International conference on geotechnics hosted in Dubai

International conference on geotechnics hosted in Dubai
DCCA and Midas IT are the organisers of the conference.
Published: 18 May 2017 - 2:37 a.m.
By: Fatima De La Cerna

As the number of high-rise structures in the region increases, so does the need to look into innovations in geotechnics and consider new ways of developing stronger foundations for buildings.

Aiming to increase awareness on the issue, Dubai Creative Clusters Authority (DCCA), in collaboration with Midas IT, is organising an international conference that highlights the latest developments and innovations in the field of geotechnical engineering, in relation to high-rise structures.

On its opening day – 16 May – the conference featured presentations from international experts, including Prof Rolf Katzenback, director of the institute and research laboratory for geotechnics at TU Darmstadt; Dr Ayman Hussein Khalil, principal and CEO of Arabia for Design and Engineering Consulting (ADEC); Dr Andrew Smith, technical director at Coffey; Prof Michal Topolnicki, senior technical adviser at Keller Holding; and Prof Harry Poulos, senior consultant at Coffey. 

The presentations covered challenges in foundation design for tall buildings, ground improvement methods, and scientific interpretation of field measurements as a way of identifying soil and rock parameters, among other topics. 

Speaking with Construction Week on the sidelines of the event, Merie Mohammed, head of DCCA’s structural department, said that it’s has become increasingly critical to identify new technologies in geotechnics that can help engineers get more accurate results when studying soil and rock conditions and carrying out other foundation-related study.

“This is very important now, especially with the growing number of high-rise buildings and their corresponding huge loads,” he said, adding: “We encounter challenges with regards to the accuracy of estimates. I’m not saying it’s a big problem – it’s a small issue, but it’s better to prevent problems by aiming for more accurate calculations.”

Ravi Anne, general manager of Midas IT, meanwhile, pointed out that there exists a communication gap between structural and geotechnical engineers. 

“First of all, structural engineers need a strong foundation for their projects. Now, part of the foundation work is done by structural engineers, but part of it is also done by geotechnical engineers. So better coordination between the two is necessary; otherwise, we are looking at huge amounts of time wasted, possible delays in the project, and higher project costs,” said Anne.

The conference, he stated, aims to help bridge that gap as it brings together members of the structural and geotechnical fields. 

He said: “We organised this event so we can bring the geotechnical and structural engineers into one platform and show them what new technologies are available and how they can utilise these technologies to reduce this gap.”

One such technology, he noted, is Midas’ geotechnical and structural software solutions, which allow engineers from both sides of the fence to collaborate. 

“The engineers can share the models with each other. Structural engineers can create the structural model using the software, and then transfer it to the geotechnical engineers. The geotechnical engineers can then open our geotechnical software and start building the foundation using the same model.”

The conference continued yesterday with workshops, and is scheduled to close today with a visit to the ICD Brookfield Place project site.

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