Who Are We ?



The company was formed by Dr. Ian McFeat-Smith, and first registered as a business practice in Hong Kong in February 1997.  The company employs independent hands-on tunnel design and construction consultants for underground works around the Asia Pacific and Middle East Regions with projects in Hong Kong as it's base, India, China, Nepal, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Lebanon, Turkey and the Philippines.

The company undertakes site investigations, geological mapping work, studies, detailed design, construction advisory and expert witness assignments for highway, railway and utility tunnels for private sector, Government and contractors alike.  Planning work is regularly undertaken and includes obtaining timely approvals from statutory bodies.

IMS specializes in identifying and applying appropriate technology for all types of conventional and mechanised trenchless technology, tunnelling and cavern construction as well as for high risk applications such as microtunnelling in bouldery soils, control and management of large water inflows, EPBM installations in mixed face conditions and large span highway tunnels in urban areas. Examples of current projects include tunnels for the SSDS and Route 10 Expressway projects in Hong Kong, the Singapore DTSS Contract T-03 EPBM driven tunnels, the Tai Po to Butterfly Valley Aqueducts, Guangzhou Metro Line 2, Melen \ Bosphorous crossing and the New Wu Chieh Power diversion tunnel in Taiwan.

Expertise is provided for both soft ground and rock tunnelling: and includes computer aided design techniques such as UDEC and 3D FLAC; embraces all conventional, mechanised, NATM, cut and cover and immersed tube methods of tunnelling. The company regularly provides specialist services to major consultancy practices such as design work for 3-lane highway tunnels for the Route 9 Project and a cable tunnel to Hong Kong's new Cyberport for PBA; bored tunnels for West Rail and Central Kowloon Route for Atkins China Ltd; several tunnel design and build contracts for the Tseung Kwan O Extension and a recent successful tender for EPBM tunnelling in mixed face conditions for the Guangzhou Metro Line 2 for Hyder Consulting Ltd.


IMS offers focused services with particular emphasis on minimizing risks for tunnelling works whilst realising opportunities through development of innovation design and construction solutions.   Services provided are International, Professional and Independent of any Client, Contractor, Consultant, Manufacturer or Product.  The companie's key staff are ex-directors or former top engineers of major consulting practices.

A wide range of multi-discipline services are provided including Electrical & Mechanical services for tunnelling projects and ISO 9001 quality assurance are available through the MEIMS (Meinhardt - IMS) Alliance.

IMS is closely associated with ATEC, (Asia Engineering Consultants Ltd) with contact offices in Hong Kong, Manila, Singapore and Bangkok. A description of ATEC services and operational offices is given below:

ATEC is a group of international, independent experienced professionals with a wealth of experience in the development of transportation infrastructure. The principal members of the group are based in South East Asia with offices in Hong Kong, Manila and Bangkok. Services are provided for planning, design, construction supervision, project design and management, commercial, arbitration and legal purposes for transportation infrastructure.

Contact Details:

Hong Kong Office:
P.O. Box No. 31
Mui Wo Post Office
Lantau Island, Hong Kong NT
Tel: (852) 2552-9219
Cell: (852) 92605141
Fax: (852) 2552-1387
E-mail: imstunel@netvigator.com
Web site www.imstunnel.com


Our Key People

Our Key People


Ian McFeat-Smith, MD., graduated as an engineering geologist from The University of Strathclyde in Scotland in 1971.  He then carried out research on the performance of rock tunnelling machines in civil and colliery tunnels at the Department of Mining Engineering at The University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in 1975.  This was followed by site work on 28km of TBM driven tunnels for the Kielder Water Tunnels in UK, particularly concerning rock classification for risk sharing and monitoring the performance of drill and blast, roadheader and TBM driven tunnels.

Since arriving in S.E.Asia in 1978 he has worked on 80 underground projects. Ian is a consultant for civil and geotechnical aspects of tunnel, shaft and cavern works with substantial international experience in the design and construction for mass transit systems and highway projects, water, flood relief, sewage, drainage, utility, and HEP power projects including the Hong Kong MTR and KCR, Guangzhou, Taipei and Athens Metro Systems, the Singapore MRT and various HEP projects in India and Nepal. His experience embraces civil and geotechnical aspects of a wide variety of tunnel and shaft forms in rock and soft ground for mined, TBM (hard rock, slurry, EPB, dual mode), pipejacking, roadheader and drill and blast tunnels.

He is an international specialist in tunnel machine applications and provides expert witness accounts of tunneling mishaps worldwide for Clients, Contractors and Insurers.

Dr. McFeat-Smith is a qualified engineering geologist, mining and civil engineer.   He is a Hong Kong Registered Engineer (Civil Geotechnical), a professional tunnel engineer and visits tunnels on a regular basis

Robert Coates is a consultant to IMS specialising in Construction Engineering and Project Management, particularly for underground works. He is a qualified mining and civil engineer with a working lifetime's experience in problem-solving in heavy civil engineering, mainly railway-related, on behalf of clients and contractors.  He has advised IMS for many years on design and workmanship issues related to disputes concerning constructed tunnel linings in Hong Kong, carried out tender Review of Brisbane N-S Bypass Tunnel, on behalf of Leighton Contractors JV including project risk assessment and proposed mitigation measures for a major highway tunnel project comprised 4km of twin bore tunnels below river and urban areas in hard metamorphic rocks, using double shielded TBMs and roadheaders. He was Engineering Manager (Construction) for the Hong Kong Mass transit Railway Corporation for 7 years and has a life-long commitment to learning from experience, using formal and informal methods. Proven benefits from applying that expertise in risk-management and cost-reduction throughout the life-cycles of small to major projects for international corporations.

Orjan Sjostrom has been a consulting grouting expert to IMS for many years and is a qualified civil engineer who has extensive experience in all aspects of tunneling, geotechnical engineering and civil works, as designer, consultant, construction manager and contractor.  Projects carried out under the responsibility of Mr. Sjostrom have included tunnels, dams, hydropower plants, deep foundations, airports and bridges. Mr. Sjostrom has been manager and/or technically responsible for 152 tunnels and rock caverns in 22 countries and 12 major dams, many of those with challenging grouting problems.  Mr. Sjostrom has long experience in design of rock caverns, tunnel support works and grouting, as well as the construction phase and has written handbooks and technical papers on tunneling and grouting. He was responsible to IMS for technical aspects of  grouting works for Hong Kong Island West and Tsuen Wan West Drainage tunnels in Hong Kong and as Deputy Engineering Manager for the Eagles Nest Highway Tunnels for  Leighton Kumagai JV for services including grout designs and Method Statements for probing and grouting to meet stringent water inflow standards.

Timothy Hagan is a qualified mining engineer and an international explosives expert and blasting engineering consultant to IMS. He undertakes planning, design, costing and implementation supervision of drilling and blasting operations for mining and quarrying companies, hard-rock contractors,  consultants, Government departments / authorities and drill/explosives  manufacturers worldwide. He is responsible for the education / training in the safest and most cost-efficient use of explosives, initiators and blasting accessories for on-jobsite personnel, universities and tertiary education colleges. He has worked extensively for the Explosives Division of ICI Australia Operations Pty Ltd. He has provided expert blasting services to IMS for many years and undertook a series of special blast design for IMS consulting services to the Leighton Kumagai JV for the Eagles Nest Highway Tunnel Project.

Timothy Magup is a qualified mining engineer and an international explosives expert and blasting engineering consultant to IMS currently for the South Island Line and West Island Line extensions for the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway. Tim undertakes planning, design, costing and implementation supervision of drilling and blasting operations for mining and quarrying companies, hard-rock contractors, consultants, Government departments / authorities and drill/explosives  manufacturers worldwide. He worked extensively for the Explosives Division of ICI Australia Operations Pty Ltd.

Howard Markham is a consultant with IMS who has similar in-depth experience in the design of mass transit, water and highway tunnel projects including the Channel Tunnel, the Jubilee Line Extension, the Boston Central Artery/Tunnel, the resund Crossing and the Hong Kong West Rail. He has experience in the analysis and design of a variety of tunnel and shaft forms in rock and soft ground, with segmental, in situ and sprayed concrete linings for cut and cover, mined, bored and drill and blast tunnels.


Current IMS projects include the design of segmental linings for the Guangzhou Metro Line 3 tunnels for the Guangzhou Metro Municiple Construction Co. Ltd. with EPBM drives in granites, sandstones, siltstones and residual soils beneath multi-storey buildings and a 4-level highway interchange, as well as design aspects of the Cyberport cable tunnel.


He has also specialist experience covering the detailed design or construction of five immersed tube tunnel projects, and in the formation and implementation of durability and watertightness criteria for reinforced concrete structures.


Howard is also actively promoting the use of accelerating walkway technology for use in the Region and has given briefings to Government, developers and railway authorities on the status and potential of this technology.

Victor D Turner has over 30 years experience in the management, design and construction of major infrastructive projects where tunnelling and cavern construction have been a major element.

He has been responsible for the management of projects covering rapid transit systems, maritime works, site formation, water supplies, highways, refuse disposal and sewage treatment.  Work has been for both government and private clients.

He was Senior Partner with Charles Haswell Partners in Hong Kong where he was responsible for overseeing the design work on the first three phases of the Mass Transit Railway Hong Kong, two major water supply contracts and many other tunnelling projects related to road, rail and utilities infrastructure.

He has worked for IMS on design alternatives for the Discovery Bay Highway Tunnel In Hong Kong, on the Kesrouane Water Tunnel in Beirut and a variety of other projects.

He has been responsible for the management of design and preparation of contract documents for several major water supply projects in Hong Kong.  He was Project Manager for a refuse transfer station outline design and preparation of documentation to invite design, construct and operate bids.  He has also been Independent Checking Engineer for the Stanley Sewage Treatment Works, which was constructed in an underground cavern complex.  He was appointed as Principal Resident Engineer for Route 3, which comprises three major contracts including tunnels, viaducts and a major bridge forming part of the link to the new Hong Kong Airport at Chek Lap Kok.



Geotechnical Services

Geotechnical Services

The company regularly undertakes quality site investigations for tunnel works including data searches, geological field mapping work, planning and supervision of geophysical surveys and drilling and testing contracts, with quality interpretations of geology, ground characterization and water inflows as well as risk assessment work.  The latter is frequently based upon the IMS ground classification system which has provided the basis of the design of support systems for over 32 hard rock and mixed face tunnels todate as well as being used as a measurement system for several risk sharing contracts.  Special investigatory work includes prediction and management of tunnels where water inflows or settlement are likely to be a problem, tunnelling areas of high stress or subject to frequent earthquakes and tunnelling through major fault, shear or discontinuity zones, geotechnical aspects of claims and investigation of incidents and collapsed tunnels. 

Quality drilling techniques using triple barrel coring were employed for drilling highly fractured and weathered schists for large sized  TBM driven tunnels for the Athens Metro as requested by Dr McFeat-Smith after double barrel coring failed to produce representative core samples.  The entire 16 km route length for the TBM tunnels were reclassified according to the IMS ground classification system as part of a comprehensive risk assessment initiative following excessive ground movements and collapses to street level.   In the opinion of IMS, the type of TBMs employed were ill suited for the conditions encountered on site.


design Services

Design Services

IMS provides services for the planning, outline and detailed design of highway, railway, water, sewage, drainage and power tunnels.  This is provided for conventional, design and build and BOT projects and the company provides hands-on designs for such projects.

Expertise is provided for the design of both soft ground and rock tunnelling: and includes computer aided techniques such as UDEC and 3D FLAC; and embraces all conventional, mechanised, NATM, cut and cover and immersed tube methods of tunnelling.

Application of UDEC computer model for complex tunnelling works
Expert Witness

Expert Witness Services

Dr McFeat-Smith has been employed for special investigations and as an Expert Witness for some of the largest collapses of tunnelling works in history including infamous applications of NATM tunnelling for the Second Taiwan Freeway and TBM tunnelling for the Athens Metro.   Similar services have been provided for cut and cover tunnels for the Chek Lap Kok Airfield tunnels and 18 insurance claims for Phase II of the Singapore MRT.

Right: Excessive pavement damage caused by ground settlement from cut and cover tunnelling for the Singapore MRT, Phase II


Below: Successive collapses at Kariskaki Square in Athens Metro tunnels due to incorrect selection and application of TBM plant for the ground conditions encountered led to formation of this void, which had to be stabilized due to proximity of adjacent structures 


Highway Tunnels

Highway Tunnels


Major highway tunnels undertaken by IMS will include ground characterization for detailed design of 1.6 kms of twin 3-lane (17m wide) rock tunnels for the Route 10 project in Hong Kong, preliminary design services to the main consultant for 2 kms of twin bored highway tunnels for the Central Kowloon Expressway located close below many large buildings and two railways, and design services for 3.5 kms of twin 3-lane highway tunnels for the Route 9 project in Hong Kong.  The company's principal Dr Ian McFeat-Smith, was responsible (as Director for Charles Haswell & Partners Far East) for the detailed design and supervision of the Cheung Ching highway tunnel for Route 3, consisting of 1.5 kms of twin 3-lane bored rock tunnels driven successfully below the Cheung Ching estate on Tsing Yi Island in Hong Kong, a geotechnical design review of the rock cavern for the Bennelong carpark adjacent to the Sydney Opera House and detailed investigations and expert witness advice for collapses of 15m wide, 100-120 m long sections of NATM tunnels for the Second Taiwan Freeway, the largest collapses of tunnels in history.

Large Span Highway tunnels for Route 9 Project

Illustrations: Courtesy of Highways Department                                                 BACK TO TOP

ims_map01.GIF (108968 bytes)

Railway Tunnels

Railway Tunnels

Design services undertaken for Major Railway Tunnels includes the Singapore MRT Marina Line, MRT's Tseung Kwan O Extension, KCRC's West Rail and the Guangzhou Metro Line 2 with Dr McFeat-Smith (as Director for Haswell then Atkins) being responsible for much of the design of the 50km underground tunnelling network for the Hong Kong MTR (including detailed design of Asia's largest rock cavern for Tai Koo Station) as well as providing expert services for tunnelling works for the Singapore, Taipei and Athens Metros.  Innovative work in this field includes private sector initiates for development of Government's accepted schemes for both the Hong Kong South Island Line and the Jakarta Metro systems.


MTR Tseung Kwan O and KCRC West Rail

Right: Eastern Portals for C603 Black Hill Tunnel - Yau Tong to Tiu Keng Leng.

Illustrations: Courtesy of MTRC

Water, Sewage

Water, Sewage and Drainage Tunnels


Tunnel projects for water supply, drainage and sewerage undertaken by IMS include the Tai Po to Butterfly Valley Aqueducts where the company worked on a Partnering arrangement, providing project management services to the designers then on site specialist services to the Contractor LKJV for plant selection, risk evaluation, geotechnical appraisals and construction advice for 12 kms of TBM driven tunnels, 2 no. pipejacked minitunnelled crossings in mixed face conditions below the Tolo Highway and various other water supply facilities; as well as providing expert tunnel services for the 7 km long Siu Ho Wan to Silvermine Bay TBM driven tunnel; and other current water tunnel projects in Beirut and the Philippines. Current sewerage projects include advisory team on site services for successful tenders for the Hong Kong SSDS and Singapore DTSS projects and Dr McFeat-Smith was responsible for some of the regions first micro-tunnel installations such as the successful 370 m long 1350 mm dia pipejack for the Fanling South Trunk Sewer using an Iseki Unclemole slurry TBM in bouldery soils; and a drainage tunnel involving the construction of a 7 km long tunnel in variable quality granitic rocks using a Robbins Grandori double shielded hard rock TBM for the Tolo Effluent Export Scheme.

Strategic Sewage Disposal System and Tai Po to Butterfly Valley Aqueducts

Top:  High Performance Robbins 3.8 Dia. TBM, one or two hard rock TBMs used to excavate this 12km long TW steel lined aqueduct.

Left:  Technical Innovation by teh LKJV-IMS team - hand built steel segmental shield dragged into position by open TBM in fault zone.


Power Tunnels

Power Tunnels


Tunnel projects for Generation and Distribution of Power include the 7.6 km long, 6m diam. New Wu Chieh HEP Power Diversion Tunnel in Taiwan and a shotcrete lined, drill and blast tunnel to convey 275 kV cables for the Hong Kong Electric Co. Ltd. Dr McFeat-Smith was also been responsible as a Director for Haswell for the design and supervision of two other cable tunnels for this Client, one driven by drill and blast and one by a high performance hard rock TBM; as well as a shotcrete lined TBM driven tunnel to house a 600 mm medium pressure gas main.

Above: Electric powered tunnel services vehicle used in cable tunnel.


Above: Gas sub-station for pipeline located at tunnel portal.


P.O. Box No. 31, Mui Wo Post Office

Lantau Island, Hong Kong

Tel:        (852) 2552 9219

Fax:       (852) 2552 1387

Mobile: (852) 9260 5141

E-mail:  imstunel@netvigator.com

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