Geofem Geotechnical Analysis

Case Studies

A sample of our recent projects that illustrate the range of our services.



River Plate House, London, UK


Geofem performed an assessment of various foundation options for a new structure to be built on the site. The aim was to reuse as many as possible of the 130 existing under-reamed piles, but the new proposed structure had a significantly different load distribution compared with the existing structure, and some changes to the basement geometry were also proposed. This all required a complex model in Plaxis 3D to be set up, simulating construction of the existing basement, piles and loading as well as its demolition and subsequent construction of the various foundation options.




Grand Assembly Area, Drydocks World, Dubai


The Grand Assembly Area (GAA) of Drydocks World-Dubai (DWD) is a large ground bearing slab supported by calcareous sand and is used for the assembly and subsequent launch of new ships and rigs. It was operating close to its maximum allowable working load but DWD wanted to investigate whether, by more advanced analysis, the allowable working load on the existing slab could be increased.

Geofem were appointed to specify and direct settlement monitoring of the slab during the launching of a new 8000 tonne rig (pictured right) and subsequently to carry out a 3D finite element analysis of the slab. Geofem advised that the allowable working load could be increased, which has allowed heavier ships and rigs to be assembled and launched, significantly improving the productivity of the existing structure.

Refer to ICE Proceedings Geotechnical Engineering for more information.




Aldenham Embankment Dam, Hertfordshire, UK


Localised movements in an embankment dam with a long history of instability were corrected recently by the installation of a soil nailing scheme. Geofem is involved in ongoing interpretation of monitoring data and finite element analysis of the embankment dam in order to assess the success of the scheme and to understand more fully the intriguing patterns of movement prior to installation of the soil nails, and elsewhere along the embankment, that have been recorded by the monitoring instruments.

Refer to Canadian Geotechnical Journal for more information.



Forensic investigation, basement wall collapse, Nicosia, Cyprus


Geofem performed an on-site forensic investigation and finite element analysis to determine the cause of collapse of a 10m high King-pile basement retaining wall adjacent to an existing building in the centre of Nicosia.



Knightsbridge Palace Hotel, London, UK


Geofem performed a Category 3 check on the design of a multi-propped diaphragm wall supporting a new 6-storey deep basement in Knightsbridge. A small-strain stiffness soil model was used in order to provide a more accurate prediction of ground surface settlements, validated by ground level and retaining wall deflection monitoring early on in construction.



Modelling soil-geogrid interaction


Current methods of modelling geogrid layers in finite element analyses often significantly under-predict their performance when compared with field trials and monitored structures. Geofem is working with Tensar to develop new modelling methods that provide more realistic predictions and which realise the full potential of geogrid-reinforced soil, with a particular focus on reinforced unpaved roads.



Modelling temporary trackway


Rollable trackway or roadway is typically used for temporary vehicular access to field events and remote construction sites, or by the military. Its soil-structure interaction is rather complex because of the high flexibility of trackway compared with other structures. Consequently, careful finite element analysis is required to obtain predictions that match those from field and laboratory tests. Geofem is developing such analysis models, using both 2D and 3D FEA, that will be used in the development of new trackway sections, thereby saving costs in prototype development.



Prelude FLNG Turret


The largest piece of Shell’s new Prelude FLNG Turret was constructed in Dubai and needed to be loaded onto a barge for transport to South Korea. Geofem managed the ground investigation, numerical analysis and site monitoring, and then interpreted the findings to judge whether the quay wall at Drydocks World Dubai could safely support the weight of this 4,000 tonne monster as it was transported onto the barge.

Check out this time-lapse video of the operation to see if Geofem got it right!

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