Ground reinforcement at Heathrow Airport

Heathrow is one of the busiest airports in the world, serving millions of passengers every year. In 2022, Geobear was commissioned to provide a ground reinforcement at Terminal 3 (T3), with the aim of reinforcing the ground with Geopolymers to enable a vertical extension of the terminal. The traditional method using concrete would have taken up to two months to complete. Geobear’s innovative solution was four times faster and completed in two weeks.

The project involved a number of challenges, including the need to carry out the work in a vibrant airport environment without disrupting operations or affecting passenger safety. Geobear’s team also had to contend with the presence of buried lines and other services, which required careful planning and execution.

Geobear’s design team used PLAXIS to carefully model and design a solution that met the customer’s requirements. The team used geopolymer injections to increase the load-bearing capacity under the foundations, without having to dig. This approach was not only faster but also more sustainable, as it eliminated the need for excavation and haulage.

The project was successfully completed within the client’s specified timeframe and budget, without disruption to airport operations. Geobear’s solution increased the bearing capacity of the foundations by up to 70%, providing a solid base for the vertical expansion of the terminal. The use of geopolymer injection also had significant sustainability benefits, reducing the project’s carbon footprint by up to 60% compared to traditional concrete and cement methods.
Geobear’s innovative ground reinforcement solution at Heathrow T3 demonstrated the company’s commitment to sustainability, innovation and design excellence. The project not only delivered outstanding results for the client, but also contributed to reducing the project’s environmental impact. The success of the project has further strengthened Geobear’s reputation as a leading provider of ground engineering solutions.

Customer recommendation
Our project benefited greatly from the professional geotechnical services provided by Geobear. As structural engineers on this vertical expansion project, the building’s existing foundation needed to be reinforced. We had originally proposed to expand the area of ​​the existing concrete foundations – which would have been a costly and challenging construction. After consulting with Geobear’s geotechnical designers and reviewing the existing soil conditions with them, we were able to use one of their innovative solutions – injecting Geopolymers under the existing foundations to reinforce the soil to withstand the higher loads after the build-up. This was a huge success for the project, saving costs, time and being more sustainable. Geobear also monitored the movements of the building and assisted the contractor during the grouting to eliminate execution errors and provided a lot of good advice on the extent of grouting required. The end result was very impressive and successful. Throughout the design and build process, Geobear was a pleasure to work with. We highly recommend them and would love to see their innovative, less invasive solutions used more often.

Steve Pinnegar, C&S Director, BakerHicks

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