SMEC’s tunnelling and geotechnics specialists presented technical papers at the ITA-AITES World Tunnel Congress, one of the top world tunnelling conferences, held in Shenzhen, China from 19 to 25 April 2024.

This year’s congress theme Tunnelling for a Better Life, focused on sustainable development trends in tunnel and underground engineering, promoted the development of the industry and the progress of society, and advocated energy-saving, environmentally friendly, intelligent and safe solutions.


SMEC’s technical specialists Alexandre Gomes (Chief Technical Principal – Tunnels and Underground), Ck Tsang (Technical Principal – Tunnels), Tong Joo Sia (Manager – Geotechnics & Tunnels), Ivan Ching (Principal Engineer – Tunnels), Amin Emandi (Senior Associate Engineer – Tunnels), Andrew Koay (Senior Engineer – Geotechnics) and Howard Toi (Associate Engineer – Geotechnics) attend the event and presented thought-provoking technical papers.

Our Technical Papers  


Automatic Computation for Design of Tunnel Shafts 

Presented: Ck Tsang (Technical Principal – Tunnels), Andrew Koay (Senior Engineer – Geotechnics), Tong Joo Sia (Manager – Geotechnics & Tunnels) 

Describes the method by automatic creation of Plaxis 2D finite element models for shaft retaining structure design using Plaxis’ remote scripting Python wrapper, Python script and smart input data file.


Deep powerhouse caverns design development and challenges – Snowy 2.0 experience  

Presented: Ivan Ching (Principal Engineer – Tunnels) 

Summarises the experience from the preliminary design to the construction stage on Snowy 2.0 is a major renewable energy infrastructure project currently under construction in Australia. The engineering challenges and the risk control measures from the owner’s engineer perspective.


Management of design amendments for Maungawhau Mined Tunnels for improved construction schedule outcomes 

Presented: Howard Toi (Associate Engineer – Geotechnics) 

Describes the challenges faced in the design of primary supports for the City Rail Link Maungawhau Mined Tunnels through extremely to very weak sedimentary rocks of the East Coast Bay Formation.


Comparative analysis of simplified solutions for the radial joint behaviour of segmental tunnel linings with Finite Element Numerical Modelling 

Presented: Alexandre Gomes (Chief Technical Principal – Tunnels and Underground), Amin Emandi (Senior Associate Engineer – Tunnels) 

Presents a comparative analysis of simplified methods used to model the radial joint behaviour with the results of a Finite Element Method (FEM) utilising a Concrete Damage Plasticity model (CDPM) which allow for a more detailed modelling of the concrete behaviour, including tensile and compressive damage initiations and evolutions, stiffness degradation and the material nonlinearity.


Planning, Design and Construction of Mechanised Cross Passage Excavation 

Presented: Ck Tsang (Technical Principal – Tunnels), Tong Joo Sia (Manager – Geotechnics & Tunnels) 

Discusses the key considerations during the planning stage, design of special tunnel segments, cross passage opening and temporary works design to facilitate launching and retrieval of CP Machine, permanent CP lining and impact assessment to the main tunnel segmental lining.


About SMEC 

Known for the reliable delivery of complex projects, technical excellence and specialist engineering solutions, SMEC is a trusted partner on major infrastructure projects around the world and pioneers of efficient, safe and resilient underground spaces. 


Tunnel construction is a pivotal aspect of modern infrastructure, we combine the skills and experience of our global team with modern technology and state-of-the-art tunnelling techniques to provide the most appropriate and innovative technical solutions for every tunnel project. 


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