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Laing O'Rourke Centre for Construction Engineering and Technology


Dr Graham Webb is a Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC) secondee from WSP, working with the Laing O'Rourke Centre - supervised by Professor Campbell Middleton and working with Sakthy Selvakumaran - on 'Applications of new techniques to the detection and monitoring of bridge scour'.



Graham is a chartered civil engineer with 9 years' experience in the infrastructure sector. This has included leading the design of instrumentation and testing regimes for a number of high profile structures across London, and undertaking technical studies aimed at identifying efficiency savings in both design and asset management activities.

Prior to joining WSP, Graham completed a PhD thesis entitled "Structural Health Monitoring of Bridges" at the University of Cambridge. Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) systems are becoming increasingly popular due to their perceived ability to provide infrastructure managers with data to supplement their inspection regimes. He has developed an innovative new classification system to aid users of SHM systems to clearly understand how data is used and what information can realistically be obtained.

The aim of the secondment is to review and collate information on new and emerging monitoring techniques being developed at CSIC and Laing O'Rourke Centre to identify practical ways these could be used by asset managers to inform the management of scour risk. 

Scour (the removal of material from the bed and banks of rivers as a result of the erosive action of flowing water) has caused the failure of hundreds of bridges globally in recent decades. Standard practice for managing this risk relies on periodic visual inspections to identify signs of problems or unusual behaviours before they reach a catastrophic stage. However, these inspections, which usually involve divers, have several limitations. For example, for safety reasons inspections often cannot take place during or immediately after flood events when bridges are especially vulnerable, and damage may not always be visually apparent.

CSIC Secondee from WSP
Dr Graham Webb

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