Short Courses

Design and Construction of Microtunneling Projects

Learn how to design, plan, monitor, and manage microtunneling projects, and understand the suitable methods for different soils, groundwater, tunnel diameter and depths.

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Learn how to design, plan, monitor, and manage microtunneling projects, and understand the suitable methods for different soils, groundwater, tunnel diameter and depths.

Thanks to technical advances and increases in the utilisation of microtunneling over the past decade, small and medium diameter pipes are today being installed in virtually all ground conditions with a minimum of surface disturbance. Despite this shift in technology, microtunneling techniques incorporate many of the complexities and technical challenges of modern large diameter tunnels.

This three-day course is tailored for those interested in microtunneling and describes and reviews the technique in depth. It makes comparisons with other trenchless techniques such as horizontal directional drilling and discusses techniques for subsurface investigation and characterisation.

The course also examines the selection, sizing and construction of various shafts for tunneling, and key aspects of microtunnel design, specification, planning, monitoring and management, including risk assessment and management, as well as new trends and the state of the art in microtunneling.

Upon successful completion of the course, you’ll be able to understand and specify the microtunneling method most suitable for a given set of soils, groundwater, tunnel diameter and depths. You’ll also be able to plan and specify a microtunneling project and understand the performance envelope for microtunneling.

This course is run exclusively by The American Society of Civil Engineers with Engineering Education Australia.

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Any questions?

3 Days
Additional Information

Please register at least two weeks before the scheduled course start date.

We can customise this course for groups of six or more.

You choose the time, place, duration and format.

Find out how we can help you and your team by clicking on the button below to request a quote or calling us directly on +61 3 9321 1700.

Learning outcomes
  • Select suitable investigation techniques, investigate and analyse ground conditions for microtunneling.
  • Provide firm data to assist in making informed decisions regarding microtunnel equipment selection, microtunnel lining selection and shaft construction methods.
  • Develop techniques to mitigate anticipated and unanticipated microtunneling problems
  • Develop microtunnel prequalification, specifications and construction schedules more accurately.
  • Understand the microtunneling process better and how to monitor microtunneling projects and interpret the data.
  • Manage and risk mitigate microtunnel construction projects more successfully and safely
  • You will have the opportunity to discuss case histories and to discuss particular concerns or projects.
Is this course for you?

Is this course for you?

This course is for you if you’re in the construction industry and looking for a firm grounding in modern microtunneling techniques and practices.

The course will be particularly useful for sewer, stormwater and utility managers, construction and project managers, engineers (both field and design office), construction supervisory personnel, construction cost estimators and graduate civil or geotechnical engineers.


There are no prerequisites for this course.

Topics we'll cover

Topics we'll cover

Sub surface site characterisation in soil and rock for microtunneling
A review of the techniques for investigating and characterising subsurface conditions for both soils and rock will be presented and particularly how these are applicable to microtunneling.

Microtunnel methods used in construction

  • The various types of microtunnel systems available will be discussed for both soft and hard ground conditions including microtunneling capabilities to deal with boulders, obstructions and hard rock.
  • Auger, slurry and EPB type microtunneling systems will be discussed as well as a review of current microtunneling cutter head and stone crushing capabilities.

Microtunneling techniques
Tunnel construction methods using microtunneling and pipe jacking techniques will be examined in detail. Site layouts and planning for microtunneling in various soil types, alignment control and tolerances, jacking forces and the use of interjacks are included.

Microtunnel jacking pipes and segmental linings
Types of jacking pipes available for microtunneling will be presented together with a review of their appropriate use. The use of segmental linings in microtunnels will also be covered. Key factors in selecting and specifying microtunneling linings will be addressed.

Shaft construction for microtunneling
A discussion of shaft construction techniques, their selection and merits in various ground conditions and shaft depths.

Planning, productivity and costing for microtunneling
Project development, planning and productivity including key factors for microtunneling will be discussed, as well as shaft locations, drive lengths and the development of cost levels for microtunneling projects.

Microtunneling pre-qualification, submittals, operational monitoring and safety
Required pre-qualification, specification and other key elements of contract documents for microtunneling together with required submittal information from contractors will be discussed in detail. Recommended monitoring of microtunneling will be described and the interpretation of such acquired data and training of site staff will be reviewed.

Microtunnel management, risk and safety
Key aspects of the management of microtunneling projects will be discussed including risk identification, both technical and commercial risk mitigation measures, and safety requirements.

Potential problems in microtunneling and shaft construction
Problems encountered in the design and construction of microtunnels will be reviewed. The means for identifying potential problem areas on projects and suitable mitigation techniques will be described including case studies.

New development trends and techniques in microtunneling
New trends in microtunneling and potential future developments will be described as well as the state of the art.

Videos of microtunneling in action and case histories
Relevant short videos of the various techniques as well as numerous case histories will be presented.

Andy Robinson
David G Abbott
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