Multidisciplinary engineering consultancy Gibb senior associate and geotechnical engineer Ron Tluczek has been appointed the vice-animateur for Working Group 2 Research at the International Tunnelling Association (ITA) in recognition of his contribution to the geotechnical engineering sector.
Geotechnical engineering includes, but is not limited to, the analysis, design and construction of systems that are made of or supported by soil or rock, as well as foundations, retaining structures, embankments, roadways, tunnels, levees, wharves and landfills.
The ITA was founded by 19 nations and currently comprises 71 member nations and 310 affiliate members. Its common objective is the optimal use of subsurface environments for the benefit of public, environmental and sustainable development, as well as to promote advances in the planning, design, construction, maintenance and safety of tunnels and other underground space.
Gibb highlights that the appointment is important, as it recognises on the international stage the expertise of one of Gibb’s employees, and reinforces its reputation as one of the leading engineering firms nationally, as well as the firm’s commitment to quality and technical expertise. “I am very thrilled about the next three years and look forward to contributing to the success of my working group in the ITA. As a vice-animateur, my role entails providing leadership, as well as instilling team spirit and enthusiasm in my working group,” says Tluczek.
An active contributor to his group, he has contributed to research papers that the group has produced over the past few years.
He adds that, in the past year, his working group produced a research paper that focussed on site investigation requirements during the life cycle of any tunnelling project.
“The research paper’s objective was to enable the client to appreciate the benefits of a well-planned and -executed site investigation,” Tluczek says, adding that it is hoped that this will help improve the way in which tunnelling projects are accepted and understood worldwide.
Tluczek is also chairperson of the South African National Committee on Tunnelling (Sancot), which was established in 1973 during a phase of extensive infrastructure development in South Africa, particularly the construction of the Orange–Fish tunnel, an irrigation tunnel that diverts water from the Orange river to the Great Fish river and semiarid areas in the Eastern Cape.
The ITA and Sancot have been instrumental in the geotechnical landscape, improving tunnelling across the continent.
“Tunnelling is evident in every part of people’s lives – from water supply and sewerage, road and rail transportation, power and even underground cabling for communication and Internet coverage,” says Tluczek, concluding that the quality of life is enhanced through tunnelling.