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May 27, 2016

Excellence in technology

Photo courtesy of GLY
GLY used software to analyze the integrity of these shoring walls, which were holding back water.


GLY’s Allen Institute project in South Lake Union was a haven of opportunity to apply new technology, leveraging benefits to the project from start to finish.

The most innovative of these grew out of a unique situation faced on site. Surrounded by hills and hugging Lake Union, the Allen Institute site presented challenging conditions for excavation and dewatering. During the shoring process, the team noticed mineral springs bubbling up through the bottom of the excavation, raising a big concern: Is this percolating water also behind the shoring walls, potentially compromising their integrity?

GLY needed to get a virtual peek of activity behind the shoring walls to determine if there was a potential hazard. The team wondered if software used to analyze horizontal surfaces could be applied to a vertical surface.

Integrated design engineer Trevor Lunde tested the idea by collecting a series of vertical coordinate points alongside the axis of the steel shoring piles and importing them into the model. It worked, and GLY was able to analyze a vertical surface as if it was a horizontal one and generate a variance report on the vertical surface between the real-world points and their intended positions.

The resulting information unmistakably showed evidence of the wall bowing out wherever there was a grouping of mineral springs. The variances were mere fractions of inches, but it was enough to provide clear physical evidence of correlation between the location of the springs and the integrity of the wall. The team easily identified pockets of impact, severity and location, and regenerated the image every week to monitor conditions.

This precise and visual analysis proved to be an invaluable tool when discussing how to monitor and address any further activity. GLY was able to give its client peace of mind and assure them that the foundation of this high-profile project wasn’t in danger.

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