Gall Zeidler Consultants are world leaders in tunnel and underground structure design, providing unique engineering solutions for projects of all sizes. Their expertise is a perfect fit for the UK water industry, says co-founder and principal Kurt Zeidler.

Gall Zeidler have built up an international reputation for their work on major infrastructure projects, completing 300 miles of tunnel in the process.

With over four decades of experience to draw on, the company has offices across the world, including the UK. Their team provide high-quality support across all stages of a project from planning and design to construction support and project management.

Kurt himself is a global expert in tunnelling and geotechnical engineering, and currently oversees operations in the UK, Europe and Asia. He is well aware of the complex challenges facing the UK’s water utilities in terms of infrastructure and financial constraints, which affect the whole sector from drinking water supply and conveyance to wastewater treatment.

And he is confident that this is where Gall Zeidler’s expertise in ‘one-off’ engineering solutions comes into its own. “Every project throws up its own unique challenges, and our senior team add tremendous value in terms of creative decision-making and problem-solving,” he explains.

“Our primary goal is to help every client achieve the best end-result, whether the project is high profile or smaller scale.

“We have a huge wealth of experience in consultancy and design for underground structures, from tunnels and caverns to small diameter sewer tunnels, working on tunnels varying from 30-metre caverns to small 800mm micro-TBM.”

Gall Zeidler’s recent projects in the UK include:

  • designing special opening segments and cross passages at Silvertown Thames crossing;
  • enabling works on behalf of Severn Trent Water for the HS2 high-speed rail link in Birmingham;
  • sewer diversions for Northumbrian Water under Network Rail’s live tracks;
  • stormwater drainage diversions, shafts and culverts for HS2; and
  • independent Cate. 3 design check of the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir tunnel lining for Thames Water.

As already mentioned, each project throws up its own specific challenges which require turnkey solutions; for example, in Riyadh, the team successfully completed shaft constructions in very limited space without damaging existing foundations and structures, developing a unique and bespoke shaft support pre-cast lining.

And while the HS2 Pipe Jack Sewer Diversion in Birmingham looked like a much smaller project on paper, it still needed high-quality interventions.

The scheme required two sewer diversion tunnels to support construction of viaducts into the city’s terminus station. Gall Zeidler prepared the design for the pipes, shafts and cofferdams, and carried out the ground movement assessment.

“One shaft was very close to a railway embankment, and Network Rail were quite rightly worried about ground movements, while another shaft was up against a river wall” Kurt adds. “We introduced additional measures to make sure the ground movements stayed within limits.

“Our work continually revealed new details and structures in places they weren’t assumed to be, but that is exactly where our strengths lie as a team… coming up with solutions to surprise findings like these.”

Kurt also emphasises the big upswing in demand for dedicated underground solutions for water storage and storm water retainage. “Space on the surface comes at a very high premium, so certain countries like Singapore are seeking to put a lot of their services and utilities underground. These include water treatment plants which require a lot of space.

“We specialise in underground designs that can be safely and efficiently built, using sustainable methods in conditions that range from hard rock to soft ground under densely populated areas.

“Risk management is a very important part of our process, so our clients are always provided with a robust, clear set of design documents to help mitigate risk in all circumstances. Our professional support includes everything from ground condition assessments to waterproofing, geotechnical investigation, tunnel rehabilitation and leakage solutions.

“Providing the best solution for our client needs is our top priority. There will always be challenges but we enjoy tackling them and driving each project to its successful conclusion.”