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Collaborative innovation

Some of the winning innovations

Biocalcis Soletanche Bachy's biological ground consolidation solution (2015 Grand Prize )

Context
Due to corrosion of its steel reinforcement, a reinforced soil retaining wall built in 1974 in Nice (Alpes-Maritimes) has to be strengthened. The usual methods (nailed facing, cement injection, jet grouting) could not be used for part of the structure located directly under the abutment pier of the Nice-Nord interchange bridge on the A8 motorway because of the constricted space, the proximity of buildings, the nature of the backfill and the need to maintain traffic flows on the bridge and beneath it.

Description
To reinforce this part of the structure, representing a volume of around 1,200 cu. m., Soletanche Bachy proposed using Biocalcis, its microbially induced consolidation process. The fruit of several years of development in the company and protected by three patents, it is based on the capacity of the bacteria Sporosarcina pasteurii to calcify soil by producing a biocement. The solution containing the bacteria is injected, resulting in formation in situ of a calcareous sandstone-like material.

Benefits
A laboratory study was carried out in 2013 to test the “injectability” of the backfill material, followed by two test campaigns in April 2014 and February 2015. Their findings validate the suitability of the process for the project’s reinforcement needs and demonstrate Soletanche Bachy’s capacity to implement it on an industrial scale. The first works are scheduled and currently being studied for 2015-2016.

The jury liked...
... the excellence of the solution applied on the structure in Nice using a technique inspired by biomimicry. And, more broadly, the game-changing potential for using this type of technology in construction.

 

Anticipating well together (2015 Safety Prize)

Context
In 2012, during an intervention on the VINCI Autoroutes network, a motorway worker was hit by a van driven by one of his co-workers. Analysis of the accident highlighted inadequate preparation and the issue of good organisation in situations where it is difficult to visualise the intervention to be carried out.

Description
“Anticipating well together” is based on a safety education kit used to reproduce a motorway and the environment in which the operations will take place. The teams, assembled around the pack, can prepare their intervention in detail: reminder of the goals, role and position of each member, use of vehicles, positioning of signage, etc.

Benefits
The method, which constitutes a lifelike prevention scenario, is now applied in all VINCI Autoroutes units. It is used for viability operations but also in training modules, where it allows a very concrete presentation of procedures for outside companies involved in works on motorways.

The jury liked...
...the very wide reach of a worksite preparation tool that can also be used to train new arrivals, feed discussions with partners and combat the bad habits that are a risk factor for workers.

A replica of the Chauvet cave (2015 Special Jury Prize)

Context
The Chauvet cave, discovered in 1994 in Vallon-Pont-d’Arc (Ardèche) is one of the oldest (around 30,000 years BP) and richest prehistoric cave art sites in the world, with around 1,000 paintings and engravings. To protect the paintings, the cave was finally closed to the public, but most of its treasures can still be discovered in a 3,500 sq. m. replica built by VINCI in just 18 months.

Description
The decision to use the traditional technique of projecting mortar foam onto a metal mesh framework was very quickly made. However, the complexity of the shapes ruled out use of 2D drawings. All the design and execution work was therefore done using 3D drawings based on the modelling of the cave. It required creating ad hoc programmes for an innovative workstation where workers could see the structures to be created in 3D on digital tablets and videoprojectors.

Benefits
The first benefit of this method was that it allowed this unique structure to be completed to deadline (by way of comparison, it took 10 years in the 1980s to build the facsimile of the Lascaux caves with an area 10 times smaller). The Chauvet cave replica, known as the Pont-d’Arc Cave (Caverne du Pont-d’Arc), was opened to the public on 25 April 2015.

The jury liked...
... this demonstration of the operational utility of 3D technologies, which will be exploited in the future to facilitate and speed up certain tasks on more standard worksites.