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Pipe installation using the Horizontal Directional Drilling method (03-06-2016)

Intrafor has completed the installation of three pipelines in Middle Island, Hong Kong, using Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD). The pipelines will be used by the main contractor, Hong Kong Electric, to install 22kV cables between the south of Hong Kong Island and a nearby island for the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.

The project has been carried out from November 2015 to May 2016 adopting a three-stage pilot, ream and pull programme.

The first phase of the project, involving the drilling of three 5.5” pilot holes of 175m in length, was closely monitored to meet the requirements in terms of accuracy and collect a full suite of drilling parameters. The drilling was carried out under the seabed, encountering soft marine clays and sands capped at the start and ends of each crossing by hard rock – sometimes only moderately or slightly decomposed.

HDD is a preferred method when facing such challenging and varied ground conditions. The technique can be used in all geologies from hard rock to soft soil achieving high degrees of accuracy while seldom requiring any pre-treatment. Another of its main features is its steerability, which allows HDD holes to avoid both man-made and natural obstacles. This steerability was vital to the successful completion of the project which provided only a small receiving pit already congested with existing services.

After the pilot-stage, the holes were reamed using a 13” hole-opener to allow the installation of 225mm-diameter HDPE pipes.

Major cutter soil mixing work starts in Hong Kong (25-05-2016)

Intrafor has started an extensive cutter soil mixing (CSM) treatment at the Boundary Crossing Facilities (BCF) – a non-dredged artificial island in close proximity to Hong Kong International Airport.

The CSM work is part of the Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link Northern Connection scheme. The project, awarded in 2013 to a joint venture of Dragages Hong Kong and Bouygues Travaux Publics, involves the construction of two 5km-long sub-sea tunnels. These structures, located more than 50m below sea level, will provide a connection between Tuen Mun, in the western New Territories, to BCF. The tunnels are being built by tunnel boring machines (TBMs), including the largest in the world – featuring a diameter of 17.6m.

As part of this project, two ventilations shafts and a TBM parking plug will be built at BCF. To allow the safe construction of these structures, which will be made up of diaphragm walls, the ground strength of the reclaimed island is being improved by means of CSM. These works will prevent marine deposits from being squeezed into the trench during the excavation of the diaphragm wall panels and avoid collapse.

Intrafor is now working with Dragages to build up to 36m-deep CSM panels along the perimeter of the proposed diaphragm walls. Subsequently, the CSM technique will be used as part of the construction of a deep watertight plug for the break-out of the two TBMs at the location of the Southern retrieval shaft.

Specialist soil improvement works for the Dubai Water Canal project (18-05-2016)

Intrafor has been chosen to carry out specialist ground improvement works as part of the Dubai Water Canal Infrastructure Package 3 – Canal and Coastal Works. Our scope includes the soil improvement of reclaimed land on an area of 185,000m2 as well as pre- and post- verification testing. A combination of soil treatment methods are being executed by Intrafor, ranging from deep vibro compaction to high-energy impact roller techniques.

The Dubai Water Canal scheme involves the construction of a 3km waterway from Business Bay area to the Arabian Gulf. The project includes the construction of bridges, property developments, retail facilities and of an artificial peninsula at Jumeirah Park.

Package 3 is one of the three contracts in which the project has been split. It includes excavation of the water canal, construction of canal walls, associated utilities and infrastructure, construction of four marine transit stations, as well as the bulk filling, soil improvement and marine works to build the artificial peninsula.

Vibro compaction is widely used to improve the conditions of the ground prior to a construction project. Indeed, this technique increases the soil’s bearing capacity, mitigates seismic liquefaction potential and reduces settlement.

Intrafor has been working on this project since March 2016. A pre-survey of the soil conditions has been carried out by Cone Penetration Testing (CPT) to provide information for the vibro compaction design. Post CPTs will be also performed to assess the effectiveness of the ground treatment work. In addition, the high-energy impact roller technique (HEIC) shall be carried out to compact the top 1.5m layer of soil to achieve an in-situ density of 95% maximum dry density (MDD).

HKLR03: successful completion of the first section of the pipe piling work (16-11-2015)

An important stage of the Hong Kong Link Road 03 project has recently been completed. In October 2015, Intrafor has finalised the installation of the canopy pipes on one of the two sections that make up the construction site.

The two sections correspond to the two tunnels that will be excavated under the Airport Express Link (AEL), the railway that connects Hong Kong’s International Airport to the city centre. The canopy roofing system has been designed to improve the stability of the ground and minimise settlement, allowing the AEL to continue operating during the construction of the tunnels.

The steel-casing pipes have been installed using two tailor-made Front-Steer drilling rigs. This innovative equipment – developed by Intrafor in partnership with two international suppliers – has been employed to drill the pipes through a mixed soil profile, with the presence stiff boulders and hard granite rock. Despite these challenging ground conditions, the team has met the overall requirements in terms of drilling accuracy.

On the first completed section of the project, Intrafor has drilled and grouted 20 pipes of 813mm OD. The work on the second section, which involves the installation of 24 pipes of the same diameter, has already begun. In the meantime, Intrafor has started the preparatory work for the box jacking of the tunnels’ segments, whose sliding will be performed by VSL.

Once completed, the tunnels running underneath the AEL will be connected to the proposed Hong Kong – Zhuhai – Macao Bridge and Tuen Mun – Chek Lap Kok Link. This new road network will improve transportation and promote economic integration within the Pearl River Delta Region.

Deep ventilation shaft at Tuen Mun – Chek Lap Kok (29-06-2015)

At Tuen Mun – Chek Lap Kok, Hong Kong, the ventilation shaft is coming out into the open. The excavation work – which has been carried out to a depth of about 35m so far – is gradually revealing a circular pit built using diaphragm wall techniques.

The wall is 60m in diameter and consists of 72 panels – each of whom is 2.5m-long and 1.5m-thick – excavated up to the noteworthy depth of 67m.

The ventilation shaft is part of the TMCLK Northern Connection scheme, which involves the construction of two 5km-long sub-sea tunnels running from the western New Territories to the HK Boundary Crossing Facilities. The tunnels are currently being excavated by two Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs), including the largest in the World (17.6m in diameter).

The ventilation shaft will be used to reduce the size of one of the TBMs’ cutter heads during the excavation of the tunnels. To allow the machines’ break-in, some panels have been reinforced using fiberglass instead of steel. The lifting and installation of the GFRP cages – which were up to 30m-long – has been one of the most challenging features of the project. After the completion of the tunnelling work, the shaft will become part of the foundation system of the proposed ventilation building.

Intrafor carried out the construction works from November 2014 to March 2015. The project team was also in charge of building the TBMs’ launch shaft – consisting of a three-cell diaphragm wall – and carrying out vibro compaction and jet grouting works along the tunnels’ alignment.

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Shatin to Central Link: Two major projects in Victoria Harbour (17-04-2015 )

Intrafor is busily at work on both sides of Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong, as part of MTR Shatin to Central link scheme. On the northern side of the harbour, Intrafor is nearing completion of a 282-panel diaphragm wall; this structure will be part of a tunnel to be built underneath the podium of the existing Hung Hom station, one of the most important intersections of SCL. On the southern side, Intrafor has begun the construction of a launch shaft and a slurry replacement plug and lean-mix concrete wall for tunnel boring machine works. In the next few months, the project team will start constructing a shaft for the southern ventilation building and another TBM’s launch shaft with a multi-cell “peanut” shape. Both the shafts will be built using diaphragm wall techniques.

“Peanut shape” diaphragm walls for the world’s largest TBM (13-03-2015 )

The world’s largest TBM (Tunnel Boring Machine) will be operative soon at Tuen Mun – Chek Lap Kok Northern Connection site. This equipment will be used alongside a smaller TBM to build two sub-sea tunnels that will connect Tuen Mun, in the New Territories, to the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities (HKBCF) as part of the extensive Hong Kong – Zhuhai – Macao scheme. Intrafor has set the stage for this project constructing the diaphragm walls of the tunnels’ launching and ventilation shafts and performing deep compaction and jet grouting works. The construction of the three-cell launching shaft involved many challenging features, including the installation of four T-panels to absorb the ground compression and of some fiberglass panels to allow the TBMs’ breakthrough. Works were performed on a fresh reclamation within a tight schedule. The beginning of the excavation of the two tunnels is scheduled at the end of March 2015.

Intrafor nearing completion of directional coring project (25-02-2015 )

Directional coring work for the Tseung Kwan O to Lam Tin Tunnel ground investigation is nearing completion. The work is part of a broad ground investigation undertaken by Intrafor for the Hong Kong Civil Engineering and Development Department and includes land and marine drilling, geo-hazard surface mapping, contamination investigation and a range of specialist in-situ geotechnical tests. Directional coring is being undertaken at two locations through regional geology comprising granite and tuff. The longest core hole is 780m and, for the 600m completed to date, the drilling team has consistently delivered high quality continuous core using Intrafor’s in-house designed steerable core barrel for the curved sections of hole. Due to the ability of directional coring to follow the planned path of the 2.6km tunnel, the field data will add significant value to the ground model developed for the final design.

Gathering expertise to build canopy pipes at Hong Kong Link Road (05-02-2015 )

As part of the Hong Kong Link Road 03 (HKLR 03) contract, Intrafor is going to start constructing canopy pipes underneath the Airport Express Railway (AEL), the railroad connecting the airport to Hong Kong Island. This stage of the project includes the drilling and the grouting of 44 steel-casing pipes (813mm OD). This pipe roofing system will stabilise the ground, avoid the settlement and protect the workers during the box jacking and the excavation of the tunnels passing under the existing railway. Its construction will be performed using two tailor-made Front-Steer drilling rigs suitable for mixed ground conditions (rock and soil), developed in collaboration with two international suppliers. Works will begin in April 2015 and will last for six months.

Works begin at South Ventilation Building to Admiralty Tunnels site (29-01-2015 )

Intrafor has just launched the works of the South Ventilation Building to Admiralty Tunnels site in Hong Kong (SCL 1128) as part of the Shatin to Central Link scheme. This project, commissioned by MTR Corporation, aims to the extension of the railway network connecting the New Territories and Kowloon to HK Island. Intrafor will execute the construction of two launch shafts for the excavation of four new underground tunnels and of one shaft for a new ventilation building. The three shafts will be constructed using diaphragm wall techniques. Intrafor will also execute ground improvement treatments – including TAM (Tubes à manchettes), jet grouting and compensation grouting – along the tunnels’ alignment.

A Desert Port (24-04-2014 )

VSL-Intrafor recently completed a 6km cut-off wall necessary for the construction of Doha’s new container port. Built 22m underground, the cut-off wall was constructed using VSL-Intrafor’s BC40 Cutter equipment and special plastic concrete mix. This innovative concrete mix was essential to the wall’s construction, as it will later be destroyed to let sea water in and welcome container ships into the port.

Very Low Headroom (17-04-2014 )

Intrafor is building a 34,000m2 diaphragm wall under the existing Hung Hom station and the Hong Kong Coliseum. This critical contract is being executed without disruption to the existing Hung Hom station and in very low headroom. Excavation is carried out using mini-cutters and special low-headroom grabs with boom and grab length reduced to the minimum. Cranes had to be modified to move equipment and reinforcement cages.

Participating in Macau’s Expansion (10-04-2014 )

Participating in Macau’s expansion and the development of the Cotai area, Intrafor was awarded a project for the construction of the basement retaining wall for a new hotel and casino. The 560m-long diaphragm wall will be built 40m deep into old reclaimed land and house part of a luxury hotel and casino featuring up to 700 gambling tables and 1,000 slot machines.

New Port for Qatar (27-03-2014 )

After successfully completing the original cut-off wall scope of 52,500m2 on the New Port Project in Qatar, VSL-Intrafor were awarded additional works comprising the construction of an additional 55,530m2 of cut-off wall over a plan length of 3,210m, including geotechnical investigation works. The cut-off wall is being constructed using VSL-Intrafor’s BC40 Cutter equipment and a special plastic concrete mix; excavation works for the wall are being carried out to depths of up to 22m below existing ground level. The cut-off wall reduces the horizontal flow of water through the subsoil and fractured limestone, facilitating the safe and economical dewatering and dry bulk excavation works in the port’s access channel.

MTR interchange station in Hong Kong (20-03-2014 )

Leighton awarded Intrafor a contract for a MTR interchange station, part of the new 17km long Sha Tin to Central Link metro line project. Located under the podium structure of the existing Hung Hom station, the works comprise 1075lm of 1.2m thick diaphragm wall and barrettes ranging from 20m to 60m in depth, representing a total of 40,000 of excavation. 5 slurry walls totaling another 3,400 of excavation are also part of Intrafor’s scope. The main challenge is to work under a very low headroom of 5.5m. Excavation is carried out using minicutters and special low-headroom grabs with boom and grab length reduced to the minimum. Cranes had to be modified and a special gantry system had to be developed to move equipment and reinforcement cages.

FSC-compliance at Intrafor (14-03-2014 )

Intrafor adopts reusable steel formwork as much as possible. However, it is still necessary to use wood for some applications, such as to cover starter bars in diaphragm wall panels. To reduce the environmental impact, Intrafor is now using 100% FSC-compliant wood, where available, for this purpose. The FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) identifies and certifies forests that are well managed and where biodiversity, productivity and the ecology are maintained.

Hong Kong roll-out (30-10-2013 )

Intrafor Hong Kong introduced a new cutting wheel system known as ‘Roller bits’ for the construction of diaphragm walls in steep and hard rock. Construction work including 144m of diaphragm walls was needed for Intrafor to deliver the 15m-deep sealed basement, ready for construction of the building above.


High visibility in Hong Kong (08-08-2013 )

Intrafor has successfully completed a high-profile project in central Hong Kong opposite the new IFC tower and shopping complex. Work involved the installation of 530m of diaphragm wall and 22 barrettes in a very constrained area.  Special covers were manufactured for the bentonite storage pools to improve the site’s visual impact.

Pioneering barettes (18-07-2013 )

Intrafor is carrying out a pioneering contract to install the first friction grouted barrette piles in Hong Kong’s ‘marble zone’. The 65 barrettes are for housing in Yuen Long. More than 4,500t of concrete and steel kentledge imparted a 3,300t load to each barrette during the testing. Less than 20mm settlement compared with the 66mm design limit.

Diaphragm walls for Perth City Link Rail (10-07-2013 )

VSL Intrafor has helped Perth City Link Rail Alliance reach a major project milestone. Completion of more than 84% of diaphragm walling and 60% of micro-piles puts the Alliance in an excellent position to slew the rail line, a critical step for finishing the work.

Perth City link in Australia (01-07-2013 )

VSL is undertaking ground engineering works for the Perth City Link project, which will reconnect two districts that were separated by railway lines. VSL in Australia and Intrafor are in joint venture with local piling contractor Avopiling.

Third win for Intrafor in Hong Kong (26-06-2013 )

Intrafor has won its third contract on the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link. The latest contract involves the construction of diaphragm walls for a cut and cover tunnel on the 26km-long Hong Kong section. The diaphragm wall has a total volume of 13,000m³. The joint venture main contractor was Maeda and China State.

Diamond Hill Station Project (16-05-2013 )

INTRAFOR has recently been awarded a contract for the construction of the Diamond Hill Station of the Shatin-Central Link (SCL) MTRC project in Hong Kong. The Shatin- Central Link will provide a direct connection between the stations on the border with Guangzhou Province of PRC and Admiralty Station of Hong Kong. INTRAFOR scope of works will include the construction of 20,000m2 of permanent Diaphragm Walls and barrettes together with the associated toe grouting, shear pins and pumping tests. The mobilization of three trench cutters will be required to complete the Diamond Hill station in 15 months.

Successful grouted friction barrette design (11-04-2013 )

Intrafor has been awarded a contract by Ove Arup & Partners to install friction barrettes for a public housing development in Hong Kong where the piles are being installed in a marble-zone area. (65 friction barrettes and four 3,100t loading tests).

D-walls construction in Hong Kong (26-03-2013 )

The Entasis-Intrafor Consortium has built 1.5m-thick diaphragm walls to depths of 55m for the West Kowloon Terminus approach tunnel (south) as part of Hong Kong’s Express Rail Link. Work also includes the installation of shear pins, fissure grouting and the removal of an existing breakwater.

Intrafor to break ground in Qatar (08-02-2013 )

Intrafor have been awarded the cut-off wall contract for the New Port Project in Qatar. Included in Intrafor’s scope is the construction of 3,150m of cut-off wall; geotechnical investigation works and providing specialist plastic concrete. Using the Intrafor BC40 Cutter equipment, Intrafor will construct over 51,000m2 of cut-off wall to depths of up to 22m below existing ground level.

Avoiding disturbance in Hong Kong (03-01-2013 )

Construction of a two-storey basement in Sheung Shui in Hong Kong brought considerable challenges as the adjacent three-storey buildings stood on shallow friction concrete piles and pad footings. Intrafor’s careful choice of methods and equipment avoided any disturbance or settlement of the surrounding buildings.

High-speed wall in Hong Kong (14-12-2012 )

Intrafor has taken just four months to build a 1.2m-thick diaphragm wall with a total volume 24,000m³ and a depth reaching 60m below sea level in Hong Kong. The design and construct project was for the basement of a new residential development in Tseung Kwan O for leading property developer Sung Hung Kai.

Deepest shaft (08-11-2012 )

Intrafor has completed its deepest ever shaft, finishing four months ahead of schedule. The 91m shaft is part of Hong Kong’s Harbour Area Treatment Scheme. Intrafor developed patented sacrificial void formers for the project. Achieved tolerances on verticality were extremely low, well within requirements, and the jointing between the panels was made with high quality, thus avoiding the need for expensive and time consuming concrete finishing or trimming.

Intrafor’s ground improvement in the Middle East (02-10-2012 )

Intrafor has entered the ground improvement market in the Middle East. Successful trials of equipment from Dutch manufacturer ICE led to an order for four vibroflots. Commissioning in June was followed immediately by the award of Intrafor’s first contract to use the equipment. The project is for stone columns at a sports facility in the royal palace grounds in Abu Dhabi.

Diaphragm wall for the Central Wanchai Bypass in Hong Kong (15-02-2012 )

Intrafor is working on a 21,000m³ diaphragm wall project: the Central Wanchai Bypass Central Interchange. Challenges include busy traffic, buried seawalls and low headroom, for which Intrafor has developed a special rig. A BC40 cutter and two excavation cranes have been mobilised for the project.

Challenging win on XRL (06-10-2011 )

Intrafor has secured a major contract to construct one of the most challenging sections of the MTR’s new Express Rail Link (XRL), a part of Contract 820. The section passes under a densely populated and heavily piled area. Intrafor’s responsibilities encompass foundations, ground treatment and diaphragm wall shaft work.

Patented soft milled joint for HATS (26-09-2011 )

Use of a new patented “soft milled joint” developed by Intrafor has avoided the need for extensive concrete cutting between panels on a 91m-deep diaphragm wall shaft on Hong Kong’s HATS project. The shaft diameter of just 12.3m makes the excavation works challenging. Trapezoidal blocks made of lightweight precast concrete replace the same volume of hard concrete.

Project debut for core barrel (29-08-2011 )

Intrafor new proprietary directional core barrel was used on its first project. Maeda-Crec-Seli JV awarded Intrafor the contract for ground investigation along a drainage tunnel. The new barrel developed in 2009 was used for a 160m-long hole with two horizontal curves. Rock fissure grouting was then carried out to treat a known fault zone.

Strategic equipment for foundation works (15-08-2011 )

A new Klemm 702-2 rig installed 16 micro-piles for an elevator inside Abu Dhabi’s Presidential Palace. It was the only one in the UAE that could gain access without extensive demolition. In Hong Kong, acquisition of a third trench cutter, a Bauer MC64/BC40 used on the Express Rail Link, that enhances Intrafor’s position as a leader in special foundations.

Challenging logistics (20-06-2011 )

Intrafor’s work on Hong Kong’s Central Reclamation Project includes a wall with a very challenging design requiring unusual reinforcement logistics. Conventional lapping of the bar was impossible, the solution was to lift and place the 55t, 38m-long cages as single sections using a three-crane multiple lift.

Air-lifted drilling rigs for Liantang (25-05-2011 )

The works Intrafor carried out on behalf of LAM Geotechnics involve drilling one vertical and one inclined hole to obtain geological and geotechnical information for the design of a traffic tunnel in Hong Kong. Intrafor is drilling 315m down to the invert level of the future traffic tunnel.

Deep cut in Hong Kong’s Harbour area treatment scheme (02-03-2011 )

Two Intrafor diaphragm wall shafts for Hong Kong’s harbour area treatment scheme are well under way, including one by cutter in Sai Yin Pun where the rockhead depth is 91m. The 12.3-diameter shaft should be the deepest diaphragm wall ever built which will be exposed over its full height, as bulk excavation will proceed in rock down to 150m.

Deep diaphragm walls at CRIII (08-09-2010 )

Intrafor won the subcontract for the diaphragm walling and barrettes of an underground tunnel of Hong Kong’s Central Reclamation project. The work comprises 1km of 1. 2m-thick diaphragm walls to be constructed into the granite bedrock and around 107 1. 2m barrette piles for foundations to the tunnels.

Diaphragm Walls in permeable Nile river sands (06-09-2010 )

With 39m, the bulk excavation at Cairo’s Metro’s Attaba Station is one of the deepest of its kind ever built with a non-circular diaphragm wall and strutting. Intrafor successfully completed two 1,500mm-thick diaphragm walls that are 85m-90m deep. The total amount of diaphragm walls was 61,000m².

Intrafor’s deepest stop end at Lai Chi Kok (25-08-2010 )

Intrafor has excavated a major shaft for the Drainage Services Department of Hong Kong. The 58. 5m-deep shaft has a 12m internal diameter with a 1. 5m-thick wall and includes a slurry wall, which is 84m long, 1m thick and 30m deep. This is the deepest stop end installed by Intrafor to date.

Horizontal directional drilling under Hong Kong Seabed (19-08-2010 )

Intrafor Hong Kong has just been awarded a Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) contract for the Government of the Hong Kong S.A.R. (Drainage Services Department). The works will include the directional drilling of two holes located near two small villages in Lamma Island (South West of Hong Kong Island), as well as the installation of HDPE pipes in those holes, for the construction of two submarine outfalls from a sewage treatment plant. The works are due to start in December 2010.

Bored piles & D-walls / Intrafor in the New Territories (23-06-2010 )

Intrafor Hong Kong has signed a contract with Karlin Consultants, a local developer, to design and construct the cofferdam of a new commercial development in Fanling, located in the New Territories of Hong Kong. The works will include the construction of bored piles and an L-shape diaphragm wall around a 1,300m2 land plot. Intrafor will also carry-out the excavation works and installation of the temporary strutting system and finally construct a 3,000m3 pile cap.