HS2 adopts digital concrete testing to cut carbon14 November 2023
A successful trial of a digital measuring system for concrete has led to a roll-out across HS2’s West Midlands sites, cutting carbon and driving efficiencies on the high-speed rail project.
VERIFI uses GPS tracking to provide real-time monitoring, measurement, and management of fresh concrete properties during transport.
Using on-truck sensors linked to proprietary patented algorithms, VERIFI is the first digital solution to replace manual consistence (e.g. slump) and temperature testing of fresh concrete. The concrete truck-mixer tracks itself to the point of delivery, tests itself prior to discharge and auto generates pour records for quality assurance purposes.
During the past two years, HS2 main works contractor Balfour Beatty Vinci (BBV) has worked with supply chain partner Saint-Gobain Construction Chemicals, which developed VERIFI, and its concrete supply partners Tarmac and Aggregate Industries, to test and validate the system.
Following a full-scale site trial involving more than 20,000m3 of concrete, HS2 Ltd has approved the roll-out on the West Midlands section of HS2’s Phase One route.
HS2 a key benefit is the elimination of concrete waste that would have been produced from manual sampling and testing. When the solution is rolled out across BBV’s section of the route, it could cut 1,500 tonnes of carbon.
Analysing the entire volume in the truck instead of spot samples improves quality control and provides more accurate readings. Reducing plant-person interface and manual handling on site also improves safety.
HS2 says the clear digital readouts eliminate delays associated with sampling and testing, which allows for better scheduling and reduces potential bottlenecks in the construction timeline.
HS2 materials and durability lead Jon Knights said it was an example of how HS2, working collaboratively with supply chain partners, could provide a test bed for cutting-edge technologies.
“We have set big ambitions to drastically cut carbon as we build HS2, and digital surveillance solutions support us on this journey, not only bringing multiple benefits to the project, but paving the way for a new era in the construction industry,” he said.
Frederic Guimbal, EVP at Saint Gobain Construction Chemicals, said VERIFI demonstrated “the power of collaboration and paves the way for the integration of digital methods in future concrete standards across the construction industry”.
Joseph Hartley, HS2 technical manager at Aggregate Industries, described VERIFI as a “monumental step change in supplying quality assured concrete”.
“The visibility it gives to ourselves and to our clients is unprecedented. The ability to monitor, maintain our product and track vehicle movements allows significant environmental and cost benefits for us and HS2,” he said. “Having worked in the ready-mixed concrete business for 36 years, VERIFI is one of the most significant upgrades to our operational capability I’ve seen.”