The unique British Tunnelling Society (BTS) Design and Construction Course is running again this year. The course is organised by the BTS and will run from 1st July to 5th July 2024 at the University of Warwick (UK).

Hindhead road tunnel SCL works Photo Credit: Normet

Registration details must be completed online and may be found on the BTS website (https:// by following the link from the Education & Training/Training Courses pages. There you will find all of the information including the rates for attendance and a provisional course programme.

Let’s start with a summary of some of the feedback from last year’s 1-week training course, at Warwick:

“The preparation, the execution and how we were all looked after, it felt like I was in tunnel heaven.”

Concrete segment Photo Credit: Mike King

“Course content: a fantastic amount is covered at the right depth and I have to say it’s one of the best courses I’ve ever attended.”

This can be accused as being a biased and selective contribution to the discussion, but we seek all feedback every year with the aim of continuously tailoring the course to suit the needs and requirements of the delegates.

Two of the lecturers on the course had the following to say:

“The BTS Design and Construction Course is one of the finest to be found anywhere in the profession. It provides a concentrated injection of high calibre tunnelling knowledge on a wide range of topics from world leading experts.”

One of final breakthroughs on London Power Tunnels-2 project Photo Credit: National Grid

“The BTS Design & Construction Course provides the full range of essential learning and the ‘need to know’ for those committed to a career in the tunnelling industry.”

And, if all of that is not enough let’s consider some of the other advantages – other than the evening sport’s socials that are included for those willing to demonstrate their prowess outside of tunnelling.


Firstly, this is the opportunity to listen to, talk with, and question some of the leading practitioners in our field today, both inside the lecture theatre, and out.

Modesty will prevent each lecturer from claiming the sobriquet of ‘expert’, but this is exactly what they are, having led and defined specific aspects of tunnelling during their careers and contributed to major projects around the world. Whether this experience is related to design, construction, machine technology, materials, sustainability, risk or contractual and financial practices, the week in Warwick probably assembles one of the broadest and deepest pools of tunnelling knowledge outside of a major international tunnelling conference – just for the benefit of our industry’s future, and is an opportunity not to be missed.

Crossrail’s Bond St station SCL tunnels and cross-passages Photo Credit: Tfl/Crossrail

And they don’t just appear on the day and hide back in a dark hole in the ground somewhere after the event. The personal contact can continue well beyond the course itself and provide potential routes to gather further knowledge and obtain assistance if difficult circumstances arise, outside of the attendees own company.

Let’s face it, our industry loves to discuss tunnelling issues inside and outside of work, inside and outside of a suitable watering hole, and trying to stop the presenters from talking is the real challenge.


Attendees will also get the chance to meet their future collaborators, colleagues and peers within the industry and quickly form a common bond under the circumstances of a shared, if intense, lecturing and workshop experience.

These are the people that attendees are likely to come across time and again over the years, on both sides of the table, in friendship and possibly under adversity.

It is the opportunity for attendees to form relationships that will last over their entire career – relationships that form the bedrock of our industry and with people who will hopefully steer the developments in tunnelling for future generations – or even become a course lecturer in years to come.


As we have already stated, the BTS is very interested in honest feedback on the course content from the attendees. This is the only way that we can ensure that the course continues to be relevant, meet the requirements of the industry, and satisfy the demands of participants.

The aim of the course is to provide information that is up-to-date and applicable to the industry, and for this, constructive comment needs to be provided from those going through the process, and if possible from those who have attained additional industry experience over several years following course attendance.

Details of how this can be done will be provided during the course, and although possibly a little late for this year, any comments on future content may be sent to Mike King ( for consideration. Although please remember the adage about not being able to please all of the people all of the time!

Specific timings of lectures are still under development as they need to fit in with the other commitments of the busy presenters, but, in outline, the course content includes: ­

  • Management and operation of assets; ­
  • Health and Safety integration; ­
  • Site investigation; ­
  • Ground treatment; ­
  • Segmental linings; ­
  • Sprayed concrete linings; ­
  • Pipe jacking; ­
  • Ground movements; ­
  • Sustainability and materials; ­
  • Monitoring; ­ Risk; ­
  • Machine technology; ­
  • Logistics; ­
  • Temporary works.

This is an intensive programme with limited time for each subject, which is why the presenters are generally more than happy to help with the areas that they have not had time to cover during the course.

Whatever your position or background within the industry, if you are relatively new to tunnelling and are looking for a broader and deeper understanding of what we do (and why), the BTS Design and Construction Course offers a unique opportunity.

Whether you are looking at a career in consulting, contracting, project management, project development as a client, or within the financial and insurance sectors; whether you are UKbased or overseas, if it involves tunnels and shafts, then a week away at Warwick University in early July might be just what you need.


Go to: and sign up.