Integrated InSAR monitoring and structural assessment of tunnelling-induced building deformations

Valentina Macchiarulo, Pietro Milillo, Matthew J. DeJong, Javier González Martí, Jordi Sánchez, Giorgia Giardina

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29 Citations (SciVal)


Structural deformation monitoring is crucial for the identification of early signs of tunnelling-induced damage to adjacent structures and for the improvement of current damage assessment procedures. Satellite multi-temporal interferometric synthetic aperture radar (MT-InSAR) techniques enable measurement of building displacements over time with millimetre-scale accuracy. Compared to traditional ground-based monitoring, MT-InSAR can yield denser and cheaper building observations, representing a cost-effective monitoring tool. However, without integrating MT-InSAR techniques and structural assessment, the potential of InSAR monitoring cannot be fully exploited. This integration is particularly demanding for large construction projects, where big datasets need to be processed. In this paper, we present a new automated methodology that integrates MT-InSAR-based building deformations and damage assessment procedures to evaluate settlement-induced damage to buildings adjacent to tunnel excavations. The developed methodology was applied to the buildings along an 8-km segment of the Crossrail tunnel route in London, using COSMO-SkyMed MT-InSAR data from 2011 to 2015. The methodology enabled the identification of damage levels for 858 buildings along the Crossrail twin tunnels, providing an unprecedented number of high quality field observations for building response to settlements. The proposed methodology can be used to improve current damage assessment procedures, for the benefit of future underground excavation projects in urban areas.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2781
JournalStructural Control and Health Monitoring
Issue number9
Early online date22 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Large underground transportation systems reduce traffic, improve air quality and free surface space in urban areas. The development of underground construction projects is supported by multi‐billion dollar investments worldwide. As an example, the Crossrail project in London, UK, costed more than £18 billion. 1 2–5 6

Funding Information:
We thank the Italian Space Agency (ASI) for providing COSMO‐SkyMed data for this project: original COSMO‐SkyMed product ASI Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (2011–2016). V. Macchiarulo was supported by a PhD scholarship granted by Sue and Roger Whorrod and the Alumni programme of the University of Bath. Part of this research was carried out when P. Milillo was at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Structural Control and Health Monitoring published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • building damage
  • damage assessment
  • MT-InSAR
  • risk assessment
  • settlement
  • soil–structure interaction
  • structural-health monitoring
  • tunnelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanics of Materials


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