Infrastructure goes underground – global trends and Ukrainian realities of tunnel construction

Инфраструктура уходит под землю – о мировых трендах и украинских реалиях тоннельного строительства

The modern world demands high infrastructure requirements. Accessibility is a serious geopolitical issue, and the issue of economic competitiveness.

Transport infrastructure includes not only roads, but also more complex solutions like bridges and tunnels. These structures have a number of advantages over the road transport and passenger flows under the ground allows us to offload the modern metropolis and highway, to resolve logistics issues, reduce the cost of transportation of goods and so on. But the construction of bridges and tunnels, on the one hand, is connected with large investments, on the other hand the technical complexity of the implementation – from development of design solutions and to service the finished objects. This market is very narrow – there are few professional companies that have the human and technical resources sufficient for the implementation of such projects. About the realities and prospects of the Ukrainian underground construction says the Chairman of the Board of PJSC “Interbudtunnel”, Bukan Anatoly Petrovich.

Инфраструктура уходит под землю – о мировых трендах и украинских реалиях тоннельного строительства




Bukan Anatoly Petrovich – honored Builder of Ukraine, actual member of Academy of construction of Ukraine, doctor of construction.

He started his career in 1975 in OAO “Kievmetrostroy.” In 1982 he received the qualification of engineer of ways of communication – Builder, graduating from Dnepropetrovsk Institute of railway engineers in the specialty “Bridges and tunnels”. After graduation, he returned to JSC “Kievmetrostroy” mountain master.

Later he held the position of head of the underground division, and from 1989 chief engineer of SMU №3 OAO “Kievmetrostroy.”

Since 2002, headed by PJSC “Interbudtunnel” (included in the Association “interbudmontazh”, Chairman of the Board Petruk V.)

Participated in the implementation of construction projects of more than 10 stations and tunnels svyatoshinsko-Brovarsky and Syretsko Pechersk Kiev metro lines, communication of the collectors in Odessa, tunnels Dniester PSP.

The company “INTERBUDTUNNEL” as a part of Construction Association interbudmontazh built drainage-communication tunnel with two drainage collectors in the city of Ashgabat (Turkmenistan). Also Bucani Anatoly Petrovich was the project Manager for the construction of the Beskid tunnel in the Carpathian mountains.


Anatoly Petrovich, tell us please about company “Interbudtunnel”

Company “Interbudtunnel” this year was 17 years old. It was created for the implementation of the contract for the construction of drainage and communication tunnel in Ashgabat, which was signed at the intergovernmental level between Ukraine and Turkmenistan in 2001. The company had attracted more than 400 experts with extensive experience in subway building. I came to the company from public joint stock company “Kievmetrostroy”, where he worked for 25 years, 15 of them as chief engineer.

For a project in Ashgabat has purchased 3 of the tunnel system. The shields were made in Germany for 9 months. At this time staff was trained. Equipment for underground construction is very expensive – one shield worth tens of millions of euros, so the staff needs to be prepared.

Also in the framework of the project with Turkmenistan, we have trained 30 students from Turkmenistan in Kiev and Dnepropetrovsk Universities. Today, these graduates are working in the country in high positions. Also along with the experienced professionals we have recruited 12 graduates of Ukrainian Universities, the specialty “Bridges and tunnels”. Now they are successful mechanics and supervisors with a serious practical experience.

Today “Interbudtunnel” is a part of Construction Association “interbudmontazh” has its own design Institute and is a member of the International tunnel Association (ITA) and the International Association of Specialists in Horizontal Directional Drilling.


Construction of a drainage-communication tunnel in Ashgabat was visited by the first persons of the States, and the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov called object is very important for further development of the infrastructure of its capital. The uniqueness of this object?

We have constructed in Ashgabat a whole underground city, paving of 32 kilometres of tunnels. The uniqueness of the object lies in the fact that such objects are almost never constructed. We laid an underground tunnel with a diameter of 6 meters and more than 13 thousand meters of waste tunnels with a diameter of 3 meters, creating a ring system, which has combined sewers and about 70 radial drainage pipes, of which the urban waste water and ground water is discharged by gravity into the main tunnel. The construction of the drainage communication tunnel was conducted in the area of high seismic activity (up to 10 points on the Richter scale). After the launch of the facility significantly reduced the groundwater level in Ashgabat. In the future, treated water will be used in the irrigation system of the country.


We see that interest in underground construction is growing in the world. In Ukraine itself, a complex urban situation. In the capital and in large cities requires the development of underground infrastructure, including underground. What we have in the country’s prospects in this segment of construction?

Underground construction is very complicated and expensive construction type, which require high qualifications and practical experience. None of the tunnel is different, in advance it is impossible to fully include the Geology, so experience and knowledge is the basis. And at training of specialists in Universities today, on the one hand lose the level of education, on the other hand, the observed decline of interest in this profession option. I take public examinations at the Dnepropetrovsk national University of railway transport in the specialty “Bridges and tunnels” and I see this trend! If earlier for this specialty received an average of 150 people, of whom 110 were completed and 40 were deducted, because the requirements were very high, and discipline is complicated, but this year the application is submitted 7 students.

Another problem is the lack of experience of the graduates! Before the students went to the construction site, worked as a sinker, and today, graduates receive diplomas of the specialty “Bridges and tunnels”, but in the tunnel they never were.

I can’t say that there is no demand for specialists for underground construction – our design Institute takes graduates and is willing to invest in their professional development, young professionals from Ukraine work on construction sites in other countries. But many graduates of recent years do not want to work – there is no distribution, housing when you move to a place of work can not be solved, but to build bridges and tunnels hard, so people go to work in other sectors of the economy. And, of course, the sector of underground construction is rapidly losing footage due to the lack of internal construction of tunnellike leave the country. Despite all the economic difficulties in Ukraine, housing construction, commercial real estate and masons, running shoes, steel fixers, concrete workers, roofers – they can find a job. But where to go to a specialist for bridges and tunnels?


What is the competition in this market?

The number of players in this market is limited – affected by the technical complexity of the projects and expensive machinery to perform the work, but this does not mean that the market has no competition. Here, too, its rivalries, and the world, with very strong companies. The underground construction market has long been international. All the fears that we cannot allow foreign companies to underground construction far-fetched. Today, for instance, metro eliminated from the list of objects of civil defense. Therefore, with the objects, including in Ukraine are fighting companies from different countries. For example, the tender for the largest Ukrainian infrastructure project of the last decades of the Beskyd tunnel was international. And we won it from well-known European companies, not losing to them in technical terms, but at the same time, proposing design solutions that meet building legislation of Ukraine, which was one of the conditions of the tender.


You brought up the topic of tenders. The tender 2 the main selection criterion is price and terms. How this selection system is suitable to Your market?

When tunnellike out to tender, they are often in the form of logistical support in equal conditions! I have already said that each tunnel is unique and it is necessary to prepare equipment, formwork and other equipment. Because the main asset is the experience and personnel. And here in the West, when selection of the contractor is important to the image of the company: who works there, what projects the company has built, as these objects showed themselves in operation. Of course, choose the company that offer the price lower and the time shorter, but not among all the announced, and among players with equivalent image. We have a tender Committee often make decisions solely in the promises of potential contractor of the project.

A separate issue is the estimate of the project. It is impossible to foresee the Geology of underground construction, in the process of implementing it can vary significantly, thus increasing the amount of materials (concrete, rebar, explosives, etc.) needed for the construction of the tunnel. In all European contracts associated with underground construction, be sure there is a section about the risks of changing geological conditions, as well as the adjustment mechanism of the estimated cost. Because the contract for the design and construction of the Beskydy tunnel is based on the “FIDIC Yellow book” (FIDICYellowbook), it also contains this section. In the construction of this tunnel, we are, unfortunately, also encountered a similar situation. The customer – PJSC “Ukrzaliznytsia”, have attracted Austrian company “D2 Consult” as a project Engineer, which controlled every meter of penetration, capturing all the changes of Geology. In addition, worked on the project 2 geologist – geologist “Interbudtunnel” and a geologist from the customer. The volume of additional work was recorded and signed by independent experts on the part of the Engineer and supervision. Accordingly, such additional costs should be compensated by the Customer, as required by the terms of the contract. Adjustments to estimates for such large-scale infrastructure projects, in the process of their implementation, are standard international practice. And any unfounded information that sometimes appears in the media, is derived solely from a superficial understanding of the issue.


As You can see the location of the company “Interbudtunnel” on the market, what tasks you set for yourself?

In our work, very strict requirements on technology and safety. Geology does not forgive mistakes and loss price can be human life or equipment worth millions of euros. To work usually have 3 shifts. And then there are the designers, engineers, and, as in any business, lawyers, financiers, other staff. Imagine staffing the organization? And today the company , Interbudtunnel” fully staffed by specialists. We pay great importance to their social policy within the company – we create conditions for work! Provide comfortable living conditions during construction, 3 meals a day with modern working conditions. During construction of the tunnel in Turkmenistan was visited by many representatives of international institutions and the world media – all of them were attracted by the uniqueness of the object (in the world there is a drainage tunnel this section and of this length) and they all noted the high standards of not only the work but also the working conditions. This figure!

When we passed the Beskydy tunnel, we also received high marks from the customer and investors and European engineers have given the most praise. And it’s all thanks to the professionalism of builders , Interbudtunnel”!

Today our main task is to keep people and equipment. We have performed underground work at the Mariinsky Palace, built in Ivano-Frankivsk cement plant, but our level – large-scale underground structures. And very high cost of equipment does not allow long idle time – to buy a car for sinking a few million euros to build a few underground stations or other underground facility, and then to leave expensive equipment that is called a fence, is simply unacceptable! Should not be idle neither the experts nor the car! Therefore, we will fight for participation in projects in all markets – whether internal or external.

Инфраструктура уходит под землю – о мировых трендах и украинских реалиях тоннельного строительства



LC. DABU AE No. 640698 from 08.06.15; LC. DABU, NO. 37L from 11.10.16