Posts by Katie Kennedy

The Geotechnical Data Conference 2017: Speaker Presentations

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The Geotechnical Data Conference 2017: Best Practice, Challenges and Future Opportunities took place on Wednesday 20th September 2017 at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham and was well attended by 143 delegates.

Special thanks to the conference sponsors: Arup, Bachy Soletanche, Bentley Systems, CH2M, ESG, Geolabs, Geotechnics, i2 Analytical, Keynetix, Soil Engineering and Structural Soils.

The conference was divided into four sessions. The four sessions were ‘Client View’ chaired by Christopher Power (Mott MacDonald), ‘International’ chaired by David Entwisle (British Geological Survey), ‘Case Studies’ chaired by David Farmer (Arup) and ‘Digital Engineering and Building Information Modelling’ chaired by Simon Miles (Atkins).

Many thanks to all the speakers who presented at the conference. The speakers, who have given approval for their presentations to be featured can be viewed below:

Session 1 – Client View
1. Roger Chandler (Keynetix) – ‘Will the AGS Disrupt or be Disrupted?’
2. Tony Daley (Arup / AECOM) – ‘Highways England Geotechnical Information Improvements’
3. Roselyn Carroll (NGI) – ‘Experiences in Adopting AGS and Future Requirements’
4. Shawn Sismondi (FLO Joint Venture) – ‘Tideway Central Geotechnical Data Management’

Session 2 – International
1. David Entwisle (BGS) – ‘International Introduction’
2. Rodney Hutchison (KGA Geotechnical) & Brian Tracey (Datatran) – ‘Out of Adversity can come Good Things or a Tale of Two Corollaries’

Session 3 – Case Studies
1. Russell Jordan (RPS) – ‘Consultancy-led Ground Investigation Contracting on Large Infrastructure Projects’
2. Callum Irving (TSP) & Paul Chaplin (Central Alliance) – ‘TransPennine Route Upgrade – Value Engineering through Geotechnical Data Management’
3. Paul McMann (Fugro) – ‘Moorside Site Characterisation Project’
4. Craig Parry (Atkins) – ‘The Digital GI Workflow’
5. Ian Joyce (Bentley Systems) – ‘Information Modelling Systems – BIM and Geotechnical’
6. Rae Watney (WSP) – ‘Digital Data Journey Refinement’

Session 4 – BIM
1. Simon Miles (Atkins) – ‘BIM Introduction’
2. Nicholas Nisbet (buildingSMART UK & AEC3) – ‘The Future Role of Geotechnical Data in the BIM Process’
3. Gary Morin (Keynetix) – ‘Outcomes from the BIM for the Subsurface Project’
4. Garry Baker (National Geoscience Data Centre) – ‘Building an Open National AGS Data Store’
5. Neil Chadwick (Arup) – Closing Address – ‘Where do we go from here?’

BSI Shop – Affiliate Scheme

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The AGS are now part of the BSI affiliate scheme, which means the AGS will get a small amount of commission from any sales generated from the below link to the BSI shop.

Click here to visit the BSI shop. Please note this is an affiliate link.

Not all Office Insurance is the same

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AGS asked Griffiths and Armour to write a note for AGS members regarding Office Insurance.

Not all Office insurance is the same
On a daily basis, professional consultants find themselves drawn into contractual discussions with their clients, contractors and other professionals.

Often as part of this there are various insurance requirements and obligations placed on professionals that can pose a challenge.

Most professional construction consultants procure a combined insurance policy, more often known as an Office policy. Such a policy would usually provide coverage for the consultant’s material property, pecuniary assets as well as their primary liability risks of Employers’ and Public Liability. A separate Professional Indemnity policy is also essential.

Where things can become less clear is when consultants are appointing sub-contractors themselves and often accepting responsibility for them under contract.

On a traditional Office policy, such an undertaking can take the consultant beyond the bounds of their policy.

Why is this?
Insurers have an expectation of the policyholder’s activities based on the business description in the policy and the other information they know about the insured. The traditional Office policy is designed for risks that are office based but is often inadequate to deal with the realities of a construction consultant’s business activities, especially when this involves any manual work or work on sites.

It is for this reason that Griffiths & Armour developed the Workspace Plus insurance product. The intention was to develop Office insurance such that it would respond to the needs of construction professionals enabling them to run their businesses without the uncertainty that the above scenario can cause.

The Workspace Plus policy is specifically designed with Engineers, Surveyors and Architects in mind and provides cover for the following situations that often fall outside of a traditional Office policy:

• Visits to and work on construction sites
• Manual work undertaken by the consultant as part of the provision of their professional services
• Responsibility for sub-contractors on site subject to confirmation of their insurance
• Professional services associated with hazardous activities e.g. diving, abseiling, rail side, and mining
• Fulfilling the role of the main contractor

No two companies ever have exactly the same requirements and it is important to know that your insurer understands your business and the activities that you undertake to ensure that your insurance coverage has been properly tailored to your exposures.

If you have any queries or concerns regarding your current arrangements and would like an independent review, please contact:

Paul Sapiro
Griffiths & Armour Insurance Brokers
0151 600 2151

Griffiths & Armour is a leading independent and privately owned UK insurance broker and risk management adviser.
For further information visit www.
Griffiths & Armour is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

The Geotechnical Data Conference 2017: Best Practice, Challenges and Future Opportunities

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The Geotechnical Data Conference 2017: Best Practice, Challenges and Future Opportunities is taking place on Wednesday 20th September 2017 at National Motorcycle Museum, Coventry Road, Bickenhill, Solihull B92 0EJ.

For over 25 years, AGS Data Transfer Format has allowed for the seamless sharing of data between different software within the geotechnical and geoenvironmental industry. It has become the industry standard and today is used worldwide.

This conference will examine the growing role of data management within digital engineering and Building Information Modelling, whilst looking at examples of best practice from ground investigation specialists, designers and constructors.

Divided into four chaired sessions, the conference will also focus on recent technological advances, collaborative working practices, trends and potentially disruptive changes, helping to paint a picture of what the industry’s future may look like.

Established in 1988, the Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental represents over 130 leading companies specialising in site investigation, geotechnics, geoenvironmental engineering, engineering geology, geochemistry, hydrogeology, and other related disciplines.

Working to improve the profile and quality of geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering, the AGS works closely with its members to establish standards and provide guidance and publications to improve safety, promote quality professional practice and encourage quality management systems across the industry.

The programme for the conference can be viewed here.

The sponsors of the conference are:

As an acknowledged leader in geotechnics, Arup is often asked to push the essential skill and science of designing and building structures in the ground. Wherever difficult ground conditions, sensitive environments or ambitious projects present geotechnical challenges, Arup provides robust and advanced solutions. Arup are experienced consumers of digital geotechnical data undertaking detailed analysis and interpretations to add value to our clients projects. AGS data transfer at the heart of this.

Bachy Soletanche
Bachy Soletanche is one of the UK’s leading geotechnical specialists with a reputation for quality and innovation within the field of foundation and underground engineering. Bachy Soletanche specialise in all aspects of modern geotechnics and foundation engineering, including LDA piling (large diameter bored), CFA piling (continuous flight auger), restricted access mini-piling, diaphragm walls, tunnelling, grouting and engineering to safeguard the environment.

Bentley Systems is a global leader in providing engineers, architects, geospatial professionals, constructors, and owner-operators with comprehensive software solutions for advancing the design, construction, and operations of infrastructure. Bentley users leverage information mobility across disciplines and throughout the infrastructure lifecycle to deliver better-performing projects and assets. Bentley solutions encompass MicroStation applications for information modeling, ProjectWise collaboration services to deliver integrated projects, and AssetWise operations services to achieve intelligent infrastructure – complemented by worldwide professional services and comprehensive managed services.

CH2M Tunnels and Earth Engineering teams work globally, designing and building infrastructure, underground space and natural resource solutions on behalf of our clients. Technology, innovation and delivery are key, as we integrate our strongest capabilities and experts from across the company to solve complex problems, add value and reduce risk.

ESG, a SOCOTEC company, is the UK’s leading provider of testing, inspection and compliance services, offering comprehensive solutions in Infrastructure, Built Environment and Energy & Waste. ESG has nationwide coverage, with a network of UKAS accredited laboratories, and continues to be a driver of innovation within the industry. By helping clients design solutions and remain compliant, ESG has become the leading partner in its chosen sectors for technical expertise and services.

Geolabs Limited is one of the largest UKAS accredited independent geotechnical soils, rocks and materials testing laboratories in the United Kingdom with in-house facilities enabling performance to British and other National and International Standards. Our staff serve on numerous National and International Standards committees, working groups and technical panels, often in the capacity of Chairmen or Working Group Coordinators. They have also lectured and given technical papers throughout the world.

Geotechnics Limited was established in 1983 to provide the full spectrum of services covering the design, implementation, interpretation and evaluation of geotechnical and contaminated land site investigations. Our head office and laboratory are based in Coventry, with additional offices in Exeter, Chester and Yorkshire. We have considerable experience of working on varying scales of projects, and we are currently able to undertake individual site investigations ranging from £500 to in excess of £2.75 million.

i2 Analytical
i2 Analytical is an leading independent testing and analytical laboratory, reporting our Geotechnical and GeoEnvironmental data in a range of formats including: EQuIS, AGS 3.1 and AGS 4. Our Geotechnical laboratory supports a range of sectors including Civil Engineering and GeoEnvironmental contractors/consultants. We also have expertise in asbestos testing and perform a range of chemical analyses using state of the art techniques on waters, soils and associated materials.

Keynetix are experts in Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Data Management. Our solutions cover every stage of the Geotechnical data journey from planning, through site work and reporting to 3D Modelling, BIM and National Archives.
Being experts at every stage of your site investigation process enables Keynetix to advise you on the best solution to meet all your needs and gives you a single supplier to ensure that all your systems work together smoothly.

Soil Engineering
With over 50 years of experience, Soil Engineering are one of the country’s foremost Ground Investigation and Specialist Grouting Contractors. The comprehensive in-house geotechnical laboratory, continually updated plant fleet, and ongoing investment in training and staff development, allow Soil Engineering to provide a reliable and cost-effective solution for any geotechnical project, throughout the UK.

Structural Soils
Structural Soils is one of the country’s leading and award-winning ground investigation contractors. It is a national company with offices in Bristol, Castleford (near Leeds), Coventry, Hemel Hempstead, Glasgow and Tonbridge. For over 50 years, we have provided comprehensive site investigation and ground investigation services in the UK, across Europe and, more recently, further afield. Soil Samples are tested in the well-equipped UKAS-accredited laboratories in Bristol, Castleford, Hemel Hempstead and Tonbridge.

Ground Engineering Basements and Underground Structures Conference

Article Event
Ground Engineering Basements and Underground Structures Conference
2017-10-042017-10-054th Oct - 5th Oct 2017
Victoria Park Plaza

Ground Engineering is delighted to bring you the 10th annual Basements and Underground Structures conference, which will provide you with expert insight into the challenges and opportunities facing future projects across the commercial, residential and infrastructure sectors. The conference will be taking place on 4-5 October 2017 at Victoria Park Plaza.

Whatever the scale, location or stage of the basements you are involved in, the conference gives you the industry’s best opportunity to improve your knowledge and understand where future opportunities will arise.

Book your place today to ensure you are in the room with industry leaders including clients procuring geotechnical work, engineers designing complex basements and contractors looking for lean solutions to challenging underground projects.

AGS Members Day 2017 and Speaker Presentations

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AGS Members Day 2017 was held on 6th April 2017 at the Barbican. The day was a great success and well attended by around 150 delegates.

Special thanks to this year’s speakers who presented on Gasworks Redevelopment Projects from around Europe, Asbestos in Soils: Innovative Laboratory Techniques to Assist in Evaluating Risk, A645 Newland Bridge Major Repair Works and How the AGS is Helping to Build a Clearer Picture of London’s Anomalous Ground.

2017’s Members’ Day also saw the first “AGS Awards” take place during the Annual General Meeting, where a select number of Members were presented with awards to thank them for their contribution and dedication to the AGS. This segment will continue in 2018, giving special recognition to those individuals who have progressed the work and initiatives of the AGS.

Special thanks also to this year’s sponsors:
Land Science, DETS, Fugro, ALS, Geotechnical Engineering Ltd, Soil Engineering, Geoservices Ltd, Concept, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff and Mouchel, Equipe, Structural Soils Ltd, Envirolab, In Situ Site Investigation and i2 Analytical

Presentations from AGS Members’ Day can be viewed below;
1. Chairman’s Introduction 2017
2. DMWG report – Jackie Bland
3. LPWG Report – Hugh Mallett
4. Asbestos in Soils – Dr Claire Stone
5. Labs WG Report – John Powell
6. BPWG Report – John Talbot
7. CLWG Report – Neil Parry
8. SWG Report – Adam Latimer
9. How AGS is helping build a clearer picture of London’s anomalous ground – Richard Ghail
10. A645 Newland Bridge – Major Repair Works – Dr Andrew Smith
11. Gasworks redevelopment projects from around Europe – Prof Russell Thomas

CL:AIRE Launches Verification of Gas Protection Systems Training

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CL:AIRE Launches Verification of Gas Protection Systems Training

CL:AIRE has recently launched a series of one day training dates on Verification of Gas Protection Measures. This course will cover in detail the approach to verification and is being delivered by two experienced trainers who have a good and pragmatic understanding of membrane installation and verification.

This full day course provides participants with a detailed theoretical and practical understanding of the requirements for verifying the installation of gas protection systems. It is an essential introductory learning package for environmental and construction professionals engaged in gas protection verification. The main focus is verifying gas membranes but it will also cover venting systems, what to consider when specifying integrity testing or checking that correct testing procedures are followed on site.
The course is specifically targeted at consultants, contractors and other stakeholders/dutyholders involved with the verification, assessment and management of gas protection systems. Each course is restricted to 10 delegates to ensure good trainer to delegate ratio for the practical work.

A certificate of attendance will be provided on completion of attendance.

Dates available:
24th October 2017
30th November 2017
19th December 2017

Course costs: £375.00 + VAT (CL:AIRE membership discounts apply)
Location: Doncaster

For further information or to book a place:

CL:AIRE Launches New Half Day CAR-SOIL Training Courses along with Full Day

Article Event
CL:AIRE Launches New Half Day CAR-SOIL Training Courses along with Full Day

CL:AIRE has just launched a series of half day CAR-SOIL training courses in addition to their already successful full day training, in London, York, Manchester and Edinburgh. This is in response to delegate feedback from those who have already participated on the full day courses and to meet the demand of the asbestos and brownfield industry to improve their knowledge in working with asbestos in soil.

Half Day – assumes that participants already have demonstrable in-depth knowledge of CAR2012 and HSE Approved Code of Practice L143.

Prices start from: £183.75 + VAT

Full Day – This course assumes that participants already have a basic awareness and understanding of the requirements of CAR2012 and HSE Approved Code of Practice L143.

Prices start from: £221.25 + VAT

Half Day CAR-SOIL: 18 September 2017
Full Day CAR-SOIL: 19 September 2017

Half Day CAR-SOIL: 16 October 2017
Full Day CAR-SOIL: 17 October 2017

Half Day CAR-SOIL: 13 November 2017
Full Day CAR-SOIL: 14 November 2017

Half Day CAR-SOIL: 11 December 2017
Full Day CAR-SOIL: 12 December 2017

To book a place or to find out more about the courses please follow the link:

Bespoke courses in Asbestos Awareness for Groundworkers, Non Licensed Work for Groundworkers and the CAR-SOIL courses are also all available, please provide your requirements using the CL:AIRE Hep Desk

The Geotechnical Data Conference 2017: Best Practice, Challenges and Future Opportunities

Event Data Management
The Geotechnical Data Conference 2017: Best Practice, Challenges and Future Opportunities
2017-09-2020th Sep 2017

Geotechnical practitioners have been handling geotechnical and geoenvironmental data in digital form for many years, with the Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists (AGS) Data Transfer Format celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

This full-day conference will focus on the role of geotechnical and geoenvironmental data management within the wider context of digital engineering and BIM.  It will aim to showcase examples of best practice in geotechnical and geoenvironmental data management from all parts of the industry, including ground investigation specialists, designers and constructors.  There will be a focus on recent advances in the use of technology and the development of new processes. Future needs and trends will be identified, including potentially disruptive changes. All will be discussed in the wider context of digital engineering within construction generally, with particular emphasis on the role of geotechnical and geoenvironmental data management as part of the Building Information Modelling (BIM) process.

The programme for the conference can be viewed here.

Registration for this event is now closed.

Please see below for available abstracts to date.

Session 1: Client View

Improving Geotechnical Information – results from an HE Study, Tony Daly, Amageo

Highways England are one of the major asset owners in the UK. The geotechnical asset management processes that Highways England undertake involve the collection, analysis, storage and re-use of a significant quantity of information. Financial savings and decision making can be improved if the information is timely, appropriate, easy to understand and simple to retrieve. To this end Highways England have implemented a programme of information-improvement tasks one of which is looking at how geotechnical information could be improved in the future. The presentation shows the current position in Highways England and provides ideas that could help communicate information in a smarter way throughout its supply chain.

Experiences in Adopting AGS and Future Requirements, Roselyn Carroll, NGI

The geotechnical community face challenges to provide efficient and consistent collection, storage, transfer, analysis and reporting of geotechnical data to meet the evolving needs of clients and diminish inefficient work processes. The evolution of established and trusted work routines requires careful consideration to achieve a seamless transition to new standards. NGI are in the process of such a step and have realised the benefits of adapting to work with AGS formats as well as generate AGS data sets.

It is recognised that not all clients require or supply data in AGS format and so work routines must be robust enough to evolve to serve a variety of data formats and a wide range of geotechnical data. As a result, Geodata Integration for Offshore and Onshore is an area of data management that is of significant interest to NGI. Lessons have been learned in working with AGS data and work process standardised. The presentation will look at some experiences from working with ASG data, thoughts on areas for improvement to account for more specific data sets, e.g. laboratory cyclic test and the need to understand standard references, e.g. depth correction for CPTU. Important factors such as freedom to work with AGS data, for analysis, using alternative work routines to increase flexibility with data handling, reduce cost for programme licences and the need for increased exposure to AGS data will be discussed.


Session 2: International

Out Of Adversity Can Come Good Things or A Tale Of Two Corollaries, Rodney Hutchison & Brian Tracey, KGA

Looking back 25 years, PCs were in their early days and software was developing rapidly.  The geotechnical industry identified that, if our geotechnical data could be digitised, it was going to be much more useable.  Demand for data from testing houses in digital form became more frequent, with no consistency in how it was to be provided.  The plethora of spreadsheet and data file structures to be provided saw a rapid degeneration in quality and reliability, with a mild form of chaos ensuing.  Out of this came the AGS Data Transfer Format as we know it today.

Twenty years later, on the other side of the world, a series of earthquakes devastated New Zealand’s second largest city, Christchurch.  With highly variable, weak liquefiable soils underlying much of the city, the amount of geotechnical investigation data generated as part of the assessment and rebuild programme was enormous.  From the outset, a decision was taken to upload this data to an industry accessible citywide Canterbury Geotechnical Database (CGD).  The AGS Data Transfer Format again came into its own, allowing the data to be easily uploaded and thence to be universally accessible.  The outstanding success of this initiative has now led to a national NZ Geotechnical Database (NZGD), which is underpinned by the AGS Data Transfer Format.

Two adversities, two successes.

Very Large Data Sets – Challenges, Insights and Opportunities, Rory McCully, Sjoerd de Wit, Arup

The Groningen gas field is a natural gas field located in the north-eastern part of the Netherlands. Discovered in 1959, it is the largest natural gas field in Europe and the tenth-largest in the world. Due to the extraction of gas, induced-earthquakes have been observed recently in the Groningen area, resulting in the inspection and assessment of buildings within the affected area. The soils in the region comprise very soft clays, loose sands and organic materials, all of which have an impact on the seismic demand the buildings may be subject to in the future.

The scale of the project has meant significant efforts have been made to develop a geotechnical database for the project in order to enable the assessment of existing buildings. As the database continued to grow, many shortcomings became apparent. Traditional approaches to engineering assessment were no longer sufficient for the problem at hand and alternative, more efficient methods were required. Having fundamentally changed the way data is processed, other bottlenecks in the process highlighted the need to change the way ground investigations are specified, how geotechnical data is received, stored and also the limitations of current tools and digital formats. Despite the difficulties encountered in developing and using the geotechnical database, many insights have been gained, resulting in savings to both programme and cost.


Session 3: Case Studies

Consultancy Led Ground Investigation Contracting on Large Infrastructure Projects, Russell Jordan, RPS

In 2016/17 RPS has worked on the three largest UK infrastructure projects with extensive AGS data capture and management requirements.  Exclusively utilising the AGS4 data format for the first time (including sample scheduling) has presented its own unique challenges and helped to improve the quality of data produced at all stages of the investigation, from on-site data capture and verification through to laboratory analysis.  This presentation will discuss the data management protocols and continual data improvement processes adopted to ultimately produce a consistent and error-free AGS4 file to the client whilst site activities were still ongoing.

TransPennine Route Upgrade – Value Engineering through Geotechnical Data management, Callum Irving TSP
Data is at the heart of every decision and can make or break any size of project. Poor data management can and will incur large costs and delay critical path decisions. Large engineering projects generate vast amounts of geotechnical information. Confidence in quality, accuracy and precision of information is an ongoing battle for designers.

Data Management allows information to be fully utilised at early stages, therefore, reducing the cost of repeat works and change. The most crucial element of this process is mapping the project “Data Life Cycle (DLC)” and “Level of Detail (LOD)”. The DLC informs the project reporting requirements, staging and LOD. It is important that data quality and processes are not constrained by a single users
requirements and the project as a whole is considered.

In September 2015 the Secretary of State for Transport announced a high level set of aims for the Transpennine railway route between Manchester and York. This included increased capacity, Electrification, and a decreased journey Time (TRUe). TSP Projects and Central Alliance have used the TRUe project to test an innovative approach to geotechnical data management. This presentation discusses the challenges and successes of implementing the first stages of the TRUe project Data Management process and DLC methodology.

Moorside Site Characterisation Project, Matt Waddicor, NuGen

By providing a centralised store of real-time data, FugroOnLine has significantly supported NuGen’s ability to make proactive and timely decisions, and greatly reduced the management overhead required for such a large and complex investigation.
The inclusion of a specific partner area has also allowed NuGen to control distribution of data within our supply chain, assisting in the early communication of technical, safety, environmental and site management aspects of the project.

Geotechnical Data Management for Thames Tideway Tunnel (Central Section), Shawn Sismondi, Ferrovial Agroman Laing O’Rourke JV
The Thames Tideway Tunnel is the largest infrastructure project ever undertaken by the UK water industry. At 25km long, up to 65m deep and running below the River Thames in London, means there are significant geotechnical hazards to be managed.

The Central section is to be constructed by a joint venture of Ferrovial Agroman and Laing O’Rourke and involves 2 TBM drives, eight shafts, several connection tunnels, culverts and interception chambers. Construction will involve tunnelling, deep excavations and construction of foundations through the London Clay Formation, the variable strata of the Lambeth Group, the Thanet Sand Formation and finally the Chalk.

Reducing the Amount of Non-Digital Data Recording/Collection/Scheduling, Craig Parry, Atkins
The way data is transferred in the UK ground investigation industry is almost the same today as it was over 50 years ago, with a small number of companies embracing the advances in technology that are so easily available to us. Why have a system requiring multiple people to effectively write the same information when the data can be collected once at source by the best person for the job, digitally, with no need for editing?

With growing requirements for projects to follow a BIM system, the initial collection and transfer of data is becoming more and more important to both contractors, consultants and clients. The technology and knowhow is there for our industry to do things cheaper, faster and smarter.

Given the variable nature of the geology, management of geotechnical data will be critical to the success and safe completion of the project. It is therefore proposed that all geological and geotechnical data is to be collected digitally and stored in an AGS compatible format. The method of digital data collection to be employed on site and how the data will be integrated into 3D geological models will be discussed as well as a proposed extension for tunnels to the existing AGS data transfer format.  In particular the potential benefits with regards to improving safety for SCL tunnels will be discussed.

Information Modelling Workflows for Using Geotechnical Data in Civil Engineering -Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Subsurface Data, Katie Aguilar,Bentley
Many organisations that rely on subsurface information fail to integrate this information in to an information model for lack of tools to easily transfer and integrate the data to the model.

This disconnect is caused primarily by the fact that the geotechnical industry is still a report driven industry.  This means that geotechnical data often ends up isolated and not part of the information modelling warehouse. Moreover, this data is usually available only on a transactional basis (when a report is finalised and handed over to owner operator), rather than being a constant data flow or “plugged in” data source.

This disconnect also causes huge challenges in collaboration between disciplines and sometimes a level of mistrust to use and analyse data for multiple purposes. To bridge this gap in the geotechnical area, two actions must be taken: working with digital data, and allowing the geotechnical information to be displayed in proper context.


Digital Innovations at WSP – a system-wide single digital platform solution and lessons learned, Rae Watney, WSP
Innovation is ingrained into the way we work, now, more than ever, as over the past year we have been rolling out the use of a new digital platform. This journey has taken 5 years of internal development. Our platform allows us to collate real time data, report ground conditions, schedule chemical testing, report accurate GPS locations and produce reports more efficiently for clients, saving both time and money. No other such system is available within the UK inclusive of the needs of all aspects of our field staff. However it is the processing of this data where even greater efficiencies are being made. All of our data streams are fed into a package that can spatially plot data, analyse and compare the results against health and environmental standards. Specific data queries have been created enabling staff to map and see the data incredibly quickly. Furthermore with a button press the data may be post processed directly into a Microsoft Word template including formatted summary tables, appendices, drawings and statistical assessment. Our aim has been to reduce transcription errors and inconsistences; increase both field and office efficiencies and improve reporting presentation. Most importantly our aim has been to enable our staff to spend more time understanding the data as opposed to spending their time engaged in simple processing and formatting.
This talk will comprise a brief introduction to our system those lessons learned including the successes and the failures. It will furthermore discuss our planned future improvements and digital journey.

Session 4: BIM

The future role of Geotechnical data in the BIM process, Nicholas Nisbet, AEC3 UK

This presentation will address one of the themes of the conference, namely the role of geotechnical data in the wider BIM process. It will include an introduction to the work of buildingSMART, and international organisation dedicated to developing open data standards for BIM. These include the standards for Industry Foundation Classes (IFC), which is an open standard for structuring the data of the built environment. This is increasingly used for exchanging and sharing building or infrastructure model information as part of the BIM process. The potential for its extension to cover geotechnics, as recommended in the Government’s ‘Digital Built Britain’ strategy will be discussed, including how this might relate to the AGS data format.

Outcomes from the BIM for the Subsurface project, Gary Morin, Keynetix
In May 2015 a consortium of Keynetix, BGS and Atkins started the Innovate UK funded BIM for the Subsurface project as part of the Digitising the Construction Industry initiative.
The project was aimed at researching and developing tools to help incorporate geotechnical data in BIM and to enable collaborating partners to create, visualise and share geotechnical data both with geotechnical professionals and the wider construction team.
The research focused around a number of key areas, these included the easy access to BGS geotechnical datasets and new BGS services to allow both the upload and download of AGS files, develop geotechnical modelling capabilities within AutoCAD Civil 3D and cloud based repository for storing, sharing & re-use of subsurface data throughout the supply chain
This talk will cover the results of the project, which completed in April 2017, and the future benefits to the geotechnical industry.

National Geoscience Data Centre: Building an Open National AGS Data Store, Garry Baker, BGS
In a similar fashion to all commercial or public sector organisations we need to be able to use and access data more efficiently and effectively than ever before.  The robust AGS data standard, strongly supported by a forward thinking geo-environmental and geotechnical community, presents a fantastic opportunity to efficiently enhance and expand our national geological, geotechnical and geo-environmental datasets within the NGDC. The ambition is for ‘open’ use by all in the community while also being an effective template for other geoscientific data types and disciplines.

In the past year, we have built a data workflow to ingest, validate, accession (with metadata) and loaded AGS data received at the NGDC into an AGS version agnostic data store, followed by the delivery of the data via web services.  This represents a growing open, freely available data resource, which provides many benefits for the entire user communities, be they local or regional authorities, agencies, the industry or scientific researchers. Local and national stakeholders have been strongly receptive, and several are now including open access AGS data donation to NGDC as part of contractual frameworks.

The presentation will outline our AGS data solution, the challenges and issues we faced, the technology and applications used in our solution to ingest, store and deliver AGS data, and the work we are actively progressing to support and encourage further community open data donations, data collaborations or partnerships.  We are hoping this will provide a springboard to the community to explore the benefits of open data usage and future developments that can be driven by the AGS user community and the standard.

Ground Engineering Awards and Conferences 2017

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The Ground Engineering Awards is your chance to come together as a community, celebrate your achievements and network with the best in the business. Secure your place now to network with 800+ geotechnical experts. This is your opportunity to boost your business by establishing new contacts and relationships.

The awards ceremony will be held on 5 July at the Hilton Park Lane, London bringing together some of the biggest names in the industry to celebrate engineering excellence.

As a partner of the awards, we hope that you can join us and this year’s finalists to show your support and pride of what this industry has to offer.

Book your table now online or contact Adam Hassan on 020 3033 4296 or email


The Ground Engineering Basements and Underground Structures 2017 is taking place on 4-5 October 2017 at Victoria Park Plaza. For more information; click here

SoBRA – Publication of methodology and generic assessment criteria for assessing risks to human health from volatile compounds in groundwater

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SoBRA is pleased to announce the methodology and generic assessment criteria for 64 commonly analysed volatile constituents in groundwater has been published. Many thanks to the sub-group for working tirelessly to prepare the methodology, derive the GAC and prepare the report documenting the work undertaken. The methodology and assessment criteria are designed to evaluate the volatilisation and migration into buildings of contaminants from shallow groundwater. The methodology utilises the Environment Agency’s (England and Wales) CLEA model to estimate the average long-term concentration in shallow groundwater (the GAC) that would lead to tolerable / minimal risk to site occupants from vapour migration and inhalation in indoor and outdoor air from chronic exposure. Screening values have been derived for residential and commercial land-use scenarios. Sensitivity analysis has been undertaken to demonstrate how the screening criteria change with soil type, building type and source depth. The generic screening values are intended to complement other screening methodologies (such as exclusion depths and distances) for assessing the groundwater vapour contaminant linkages.

Furthermore please note that Geologists with an interest in contaminated land may apply for accreditation with SoBRA in respect to risk assessment. The next window for application is now open until the 31st of May 2017. This is a standalone scheme. However, the scheme presents an opportunity for its members to demonstrate to a Suitably Qualified Person (SQP), under the Land Forum’s upcoming National Quality Mark Scheme, that they are sufficiently competent to support the SQP in undertaking or reviewing the risk assessment element of their project.

SoBRA is a learned society for individuals, with membership drawn from the private, public, voluntary and academic sectors. Its goals are to improve technical knowledge in risk-based decision-making related to land contamination applications and to enhance the professional status and profile of practitioners. To become a member or download the methodology and assessment criteria please visit their website: You can also communicate with SoBRA via linkedin and twitter @sobra15138564.

AGS-BDA Task Force Bulletins

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The Task Force is a joint initiative between the Association of Geotechnical and Geo-environmental Specialists (AGS) and the British Drilling Association (BDA) established to shine a ‘Spotlight’ on the UK Ground Investigation industry. The initiative intends to gauge and provide feedback on the current state and standard of the UK Ground Investigation industry.

Following on from the UK Ground Investigation Survey which was carried out in 2016, there will be 11 bulletins across the next three months. These bulletins will provide statistical feedback from the survey’s findings.

The bulletins which have issued by the AGS BDA Task Force can be viewed below.
1. Introduction & Summary of Demographics
2. Technical Standards – Familiarity and Application
3. Health, Safety & Welfare Legislation – Industry Familiarity & Adherence To
4. Procurement VS Technical Standards and Health, Safety & Welfare Legislation
5. Contract Specifications / Enforcement VS Technical Standards
6. Plant & Equipment vs Technical Standards and Health, Safety & Welfare
7. Innovation vs Technical Standards
Pre-Bulletin 8 Update
8. Experience and Best Practice from Other Countries
9. Review of UK GI Practices
10. Challenges in the future for the UK GI Industry
11. Improving the uptake of the Technical Standards