Underground construction

Over the last decade the NIIOSP specialists have been facing various scientific, engineering and technical challenges in line with the integrated urban underground development. Initially used for laying underground utilities and housing transport construction assets, the underground space development has outstretched to comprise the implementation of the larger assets for public or household use, multistorey underground parking garages and lots, retail facilities, construction of the subsurface levels of the residential buildings. The laying depth of the collectors for routing safety-related utilities as well as subsurface flyovers has significantly increased. The special aspects of contemporary urban underground space development are related to the application of various progressive technologies, namely top-down construction method, bored piles, electric discharge pile technology, microtunneling, NATM, shield-driven tunneling with counterweight, compensation grouting, etc.

For the first time in our country and under immediate supervision of the NIIOSP professional team the major underground Retail and Entertainment Complex Okhotny Ryad was built with its location at Manezhnaya Square in Moscow, and claiming to be the largest in Europe.

In course of the design activities, the structural design was based on the historical changes in the stress-strain soil conditions whenever applicable for the initial and subsequent load disturbance as well as complex structural schemes and their production stages. The analysis was carried out to assess the impact on the Complex structures from the negative engineering and geological processes such as karst, suffusion activities, soil swelling and heaving. A scientific breakthrough in the geotechnical forecast and protection of the adjacent development was made in view of the related underground construction. The overall system of monitoring activities was created to include the monitoring of the soil strain development, groundwater levels, metro tunnels deformations, settlements of the adjacent buildings, and the displacement of the enclosing and load-bearing structures of the asset under development.

A special set of activities was fulfilled to ensure preservance of the natural hydro-geological conditions and protection of the Complex against groundwaters flooding. The practically accomplished activities programme of the scientific and technical supervision of the design and construction activities for Okhotny Ryad Complex at Manezhnaya Square resulted in high reliability of the final design solutions, definition of the required scope of the construction and assembling works to be fulfilled, prevention of any possible modification of the site hydro-geological conditions and assurance of minor construction impact on both geotechnical environment and adjacent development. In course of the following years, such scientific monitoring programme has evolved into a model one to refer to while implementing the design and construction activities in view of other unique assets.

Another prominent underground development project wherein the NIIOSP professionals were taken onboard is a high-rise complex Moscow City IBC located near Krasnopresnenskaya Embankment on the left-bank terrace of the Moskva River. The core of this Complex is a multifunctional building embracing metro connection hub, parking lots, retail segment, exhibition, office and other premises. All aforementioned functions are housed in an 8-storey building, 6 levels of which are underground. The building footprint is 125x47 square meters. The pit depth reaches 23 m leveling by the existing area planning.

The outstanding feature of the Moscow City is unprecedented interference into the current geological environment which is, in fact, related to the excavation of large amounts of soil within a large area of land with the follow-up transmission of the designed buildings base load exceeding the best practices values for Moscow. The design of the enclosing and antiseepage ‘wall-in-trench’ structure along the core building footprint and neighboring sites using bored piles was designed by the NIIOSP team. To select the most feasible design solutions it was required to envision possible modification of strained and stressed soil conditions at each and every construction stage. This forecast served grounds for developing some monitoring systems at the site and in its turn was improved on the basis of the monitoring findings themselves.

The Institute’s new concepts and work-ups have been employed and put into practice while designing and developing substructures for a number of buildings in Moscow. Among major civil engineering projects with participation of NIIOSP the following are the main highlights: Moscow Government Public Amenities building, office building in Dobryninskaya Ulitsa, Berlin Haus, underground parking garage in Olimpiysky Prospekt, parking garage for the needs of the RF Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Turkish retail complex, underground parking garage for the needs of the ambulatory-care unit of Botkin Hospital, and others.

When reconstructing historical buildings of the Manezh Exhibition Hall and the Moskva Hotel, the NIIOSP experts made a valuable contribution into ‘zero level’ structural designs and related calculations. At the moment the works are being executed in view of designing the one of a kind underwater parking garage under the riverbed of Vodootvodny Kanal (Water Bypass) in Moscow. Sustainable calculations, concepts and scientific and technical supervision are fulfilled by NIIOSP in course of construction of the Third Ring Road in Moscow. The transportation hubs, namely Gagarin Square and Lefortovsky Tunnel, were the main ones to witness the NIIOSP contribution into design and scientific supervision. These design activities comprised tunnel structural calculations, assumption of possible construction impact onto the adjacent development and natural environment, on-site construction monitoring, elaboration of the required protective measures, compilation of regulations covering special geotechnical activities, etc. The NIIOSP experts took part in scientific supervision related to design and construction activities for deep underground structures to enable laying the utilities and collectors in Ulitsa Bolshaya Dmitrovka, Nikolskaya, Karamyshevskaya Naberezhnaya and others. Among other tasks under NIIOSP competence was elaboration of protective measures to prevent unacceptable influence of the shield tunneling on the adjacent existing development.


The Institute professional divisions can provide the services as summarized below:

All design types of subsurface and buried industrial and civil structures including compilation of regulations covering special activities for the needs of the underground construction; computerized calculations of the bases, foundations and structural elements of the underground and buried constructions in two- and three-dimensional formulations of any degree of complexity. In the armoury of NIIOSP software tools, there are advanced finite element models elaborated in-house, in Russia and abroad which ensure adequate numeric calculation methods. There is a vast majority of programmes based on the patterns created by NIIOSP and largely evaluated onsite.

  • Non-linear calculations of the bases deformation
  • Calculations of the pit retaining structures
  • Calculations of the buried foundation slabs and combined piled-raft foundations
  • Calculations of the spatial underground structures interacting with the bases
  • Math modeling of the stress and strain soil condition and its modification in course of the underground construction activities
  • Possible impact assessment on the adjacent development from the underground construction activities
  • Seepage analysis and forecast of any possible changes in hydrogeological conditions due to expansive underground development

Best practice and experience generated by NIIOSP in course of its participation in Moscow underground development ensures quality and efficient execution of the most complex assignments.