In 2017 Temple was contracted to carry out construction noise, vibration, and air quality monitoring for HS2 on behalf of their enabling works contractor, Costain Skanska Joint Venture (CSJV). The project presented a challenge to Temple’s Acoustics and Air Quality teams, as well as a great opportunity to innovate and apply remote monitoring principles on a large scale.
The Enabling Works package saw the first works on the London to Birmingham leg of HS2 taking place, with much of the work concentrated in central and west London. This phase of construction involved a lot of the most intensive works such as demolitions, site clearance, utility diversions, ground remediation, highways works, and the establishment of site compounds. The ultimate purpose of all of these works is to clear the way ready for the subsequent Main Works construction of the HS2 line itself.
The area covered by Temple’s contract was all of the HS2 ‘south’ area, which comprised the start of the Phase 1 route at London Euston, through Camden and west London and out as far as the exit of the London tunnel portion of the route at West Ruislip.
This included all of the land needed to allow for the required expansion of Euston in the densely packed streets to the west of the station (to incorporate the HS2 London terminus), along with the associated adaptations needed to the tracks as they lead out of Euston and through Camden. Other sites included the vast former rail depot at Old Oak Common (due to become the main HS2 / Crossrail interchange), large areas of land in Acton related to the tunneling works, a number of smaller sites for the tunnel vent shafts, and the equally vast tunnel portal (and numerous related sites) in and around West Ruislip.
Part of the challenge for Temple with the project was the high profile and pioneering nature; the Enabling Works saw the first material progress in building HS2 beyond the design stage and, in addition, most of the work was taking place in urban areas surrounded by sensitive receptors.
In response to the challenge, Temple developed a number of systems and innovations to deal with both the physical scale of the monitoring required and the large amounts of data to be collected, processed, and reported. In-house automated processes were developed by Temple to improve data collection and reporting efficiency to HS2 and Local Authorities and to reduce the impact of human error in dealing with such large data sets. To respond to the physical challenge, Temple implemented a systematic approach to the installation and maintenance of remote monitors. Acoustics and Air Quality consultants working in teams and in collaboration with electrical sub-contractors installed, maintained, and managed over 100 noise and vibration monitors and over 40 air quality monitors across more than 20 sites and four London boroughs. The Air Quality team also carried out regular diffusion tube surveys across seven London boroughs.
In addition to installing and maintaining the remote network of monitors, Temple’s Acoustics team also carried out attended noise and vibration monitoring. This was in response to any complaints arising and also to pro-actively monitor sensitive demolition activities; including several studies of innovative demolition methods.
Client satisfaction remained high throughout the three years of the project. Temple also carried with it extensive knowledge of the scheme gained during the preparation of the HS2 Phase 1 Environmental Impact Assessment. This proved valuable in the modelling of specific construction activities to inform Section 61 consents used by CSJV during their works.
Through the innovations and systems used for the Enabling Works project, Temple proved that environmental monitoring on a huge scale can be achieved effectively and efficiently by a relatively small team.