Whether for compensation grouting on London’s Underground or seepage cutoff under a dam, ground treatment methods and challenges vary by project and end use. However, for those involved one commonality beyond the equipment, materials and instrumentation is that the technology for all of these is changing more rapidly than they were 30 years ago.

The International Grouting Conference launched in 1982, and organisers would go on to hold the event every 10 years. With the rapid speed in which technology was developing it was decided to increase the frequency to every five years.

The Grouting Technical Committee of the Geo-Institute (G-I) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the International Conference Organization for Grouting (ICOG) are organizing the 5th International Grouting Conference for this July in Honolulu.

The conference aims to focus on new technologies and current practice for grouting, deep mixing, and diaphragm walls, among other topics.

Conference chair Michael Byle (Tetra Tech) explains after the 2012 conference there was interest in holding the event in cities like Hong Kong or Singapore, and when plans didn’t quite materialize, organizers decided to stay in the Pacific area—selecting Hawaii—shortening the journey from Asia.

“It is a worldwide conference, he says. “We’ve managed to bring in some 40 countries, so it’s not just North America.” While most tunnelling conferences do include papers on grouting or even entire technical sessions dedicated to the topic, Byle points out there is an advantage to bringing multiple industries together at a conference like this.

“This is a concentrated group of people all cross pollinating on essential technology. There are people here from dams and hydraulics, from construction, from deep excavation, from tunnelling, from the environmental industry—all of these people use grouting for different methods, and they all have a little different spin on it and everyone picks up something from others that they wouldn’t have seen if they only look at their own technology.”

The conference will include papers specifically on tunnelling, and overall the variety of papers will be covering technologies for grouting materials, grout equipment, and improvements in monitoring and instrumentation. All of those things are essential, says Byle. They are tools that tunnellers need. “One of the unique things about the conference also is the spectrum of people involved,” he adds.

“We have material manufacturers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, specialty grouting contractors, we have clients and owners, municipal authorities—dams, water and hydroelectric, we have civil engineers, geotechnical engineers, academics. We have the full spectrum of the grouting community involved and it’s been that way since the start”.