.4

Soft Ground Improvement and Excavation Methods

The use of the following methods will become more commonplace and economical as the need
develops for underground space concepts to be located in water charged sands and soft clayso
Ground Freezing: This technique is currently limited due to its cost, the time to set up the process
and the resultant heave of the ground when the ground water is frozeno Notwithstanding these issues
ground freezing has its uses and we are likely to see more applications in this country
Jet Grouting: This technique involves the pressure injection of cement grout into soft alluvial soils to
fill the voids in the soil matrix which then offers solidification and renders the ground excavatable
with limited supporto The technique has been used in other parts of the world and will soon be seen
in Australiao

202

UNDERGROUND TECHNOLOGY

Earth Pressure Balance Shield Tunnelling Machine

Earth Pressure Balance and Slurry Machines: The advances recently made in earth pressure balance
machines will continue to develop as the use of slurries and purpose designed tunnel boring
machines result in the advancement of economical excavation of soft, water charged ground.
Machines that are capable of handling a variety of ground conditions within the one machine are
available and while expensive will extend the usefulness of the equipment and reduce the risk of
delays.

9.5

Construction Philosophies

We are likely to witness the increased use ofTop-Down construction techniques, in which the
subsurface excavation proceeds after the erection of a superstructure.
There are clear benefits for high rise buildings and for the avoidance of disruption to road traffic with
the placement of cut and cover tunnels under or through existing roads. The construction technique
will reduce the environmental impact on adjacent areas, particularly the noise exposure and can give
programme advantages to reduce overall construction time.

9.6

Design and Construction Automation

Advanced electronic technologies are developing rapidly towards the automation of construction
processes applicable to the underground. This trend is discussed in Chapter 10 - 'Research and
Development to Underground Use.'
Software development in both design and construction activities is contributing significantly to the
reduction of costs and construction duration as well as improvements in safety. Because of the high
level of software development skills, present in Australia, opportunities to use this competitive
advantage in underground projects and for underground equipment should be pursued.

10.

BENEFITS OF TECHNOLOGY

In common with other technologies, the technology associated with underground construction has
developed rapidly in response to demand, competition, legislation and community involvement.
The influence of legislation and regulation on technology is twofold. Firstly, it can facilitate demand,
by obliging or favouring certain areas to be located underground, for example car parking. Secondly,
it can directly affect the technology itself by way of design standards or environmental restrictions
such as noise and air pollution levels.
In a given legislative environment the decision whether to go underground and, if so how, will drive
technology towards efficiency in the following respects:
construction cost,
speed of construction (holding costs),
reduction of risk,
safety in the construction process,
environmental impact of the construction,
durability of the structure and
reduced disruption to surface activities

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The priorities given to these aspects will vary widely depending on circumstances, and the way in
which they are addressed will be affected by market size, the relative cost of labour, capital and
materials and a large number of other factors. In the Australian market place, technological
developments have allowed considerable progress to be made across the board by improvements in
design methods, machinery efficiency, materials development and construction concepts. A substantial
proportion of the progress has been made possible by reference to technology developed overseas.
Much existing overseas technology, not employed at present in Australia, could be viably introduced if
a stronger culture of underground development were to emerge. Similarly future technological
advances would be immeasurably stimulated by a larger local market. The benefits of such
development can be appreciated qualitatively by reference to the past:

Construction Cost
The real direct cost of underground construction has fallen substantially in real terms, possibly of the
order of 40% in 10 years.

Speed of Construction
Similarly, the costs associated with project duration, principally holding costs, have been greatly
reduced by improved outputs and time saving design and construction concepts. The importance of
this component of cost can be paramount in a CBD environment where the purchase of the land is a
large proportion of development costs.

Reduction of Risk
An objective view of the past would reveal that a significant proportion of underground
developments have proceeded without suffering from major mishaps. Nevertheless, technological
developments have undoubtedly led to a considerable reduction in risk, particularly in the last 20
years. This is of course of direct benefit, but in addition, it positively effects the perception of the
underground as a source of development space. At present this perceived risk and the cost are the
greatest factors mitigating against progress in this direction.

Safety in the Construction Process


Improvements in safety records owe as much to education and increased awareness as they do to
technological advance. However, since underground construction has involved inherent dangers, the
lower the manpower within the tunnel or excavation the fewer accidents are likely to occur. One of
the major consequences of the newer technologies is the substantial reduction in labour requirements.
Increasing use is also made of remote control which distances operators from the source of danger.

Environmental Impact of the Construction


The environmental impact on the construction processes has not been a primary force for technical
development beyond the extent to which it has been assisted by regulation. Regulators, however, have
a great deal to say on the subject and some traditional technologies would simply not be permitted in
a CBD environment on the basis of noise levels, dust limits and safety. Similarly, toxic chemicals used
in the past for grouting in association with underground works would be extremely closely controlled
now and this has led to the development of non-toxic substitutes.

Reduced Disruption to Surface Activities


In the current state of technology, and for the foreseeable future, major maintenance and replacement
of underground facilities are far more expensive than the equivalent exercises above ground. The role
of technology in this regard is to develop materials and methods to prolong the life of new structures
and to develop techniques for the maintenance and replacement of existing facilities. Much work has

204

UNDERGROUND TECHNOLOGY

been done in this domain, particularly m connection with trenchless methods for replacing
underground pipelines.

Durability of the Structure


The development of new and improved materials, including more environmentally acceptable
materials, is a high prioriry of the construction industry. This is one of the major factors leading to the
reduction of costs and construction duration.
Australia is recognised as a world leader in the development and application of underground mining
technology. Extension of the relevant parts of this technology into the engineering of underground
space in urban areas is a challenge for both the mining and civil engineering disciplines.

11.

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

11 .1

Conclusions

Australia is well able to design, construct and manage future major underground projects.
State of the art technology continues to be used throughout Australia on underground projects in
urban areas.
The cost and duration of underground construction continue to decrease relative to above
ground construction.
Technology improvements have led to high levels of safery in underground civil engineering
projects.
Microtunnelling and other trenchless technologies are making rapid advances particularly m
renewal and replacement of utiliry infrastructure.

11 .2

Recommendations

Australia should facilitate technology transfer in order to obtain the benefits of international
experiences and equipment development.
Industry should take advantage of important export opportunities that are occurring in Asia on
major tunnel projects including software development, management, consulting and contracting.
Significant environmental and cost benefits can be available to local governments provided they
are aware of the technology advances in trenchless technology.
The Warren Centre should continue the process of bringing together the need, the available
technology and the resources so that a true evaluation of the benefits of underground space is
made.

205

UNDERGROUND

SP~C, E

IN

THE

URBAN

ENVIRONMENT

DEVELOPMENT

AND

USE

I'

I .

''

..

-,

'

.'

I,

TECHNICAL PAPERS
,.

.,l

.
.

'

Chapter Ten

,.
'

Research and Deve'l optnent t~


Undergroun~ Use

-'

'

\.

'

Authors
'. .

Graham Fountain
Gavin Dona ld
P eter Buckle
Beverley Forner
..John H enderson
David Ho
R o n l,.ister
Rachel P e rry
Peter S h e lton

,.

,,
.I.

..

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT TO UNDERGROUND USE

Chapter Ten
Research and Developtnent to
Underground Use
SUMMARY
The increased interest and activity in use of underground space presents an opportunity for research and
development into its many facets to improve techniques and increase opportzmities. This chapter describes the
potential for research and development (R&D), assesses the 11eed for R&D and outli11es the scope for
commercialisation cf R&D in undetgrozmd technology.

1.

BACKGROUND

Since prehistoric times, humans have excavated caverns, tunnels, and other underground spaces for protection,
storage, shelter and to preserve the earth's suiface. Today, underground use touches our lives in 111al1}' ways providing space and protection for many essential services such as water, waste, powez; m1d transport- but it is
invisible. This invisibility is one of its assets, but also makes it difficult to appreciate, visualise and plmz foz: This
chapter describes the potential for research and development, assesses the need for R&D, and outli11es the scope for
commercialisation of R&D in unde~ground technology.

NEED FOR GENERAL


EXPANSION OF
UNDERGROUND UTILISATION

MORE COST EFFECTIVE

SeHer Design More Efficient


Technology
Construction

Site
Investigation

Products

Processes

Data
Collection
Long-Term
Research

Surface &
Borehole
Geophysics

Sea-anead

Grounn
Improvement

Complex 3-D
Problems

I
I

New
Systems

Repair and Environmental


Replacement
Issues

Efficient
Utilization

Integration

Safer
Construction
and Use

Public
Risk

Monitoring

Automation in
E.Icavalion

Freight

Transport in
Pipelines

Systems

Database

Database

Non-

GIS

GIS

Automation in

Excavation

Automation In
Excavation

Destructive
Evaluation

Neural

Rehabilitation

Technologies

Networts

Data Analysis

Expert Systems

case Histories
Field Testing

Fundamental,,

Gee mechanics

Policy
Education
and
Technology
Transfer

HIGHER
EXPECTATIONS

SUSTAINABLE

Indirect Costs

Trans1erto Practice

Polley
Issues

Corrosion/
longevity

I
II Trnn~erJo II

U/g vs Surtaci
Environmental

Practice

Polley Issues

I
I
I

Design for
People

I
Risk
Assessment

Safely
Codes

Policy Issues

R Sterling Jan t 995

Figure 1: Technology Mapping Chart for Underground Space Utilisation

207

Chapter

Ten

Figure 2: Cross-Disciplinary Interactions Among Thrust Areas

Colloquium Participants (Sterling 1995a).

In identifYing the invisibility of underground space as a basic problem for planning its use, the above
quotation also points to the area of greatest potential for research and development. Broad R&D
needs for underground space, as given in Figure 1, were an outcome of the Colloquium in
Minnesota, USA (Sterling 1995b). From this technology development map, research needs were
grouped into the following five areas, which are interrelated as shown in Figure 2:
geology and geophysics ('seeing' through the ground),
design methods, materials and construction systems,
data structures and Geographic Information Systems (GIS),
assessing condition; predicting longevity; in-situ rehabilitation and
planning; risk assessment; new systems.
For the purpose of this paper, the discussion ofR&D will focus on the research areas likely to:
have the most impact on practice in terms of safety and economy, and
be the most compatible with Australian skills and industry.
Australian R&D activities related to advanced technology have been reasonably successful
internationally. Logically, this strength should be coupled with the most obvious issue in underground
technology, that of its invisibility. In this way, the appropriate R&D strategy would be to focus on the
use of emerging technologies to tackle the problem of our inability to 'see' through the ground.

2.

OBJECTIVE

The objectives of the R&D chapter are to:


report on appropriate directions for R&D in technologies for planning and creating underground
space, and
facilitate private investment in R&D for underground technology.

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RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT TO UNDERGROUND USE

3.

ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY TRENDS

3.1

Intelligent Systems

Advanced electronic technologies, seen in the broad context of the computer revolution and the
information age, include the areas of
communications - sate!lite,fibre optics, infra-red /UHF elecrromag11etic waves,
sensing - ultrasonics, microwaves, lasers and
imaging- radm; infra-red, acm1stic waves, digital video.
The integration of computers with various sensing devices, to automatically perform some function,
has given rise to intelligent (or smart) technology Smart systems controlled by customised software
may use a combination of communication technologies. The feasibility of developing smart systems to
meet specific needs will improve as:
computers (especially PCs) become more powerful,
systems more integrated,
software more sophisticated,
sensors more prolific and
communication more diverse.
A familiar example of smart technology, based on satellite communications, is the Global Positioning
System (GPS) which has revolutionised:
navigation and tracking,
survey, positioning and machine control, and
mapping and geographic information systems (GIS).
Although GPS cannot be used underground, it is a very effective tool
construction automation.

3.2

111

the development of

Construction Automation

While not leading the charge towards automation, construction equipment has by no means escaped
the current proliferation of intelligent systems. State-of-the-art construction plant is rapidly becoming
smarter, with increasingly advanced control systems based on computers (or microprocessors).
For example:
remote control systems for tunnel boring machines use sensors for electronic guidance and 'seeing
ahead';
computerised management of machine functions is generally routine for sub-systems on maJor
plant;
computer aided earthmoving systems, including driverless trucks, are in pilot phase use and
autonomous construction machines are also emerging.
This sophisticated approach will offer benefits in time, cost, quality and safety, assuring the further
development of smart equipment and automation.
The above examples of advanced technology will benefit from data exchange with user information
systems and networks. To achieve seamless exchange of data will require the development of standards
and protocols. This broadly based development activity is already well established and will be an
ongoing process in the construction industry. The progressive integration of information technology
(IT) will also occur, increasing the degree of automation.
Currently, the two technology streams in the development of construction automation, as described
in Table 1, are tenuously linked. In future, these linkages will be strengthened and the streams will
merge.

209

Chapter

Ten

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

I Data exchange

Computer aided engineering (CAE)


Instrumentation to monitor and control
Intelligent control systems

.
.

.
.
.

Electronic positioning systems


Materials handling systems
Automated guided vehicles (AGV)

Smart construction plant


Autonomous machines

Information Technology (IT) Stream

Smart Equipment Stream

~r

Internet communications
Communications technology
Digital photography
Multimedia capability
Systems integration
Design model on-site (virtual reality)
Download to smart equipment

Table 1: Technology Streams in Construction Automation

The drive for research and development in construction automation is rooted in the competitive
nature of the industries involved. Largely, the impetus for this R&D is independent of any specific
needs in underground technology. Specific underground needs could relate, for example, to 'seeing'
the way ahead for an automated tunnelling machine. Tunnelling processes currently include
techniques to probe or sense ahead of the excavation. However, these techniques are slow and costly,
and provide very limited information on the overall geological conditions. The alternative (or
complementary) approach of geophysical testing on a broader scale also suffers significant limitations.
Naturally, the more data available the better, and a pooling of all data resources acquired over time is
proposed.
If a comprehensive database were available, containing data on local geological conditions and the
locations of existing man-made structures, the use of probing or sensing devices in construction
would be greatly enhanced. Comparisons of predicted with actual conditions and locations of
structures would be possible, and the information gained from probing and sensing could be used to
continually update the database. Of course, the usefulness of the database would extend beyond
construction, to all other aspects of creating and managing underground space, especially design and
planning.

Figure 3: Landsat image showing fault-line through granite

270

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT TO UNDERGROUND USE

3.3

Geophysical and Remote Sensing

In planning to go underground, the geological conditions must first be assessed on a broad scale. The
traditional approach has been for geologists to construct a qualitative model, by first mapping the
observable surface geology in two dimensions, and then inferring conditions in the depth dimension
from borehole data and geophysical techniques. The resulting product, which will vary from place to
place in reliability and utility, will reveal the major features of the subsurface geology and the principal
geological hazards, but it may not suffice for design purposes at the project scale. Also, urban sites may
present difficulties for geophysical testing because of high ambient levels of vibrational, electrical and
electromagnetic noise.
In recent years, the technology of urban geological mapping has developed rapidly, and techniques are
currently available to upgrade the detail of a geologic map by at least an order of magnitude (from a
horizontal resolution of tens of metres to about a metre). The new technologies have already
enhanced the geological map, but also offer great opportunities for the development of supporting
information technology.
At the broadest level, some geological features may be determined from satellite-based remote
sensing, as shown in Figure 3 where a fault-line through granite is evident (running downwards from
the top left corner, at about 20' to the vertical). Such macroscopic 'Landsat' imagery might be useful
in the planning process for underground space.
The sensing of subsurface geological conditions to greater depth and detail can be provided by
geophysical methods (Woods 1994, Stewart et al 1994) such as:
ground penetrating radar (pulsed microwaves),
electromagnetic profiling (variable frequency),
electrical resistivity (or conductivity),
magnetometry and microgravity and
seismic (acoustic waves) refraction and reflection, including
surface to borehole and cross-hole imaging (tomography)
vertical shear wave testing (particularly for material modules)
specialised techniques including Seismic Resonance Testing (SRT) and the 'Sewreel' test
(Coffey 1996).
These geophysical techniques are used for imaging the subsurface to a depth of up to 40 m. The use
of seismic techniques is illustrated in Figure 4. Specialised seismic techniques can provide 2D images
(depth sections) from the ground surface to a pipe (usually sewer). SRT deploys the seismic source in
the sewer and an array of geophone detectors at the surface. The reverse arrangement is used for the
UNDERWATER
TECHNIQUE

BOREHOLE
TECHNIQUE
BH

SEISMIC SOURCE
LOCATIONS

Figure 4: Seismic Refraction Testing

277

Chapter

Ten

'Sewreel' test, with the seismic source at the surface and a string of detectors pulled through the
sewer. Resolution varies with the technique applied, but generally seismic velocity boundaries can be
defined to within 0.5 m vertically and 1 m horizontally. This type of work has been widely used in
metropolitan areas, with reliable results.
The various geophysical methods have different strengths and weaknesses, and none of them provides
precise or clear images. Considerable skill is needed to interpret the data, and interpretation is assisted
by having several types of data which are complementary. Usually, processed data can be produced in
an ASCII format for direct input to commercially available contouring software. However, for Ground
Penetrating Radar, 'equipment specific' soft\:vare is required for data processing, interpretation and
final display.
For calibrating geophysical images, reference is usually made to borehole data. Of course, borehole
data are extremely useful in their own right, being the most detailed level of information obtainable.
While each borehole applies to only a point on the ground surface, many holes can provide a detailed
geological and groundwater profile. Cross-hole tomography can provide a further level of detail, i.e.
imaging bet\Veen boreholes.
Clearly, there is a high potential for generating large amounts of data in defining geological conditions
(i.e. natural structures). As data are collected over time for various purposes and projects, the results
should preferably be stored permanently for possible future use. This issue is discussed further in later
Sections.

3.4

Imaging of Subsurface Infrastructure

In urban areas, where most underground space development occurs, the underground environment
must be defined in terms of man-made structures, as well as natural ones. Man-made structures
include building foundations, tunnels, shafts, boreholes, utilities and all kinds of underground
development. The location, identification and imaging of this subsurface infrastructure may require
TRANSMITTING
ANTENNA

Figure 5: Object detection using Ground Penetrating Radar

modification of the geophysical methods mentioned above. Ground penetrating radar (GPR) is
generally used for detecting objects in the shallow subsurface region, vvhile seismic methods tend to
be used for deeper targets (Daniels and Roberts 1994). The GPR concept is illustrated in Figure 5.
Obvious sources of data for defining the underground built environment are building plans, work-asexecuted records, or physical checks on basements. Such data must be incorporated into a Geographic
Information System to facilitate underground mapping.
The future establishment of such an electronic database, of geological conditions and existing
structures, will be a high priority in R&D activities. Such a database would enable three dimensional
modelling of the underground for planning and design purposes.

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RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT TO UNDERGROUND USE

3.5

Numerical Modelling and Simulation

Design modelling or simulation of proposed development is a method of studying the behaviour of a


system by creating a model and processing it on a computer. Design options can be visualised in three
dimensions, and dynamic 'walk-, drive- or fly-through' modelling provides a sense of'virtual reality'.
To illustrate, drive-through modelling is being applied to Sydney's underground railway tunnels, as
described in Appendix 2. This modelling uses CAD (computer-aided design) software which,
generically, is undergoing rapid development.
The interaction of design alternatives with existing and potential site conditions can also be predicted
using structural analysis techniques. This modelling technique is essentially numerical; a set of
equations is used to represent the physical system. In order to create a model, comprehensive, digitised
information about existing conditions is essentiaL
Considering the huge amount of data that would be involved for the underground, high performance
computing would be appropriate for this modelling. The numerical model will need to be formed by
integration of existing data, if available and of useful veracity. These data would be derived from
interpreting measured geophysical information in a variety of formats. The resultant data must then be
interpolated into a regular mesh of appropriate resolution. This process will generate enormous
volumes of data, requiring reliable, cost effective management over extended periods.
Many of these challenges have already been faced by the petroleum and mining industries, for
example in reservoir, mine and earth modelling, an example of which appears in Appendix 3. This
cross industry experience will be useful in considering issues such as:
potential techniques for compression of the data for large regular areas;
uniform representation of data, and the scale and uniformity of resolution; e.g. 10 mm or 100 mm
in all dimensions, or different resolutions for different dimensions;
conversion of data from differing grid systems into one common grid and
combining data from various sources, including a blend of 2D and 3D data;e.g. borehole logs,
aerial and seismic surveys, graphical images, existing maps and plans.
The development of simulation of underground space is likely to emulate the evolution of
computational disciplines in other areas. During the last three decades, computational science has
grown to be a full partner with theoretical and experimental science.
For underground space, what has been lacking to date is:
the confluence of information acquisition techniques;
computational tools of a magnitude to address the volume of information m a commercially
useful timeframe and
algorithms to integrate disparate CAD and earth models.
The techniques of numerical modelling and simulation for underground structures are relatively well
developed, including the following applications:
prediction of ground subsidence owing to excavation,
ground-structure interaction,
stability analysis,
parametric studies in the design of excavation support and
simulation of sequential construction methods.
High performance computers can cope with large 3D geometries, perform numerical calculation at
high speed, and provide high resolution real-time visualisation. However, the setting up of a model
ready for simulation is often very time consuming, with a vast amount of digitised data coming from
different sources (spatial information on existing structures, geological conditions and ground
properties).

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Ten

To mmimise the data manipulation required in such cases, an integrated methodology should be
developed using appropriate software. Some commercially available pre-processing software can, to a
limited extent, read in data in various formats. Very often, the designers are required to idealise and
simplifY the model. Specific programming command language may need to be written to perform
certain tasks, such as filtering out unwanted data in the pre-processing stage.
Future R&D should address the efficiency of the user-machine interface making pre-processing
highly automated, but flexible enough to allow for "fine tuning" of the model should additional
information become available. An integrated methodology should be formulated, and the software
identified or developed with a user friendly graphical interface. Its ultimate goal will be to extend our
ability to predict behaviour for design alternatives under realistic site conditions.
To illustrate the state of the art in 3D underground modelling for structural analysis, a demonstration
exercise is described in Appendix 4 (after Fells, 1990).

4.

MODELLING OF THE UNDERGROUND


ENVIRONMENT

4.1

Underground Maps

The purpose of an underground database would be to enable us in a sense to see, or to improve our
existing degree of vision, through the ground. This would have implications right across the
development and use of underground space; for planning, design, construction and management. We
cannot 'inspect' a potential underground development site, in the normal sense, to see the scope for
facility development. Clearly, there is a basic need for three dimensional 'maps' (or models) of the
underground, based on information from various sources, such as:
geology and groundwater,
public utilities (power, communications, gas, water, etc),
building foundations and basements and
transport infrastructure including carparks.
Conceptually, a hand-held computerised display could show a 3D model of the underground
wherever the user stands, on-site, with the orientation of the model aligned with the user's sight
direction. This futuristic vision has been adopted in this report as the R&D goal for a 3D map of the
underground.
The modelling task involves not only database development, but also visualisation techniques. The
massive amounts of data which are collected in geophysical investigations must be integrated with
infrastructure GIS data and CAD models. The tasks of integrating data and information systems for
the underground are significant IT issues, as are the issues of
collection of information (geology, utilities, buildings, transport),
data processing, including structural analysis,
presentation of the information, as in a 3D 'map' or model and
long term data management.
In the collection of information, there are two phases which must be addressed separately:
identification and availability of existing information and
acquisition of new information.
Existing information includes building plans; utility records (conduits, pipes, cables, etc) from the time
of installation; and more recent survey information to locate existing utilities. In Sydney, which is
probably typical, these data cannot necessarily be relied upon as they are likely to be incomplete, of
variable quality, and to have changed over time. Further, the data might not be made available by the

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RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT TO UNDERGROUND USE

holders, for commercial and/ or legal reasons.


Such data could perhaps be made obtainable through legislation, for the purpose of producing 3D
maps of the underground. In this case, the issue of data accuracy could be handled by probabilistic
methods of reliability assessment. The outcome of such a process would be an indication of the:
degree of uncertainty of geological zonation and
probability of conflict with utilities in design and construction activities.
The concept of reliability assessment would also apply to new underground data, which may be
generated by future survey activities. Although techniques for 'seeing' underground are rudimentary
compared to normal vision, some geophysical technologies are very promising, as already noted,
especially seismic and radar (GPR) systems. What will be needed in order to make better use of these
technologies is:
a tremendous amount of computer processing power;
algorithms to detect underground objects and generate images from the raw data and
a means to correlate these images with other data, especially for position.

4.2

Modelling with Large Data Sets

Simulation of the underground on the scale needed for planning, structural analysis, design,
construction and management functions will require the manipulation oflarge and complex data sets.
Before considering the computational issues, it is illustrative of the scope of the problem to consider
the impact of required resolution and size of the problem domain. It appears that useful resolution is
required down to 10 mm in order that the smallest, reasonably anticipatable conduits can be identified
and considered. Leaving aside the issue of GPR resolution capability and dwelling on the resultant
data volume problem, this resolution on a site 1,000 m2 and 200m deep would generate two hundred
trillion elements (2x101 4 ) in the representing mesh. A site 100m2 and 50 m deep would generate five
hundred billion elements (5x1 01 1). This size of site becomes tractable for numerical modelling at 100
mm resolution (within the bounds of existing supercomputing technology); it would generate five
hundred million elements (5x1 08).
Of course, this 'ball park' figure would be influenced by the data model or structure, which will
probably be that of a typical relational database. This will make use of 'blob data' to store spatial
coordinates and attribute tables to fully describe the relevant feature being stored. Network data such
as cabling and pipework can be stored in 3D 1inestring or arc form, with appropriate attribution. This
and other geometric data can then be modelled using CAD software. Probably, geological zone data
can also be stored in geometric format using triangulated meshes. These concepts, which are discussed
further in Section 5, will assist in optimising data quantity, storage and processing.
An important aspect of modelling this problem is the need to produce simulations in a useful time
frame, e.g. a simulation taking one week is unlikely to be of great use. In order that a usefully fast
simulation could be attempted with data volumes of this scale, it would be necessary to have large
proportions of the model resident in the computer's main memory. This therefore is a task for a
supercomputer, not a workstation.
Another aspect of the support of modelling of underground space is information management. There
are two main functions here: having the correct sets of data available when the user requires them, and
being able to reliably manage increasing numbers of large data sets over a long period. By no means
are these well resolved problems. Although physical storage of data has reached a high state of
functionality and reliability (together with relatively low cost per unit stored for large volumes),
management of where the data is stored and scheduling its recall are much less reliable. Eventually, a
custodian may be needed for underground data in each city, to be responsible for information
management, supply and integration.

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Chapter

4.3

Ten

High Performance Computing and Communications

As discussed elsewhere, all aspects of considering underground space require large and intensive
technology resources. The prospects of simulating development of underground space, whilst
conceptually simple, will require computational capabilities that are still close to the leading edge of
technology development.
Public expectations for realtime display of complex situations and simulations have developed far
beyond that capabilities of present technology. Despite the impact of computer animation in recent
motion pictures, presentations are only approaching realtime utilising exotic advanced technologies
and then still lack a significant degree of realism. As an example of the scale of visualisation difficulties,
it is necessary to provide near realtime pictures with an acceptable degree of realism.
The computational power necessary to simulate moving through, or around, a potential development
at random, and support this quality of visualisation, is likely to be considered as 'leading edge' for at
least several more years. It could be uncommon technology for a decade or more.

4.4

Geographic Information Systems

A geographic information system (GIS) stores data on or about the earth, including both the natural
and built environments. The data is stored in a consistent, common spatial form (using geographic
coordinates) in a continuous and seamless database. The GIS displays data at any scale in any
combination, integrating the graphical and non-graphical data.
GIS is being used increasingly for natural resource and asset management, as well as for business
applications including marketing. The analysis capability of GIS is dependent upon the quality and
coverage of the data, but is primarily two dimensional. The ability of GIS to undertake three
dimensional analysis, as required for underground modelling, is currently limited. However, software
from the mining industry seems to offer the desired 3D functionality for earth modelling, as it will
provide:

3D fusion facilities for combining data from various sources; eg borehole logs, classical survey, aerial surveys, seismic
surveys, geoteclmical data, third party modelling systems data, DXF logs, most ASCII lists, graphical images,
existing maps and plans, etc. It will allow the conversion of data from differing grid systems into one common grid.
Very importantly when dealing with data coming from older sources (or even most modern GIS systems), it can
utilise 3D information from one source to supplement the third coordinate of 2D data from other sources. (Shelton
1996)
In Australia over the past decade, the focus of GIS development has been on data collection. In recent
times the focus has shifted to the analysis and practical application of that data. However, some
significant barriers (related to data ownership and liability) need to be removed before the use of that
data can be optimised.
To provide for posterity, data must be adequately archived and preserved. Another issue, for use of the
data by future generations, is that of continuing ability to access the data as hardware and software
systems are superseded. Unfortunately, the issues of unsupported technology and data formats have
not been adequately resolved, to date. Unless appropriate steps are taken, much of the data which has
already been archived will be either very expensive to access, or will simply be lost.

4. 5

Progress in Sydney

Progress with the logging of underground assets in the Sydney area is summarised in Table 2. Some of
the problems encountered have been:
most data on GIS is only held in 2 dimensions - the vertical component is generally not held,
limiting its usefulness for 3D modelling and analysis;
data is collected at different scales, e.g. 1:500 for water infrastructure
1:100,000 for geology;

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RESEARCH ANO DEVELOPMENT TO UNDERGROUND USE

Utility

Authority

Comment

Completion

Electricity

Energy Australia
11ntegral Energy

Gas

IAGL, Gas Co

Telephone

ITelstra

I Optus

Sydney Water

Drainage

Local Councils
Sydney Water

Rail

Rail Access Corp


1 Roads

1996

Water/Sewerage

Roads-tun nels/cables

1996

various

Sydney
Western Sydney

I in progress
[ early stage

& Traffic Auth

I
Buildings

v
v
v
v
v

I in progress
11:100,000

Local Councils

early stage

Geology

IMining
Dept of Mineral Res
companies

Groundwater

IDept of Land and Water

not known

11:100,000
I

Conservation

I early stage
I

Table 2: logging of Underground Assets in Sydney Region

data is collected to different positional accuracies;


data is collected by offset (e.g. utilities) or absolutely (e.g. GPS)- variable accuracy levels/datums;
institutional resistance to combining data sets from diverse sources;
data pricing policies and
inconsistencies in data resulting from non-existent/insufficient standardisation.
The logging activity is being coordinated for a Sydney One Call Service (SOCS), to provide a focal
point of call for checking excavation proposals. Similar One Call Services already operate in
Melbourne and Perth. Potentially, this initiative could save millions of dollars per year by reducing
damage to underground utilities. Currently, the direct cost of repairs in Sydney is estimated to be $2.6
million annually, excluding the loss of sales by Utilities and the disruption cost to the community.

5.

DIRECTIONS FOR R&D IN UNDERGROUND SPACE

5. 1

R&D Needs

The broad R&D potential for underground technology was described in Figures 1 and 2. Within that
scenario, this discussion has deliberately focused on R&D needs in relation to advanced technology, as
that seems to be the most promising area for R&D in Australia. However, in the case of construction
automation and tunnelling technology, offshore development is already well established. Also, existing
market forces will ensure the development of construction technologies, independent of underground
use. Accordingly, attention may be focused elsewhere.
The primary need identified for underground technology development relates to visualisation of the
underground, that is, three dimensional computer modelling of the natural and built environment.
Thus, the direction for future R&D should be in acquiring the capability to produce 3D
computerised maps of the underground. Such maps should include highly detailed 3D rendering of
the geological conditions in the uppermost 30 to 60 m beneath an entire urban area. This will
involve:

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Ten

database development,
data interchange (spatial data transfer standard),
incentives for contributing existing data,
identifying minimum data sets for modelling,
managing data variation with time on a GIS and
appropriate visualisation.
The following types of input data will be required:
geology and groundwater,
public utilities (power, communications, gas, water, etc),
building foundations and basements and
transport infrastructure including carparks.
Except for the first category, these data relate to man-made structures which could be modelled using
CAD software, which currently offers 3D modelling of solid objects and rendered surfaces. Subject to
data handling capacity, perspective animation is also available, as described in Appendix 2 for Sydney's
underground railway tunnels.
The earth modelling vision described above is shared by the mining industry, for which a research
program was proposed in a recent discussion paper (Speight 1996). In part, that proposal was for 4 D
mine models in which time is the fourth dimension. These were also described as 'advanced temporal
deformation models of the rock mass and of discrete structures'. Thus, there might well be scope for a
cross industry, collaborative approach to R&D in earth modelling.
As noted earlier, mine modelling and CAD modelling are both well developed technologies. What is
needed to produce 3D underground maps for urban areas is a synthesis of these technologies, with
appropriate attention to the scale of the problem.

5.2

Database Concepts

The efficient provision and maintenance of underground infrastructure involves the need to access
and manipulate many potentially large and complex data sets. The data needs to include:
a record of geological conditions from investigations involving all types of geological data
borehole logs, field observations, probability-based interpretations of geological conditions, etc;
geometrical zonation, associated material properties with each zone, anticipated jointing or
faulting conditions, water table fluctuations, extent of zones of pollution, etc;
expected location of previously constructed facilities with an associated level of accuracy;
information on the nature, configuration, and condition of each existing underground facility and
planning constraints and zones, such as site reservation for future purposes.
Effectively managing this data is vital for design, contracting, construction, and maintenance of
underground infrastructure. Different entities currently gather the data required at various times, in
different formats, and for different purposes. Recently, attempts have been made to assemble and
organise this information into centralised databases. Organisations can use this information to provide
'one call' services that indicate the location of existing underground facilities before excavation.
Despite recent substantial progress in this regard, the depth of utilities is usually not provided, the
accuracy of information varies, and the information is separated from geological information.
Geographic databases are being used in this area as well as other arenas. Such databases provide a maporiented graphical user interface, which allows users to visualise the geographic information. The
relational engine provides special purpose data-structures for efficient storage and retrieval of
geographic information. A global positioning system also may be coupled to the database that allows
users to identify and track their location on a computer-stored map in real time without the need for

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RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT TO UNDERGROUND USE

a ground-based survey or reference.


The following properties characterise the data and information about underground infrastructure:
objects of interest are embedded in continuous three dimensional space;
spatial nerworks (e.g. gas pipelines) connect many individual objects of interest;
multiple administrative units are responsible for different maps (set of objects) that must be put
together to get the complete picture, and a wide variety of users must access the information;
knowledge of the zonation of geologic materials, the position of buried facilities, and the data
associated with such objects is not necessarily determinate, and visual representation of this
variability is desired;
the location of underground objects may change with time due to heave, settlement, or
reconstruction and
multiple alternative representations are needed by various end-users.
Most current databases and GIS sofrware are not adequate for effective management of information
about underground objects. All data will require attribution of accuracy and source so that reliability
levels can be established.

5.3

Data Model

Research is needed to define a suitable data model for optimal data storage, retrieval and analysis, with
potential for evolution of the model with the development of 3D mapping. Some initial concepts are:

Network Data
Data on cabling and pipe nerworks will require a structure which enables both spatial analysis (buffer
zones, clash points) and connectivity. In simple terms a nerwork can be stored as a 3D linestring or
arc, with appropriate attribution. By way of example a storm water drainage pipe could be described
as:
the upstream invert level (x,y,z),
the downstream invert level (x,y,z),
pipe internal diameter or section shape,
pipe external diameter or section shape,
material (concrete etc),
date last surveyed,
survey method,
surveyor I source of information,
date constructed,
date inspected/ cleaned,
connecting node upstream (pipe or manhole) and
connecting node downstream (pipe or manhole).
In this way report information is available in a form which can be transferred to spread sheet, input to
a storm water analysis application or used to automatically reconstruct the pipe as 3D geometry in a
CAD system. At the same time the tracking of source data and probable accuracy can be derived from
the same record of the pipe.
Such data could be extracted from a database server in a relatively efficient manner from database
inquiry either as text data (for end user manipulation/analysis) or a generated 3D CAD model in a
suitable format for say, referencing against an architectural design proposal.

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Ten

Underground Structures and Voids


These cover a wide variety of natural and man-made structures such as basements of buildings, road
and rail tunnels to limestone caves and disused mines. This data will in some instances offer complex
geometry (rail and road tunnels) which will not only contain surface information but information as
to the horizontal and vertical alignments of the road or rails. Such data will most likely be held as a
3D CAD model to provide both visualisation and an elegant means of storing the data. Other
possibilities which would create a higher degree of data compatibility are to triangulate the surfaces
and follow the same basic pattern as the geological data structure as described above. This would
require software development to derive a satisfactory method of triangulating an envelope surface.
Advantages of this approach would be in assembling data for finite element analysis etc.

Geological Data
Geological data will be largely derived from borehole information and it is this data which will
contain the highest level of integrity in this data set. The borehole log data will normally contain a
detailed record of the projected hole. Other sources of data will be seismic and ground penetrating
radar which form a special case, in that they both are capable of generating very large volumes of data
which must be carefully filtered and analysed. In general all other data sets will be the result of
geological or soils analysis and interpretation.
In order to provide the end user with higher level information derived or assumed 3D surfaces
defining strata, faults etc could also be provided. A probable structure for this data would be in the
form of triangular plate connecting known and derived surface points. The triangle would
additionally contain adjacency attribute data defining the material either side of the surface. Suitable
algorithms for generating a 3D block model from this data would provide a means of obtaining both
coarse or dense meshes to be created for analysis, thereby reducing overall storage requirements.
The triangle can be simply transferred to CAD as a geometric feature and surfaces viewed in a 3D
environment using translucency or sectioned along any appropriate axis or curving feature.
For mining purposes data structures will need to include such items as ore grades. These are generally
derived from borehole information directly using geostatistical and other analysis techniques and will
be the subject of additional borehole tests.
Whilst block modelling is almost universally used in the mineral industry for its simple relationship to
excavation equipment, the surface data structure for data would lend itself to coal mining, oil, gas and
underground water.

5.4

Softvvare Issues

The development of a suitable database for modelling the underground will provide a rich stream of
new and challenging soft\vare issues. Some representative examples of key issues follow:

Map Overlay
The large and disparate data sources for 3D underground maps will lead to mutually conflicting
requirements. Queries and updates must be done in real time, which would be facilitated if all the
information were in a single map. Hovvever, different maps cannot be simply merged together into a
super-map, because the data would become unmanageable. A solution to this problem may be a
hybrid approach where subsets of the maps could be merged to create small super-maps. Queries
could use these small super-maps, and then results could be combined.

Shape Reconstruction
The goal of constructing a geometrical model of the underground involves the processing of huge
volumes of data gathered from geophysical investigation and other sources. As the data volume may be

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RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT TO UNOERGROUNO USE

in the terabyte range, very efficient shape reconstruction algorithms will be needed. Also, these
algorithms will have to operate on a variety of storage media. This issue might be investigated using
recent computational geometry techniques for shape reconstruction.

Spatial Networks
Many aspects of underground infrastructure comprise spatial networks for distributing public utilities
such as gas, electricity, water, sewer, telephone and cable TV The maintenance activities relating to
trouble calls, post storm service restoration, etc can be modelled as network computations. However,
commercial relational database systems do not provide adequate support for modelling network data
and computing with them. Also, the access methods for efficient storage and retrieval of network data
are not well understood. These issues need to be addressed by extending current databases for efficient
representation and storage of network data, to facilitate important network computations.

Sampled Information
Data on the zonation of geological materials come from several sources, for example, soil samples at
several specific locations; geophysical testing over a volume of ground and geological interpretations
by experts. The database may be queried about geological conditions at any location, and geological
databases have been developed to meet this need. Interpolation algorithms are used to interpret
conditions in between known data locations. However, these algorithms may make many assumptions
in the interpolation based on expected geological conditions in a region. They would not be able to
effectively combine the information contained in various types of data. Also, the algorithms would
not be able to autonomously update intermediate locations with new data. Therefore new algorithms
or data models are needed to support the extrapolation of measured data to non sample points. For
this purpose, further development work should include the evaluation of data models from scientific
databases.

Uncertain Information
Data on the underground may be far more uncertain than that for exposed objects, which can be
accurately surveyed and examined. The degree of uncertainty will vary with the type of underground
structure and geological formation, and with the distance from known reference points. Mechanisms
are needed for recording and visualising the level of uncertainty. Both the "best guess" location and
the probability distribution for location are needed by designers and contractors. Development work
should include: characterising the types of uncertainties; evaluating alternative schemes for
representing uncertainty in databases; displaying visual representations of uncertain information.

6.

COMMERCIALISATION OF R&D

A Research and Development Tax Concession is the cornerstone of the Government's suite of
innovation support programs designed to make Australian industry more internationally competitive.
The incentive enables companies to claim up to 125% of eligible R&D expenditure as a tax
deduction against assessable income.
The incentive also enables companies to jointly register with respect to projects that are beyond the
resources of an individual company.
The comprehensive legislation, guidelines and practices of the R&D ta.x concession are not capable of
being addressed in full within the objectives and scope of this report. Details about the current
government schemes are available from the Industry Research and Development Board.
A range of Australian Government technology incentives is available to researchers. The magnitude of
the technology integration required by this project will demand innovative assessment and acquisition
of the research funding mix of investment and incentive to achieve commercial success.

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7.

Ten

CONCLUSIONS

As the invisibility of the underground is a pervasive problem for planning and creating underground
space, the possibility of 'seeing through the ground' has been identified as an appropriate focus for
research and development. This selection fits with existing Australian skills in advanced technology,
providing a strong position internationally for potential R&D and it~ commercialisation.
Large amounts of data on underground conditions can be generated by state-of-the-art geophysical
methods, for both the natural and built environment. While numerical modelling is well developed
for analysing the structural interaction between the ground and underground facilities, the integration
of data for large scale visualisation is still at an early stage. Geological or 3D-earth models tend to be
discrete from CAD models of man-made structures, although animation or 'drive-through' simulation
is used in both.
What is needed, in the further development of information systems for seeing through the ground, is
the integration of discrete databases and modelling technologies so that user-friendly, '3D
underground maps' can become a reality. Such 3D maps would be invaluable for planning urban
underground development. Ultimately, databases should be available for each city in which the use of
underground space is taken seriously.
This goal can only be achieved through concerted and deliberate effort across the technical and
business community, involving the private sector and all levels of government. Apart from the
technical issues of data acquisition and processing, there are significant barriers to be overcome in
respect of long term data management, and data ownership and liability. While formidable, these
barriers seem to be more in the nature of challenges rather than insurmountable problems.
This probably translates into an attractive commercial opportunity for private investment in R&D for
underground technology. Indeed, the use of emerging technologies to tackle our inability to see
through the ground is an exciting prospect which, if nurtured by government support of private
investment, will see the creation of integrated leading edge technology benefiting the world
environment into the next millennium.

8.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Commonwealth Government
Legislate in the Australian Capital Territory, as a model for uniform State legislation, to provide for
government ownership of underground data related to urban underground mapping, without liability
for data accuracy.

State Governments
Legislate for government ownership of underground data related to urban underground mapping, so
that the data can be made available for 3D underground maps, without liability for accuracy.

Local Authorities
In each major city, foster the development of underground databases and the production of 3D
underground maps on electronic media, ensuring that the data is suitably managed in the long term.

Business
Initiate R&D for the production of 3D underground, city maps on electronic media, based on the
integration of CAD and earth modelling, and in collaboration with the mining industry.

The Uilrren Centre


Adopt a lead position in fostering R&D investment in 3D underground maps, and in ensuring that
future IT development facilitates the use of historic underground data.

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RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT TD UNDERGROUND USE

Others
Ensure that the development of electronic media and information technology allows for appropriate
data management strategies for large databases, over the long term.

9.

REFERENCES

Coffey Partners International Pty Ltd (1996), 'Information on Underground Mapping Capability',
Correspondence and brochures, Coffey Geophysics, Melbourne.
Daniels, J. J. and Roberts, R. L. (1994), 'Ground Penetrating Radar for Geotechnical Applications', in
(Woods 1994).
Henderson, R.J. (1992), 'Urban Geophysics- A Review', Exploration Geophysics, Vol 23, pp. 531-542.
Pells, P. J. N. (1990), 'Stress and Displacements Around Deep Basements in the Sydney Area'. VII
Australian Ttmnelling Conference Proceedings, Sydney, 11-13 September, pp. 241-249. The Institution of
Engineers, Australia.
Shelton, P.R. (1996), 3D Mining Systems and Underground Space, Maptek Pty Ltd, Sydney.
Speight, H. E. (1996), Advanced Four Dimensional Engineering of Mining Excavations, The Australian
Centre for Geomechanics, CSIRO Division of Exploration and Mining, Perth WA.
Sterling, R. L. (1995a), Going Under to Stay
Space Utilisation, Minnesota, USA.

011

Top, Revisited: Results cif a Colloquium on Undet;ground

Sterling, R. L. (1995b), 'Engineering Research Centre for Underground Infrastructure Technology at


the University of Minnesota', Pre-proposal to National Science Foundation, USA.
Stewart, D. C., Anderson, W L., Grover, T. P. and Labson, V F. (1994), 'Shallow subsurface mapping by
electromagnetic sounding in the 300kHz to 30 kHz range: Model studies and prototype system
assessment', Geophysics, Vol39 No 8, pp. 1201-1210.
Woods, R. D. (Ed) (1994), Geophysical Characterisation cif Sites, ISSMFE Technical Committee 10
(ASCE International Society for Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering), International Science
Publisher, New York.

223

Chapter

Ten

Appendix 1
R&D Project Brief for 3D
Underground Maps
Aim:
A computer modelling capability for producing 3D maps

if an

urban undetgratmd environment.

Objectives:
1. Promote the development and use of underground space.
2. Facilitate planning and design for underground space.
3. Enable users to virtually see and walk through the underground.

Actions:
1.

Design appropriate computer systems to model the underground, including the built and natural
environment.

2.

Integrate existing imaging systems and data to provide a digital 3D model of the underground,
including:
- geology and groundwater,
-public utilities (power, communications, gas, water, etc),
- building foundations and basements and
- transport infrastructure including carparks.

3.

Provide user friendly visualisation and virtual walk-through capability for the model, with a
graphical user interface.

4.

Produce a 3D underground map of an area within the Sydney CBD, covering at least two blocks
and the surrounding streets.

;:,.

Identify any impediments to the use and maintenance of the modelling system for the Sydney
region, and recommend means of removing those impediments.

6.

Identify the benefits and costs of the modelling capability developed.

7.

Recommend procedures for access and use of 3D underground maps.

224

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT TO UNDERGROUND USE

Appendix 2
CAD Modelling of Sydney's
Underground Railvvay
State Rail - Signals Renevval and Modernisation
Programme
City Underground 30 Model Project
As part of the NSW State Rail - City Underground Re-signaling Project it was decided to
investigate through a pilot project the advantages of testing the proposed design with the aid of a 3D
computer model.
A site chosen for this project was the UP Shore and later Down Shore track between the Argyle
Street Portal and Wynyard Station. Details Design worked closely with Signals Renewal and
Modernisation Program - South Division who managed the project, with valuable assistance being
provided by:
Rail CAD,
Transport House Plan Room,
Track Design,
Survey Branch and
Freight Rail Information Section.
The creation of a 3D model of the City Underground provided a very interesting challenge. Tunnels
present particular difficulties and constraints in both safety and limited access. An accurate 3D
computer model would therefore reduce on-site personnel exposure, increase understanding of the
site requirements and help rationalise installation procedures.
To construct the computer model data was collected from a number of sources:
the original construction drawings from 1927,
CAD files from the 1992 infra-red profile survey,
current track alignments,
track plans and longsections,
the 'On Track' video for this location and
engineering detail drawings of the proposed signaling equipment.
All of this data was painstakingly resolved and a 3D centreline for the upshore tracks re-established in
an x, y and z format. This alignment was then superelevated and offset to form the actual alignment of
each rail. The results of this exercise were then successfully verified against the 1992 infra-red profiles.
The next process was to attempt to establish the tunnel surfaces. This immediately showed up the fact
that the geometry of the tunnel (in 3D) was independent, in many cases from that of the track
alignment. It was therefore necessary to resort to a combination of data from profiles and the original
drawings. The result was a successful model, created using b-spline surface elements. Signal and track
refuges (which were carefully surveyed to precise height and width) were cut into these surfaces to
complete the 3D model. A library of 3D components or cells was created in the computer from
drawings of the signaling equipment.

225

Chapter

Ten

From this point equipment was placed into the model rather as it would be in actual construction. A
control line 2.5 m above rail height was established on the tunnel wall by projecting outwards to find
the intersection of the wall.
Signals, Train Stops, Data Positional Units and Track Side Units were placed at their defined locations
on the Track Plan.
Each location was then visually checked to ensure that signals had an unobstructed view and did not
occur in such places as the middle of refuges. Adjustments were made to positioning of equipment
and the connecting cableway ladder applied along the 2.5 m control line.
Everything which had to be imagined from the 2D drawings could now be seen in its actual
configuration. In fact problems with the design were encountered here and quickly rectified. A
number of unresolved aspects of the design, such as the cable crossing just north ofWynyard Station
were also investigated.
Safety aspects of the design were tested by computer aided visual analysis studies. These studies
included:
3D kinematic envelope clash detection,
warning light sighting and
signal sighting from driver's eye view.
All these factors highlighted the practical applications of this technology. The 3D Model could also
offer substantial long term benefits to State Rail in the areas of
asset and facilities management,
fire and safety,
maintenance management,
the establishment of an on-going design platform and
accurate resolution ofbuilding proposals near tunnels.

City Underground 30 Model Project Main Cable Crossing

226

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT TO UNDERGROUND USE

Argyle Street Portal

Wynyard Station

State Rail - City Underground 30 Model Project

227

Chapter

Ten

Appendix 3
3D-GIS Planning Model
The Adelaide Model
An Interactive 30 GIS Planning Model for the Urban Environment
The work on this model began 160 years ago, in 1836. That was when town planner Colonel William
Light inked his visions onto paper and designed the city of Adelaide. An Australian city the New
Yorker magazine described in 1994 as 'possibly the last well planned and contented metropolis 011 earth'. In
1996, using an interactive 3D Geographical Information System (GIS), developed in Australia, and
meshing it with available information on Adelaide from 1836 to the present, we have established a
tool to take design practices for Light's city into the 21st century.
The Adelaide 3D GIS planning model enables decision makers to immerse themselves in a computer
simulated environment to gauge the impact of planning scenarios. The Vulcan system fuses and
visualises disparate data types, such as social and environmental data, in an intuitive manner to improve
decision making. Improvement to the quality of life for city dwellers is easily conveyed via the
interactive display on the computer screen. Allowing the user to move freely and interactively through
the model, as though walking or flying. Institutional cooperation is enhanced by the provision of the
graphical framework which integrates and displays the many types of data stored for an urban
environment. Photographic texturing of basic topography, or in more detail of existing or planned
buildings, adds increased realism to the views given (see attached figures).
The planning model was applied to the City of Adelaide to allow two different planning scenarios
envisaged for the year 2010 to be implemented. Each highlights physical data (surface and subsurface)
and economic impacts on the urban environment: Thus, giving the urban planner the opportunity to
gain both tangible and quantifiable output for the planning process. The interactive computer
simulated environment allowing changes and modifications to be implemented very quickly.
The development of this model derives from cooperation between the University of Adelaide; the
State Government Departments of Information, Industries, Housing and Environment, and Natural
Resources; the Adelaide City Council; utility companies South Australia Water Pty Ltd and ETSA
Corporation; the Adelaide 21 Project (funded by federal, state and local governments); and a private
enterprise company (Maptek Pty Ltd; the developers ofVulcan).
We believe Colonel Light would be proud of the latest developments!

Enabling Sustainable Development by:


Demonstrating quantifiable impacts of urban planning scenarios
Improving the decision making process for all users via the use of interactive graphics
Providing a framework for the integration of different data types from different organisations (as
evidenced by the number of cooperating data suppliers)
Enabling efficient management of resources, thereby improving living conditions m a planned
cost effective manner.

Contact institutions:
Maptek Pty Ltd (http:/ /www.maptek.com.au)
National Key centre for Social Applications of GIS University of Adelaide
(http:/ /wv.,rw.gisca.adelaide.edu.au)
SA State Government (http:/ /dino.slsa.sa.gov.au/sagov)

228

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT TO UNDERGROUND USE

Aerial view of city

Aerial view of city

229

Chapter

Ten

Aerial view of city including texture mapped buildings

City streetscape

230

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT TO UNDERGROUND USE

Appendix 4
Demonstration of 3D
Underground Modelling
and Analysis
Purpose:
An exercise in underground structural analysis was conducted for the purpose of:
demonstrating current 3D modelling capabilities,
highlighting areas of inefficiency in the procedures and
identifying areas for future research and development.
This exercise involved creating a 3D underground model and simulating an excavation m order to
assess deformations and stresses in the ground and in existing underground structures.

An example problem:
A large basement excavation was simulated in the Sydney Business District. The 3D model has a
width of 222 m, length of 185 m and a depth of 82 m. The basement dimensions are 40 m deep, 83 m
in length and 173 m wide. According to available borehole information, the ground was characterised
into five geological units - each of which has similar engineering and geotechnical properties. There
are two parallel train tunnels situated in close proximity to the excavation. A perspective view of the
model is shown in Figure A2.1. A numerical analysis was carried out to calculate the deformation of
and the stress regime around the tunnels as a result of the basement excavation.

Methodology:
The 3D geometrical model was created from the following information (Pells 1990):
dimensions of the existing train tunnels,
dimensions of the excavation and
the extent of the five geological units.
The 3D finite element mesh (see Figure A2.2) was then created from the geometric (solid) model.
The model consisted of 16,668 eight-node solid elements (using a full integration scheme), 18,500
nodes and SO, 182 unrestrained degrees of freedom. The analysis sequence was as follows:
set up initial ground stress prior to tunnel formation,
simulate tunnel excavations (this represents the present day stress regime) and
simulate basement excavation.
The pre- and post-processing were carried out using MSC/Patran running on an SGI Indigo2
workstation. A general purpose finite element analysis softv.;are package, ABAQUS, was used for the
simulation calculation. The analysis solver was run on an IBM RS6000 workstation. In this analysis,
the material properties were assumed to behave in a linear elastic manner.

237

Chapter

Ten

Task Description

Manual/User Defined
Operation

I
!

Computer
Operation

Comments

Spatial and Properties Information

I2D
Dimensions taken from
drawings

Existing man-made
structure layout
(Tunnels)

! GIS/CAD data not available

Proposed development
layout (Basement
excavation)

Dimensions taken from


2D drawings

Geological profile

Borehole logs (inferred


profiles created)

GIS/CAD data not available

Standardised borehole
logging can be computer
coded. Visualisation can be
computer aided

I
Geotechnical information
for analysis

Taken from geotechnical


investigation report

Test results/design
parameters can be digitised
and associated with
I borehole location

Geometry Creation

I
I

Points

Key points for geological


units and existing and
proposed structures
were input to a neutral
file

Curves

Interpolated/extrapolated / Use curve fitting


from borehole
! routines
information

Imported from
neutral file

Should ideally come from


GIS/CAD files

I
Surfaces

Interpolated/extrapolated I Surface creation


I routines
from borehole
information
I

Solids

Created from
surfaces

I
I

Mesh Creation
2D finite element mesh
3D finite element mesh

Element type and mesh


density
Element type and mesh
density

I
I

Created from
surfaces
Created from
solids

Created in
property menu

I information

Properties
Loading and boundary
conditions

User defined

I
I

Analysis calculations

ABAOUS

I
Post-processing
Calibration/model
validation

MSC/Patron
Compare with known
results

Not done for this demo

Re-design
Parametric studies
Optimisation
Design/assessment
recommendations

! Input from geotechnical

I Not done for this demo

Not done for this demo

Not done for this demo

I
Figure A2.1: Modelling Demonstration Tasks

232

Not done for this demo

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT TO UNDERGROUND USE

Discussion:
The various tasks carried out in this demonstration are summarised in Table A2.1 and the amount of
time involved was as follows:
Pre-processing time

= 2 days

CPU Time

= 2,691 seconds (= 44.85 minutes)

Elapsed time

= 1 hour 56 minutes 54 seconds

Post-processing time < 1 hour


Typical results such as deformations and stress distributions were processed. A sectional view of the
deformed shape of the tunnels and the vertical cut taken across the middle of the excavation in shown
is Figure A2.3. The principal stress plot in the ground around the tunnels is shown in Figure A2.4.
It should be noted that the merits of 3D versus 2D numerical analyses are not the objectives of this
exercise. The formulation of the geological model is not discussed although that can be aided by
computer in visualising data from boreholes and sectional plots (fence diagrams). The boundaries of
the geological units could have been interpolated between and extrapolated beyond borehole
information using various modelling techniques. However, the geological units were assumed to be
horizontal in this model. Mesh convergence/refinement study was not performed. Other
underground utilities have not been considered in the model.
It was found that most time was spent in gathering spatial and geological properties information. No
GIS or CAD data was available to carry out the geometric modelling. The spatial information was
measured from drawings. As for the analysis, the turnaround time was about two hours in which
about 45 minutes was CPU time. If the problem were to be processed "in-core" without paging data
to and from the hard-disk, the elapsed time could have been much faster. Nevertheless, this
demonstration highlights the time spent in model preparation and in analysis (for an already simplified
model).

Future R&D
From this demonstration activity, the indication for future R&D seems to be that the following issues
should be addressed: reduce pre-processing time and utilise digital information such as GIS data.

Figure A2.1: 30 Model of basement excavation near tunnels

233

Chapter

Ten

Figure A2.2: 3D Finite element mesh for model

Figure A2.3: 3D Predicted mid-section deformation

Figure A2.4: Predicted pattern of principal stresses


Co11rte.sy of Comp11mod Pty Ltd

234

U 1\i D E R G R 0 U N D

S P A C E

I N

T H E

Q E V E L 0 P M E N. T

U R 8 A N E N V I R O N M ' E. N T

A N D

'

'I

U S E

''
.,I

.
'

'I

.....

;:ase _S t.u dy fleports

'(.

,,

These Case Studies represent examples in the use of underground -space In :Australia. They
inch.i,de- exist,ing

,pr~jj'!cts

pl~ce,

in

projects currently being developed' 'a nd

~<(tentlal

p roject

opportunities identifieq during the course of the Underground Space Project and proppsed for
'

development consideration.

'

'

Existing
and
Current
Projects
...
.
.
'

'

C,ase Study A
'Case Study B

M S East -Tunnel Beneath the Wolli .Valley


The Eastern D~~tributor

Case
Case
Case
Case
case

Study C
Study D
Study E
~tudy F ,
Study G .

H<?inebu~h

Case
Case
Case
Case
Case
Case

Study H
Study r
Study J
Study K
Queen Street Bu~ Station, Bris~ane
St udy L
Elgas LPG - SY,dn~y Underg~ound Caven Projec.t
Study M , Brisbane BoysCollege - Libra.ry Resour<;e Centre

'

Bay, Olympic Site


;
South Eastern Highway - &delaide to Crafers
Perth City Byp~ss
The Greenwood Arcades- North Sydney Plaza
Sy~neY.A:irpor:t Ljnk - Tne New 'Sm,l thern Railway
Melbourne ity Link. Project
Perth Iv).etropolitan Transport - Strategies and Concepts
. M2 Motorway Twin J;unnels under Epping Park
\

,.

'

, ,

'

'

233
237
241
245
247
249
253
257

-:

261'
265' ' '
269
273
277

-Proposed Projects
Case
Case
Case
' Case
Case
Case

'

Study N
Study 0
Study J?
Study Q
Studf R
Study S

Chat~wood Town

Ceritre

D uo bus Tunnel for Warringah


Liverpool and the Rest~uctuFi~g ot Great~r Sydney
Sydney CBD East-West City ~ink
Swanston Walk-Tram Fa~ilitie;:
Domain Na:val Oil Storage Tanks at Woolloomooloo ~ay

279
285
. 289 .
293
299
301

'

..
;

'

.,.
''

).

MS East- Tunnel Beneath the Wolli Valley

The MS East - Tunnel Beneath


the 1Nolli Valley

B Fishburn, NSW Roads and Traffic Authority


1.

The Project

The MS is Motorway 5 which is intended to link the City centre, Mascot airport and Port Botany in
the east of Sydney, to Liverpool and the Hume Highway to Melbourne. It also forms a portion of the
Sydney Orbital proposed as an outer motorway ring around Sydney. The location is illustrated on the
attached map of Sydney in Figure 1, which also shows the location of the Sydney Orbital.
The MS East is the eastern leg of the MS which is yet to be built. The remainder of the MS to the
Hume Highway is in operation.

Figure 1: MS East and Sydney Orbital

This scheme proposes a tunnel from Bexley Road at Bexley North, to east of Nannygoat Hill at
Turrella; a distance of approximately 3 km. It would pass beneath the Wolli Valley, under Wolli Creek
and Cooks River. The general topography of the area consists of a valley created by these two streams
which have cut their way through sandstone ridges. The immediate location is shown in Figure 2.
51,500 vehicles per day are predicted to be using the tunnel by the year 2011.

2.

The Tunnels

The tunnel would comprise twin circular driven chambers, with sections of cut and cover and open
'slot' at both ends. Two traffic lanes would be provided in each chamber. The vertical clearance would
be 4.6 m, which is sufficient for all vehicles within legal maximum height. Any oversize vehicles

235

Case

Study

Figure 2: M5 East.

would be directed to alternative roads. Details of the currently proposed cross-section are given as
Figure 3, although consideration is being given to eliminating shoulders and providing laybys at
regular intervals along the length of the tunnel.
The horizontal alignment of the tunnel features a series of circular curves with radii ranging from
1000 m to 3100 m. The vertical alignment of the tunnel generally consists of a 1% gradient, with
short sections of 6% gradient at the portals.

II!!

EAST II!TOAirAY

nPICAl SECTION
1110 LM TIJHI.

Figure 3: Cross Section of the M5 East Tunnel

236

M5 East Tunnel Beneath the Wolli Valley

Tunnel portals would be constructed beneath ground level to avoid disfigurement of the natural
landscape adjacent to Bexley Road and to the area around Nannygoat Hill. They would be protected
from a 1 in 500 year flood by combined noise/flood walls. Drainage pumps would be provided in the
tunnel for collection and pump-out of seepage water and the small amount of rainfall expected to
enter the tunnel.
The tunnel would be driven at a minimum depth (surface to crown) of 1 tunnel diameter to avoid
vibration and noise impacts on properties.
Ventilation of the tunnel would be via a system of air intake structures at the portals, air ducts in the
ceiling and an exhaust vent stack located in the carpark at Earlwood Shopping Centre. This stack
would be approximately 12.5 min diameter and 15m high.
Cyclists would not be permitted to use the tunnel. A cycle bypass would be provided at the surface.
A set of operating procedures and emergency systems (such as those in operation at the Sydney
Harbour Tunnel Control Centre) would be an essential part of the development of the MS East
Tunnel. Nevertheless, alternative routes should be used for hazardous goods where practicable.

3.

Costs

Estimated construction costs (1996) are $520 million for the total project. The cost of the tunnel itself
is approximately $320 million.
The estimated annual operating and maintenance costs (1996) for the tunnel are $4 million per year.

4.

Benefits of the Project and Contribution of the Underground

The advantages of tunnelling are less significant environmental impacts than a surface option through
Wolli Valley including:
conservation of the Wolli Valley and its bushland;
reduced visual and noise effects;
minimal land severance and
less property acquisition.
The MS East will provide an essential link in the Sydney road linking, connection the City centre, the
Airport and the Port to the rest of Sydney. It will substantially ease other streets in the corridor, many
with frontage residences, from traffic enhancing residential amenity in the adjacent suburbs.
The Wolli Valley tunnels are the vital element in securing community acceptance of this final link in
the MS. The residential community in the area of the MS, while wishing to see the MS East built to
relive residential and shopping streets in the area from heavy traffic which includes a high proportion
of trucks. They were not, however prepared to see the link established at the expense of the limited
open space in the area, or to expose themselves to the noise, air pollution and visual intrusion of a
new route.
The underground was the viable alternative to having this vital link established. A surface solution
would result in no link at all.

237

The Eastern Distributor

The Eastern Distributor

8 Fishburn, NSW Roads and Traffic Authority


1.

The Project

The Eastern Distributor in Sydney will improve the link between the northern harbour suburbs and
the City centre and Sir Charles Kingsford Smith Airport at Mascot. The northern end of the scheme
is at Woolloomooloo where it connects with the Domain tunnel. This tunnel feeds roads leading to
the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Harbour Tunnel. The southern end of the scheme is at
Gardeners Road where the project connects to Southern Cross Drive which is to be widened from
four to six lanes. Details are illustrated in Figure 1.

MaJor lntersect1on
Improvements

Landmarks

Figure 1: The Eastern Distributor

The proposed scheme features grade separation of key intersections on South Dowling Street
between Moore Park and the Airport.
The traffic movements in the area are among the most complex in Sydney. There are large volumes of
north/south road movements which have to cross equally large movements of east/west movements.
Turning volumes between these NS/EW movements are also high. Overflows into local street systems
regularly occurs despite measures to protect residential areas.
The eastern distributor project primarily addresses the north/south movement. Because of the grade
separation provided by the project, it will also free up movements east to west.
It is estimated that 41,000 vehicles per day will use the northbound tunnel in the year 2011; the
southbound tunnel is predicted to carry 56,000 vehicles per day.

239

Case

2.

Study

The Tunnels

The scheme, on public exhibition in 1996, provides for three southbound and three northbound lanes
to be place in two tunnels that extend from William Street, Woolloomooloo to point near the
northern end of Moore Park. The length of each tunnel is approximately 1,650 m (northbound) and
1,390 m (southbound). A toll will be collected for the northbound direction.
The tunnels will be constructed under the line of Bourke and Flinders Streets (existing city streets)
and be in a double deck configuration, with the northbound tunnel on top. Cross sectional details are
given in Figure 2.

~Jorthbound

Motorway

(3 Lanes)

Figure 2: Cross Section of Eastern Distributor Tunnel

The reason the two tunnels basically follow the existing streets is to save on strata acquisition costs.
Vertical alignment has a maximum grade of 2% uphill (southbound) and 4.2% downhill
(northbound). Ramp entrance northbound is 12% downhill and ramp exit southbound is 8% uphill.
Exhaust ventilation takes place at the portals. However, due to the proximity of residential areas, it is
proposed to exhaust this air through ventilation towers that will disperse well above these residences.
All work on the towers would be detailed to blend with the surrounding streetscape.
Ventilation in the tunnels is proposed via mechanical fans operating in the direction of the traffic. In
the event of a fire the main ventilation fans will be switched off and jet fans would be activated to
provide a fresh stream of air to remove the smoke.
Smaller tunnels are planned under Cleveland Street and under the section of South Dowling Street
between Dacey and Todman Avenues.
As a safety measure, vehicles containing dangerous goods would be prohibited from entering the
tunnel. These vehicles currently travel along existing surface streets and would continue to do so.

3.

Tunnel Construction

The main tunnel from north of William Street to South Dowling Street would be excavated in
Hawkesbury Sandstone at a depth up to and in excess of 30 m underneath highly developed areas.
The method of construction would involve excavating the upper northbound tunnel, in advance of
the lower southbound tunnel. This approach is considered to be most suitable for the expected site
conditions.
It is anticipated that excavation would be carried out by three 100 tonne roadheaders from three

240

The Eastern Distributor

separate tunnel entries at Drivers Triangle, William Street and South Dowling Street. Each roadheader
would have cutting head driven by a 300 kilowatt motor.
In general the rock crown of the tunnel would be supported by rock bolts varying from 2.4 m to 5 m
long, with either shotcrete or shotcrete in combination with fibre reinforced shotcrete. This method
of support would be used for both the initial ground support and also for the long term permanent
tunnel support where ground cover and rock conditions permit. In areas where there is insufficient
rock cover to the crown, pipe canopies are to be constructed. In areas where the tunnel widens to
accommodate exit and entry ramps additional roof support is proposed with closely spaced curved
roof beams.
Excavation for the lower southbound tunnel would follow the excavation of the upper northbound
tunnel. There are a number of alternative methods for this type of excavation, however, it is most
likely that the bench would be excavated by roadheaders or hydraulic impact rock hammers or a
combination of both methods. If roadheaders are used the excavated rock would be loaded into
tunnel haulage trucks and transported to the tunnel portal in a similar manner to that used for the
heading excavation. Where impact rock breakers are used, the spoil would have to be loaded into the
tunnel haulage trucks using front-end loaders. While no rock blasting is proposed, it could be
undertaken to reduce long term noise impacts in some instances. This would be a matter for
discussion with the Environment Protection Authority.
Following completion of the bulk excavation, detailed excavation for the various services within the
tunnel would commence. These services include drainage pipe trenches, road pavement drainage pits,
pump sumps and excavation for substations and electrical distribution points. Following detailed
excavation the southbound pavement would be laid together vvith the northbound deck supports,
deck planks and pavement. Kerbs and services ducting would then be constructed to allow the final fit
out of the tunnel.
Cut and cover methods are proposed for the construction of the Davey to Todman Avenue underpass
tunnel, the Cleveland Street underpass as well as approach ramps to the main driven tunnel.
The underpasses would be constructed in sections by the 'top down' method of construction. The
general sequence of construction within each section would be: external and internal wall; roof deck
and reinstatement of surface road pavements; installation of temporary dewatering system and
excavation; underpass roadworks and facilities; followed by completion of surface roadworks.

4.

Costs

The estimated capital cost is $444 million (1996 dollars) This cost includes:
costs of acquisition and strata title (some legal issues about easements for rock bolts are still to be
addressed),
design and supervision costs
construction cost and
environmental mitigation measure.
The operating and maintenance costs vary from year to year, increasing to $13 million (1996 dollars)
in the 30th year of operation.
Economic assessment indicates a net present value for the project of $513 million and a benefit cost
ratio of2.3.

5.

Benefits of the Project and Contribution of the Underground

The direct advantages of tunnels are to:


reduce the visual impact on the townscape (high density housing and commercial);
minimise adverse community impacts (at grade solutions would sever the community);

247

Case

Study

reduce impact on the community, and traffic, during construction;


improve travel times (no intersections);
reduce accident rates;
improve access to existing properties;
minimise interference with public transport;
open up opportunities for cyclists;
reduce traffic noise and
decrease property acquisition requirements (Note: cost of tunnelling is similar to that of property
acquisition for a suiface solution).
The tunnels are under a highly developed area of the city immediately alongside the city central
business district (CBD). The area is redeveloping to a higher residential density around a large number
of heritage properties.
An original surface road corridor through the area was abandoned some years ago as surface solutions
were unacceptable to the local communities serviced by the route, through which the route passes
and unacceptable to the city itself. The link is vital in the road network and as an outlet from the city
centre and northside harbour suburbs.
The underground solution is the only viable solution in this area and the appropriate planning
solution for this sector of the city.

242

Homebush Bay Olympic Site

Hon~ebush

Bay.

Olyn~pic

Site

K W Dobinson, Dobinson & Associates Pty Ltd and


J McCartney, Sydney Olympic Co-ordination Authority
1.

The Homebush Bay Development Area

The Homebush Bay Development area is located in the demographic and geographic centre of
Sydney. It comprises 760 hectares of land. The site and proposed Master Plan development by year
2000 is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Home bush Bay Master Plan

The area has been earmarked for renewal since the mid 1980's when the privately developed business
park, the Australia Centre was established at the site. This was followed by the opening of the State
Sports Centre in 1984 and the Bicentennial Park in 1988. The decision to use Homebush Bay as the
main sporting venue for the Sydney Olympics means that by year 2000, many international standard
sporting facilities will share the site with commercial, recreational and residential developments.
The Sydney International Athletic Centre and Aquatic Centre have already been completed and
contracts have been let for the Olympic Stadium and rail link and rail station for the site. An extensive
program of remediation of contaminated land is also well underway. The aerial photograph (Figure 2)
shows the existing site and the current development.
Following the Olympics, Sydney will have at Homebush Bay, an outstanding sport and recreation

243

Case

Study

precinct to serve the Sydney residents well into the 21st century.
Home bush Bay retains remnants of its original vegetation and ecosystems in a unique setting at the
heart of Sydney. Its redevelopment posed the challenge of rehabilitation of large tracts of degraded
land and integration of the natural and built environments. The site includes wetlands frequented by
migratory wading birds; historic buildings with national cultural significance; valuable foreshore space
and riverine links with central Sydney.
The challenge to the Olympic Co-ordination Authority, the body responsible for developing the site,
is to preserve these ecosystems and heritage values while developing the site for recreational activities,
and particularly the sporting venues for the Olympics. This, and the strategies in place to implement
ecologically sustainable development principles, has let to the dubbing of the event as 'The Green
Games'.

Underground Aspects in the Development

Transport
The use of public transport is being promoted for access to Homebush Bay by the provlS!on of
terminal facilities and dedicated routes for:
heavy rail,
buses,
ferries,
cycles and
pedestrians.
Private vehicles will be accommodated on site generally at the perimeter of the central core with
about 10,000 parking spaces. However private cars will be excluded form the site during the
Olympics with access exclusively by public transport- largely heavy rail and scheduled bus and coach
serv1ces.
The rail link will comprise a one way loop from the Main Western Line with the station located
central to on-site facilities. Leighton Contractors have been contracted to undertake part of the civil
works at about $50 million. These works involve construction of a three platform underground
station and 3 kilometres of loop rail track through the Homebush Bay site, one kilometre of which
will be underground.
Bus access is partly by dedicated routes with an underpass of the adjacent M4 Freeway ramp to allow
buses from Strathfield rail station to access the site unimpeded by arterial road traffic.
Carparking is mostly on surface but it is expected there will be some carparking underneath the
various facilities such as stadium. About 4,500 spaces are to be provided on-site in aboveground
parking stations.

High Tension Power Lines


The high tension power line on steel towers, currently traversing the site are to be removed. While
this is a valuable contribution to the visual environment, it was primarily driven by improved visual
scenery in sale of television rights for the Olympics, rather than environmental concern. Other
benefits include a gain in surface site area and greater flexibility in siting facilities. The cost to
government will be a maximum of $20 million.
The undergrounding of these power lines is a giant step towards the long term objective of having all
cabling underground in urban areas and is in marked contrast to the current erection of cables for pay
TV overhead in other parts of Sydney.

244

Homebush Bay Olympic Site

3.

Opportunities for Undergrounding

It would appear that there are other opportunities for underground facilities at Homebush Bay which
would add to the visual environment and 'The Green Games' concept.

These could include:


Underground Bus Terminal- at present buses are planned to deliver and collect passengers on Olympic
Boulevard. This means during the Olympics and at major events at Homebush Bay, this Boulevard
will be completely parked out with buses. It would seem the delightful boulevard concept will be lost
by the dominance of buses at times of large events. An underground bus terminal would not only
enhance the visual presentation of the site but provide a more efficient and convenient means of
delivering passengers direct to the venues. This has been considered but the perceived cost associated
with budget constraints preclude its development at this time.
Grade Separation if Bus Routes - there would appear to be advantage to public transport usage in
further grade separating the exclusive bus routes from vehicle traffic at crossing points to give
advantage to bus movement and thereby encourage greater usage.
Underground Carparking - at present about 50% of carparking is planned on surface at the periphery of
the venue core. This means the visual presentation of these sites when major events occur will be a
vast spread of parked cars, which could be likened to that occurring at the Sydney Showground over
Easter. In addition the surface carparking sites are somewhat remote from most of the venues
reducing the financial viability of the parks themselves as well as use of the venues that the
commercial operators seek to promote. While alternatives have been considered, cost associated with
budget constraint would appear to negate these developments at present.
As indicated 4,500 spaces are planned in aboveground carparks. These likewise could be considered
visually intrusive. Undergrounding would enhance the visual aspects of the site. There would be some
cost increase in undergrounding but with improved techniques identified in this report, this could
prove containable.
The provision of further underground carparking close to the central core of venues would not only
enhance the visual environment but also add to the viability of venue use and the commercial
viability of the carparks themselves.

Carpark Access - there would appear to be advantage to the visual environment as well as to vehicle
ingress and egress from carparks by low cost grade separation to obviate right turns across internal
roads. The alternative is to provide long lengths of bitumen lane to store vehicles waiting to turn right
into carparks. The concept of undergrounding carparks, at least in part, would enhance the
opportunity for introducing this grade separated access. This is under consideration with the design of
the carparks and road access.

Figure 2: Aerial Photo, Homebush

245

South Eastern Highway Adelaide to Craters

South Eastern Highvvay Adelaide to Craters

W J Fairbank, Department of Transport, South Australia


1.

Location

This project forms part of the upgrading of the National Highway between Adelaide and Melbourne.
A new section is required to replace a steep, winding section of the current route (known as Mount
Barker Road) that takes the South Eastern Highway through the Adelaide hills. This section has a very
high accident rate caused by the steep grades, sharp curves, lack of median separation, high traffic
volumes and the large number of heavily laden semi-trailers.

2.

The Project

The scheme has a total length of 8 km; about half a kilometre will be in tunnel. The project calls for
twin tunnels to be constructed (one for each direction). These will be connected by three cross-overs
so that it will be possible to get from one tunnel into the other tunnel in an emergency. Each tunnel
will contain three traffic lanes each of 3.5 m in width. A near-side and an off-side shoulder, each 0.6
m wide, will also be provided. At the edge of both shoulders, there will be an elevated footway 0.8 m
wide. This will be approximately 400 mm above the surface of the road way. This walk-way will
connect to the cross-overs that provide access to the other tunnel.
The maximum depth of the tunnel will be 65 m below the ground; both tunnels will be constructed
on a horizontal radius of700 m and a longitudinal grade of 6.5%.
The tunnels will be located in meta-sedimentary rock; some rock bolting will be necessary. The
tunnel will be lined (to stop minor fragments of rock falling on to the road and to control the ingress
of water into the tunnel). The traffic space below the road lighting will have a secondary cladding for
aesthetic reasons; its colour will also assist in providing an acceptable standard oflighting.

3.

Traffic

The predicted volume will be 35,000 vehicles per day. All motor vehicles (including those carrying
fuel) will be allowed to use the tunnel. Separate provision will be made for pedal cyclists.

4.

Cost

The total project is estimated to cost $138 million; the cost of the tunnels is estimated at $30 million.
The maintenance, and operating costs associated with the tunnel will be approximately $1 million
each year. This is to cover lighting, ventilation and surveillance. The ventilation will use axial fans,
which will blow towards the exits of each tunnel.

5.

Contribution of the Underground

The tunnelling solution is of similar cost to the other options (which involve very deep cuttings). The
tunnel was chosen after considering the horizontal and vertical alignment advantages and the
environmental impact and construction risk. The project is located in a sensitive area and the other
options would involve the destruction oflarge areas of bushland and commercial premises. The tunnel
also brings advantages associated with the reduction of spoil and the reduction of construction noise.

247

Perth City Bypass

Perth City Bypass

G Dunds, Main Roads Western Australia


1.

The Project

This project extends for a distance of approximately 7 km. It starts at the Great Eastern Highway and
Orrong Road in Rivervale, crosses the Swan River, and then goes past East Perth, Perth City and
Northbridge to end at the Mitchell Highway and Loftus Street in West Perth. Figure 1 shows the
Bypass Project.

Figure 1: City Northern Bypass Project

2.

The Project

The preferred scheme comprises two short tunnels. Each tunnel would carry three lanes in each
direction. On the section of road in berween each tunnel, construction would be by open trench with
vertical retaining walls. Open trenches vvould also be used to provide the approaches to the two
tunnels. One tunnel is approximately 300 m in lengrh; the second is 550 m long.
It is proposed that the tunnels, and the sections of open trench, would be constructed by building the
walls first (possibly using a bored pile technique). The roof of each tunnel would then be constructed
and the body of the tunnel would then be excavated. The tunnel would be lit; ventilation would be
by axial fans blowing in the direction of traffic.

249

Case

Study

Figure 2: Relieving the city block of traffic will provide the opportunity for an increase in pedestrian promenades

3.

Traffic

The anticipated AADT would be 80,000 vehicles per day. There would be no restrictions on access
through the tunnel for motorised vehicles. For pedal cycles, other routes would be provided.

4.

Cost

The estimated cost of the tunnel scheme is $235 million compared with an estimated cost of $155
million for a surface road scheme through the area near Northbridge. This additional cost is being
justified by the benefits in protecting the character of a Northbridge and the potential for
development over the tunnel. The tunnel scheme is preferred.

5.

Benefits and Contribution of the Underground

Part of the vision associated with 'Perth - City for People' involves the removal of through traffic
from residential areas. An objective of this project is to reduce traffic volumes on routes such as
Riverside Drive, Adelaide Terrace, St Georges Terrace, Newcastle Street and Bulwer Street in Perth.
The tunnel scheme achieves this vision.

250

The Greenwood Arcades- North Sydney Plaza

The Greenvvood Arcades


North Sydney Plaza

R Bowen, NSW Public Works and Services


(information provided by D. Garden, Rice Daubney Group)
1.

The Site

Seldom has such a strategic site of this size been consolidated and comprehensively redeveloped to
create a vital heart to an established commercial centre. The development of this site has been a
significant step in the consolidation and maturing of the commercial centre in North Sydney.
Prior to the development, the massive site (previously a disused school site) of the plaza had no
practical use for 20 years. Located in the centre of a block bounded by office buildings, it had lain idle
and was subject to vandalism and littering. The site formed a major obstruction to free pedestrian
movement to the Business District ofNorth Sydney from the rail station and bus terminus.
Relatively few businesses are located immediately south of North Sydney station while the majority
concentrate around the traffic intersections 500 meters to the north of the station entrance.

2.

Design Highlights Historical Attributes

The historical features of the site were still evident though in danger of loss after the long period of
disrepair. The site of the former North Sydney Public School, constructed of sandstone in the 19th
century, had grounds with a number of old Moreton Bay Fig trees which were featured by the
Greenwood development.

Greenwood Plaza - Surface level

These form the centre of interest on the free-flowing landscaped rooftop which also has glass domes
to cover the atriums. The roof is accessed by stair from Blue Street and the station, by Janeway from
Miller Street, or by ramp from Victoria Cross (the business centre intersection of Pacific Highway and
Miller Street in the north).
Intriguing construction of the plaza left the old school untouched and perched on a excavated
pedestal of Sydney Sandstone until new foundations for the school were built into the new structure,
and the pillar was removed allowing the arcades to be connected beneath. The school was then
refurbished as a restaurant, bar and private first floor function rooms which have proven to be very
popular in the area.
The landscaping features the trees, lawns and planter boxes from which plants cascade into the view of
the level below resulting in a very soft look for the structure. The vegetation is continued throughout

257

Case

Study

the plaza, especially in the food hall which features high ceilings, trees and hanging vines. Moreton
Bay Fig trees have their large visible roots protected from the public by timber platforms and gardens
which allow people to walk close to the trees without disruption.

3.

Pedestrian Movement

Prior to the development, commuters travelled up a series of stairways from the train to the street.
Most crossed Blue Street via a short underpass from the station. Over-congestion caused some 20% of
commuters to cross Blue Street at street level, obstructing traffic at the bus terminus. 95% of
commuters proceed to circumvent the Greenwood site before heading directly north up either Miller
or Walker Streets.
Gradients involved were severe. Levels across the site fronting the rail station vary by up to 14.5 m
over a frontage of 80 m such that a full five storeys of a conventional building could be built at Walker
Street while remaining below the Miller Street level. Pedestrians would climb an average slope of 1 m
5.5 but now pass through to the opposite side of Greenwood Plaza on grades of 1 in 30.
While pedestrians previously passed around the block currently occupied by the Greenwood Plaza,
they now travel from the rail below Blue Street on the gentle slope through the site to an underpass
beneath the Pacific Highway or to an overpass which connects to buildings on Walker Street.

~.,.,.......,.../:?

II -J

!..........,..!

MILLER STREET

IRailway
IStation

~
Proposed pedestrian flow

Present pedestrian flow

4.

111

Retail Solution

Funding of the project was supported by the high feasibility of a commercial and retail core around
the transport corridors. The commuters have a very high average disposable income and North
Sydney was in need of both retail and leisure outlets as well as cafeterias, restaurants and bars.
The plaza has successfully supported a full range of retail shops since its opening. Shops line the
tunnel under Blue Street from the station which spreads into an 'open-air' subterranean fruit and
vegetable market and delicatessen located beneath the void which passes up through the ceiling of the
podium allowing light in and a providing a view of a massive Moreton Bay Fig tree. This void is
connected to another, the floor of which contains arts and entertainment shopping and connects to
the tunnel under the Pacific Highway. This lower level receives considerable light from the atriums
and is utilised extensively by smaller fast outlets which have the advantage of the high level of traffic
passing through to the business district during peak hour traffic.
The few street front shops on the site are fashion stores which use display windows for welcoming
customers into the street level plaza. The plaza contains an international food hall to serve the local
office workers; it is located in a high ceiling section of the development with direct access to the roof
of the podium or Pacific Highway. A drinks bar features as a centre piece and fashion boutiques line
the entry arcades.

252

The Greenwood Arcades- North Sydney Plaza

Greenwood Plaza below ground

5.

Design of Details to Utilise the Underground

The pedestrian underpass is a 22 m wide tunnel under the Pacific Highway at the north western
extremity of the site. It has 8 m deep shopping boutiques on each side of a 6 m wide pedestrian way
which ends in escalators which connect to street level at the top end of Mount Street Mall. The
underpass is designed to eliminate traffic congestion due to road crossing and will provide covered
protection to commuters moving to and from North Sydney railway station.
Various paneling patterns were used to help people quickly acclimatise to the tunnel environment.
Horizontal stripes initially used on the walls adjacent to the escalator caused complaints about vertigo
or dizziness upon entry. A modern design was built into relief glass panels and these were arranged on
a slope equal to the gradient of the escalators, solving the problem.

6.

Benefits and the Site's Contribution to Underground


Development

The North Sydney Plaza demonstrates the use of underground development as a means of integrating
a major transportation node with commercial development, providing a facility which is well
patronised by the public and much admired for its clever design features which include conservation
of the pre-existing natural environment and buildings of heritage significance.

253

Sydney Airport

Link~

The New Southern Railway

Sydney Airport Link - The


Nevv Southern Railvvay

K W Dobinson, Dobinson & Associates Pty Ltd and


D Dick-Smith, Transfield Construction Pty Ltd
1.

The Project

The New Southern Railway for the NSW State Rail Authority comprises a new 10 km, largely
underground railway linking Sydney's Central Business District to the East Hills line near Turrella via
Sydney Airport. It is a two track tunnel with four underground stations and a fifth interchange station
at North Arncliffe.
It will travel under Redfern, the Sydney Central Industrial Area with new underground stations being
established in City South, one under Green Square in Beaconsfield and a second south of Gardeners
Road in Mascot. It has stations at both the domestic and international terminals at the Airport.
The route in relation to the City and the Airport is shown in Figure 1.
City Rail suburban trains will operate on the new route with a train each way every 7.5 to 10
minutes during peak periods. The trip form the international airport terminal to Central Station will
take 10 minutes and that from the domestic terminal, 8 minutes.

Figure 1: Airport Link

255

Case

2.

Study

The Funding Structure

The project is valued at over $600 million but is expected to provide economic benefits to the State's
taxpayers and businesses of$533 million (NPV).
The project will be undertaken under a 'Build, Own, Operate, Transfer' (BOOT) agreement between
the New South Wales Government and a private sector joint venture.
The public sector will fund and own the tunnels, tracks, catenary, signalling and communications
systems and the interchange station at North Arncliffe.
The Green Square, Mascot and airport stations will be funded, leased, operated and staffed by the
private sector during a 30-year concession period, after which they will revert to public ownership.
The private sector will also design, construct and maintain these stations and, under separate contracts,
design and construct the public sector component of the project (tunnels, track, etc) and maintain the
public sector component.
The principal private sector participants are Transfield Holdings Pty Ltd, Bouygues SA, Transfield
Constructions Pty Ltd, Airport Link Company Pty Ltd (owned by Transfield Holdings and
Bouygues).
Train fares will be consistent with those applying across Sydney but a special station fee, expected to
be $6 for the airport stations and $1 for the rwo other privately operated stations, will be levied as the
revenue source for the private sector company funding the stations.

3.

Underground Construction

Construction of the new International Terminal Station began in March 1996.


The airport stations and Mascot station are being constructed using the diaphragm wall construction
method. This technique means that the 27 m by 170 m station box walls at the International Terminal
Station are constructed in the ground before excavation begins. A clay substance, 'Bentonite',
maintains the earth balance as each wall panel is excavated. This avoids potential settlement, minimises
the drawdown of groundwater and ensures excavation safety in potentially unstable ground.
As each 6 m section is completed, a reinforcing cage is placed in the slot and then concrete is poured
into the section of wall. During the concreting operation the Bentonite slurry is displaced and sent to
the on-site treatment plant for recycling.
The International Station box has 1.2 m thick diaphragm walls to a depth of 28 m; the base of the
box is 2 m into Hawkesbury sandstone, below 26 m of silt and 27 m below the water table. On

The Am-1 05 Road Header

256

Sydney Airport Link The New Southern Railway

completion of perimeter walls, the box is watertight and the material inside is excavated. The roof slab
is laid first followed by internal floors.
The tunnel portal at Prince Alfred Park, near Central Station, has been constructed using a cut and
cover method. From this portal to Green Square station at Alexandria, the tunnelling is through
Hawkesbury sandstone. A small road header is being used to tunnel south form the City. Canopy
tubes are being used for the first 200 m under Cleveland and George Streets as the tunnel is in poor
ground with low cover to the road surface.
Voest Alpine's largest road header, see photo at right, was lowered into the 26 m deep shaft at
Alexandria to tunnel towards the City. The machine is being used to excavate the 'bench' (the lower
portion of the tunnel) of this section of the tunnel. The two road headers will meet under Redfern in
mid 1997 completing this 2.2 km sandstone tunnel. The excavation for Green Square Station will be
incorporated into these rock tunnel works.
From Alexandria southward the tunnelling is through soft ground to the Cooks River, a distance of
5.8 km. All of the work in this section is in mixed ground conditions ranging from soft clays to rock.
The water table is near the surface and excavation requires methods which maintain ground stability.
A special tunnel boring machine is being built in Germany for this section. The tunnel boring
machine will be the largest ever used in Australia - 11 m in external diameter, 80 m long. The
machine is computer controlled with a rock cutting face specifically designed for the sandy soils
under Sydney Airport. The machine will be assembled in the temporary shaft at Alexandria.
The western end of the tunnel, from Cooks River, under the Princes Highway to the Illawarra line
and the new interchange station, and then to the East Hills down line, will be constructed using cut
and cover methods. Eleven 20 m wide coffer dams will be used to cross the Cooks River.
The New Southern Railway is due for completion in 2000.

4.

Benefits of the Project and Contribution of the Underground

The New Southern Railway will improve accessibility for all users of Sydney Airport, not only for
travel to the Sydney CBD but to all suburban locations with its connection into the Sydney suburban
rail system.
It also will establish cross regional train access across Sydney. By providing this convenient public
transport access it should reduce car travel with its consequent improvements from less air pollution,
less traffic congestion and less driving stress for commuters.
A rail link from the Sydney CBD was vital to provide effective accessibility to Sydney Airport for the
Olympic Games in 2000 and into the 21st century, in particular a public transport link. This link was
required to connect the Airport to the underground rail network in the Sydney CBD and to the
suburban rail network. It had to pass through highly developed residential, commercial and industrial
areas and across the Airport runway. An underground solution was the only viable option for this vital
connection.
The Sydney Airport Link met this challenge in an effective and innovative way.

257

Melbourne City link Project

Melbourne City Link Project

K W Dobinson, Dobinson & Associates Pty Ltd and


Dr A A Nelson, Transfield Construction Pty Ltd
1.

The Project

The Melbourne City Link project is one of the largest and most important metropolitan road
developments ever undertaken in Australia.
Linking three of Melbourne's major freeways and significantly upgrading two of them, the $1.7
billion project will, in one project, provide high-quality access for much of the city's population to the
seaport, airport, rail terminals and the Central Activities District (CAD). The scheme is superimposed
on the map of Melbourne under.

Figure 1: Melbourne City link

The Melbourne City link will connect the Tullamarine and West Gate Freeways and the South
Eastern Arterial by the construction of a Western and a Southern Link. The Western Link will involve
upgrading and widening the Tullamarine Freeway to eight lanes from Bulla Road, east of Melbourne
Airport to Flemington Road, the 'Gateway' to Melbourne; thence the construction of a new six-lane
elevated freeway from this 'Gateway' through the Docklands and Ports area, across a new bridge over
the Yarra River to join the West Gate Freeway.

259

Case

Study

The Southern Link will comprise a six-lane freeway between the West Gate Freeway and the South
Eastern Arterial involving the construction of two tunnels under the Kings Domain and the Yarra
River.
The Melbourne City Link will be financed, designed, built, owned, operated and maintained as a
Tollway by Transurban, a private consortium comprising Transfield Holdings Pty Ltd of Australia and

Figure 2: City Link Elements and Tolls

the Obayashi Corporation of Japan. Trans urban will be floated in 1996 as a major new Victorian-based
public company.
Tolls will be levied electronically, so there will be no need to stop to pay money anywhere on the
route. The tolling system will be one of the most advanced in the world and the first comprising total
electronic collection. The elements of the scheme and tolls proposed are shown in Figure 2.

2.

The Tunnels

The tunnels on the Southern Link will have a common portal at the western end near Sturt Street
and Grant Street, South Melbourne, but will diverge under the Domain. The 3.4 km 'Burnley Tunnel'
\viii carry east-bound traffic to link up with the South Eastern Arterial as it emerges near Barkly
Avenue in Burnley. Cut-and-cover construction will be used along Grant Street to near St Kilda road,
and then the tunnel will be driven through the underlying rock passing 40 m below the Yarra River
and up to 60 m below Richmond. There will be no surface disturbance to the Domain or to property
in Richmond. After construction Grant Street will be reinstated above the tunnel.
The 1.6 km 'Domain tunnel' will end on the City side of Punt Road, which leads to the CAD. It will
carry westbound traffic under the Yarra River and the Domain to link up with the West Gate
Freeway. Access between the east and north will be retained at Punt Road. Construction across the
river will be carried out in two stages by open cut with coffer dams, leaving the river open half its
width at all times. The tunnel will be up to 12m below the river; the course of the river will not be
affected.

260

Melbourne City Link Project

Concession Deed

J
Trust Lease

State

Trust
concurrent
Lease

Company Lease
Concession Deed

Transurban
City Link
Unit Trust

Trustee
Trust
Deed

Trust
Sublease

Trust
Manager

Transurban
City Link
Limited
Design and Construction
of Tunnels

Transfield I
Obayashi Joint
Venture (TOJV)
Figure 3: Legal Structure

3.

Legal Structure

As the Project is a private venture Tollway, a special structure was established to handle the financing
and implementation of the project. This is the first venture in Australia into public listing of a major
infrastructure project. The structure is illustrated below.

4.

Tunnel Construction

The driven tunnel will be excavated through Melbourne mudstone which consists of siltstone (70%)
and sandstone (30%) the strength varies from typical stiff soil, where decomposed to over 70 MPa,
where it is fresh. Generally a heading and bench approach, using roadheaders will be used to construct
the D-shaped driven tunnel.
Under the Domain the tunnel will be driven through predominately moderately weathered mudstone
with a depth of cover varying from 5 to 20 m; faults, dykes and other geological structures are
anticipated. The Burnley tunnel will be driven deeper but with a minimum cover of 12 m; under the
Yarra River moderately weathered to fresh mudstone is expected with fresh mudstone expected
beyond the river. The tunnel is to be lined with in situ concrete 300-450 mm thick.
The Grant Street cut and cover section will contain both tunnel sections side by side with depth
varying between 6 and 21 m; a top down construction using diaphragm walls is proposed for the
entry portion but bottom up construction where the geology is more favourable.
The river crossing for the westbound tunnel will comprise a cast in situ box section within a
temporary coffer dam constructed in two stages with waterway compensation works to minimise the
impact on river flow. The top of the tunnel will be approximately 2 m below the existing silt level at
the bottom of the river. Geotechnical investigations indicate that bedrock is present on the south bank
of the river at the crossing point.

5.

Ventilation

The Burnley tunnel will be ventilated by a longitudinal system from the western portal to a
ventilation station at Swan Street, then by a semi-transverse supply system from that station to a
ventilation station at Burnley.
Outdoor air will be drawn from the entry portal and via intakes at the Swan and Burnley ventilation

267

Case

Study

stations. In the semi-transverse ventilated section, supply air will be distributed by overhead ducting
and droppers with supply grills at low level. Vitiated air will be extracted by the exhaust system at
Swan and Burnley ventilation stations and discharged at high level through ventilation shafts.
The Domain tunnel will be ventilated by a longitudinal system using jetfoil fans.Large axial flow
exhaust fans and a high level ventilation shaft will be provided at a ventilation station at Grant Street.
Air intake will be via the eastern entry portal.

6.

Fire Protection

Fire detection will be provided using a thermal detection network along tunnel ceilings together with
smoke detection in underground service areas. additional detection will include extinguisher
cupboard door alarm switches, the closed circuit television system and motorist emergency phones.
To control fire, a wet ring system, incorporating a deluge system will be provided through the tunnels.

7.

Traffic Management and Central Monitoring

The overall traffic management system will comprise closed circuit television system, radio
rebroadcast system with interrupt mode, motorist emergency telephones, traffic control and
monitoring system and public address system.
The system will be fully integrated combining the functions of traffic management, ventilation and
environmental management and plant monitoring into a single fault tolerant system.

8.

Benefits of the Project and Contribution of the Underground

The City Link project will bring enormous economic and lifestyle benefits to the City of
Melbourne. It will enable traffic to flow freely around and into the CAD, avoiding the current traffic
congestion that occurs. It will provide substantially improved access for business, industry and tourists
to the City's port, rail and airport facilities, as well as improved amenity at and traffic flow to the Arts
Centre, Exhibition Centre, Casino and Melbourne Cricket Ground and Flinders Park sports
precincts.
It will divert traffic especially trucks from roads now acting as arterial roads to the enhancement of
amenity in local residential precincts.
The tunnel sections in particular will enhance the environment (visual and physical) of inner
Melbourne. The appearance of the approach to Melbourne by road will be vastly improved through
removal of heavy traffic flows from approach roads and the extensive landscaping treatment and
aesthetic design features for the 'Gateway' made possible by the project.
The tunnels for the City Link project in Melbourne are a typical example of use of the underground
to solve a road transport problem in the inner City where no practical, community acceptable, surface
solution was available. It permitted this vital link in the road network to be achieved without adverse
impact on the inner City in terms of disturbance to the City structure, visual intrusion or
environmental degradation.
However this raises the question whether the elevated sections through the Docklands and Port area
will in due course prove unacceptable to the City of Melbourne as these areas are redeveloped and
brought into the City proper.

262

Perth Metropolitan Transport Strategies and Concepts

Perth Metropolitan Transport


- Strategies and Concepts

G Martin, Department of Transport, Western Australia


1.

Introduction

In December 1995, the Hon Eric Charlton MP, Minister for Transport in Western Australia launched
the Metropolitan Transport Strategy (MTS), a statement of the direction for achieving a balanced,
efficient and effective transport system for the Perth Metropolitan Region towards 2030.
The objective is to ensure that Perth's transport system provides acceptable levels of accessibility on an
affordable and sustainable basis for all of the Region's residents and businesses.
Among the targets set for achievement in the next thirty five years are:
a reduction in 'car driver only' personal trips from the current 63% to 46%,
n increase in public transport personal trips from the current 6.4% to 12.5%,
an increase in the number personal trips from 4.1 million pa. to 6.5 million pa and
a change in average car km travelled per weekday trip from 8.4 to 7 .2.

2.

Context for Change

In keeping with our obligation to lead in the planning and coordinating for a desirable future, the
Department ofTransport, in conjunction with Transport portfolio agencies and the Ministry for
Planning, has proposed principles, strategies and targets which are seen in some quarters as premature
and unduly interventionist.
On a national or international scale, the Perth Region enjoys a low urban density and decentralised
pattern of land development, a clean air and water environment, no obvious population pressures and
a high level of accessibility in terms of car ownership and low congestion on the road system. The
public transport system achieves a high satisfaction rating from peak time users, and a continuing
program of improvements is maintaining support in terms of leadership and public interest.
The goal of the MTS is to retain and enhance the present vitality and amenity of Perth as a place for
living, working and recreational activities, all of which can be reached easily and safely by all members
of the community.

3.

Factors Affecting Underground Space and


Tunnelling Options

Below ground options for transport corridors or accommodation of facilities are novel for Western
Australians. Many have visited the most modem systems and facilities to be seen anywhere in Australia
and overseas, but remain convinced there is no need to change from 'what is uniquely West
Australian'.
Some of the real-life factors which back this popular public perception are:
low density of land development and low properly values, even in Central Perth, relative to other
cities;
a short term perspective for benefit/cost assessments, ie. 'It is not needed yet';
geotechnical features in the Perth Region, such as a relatively high water table;
the 'surface option' is a base case for comparison of alternatives and
there have been no precedents until recently, and the economic, social and political justification
has not been tested in the Perth community.

263

Case

4.

Study

Current Projects and Conceptual Proposals

Northern Suburbs Urbatz Passenger Rail System - A short section of tunnel to provide grade
separation for the new lines approaching Perth Central Railway Station.
City Northern Bypass -A 1.6 km tunnel providing a six lane carriageway for road traffic to bypass
Central Perth. A new bridge crossing of the Swan River will connect the tunnel (constructed with
bounding diaphragm walls, a cast on ground concrete roof and excavated to road pavement
construction level) to complete the link between the Mitchell Freeway and Great Eastern Highway.
(Included separately as 'Case Studies E - Perth City Bypass')
Subiaco Redevelopment Project -The Perth to Fremantle railway line will run through an 800 metre
tunnel and will incorporate an underground Subiaco Railway Station.
Lord Street Level Crossing - Studies of options for grade separation of this road/rail crossing are
underway. The crossing experiences high road traffic volumes, especially at peak times, and carries
both lines in the Perth urban passenger rail system, viz. the Currumbine/ Armadale and
Midland/Fremantle lines. Elevated structures are not favoured by Perth planning authorities and
below ground structures involve tanking and grading of approaches by either one or both of road and
rail. Tunnelling is required, if the below ground structures are deeper,
South U'est Rapid Transit System - The Government has endorsed an extension of the urban rail
network to Mandurah. The route selected is via Kenwick and is anticipated to be constructed to
Jandakot by 2005. The road/rail junction at Ken wick will involve a tunnel. Forward planning of access
to Rockingham and Mandurah is considering below ground access to these urban centres as a means
of intensifying property development and the level of service to rail passengers.
Possible long term options for rail links to Perth include:

Perth to ]andakot- a rail line along the Kwinana Freeway, new rail bridges across the Canning River
and adjacent to the Narrows Bridge, and a tunnel through Kings Park from Mounts Bay Road to
West Perth.
Kenwick-Jandakot to Fremantle - a rail loop from Perth through Kenwick, Jandakot, Spearwood,
Fremantle to Perth. The location and form of construction for the rail line in the Fremantle area is
likely to be expensive and extremely sensitive in environmental and community acceptance terms.
Existing and Possible Future Projects - a schedule of existing and possible future projects is shown in
the table attached.

5.

Summary

To date there has been little or no perceived need for transport systems in Perth to involve
underground or tunnelling solutions. New long range transport system proposals, aimed at retaining
the vitality and amenity of Central Perth and the Metropolitan Region, are now contemplating these
options.
Even so, there appear to be limited opportunities for underground space and tunnelling solutions on
any major scale within the time frame projected in the Arfetropolitan Transport Strategy and other future
planning scenarios, such as WA 20291 published by the Department of Commerce and Trade in
January 1996.

6.

References

.Metropolitan Transport Strategy, Department ofTransport, Main Roads Western Australia, Ministry for
Planning, Fremantle Port Authority, Westrail and Metro bus, December 1995.
Balanced Transport Program for Perth, Department ofTransport, August 1995.
IA 2029- DevelopmC11t Options for Western Australia, Department of Commerce and Trade, Western
Australia,January 1996.

264

Perth Metropolitan Transport~ Strategies and Concepts

Current Examples

Reason tor Underground Development

Transport
The first tunnel in WA was built by the Fremantle
Whaling Co. in 1837 under the Round House in
Fremantle. It was constructed through the limestone
cliffs to provide ease of access from the beach to the
main street of Fremantle.
Rail
The Swan View tunnel was built in 1876, it was required
to achieve railway grades through the Darling Range.
Northern Suburbs line at Joondalup. Planning of the
Joondalup Centre allowed for grade separation of rail and
road. Advantage was taken of this to keep the rail low to
ensure that inner city development could be at ground
level.

.
.
..
.

Water
Fremantle Prison. Tunnels though limestone ridge to
provide grade for water supply.
Water supply mains & reticulation in built up areas .
Beenyup tunnel for offshore water disposal from inland
works.
Other water disposal tunnels include Herdsman Lake and
the Bibra Lake sewers.

..
.

Physical

rail grade

Physical Social

rail grade
below city
development

Physical

grade

Physical/Environmental
Physical

Social

1I

Pedestrian
Arcade system in Perth CBD. Provides protected
shopping and grade separation of vehicular roads.

access

Physical/social
Physical

Power
Gas & electricity supply in built up areas .
Gas storage NW.

Roads
City Northern Bypass, tunnel required to maintain
integrity of existing social fabric.

Physical

safety

below city
development
I

Social
i

below city
development

Rail

Southern line. Link to existing through Mt Eliza and cut-

..
.
..

cover alongside the Kwinana Freeway.


Rockingham central access.
Mandurah central access .
Subiaco Centre. Planned to lower rail to allow for the
integration of land on either side of existing rail line.
Kenwick grade separation .
Central Perth. Planned to integrate land on either side of
existing rail line.

.
.
.

Roads
Riverside Drive. To provide grade separation for
pedestrians between the city and the river.
Mitchell Freeway. To utilise the space over the freeway
adjacent to Parliament House.
Fremantle Bypass, Clontarf Hill. To avoid an unacceptable
environmental impact.

Physical & social


Social
Social
Social
Environmental
Social
Social
Social/Environmental
Environmental

Existing and Possible Future Underground Projects

265

safety

M2 Motorway Twin Tunnels Under Epping Park

M2 Motorvvay - Tvvin Tunnels


Under Epping Park

R Van Es, Gutteridge Haskins & Davey


(H Anderson, Abigroup Obayashi Joint Venture,
A Irwin and M Nelson, GHD)
1.

The M2 Motorvvay and North Epping Tunnels

The M2 Motorway comprises a 20 km section of toll road between Epping Road at North Ryde and
Old Windsor Road, Baulkham Hills, in the north west sector of Sydney. One of the many
components of the motorway was the design and construction of twin parallel tunnels, 460 m long,
beneath the quiet residential suburb of North Epping. The location of the motorway and site of the
twin tunnels is shown in Figure 1.
The eastern portal of the twin tunnels is located adjacent to York Street in a deep sandstone cut whilst
the western portal is located just east of Sussex Street, North Epping. The cut at the western portal is
also in sandstone and the tunnel is approximately 25 m below Epping Park at it deepest point.

'\

'

'

Figure 1: M2 Motorway

2.

Design and Construction

The design and construction of the twin tunnel complex at North Epping creating several significant
constraints which required innovative design and construction techniques to satisfY environmental and
construction requirements. Four such issues, two related to design and rwo related to construction are
discussed in more detail in the following statement.

267

Case

Study

GHD was appointed as the Engineering Design Consultant by the Project Manager to the project,
Abigroup Obayashi Joint Venture (AOJV) in September 1994. After significant investigation and
design of the twin tunnel complex by GHD in early 1995, the Joint Venture awarded the tunnel
contract to Peabody Resources Limited in May 1995 for a contract value of $13 million.
One of the first tasks that the contractor was required to address, was the design of an effective
acoustic enclosure at the eastern portal [to enable excavation work to be carried out 24 hours per day
and to meet stringent noise requirements identified by the Environmental Protection Authority
(EPA)]. The tunnels are located in a very quiet residential area, remote from noise generated by main
road traffic and with ambient night time noise levels measured at 32 dBA. The EPA specified that
maximum noise levels permitted for night time work must not exceed 37 dBA, with LlO exceeded
no more than 10% of the time when measured at any residence.
The contractor prepared and erected an acoustically designed double clad steel building with a clear
span of 37 m across the boxcut located at the eastern portal and extending 30 m east of the tunnel
face. The doors to the building comprised double steel plates enclosing fibreglass batts. They were
closed at 5.00 pm each evening and reopened each morning at 7.00 am. Space in the building
provided the opportunity to stockpile 14 hours of excavated spoil from both tunnels as well as office
space first aid room, crib room and toilet block and all space for plant and equipment such as
substations, compressors, fans, dust extraction units