NBIF – progress update

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 and 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 (including pipes, cables, culverts, barriers and so on) at full scale and larger, deeper structures (such as 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 1,250 cubic metre (25 metre x 10 metre x 5 metre 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 500 square metre Test Hall is constructed with a one metre 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 1,639 square metre 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.