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Data handling through object technology The Stent Integrated Rig Instrumentation System (SIRIS) is an example of applied object technology in construction.

SIRIS was developed from the OTICS (Object Technology in a Construction SME) research project, funded by the former DETR and led by Stent in collaboration with Ove Arup and Lancaster University. The project aimed to use product and process modelling in the electronic handling of project data throughout the pile construction process.

All information is recorded in a pile log, compressed, and then transmitted via GSM modem back to the office. A soft copy remains with the rig as a backup. The pile logs are used to populate a database residing on the internal network that can be accessed throughout the company. The key benefits of SIRIS are that the system could be introduced gradually, and integrated with existing site working prac- tices. It allowed workers with little previous experience of IT to adopt the system with relative ease and the prompt availability of conformance data and process control inform- ation helped to shift the cultural emphasis on site away from production rates and towards quality assurance and ‘customer’ service. The database can be accessed throughout the


Himalayan hydro- power software

SIRIS-equipped piling rig

IRIS was developed in close liaison with site workers and clients, and designed to align with current working practices. It was designed to produce a system that would close the loop between estimating, design and construction. Initial emphasis was on monitoring the piling process on site by placing instrumentation on the piling rigs to record quality and production information. Piling contractors are usually one of the first organisations on site. The contract may be of very short duration, so communications must be easy to set up and, once developed, the IT infrastructure must require minimal support and operate reliably in a hostile environment.


Each SIRIS piling rig is fitted with an in- dustrial PC with a high-brightness, colour, touch-sensitive screen and is connected to several sensors on the rig. All interaction with the rig driver is through this simple interface. SIRIS provides the driver with the rig schedule created by the foreman, records the time taken for the rig to get onto position and allows the driver to indicate the cause of any delays. During piling, the system displays the current depth of the auger, the required depth of the pile, the auger torque, average boring rate and other conditions critical to the process. The system provides the driver with a continuous indication of concrete pressure, flow and a graph showing the overbreak as the auger is extracted. Together with the concrete pressure, this graph helps to ensure a sound pile is always produced.

6 R

esearch Focus 41 of May 2000 led with an account of the DFID-funded project called REFRESHA (REgional Flow REgimes for Small-scale Hydropower Asses- sment). This work has resulted in two versions of a hydropower estimation software package – HydrA-Nepal and HydrA-HP. These PC-based software enable a user to rapidly estimate the hydrological regime and, hence, the hydropower potential at any prospective site in the Himalayan and sub- Himalayan regions of Nepal or the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.

Further details of the REFRESHA project and the HydrA-Nepal or HydrA-HP software can be obtained from: •In UK: Mr Gwyn Rees, Project Manager, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8BB, UK (+44 (0) 1491 838800; fax: +44 (0) 1491 692424; E-mail:

•In India: Mr Arun Kumar, Director Alternate Hydro Energy Centre (AHEC), Indian Institute of Technology-Roorkee, Roorkee - 247 667 (Uttaranchal) India (+91 (0) 1332 74254; fax: +91 (0) 1332 73517; E-mail:

•In Nepal: Mr Arun K. Dhungana, Managing Director, ITECO Nepal (P) Ltd., PO Box 2147, Min Bhawan, New Baneshwor, Kathmandu, Nepal (+977 1 482385; fax: +977 1 482298; E-mail: Research Focus NO. 48 FEBRUARY 2002

company and be used to produce client documentation in an electronic format.

For further information please contact IT Construction Best Practice at, website:


New approaches to arsenic testing and treatment

Testing and analysis in the field

n Bangladesh a change in rural water supply sources in the last 20 years, from surface water to ground-water, has resulted in a drop of 250,000 deaths each year from diarrhoeal-related diseases. However, Bangladesh is facing a major problem with high concentrations of arsenic in its groundwater affecting 60 million people. In a recent DFID-funded study, WS Atkins were commissioned to carry out a rapid assessment of nine currently available technologies that had been developed to remove arsenic at the well head. This was the first such independent and comparative assessment of its kind and required development of new survey techniques and new, previously untried, testing equipment.


For further information please contact David Sutherland at DFID (020 7023 0994; fax: 020 7023 0072; E-mail:

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