Construction of the National Buried Infrastructure Facility (NBIF) at the University of Birmingham is pushing ahead. The project, which is one of its kind in the UK, is a research-orientated building as part of the UKCRIC programme. The site comprises research development and testing laboratories, postgraduate research rooms and offices, staff and industrial/academic partner offices and equipment storage facilities.
The UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure & Cities provides leadership and support for the development and growth of a coordinated and coherent, world class, UK-based national infrastructure research community.
The facility will be equipped to test all aspects of buried infrastructure (e.g. pipes, cables, culverts, barriers, etc.) at full scale and larger, deeper structures (e.g. shallow tunnels) at near full-scale, whether constructed traditionally or using trenchless technology, as well as investigating ground improvement and stabilisation techniques.
NBIF houses a 1,250m³ (25m x 10m x 5m deep) test pit which is capable of testing full scale infrastructure research experiments utilising an actuator frame capable of up to 200 tonnes of pressure and serviced by a 20-tonne crane. There is a hydraulic floor system at the bottom of the pit to simulate ground movement and differing conditions. The rest of the 500m² Test Hall is constructed with a 1m thick Strong Floor which will be used for linear infrastructure experiments.
We are currently on-site erecting the steel frame and casting concrete for the main 1,639m² research building, which houses state-of-the-art facilities which include Material Characterisation Laboratories, Visualisation and Digital Analysis Suites where 3D models of pit experiments can be rendered and distributed across the UKCRIC network.