Posts by Katie Kennedy

Article Safety

AGS Safety in Mind Conference Overview and Speaker Presentations

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Tags: Featured

The AGS Safety in Mind Conference was held on 21st November 2019 at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham and sponsorship was provided by Soils Limited, Structural Soils, Socotec, Soil Engineering, Equipe Group and Geotechnical Engineering. The event was well attended with plenty of networking opportunities throughout the course of the day.

The conference was chaired by Adam Latimer (Ian Farmer Associates and AGS Safety Working Group Leader), who opened the conference.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, John Gulley (Highways England) was unable to present the keynote presentation, so Steve Everton (Jacobs) started the day discussing the subject of trial pitting, in respect to the working at height regulations. Steve also gave an overview of the responses which were received from the trial pitting questionnaire circulated to AGS members, which will be further summarised in a future magazine article in early 2020.

Following a refreshment break, Karen Puttick (The Healthy Employee) spoke on how applying mindfulness to the workplace has benefits in terms of stress management, improved health and greater focus. The attendees, then took part in a 10-minute demonstration of the mindfulness and meditation process.

Jeremy Mitchell (Callidus) continued on the topic of stress looking at stress awareness, explaining there are different elements which can cause stress, including demand, role, relationships, support, control and change. There are different ways to help management of stress including using the current management standards, through stress risk assessments and HSE’ s – “Competency Indicator Tool” for Managers.

The attendees also had the opportunity to attend two workshops throughout the day, the first of which was chaired by Roseanna Bloxham (RSK Environment) who used Lego to demonstrate management of site operations and general site health and safety awareness.

After lunch and further networking, Matt Hazelton gave an emotive and inspiring talk, discussing the workplace accident that has affected his life forever and the effects on his mental health. Matt discussed the accident itself, the continued hassle from the media and eventually the court case which followed.
Gerwyn Leigh (RSK Geophysics and SafeGround) looked at the principles of using geophysics for service avoidance, discussing PAS 128 and discussing case studies where geophysics has been used to map and identified buried assets.

Harold Floyd (Pristine Condition) presented on a new tool in manual handling and provided a practical demonstration on manual handling to the attendees.

The second workshop of the day was held by Quentin Emery (OCAID), who, following short video clips showing unsafe elements in the workplace, asked the attendees to think about how they would have effective safety conversations through role play exercises.

The final talk of the day was provided by Richard Voke (Temple Bright LLP), who discussed whether organisations can withstand the challenges of an HSE investigation. Richard gave a brief guide on how good systems and procedures can prevent accidents and ultimately avoid prosecution.

All attendees were given strong messages throughout the day on some key health and safety topics, either raising or reinforcing awareness.

Presentations from the Conference with approval from speakers can be viewed below:

Working at Height during trial pitting. How far is “So far as is reasonably practicable” – Steve Everton, Jacobs

Workplace wellbeing: Putting mindfulness into practice – Karen Puttick, The Healthy Employee

Stress Awareness – Jeremy Mitchell, Callidus

Lego Workshop: Health and safety awareness in the field – Roseanna Bloxham, RSK Environment Ltd

Using geophysics for service avoidance – Gerwyn Leigh, RSK Geophysics and SafeGround

Having Effective Safety Conversations – Quentin Emery, OCAID

Can your business withstand the challenges of an HSE investigation – Richard Voke, Temple Bright

Article

Procurement of Ground Investigation Steering Group Survey

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Tags: Featured

This survey is a collaboration between the Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists (AGS), British Drilling Association (BDA) and Federation of Piling Specialists (FPS). It builds upon the AGS/BDA 2017 survey ‘Spotlight on the industry’ which identified that poor procurement of ground investigation was amongst the top three concerns of the responders.

The purpose of the survey is to identify the level of understanding of, and detail the concerns with, the current procurement processes for UK ground investigation services. The responses will be used by Joint Industry Working Groups under the Procurement of Ground Investigation Steering Group to develop new or amend existing procurement guidance.

We welcome responses from across the industry and wider participation from all stakeholders will bring greater insight. Your response will be treated in confidence and the results of the survey will be shared with the geotechnical community.

The survey can be completed here and will take around 5-10 minutes to complete. The survey will close on Tuesday 31st December 2019.

Event Laboratories

AGS Laboratories, Instrumentation & Monitoring Conference

AGS Laboratories, Instrumentation & Monitoring Conference
2020-07-1515th Jul 2020
Hamilton House, Euston, London

The AGS are pleased to announce that the AGS Laboratories, Instrumentation & Monitoring conference is taking place on Wednesday 15th July 2020 at Hamilton House, Euston, London.

Further information will be released in due course.

To register your place, contact ags@ags.org.uk

SPONSORSHIP PACKAGES

The Laboratories, Instrumentation & Monitoring Conference offers the following sponsorship packages (subject to availability). To book or if you have any questions please contact Joanna O’Neill on 0208 658 8212 or email ags@ags.org.uk

Platinum (AGS Member Rate: £1250 / Non-Member Rate: £1500)
Company logo on each attending delegates’ lanyard
Board level Q&A in our AGS magazine on a thought leadership topic (4150 subscribers, 1pp)
Full page advert in AGS Magazine**
Entry for three delegates into the event
Company logo prominent in the reception area on your pull up banner
A designated area to exhibit company initiatives, research and software. This exhibition space can showcase marketing materials, literature and banners
Company logo on the event PowerPoint presentation holding slide
Company logo and overview on the event programme
Company overview on the AGS website
Three announcements of your company’s involvement on the AGS Twitter page
Three announcements of your company’s involvement on the AGS’ LinkedIn page  

*one package available
**terms and conditions apply

Diamond (AGS Member Rate: £1250 / Non-Member Rate: £1500)
Exclusive sponsorship of the catering with logo on menu
Board level Q&A in our AGS magazine on a thought leadership topic (4150 subscribers, 1pp)
Full page advert in AGS Magazine**
Entry for three delegates into the event
Company logo prominent in the reception area on your pull up banner
A designated area to exhibit company initiatives, research and software. This exhibition space can also showcase marketing materials, literature and banners
Company logo on the event PowerPoint presentation holding slide
Company logo and overview on the event programme
Company overview on the AGS website
Three announcements of your company’s involvement on the AGS Twitter page
Three announcements of your company’s involvement on the AGS’ LinkedIn page  

*one package available
**terms and conditions apply

Gold (AGS Member Rate: £750 / Non-Member Rate: £1000)
Entry for two delegates into the event
A designated area to exhibit company initiatives, research and software. This exhibition space can also showcase marketing materials, literature and banners
Company logo on the event PowerPoint presentation holding slide
Company logo and overview on the event programme
Company overview on the AGS website
Announcement of your company’s involvement on the AGS Twitter page
Announcement of your company’s involvement on the AGS’ LinkedIn page  

*Limited packages available

Silver (AGS Member Rate: £500 Non-Member Rate: £650)
Entry for one delegate into the event
¼ page advert in AGS magazine
Company logo on event PowerPoint Presentation holding slide
Company logo on the event programme
Company overview on the AGS website
Announcement of your company’s involvement on the AGS Twitter page

All prices exclude VAT. Unlimited silver sponsorship packages available.

For further information on the event contact Joanna Franaszczuk on 0208 658 8212 or email ags@ags.org.uk

Event Data Management

AGS Data Management Conference 2020

AGS Data Management Conference 2020
2020-09-2323rd Sep 2020
The National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham

The AGS are pleased to announce that the AGS Data Management conference is taking place on Wednesday 23rd September 2020 at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham.

Further information will be released in due course.

To register your place, contact ags@ags.org.uk

SPONSORS
BAM Ritchies

SPONSORSHIP PACKAGES

The Data Format Conference offers the following sponsorship packages (subject to availability). To book or if you have any questions please contact Joanna O’Neill on 0208 658 8212 or email ags@ags.org.uk

Platinum (AGS Member Rate: £1250 / Non-Member Rate: £1500)
Company logo on each attending delegates’ lanyard
Board level Q&A in our AGS magazine on a thought leadership topic (4150 subscribers, 1pp)
Full page advert in AGS Magazine**
Entry for three delegates into the event
Company logo prominent in the reception area on your pull up banner
A designated area to exhibit company initiatives, research and software. This exhibition space can showcase marketing materials, literature and banners
Company logo on the event PowerPoint presentation holding slide
Company logo and overview on the event programme
Company overview on the AGS website
Three announcements of your company’s involvement on the AGS Twitter page
Three announcements of your company’s involvement on the AGS’ LinkedIn page  

*one package available
**terms and conditions apply

Diamond (AGS Member Rate: £1250 / Non-Member Rate: £1500)
Exclusive sponsorship of the catering with logo on menu
Board level Q&A in our AGS magazine on a thought leadership topic (4150 subscribers, 1pp)
Full page advert in AGS Magazine**
Entry for three delegates into the event
Company logo prominent in the reception area on your pull up banner
A designated area to exhibit company initiatives, research and software. This exhibition space can also showcase marketing materials, literature and banners
Company logo on the event PowerPoint presentation holding slide
Company logo and overview on the event programme
Company overview on the AGS website
Three announcements of your company’s involvement on the AGS Twitter page
Three announcements of your company’s involvement on the AGS’ LinkedIn page  

*one package available
**terms and conditions apply

Gold (AGS Member Rate: £750 / Non-Member Rate: £1000)
Entry for two delegates into the event
A designated area to exhibit company initiatives, research and software. This exhibition space can also showcase marketing materials, literature and banners
Company logo on the event PowerPoint presentation holding slide
Company logo and overview on the event programme
Company overview on the AGS website
Announcement of your company’s involvement on the AGS Twitter page
Announcement of your company’s involvement on the AGS’ LinkedIn page  

*Limited packages available

Silver (AGS Member Rate: £500 Non-Member Rate: £650)
Entry for one delegate into the event
¼ page advert in AGS magazine
Company logo on event PowerPoint Presentation holding slide
Company logo on the event programme
Company overview on the AGS website
Announcement of your company’s involvement on the AGS Twitter page

All prices exclude VAT. Unlimited silver sponsorship packages available.

For further information on the event contact Joanna Franaszczuk on 0208 658 8212 or email ags@ags.org.uk

News

AGS Magazine: November 2019

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Tags: Featured

The Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists are pleased to announce the November issue of their publication; AGS Magazine. To view the magazine click here.

This free, publication focuses on geotechnics, engineering geology and geoenvironmental engineering as well as the work and achievements of the AGS.

There are a number of excellent articles in this month’s issue including;
AGS Video Competition – Page 4
Loss Prevention Alert 69: Objectives and scope – Page 5
“Easy” Safety Conversations – Page 6
The Value in Ground Engineering – Page 10
Q&A with Dr Claire Stone of i2 Analytical – Page 14
Working Group Focus: Data Management – Page 17

Advertising opportunities are available within future issues of the publication. To view rates and opportunities please view our media pack by clicking HERE.

If you have a news story, article, case study or event which you’d like to tell our editorial team about please email ags@ags.org.uk. Articles should act as opinion pieces and not directly advertise a company. Please note that the publication of editorial and advertising content is subject to the discretion of the editorial board.

Article

AGS Video Competition

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Tags: Featured

Following on from the success of the first AGS Photography competition last year, the AGS are holding their first official video competition for the geotechnical and geoenvironmental industry.

We’re on the lookout for your most creative video clips, including labs testing, site operations, work in offices, training and drone footage, as the AGS are looking to create a video which represents the diversity of the geotechnical and geoenvironmental industry.

Entry into the competition is free and the winner of the competition will win a hamper basket from luxury retailer, Fortnum and Mason, and two runners up will receive a bottle of champagne.

All entries will be reviewed by the AGS Officers, who will decide on a shortlist and overall winner. Full details will be announced in the March/April 2020 issue of AGS Magazine.

VIDEO REQUIREMENTS
The AGS are looking for high quality video clips of a geotechnical and geoenvironmental nature. Video clips can include projects, laboratory testing, collaborative working and more. Videos featuring staff should demonstrate health and safety procedures are in place, if appropriate.

HOW TO ENTER
Please email across your video clips before Monday 3rd February 2020 with the below points listed to ags@ags.org.uk. Please list the email subject as ‘AGS Video Competition 2019’;

o A short description of what it showcases and where it was taken (up to 50 words)
o Credit information (if applicable)
o Your full name
o Company name
o Postal address

TERMS AND CONDITIONS
• There is no limit to the number of videos you enter.
• The deadline for entries is Monday 3rd February 2020.
• Entry into the competition is free
• Applicants must be aged 18 or over.
• Video clips should be sent in standard video format.
• Applicants must be based in the UK.
• The photographer must have full copyright of all entered videos.
• All videos entered may be reproduced by the AGS and used in future AGS event and marketing literature without prior notice. This may include usage across the AGS’ social media channels, inclusion in the AGS Magazine and on the AGS website. The clips may also be edited by the AGS.

Uncategorized

“Easy” Safety Conversations

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The phone rings, it’s our seventeen year-old daughter’s school. They have excluded Mandy and sent her home. She has been caught “selling” her homework to kids in her class.

Just as we hang up the phone Mandy comes through the front door.

What are we going to say/ do?
1. Tell her off/ punish her
2. Ask her why she did what she did in a very parental style (raised voice/ pointing finger etc), and then do 1 above.
3. Do nothing, ignore what the school has reported, for fear of conflict
4. Concentrate on the positive ……. We never realised how entrepreneurial she was!

The first two options above are likely to negatively affect the relationship with her, and probably won’t solve the issue/ problem. Options 3 and 4 avoid dealing with the problem, and therefore won’t solve it either.

So what can we do?
5. We can choose the right time to have the conversation …. Maybe we have to calm down after the conversation with the school before we can have an effective conversation with her about it. Then we need to discuss what happened in a private and comfortable setting. We can ask for Mandy’s side of the story, and listen carefully to what she has to say. We can use open questions (Who, What, When, Where, How, Why (curious not accusing) and Which) to elicit as much information as possible. We can probe around the undesired behaviour to try to find out as much as possible the reasons behind it. We can then move the conversation on to the consequences of this behaviour, with “What if?” questions. We can also introduce praise and encouragement for the desired behaviour(s).

So, let’s say that Mandy was selling her homework for £1 per subject per night’s homework. When we probe a bit deeper we find out that she was selling it across 5 subjects and to twelve of her classmates, each of whom needed two nights homework to copy in a week. Wow! Mandy has earned well over £100 in a week with the expense of virtually no time, effort and energy on her part.

Whilst a part of us might be impressed by the entrepreneurial nature displayed here, we would also been concerned about what Mandy was doing with £100 a week, when there are no visible signs of her having spent a lot of money. Maybe she’s been bullied for the money, or has a habit she needs to feed!!!

Again only through calm questioning, where we aim to elicit as much information as possible, without blame, can we find out the real reason, rather than jumping to conclusions. One way to do this is to use the TED technique. Where we might ask “Tell me some more about that?”, or “Explain how that would work?”, or “Describe what success would look like here?” With the TED technique we ask questions that encourage the other person to open-up, and then we listen …… remembering the 30:70 rule (where they talk more than twice as much as us).

It turns out that Mandy was trying to raise £700 for a car, so she could give her mum a lift to/ and from work in the evenings and save her standing at bus-stops in the dark and rain. We can then discuss with her the consequences of her actions, for example she could be permanently excluded from school and the knock-on consequences this could have on her gaining qualifications and the job/ career/ study opportunities she wants. Also that her classmates won’t learn if they merely “copy” her homework, and will therefore probably fail their exams. Then we can ask about other ways that Mandy could earn £700. She may suggest being paid to “tutor” her classmates so that not only do they hand in correct homework, but have also learnt the subject when it comes to exam time, and therefore stand a better chance of passing. She may also suggest doing jobs around the house that we could pay her for. Notice how the suggestions should come from her? People commit more strongly when it’s their own idea/suggestion.

With options 1 to 4 above we were fulfilling one of the strongest habitual behaviour patterns known … the Parent: Child relationship. With Option 5 we were instigating an Adult to Adult conversation. With this option, we:
• Gain an understanding of the reasons behind a specific behaviour (desired or not),
• Praise, reward, share desired behaviours,
• Identify ways to change the environment (Physical and Cultural) to help prevent undesired behaviours,
• Discuss the consequences of undesired behaviour(s), and therefore gain commitment from the person not to repeat them, and
• Encourage the adoption of desired behaviours.

These are just some of the potential benefits of having effective Safety Conversations. Others include keeping people mindful, engaging them, giving them ownership and asking for their ideas and input.

So that’s the theory – what about the practice? Well, it is a skill that can be taught and developed – and I do!. Whilst it’s best done in a workshop environment here’s a principle and top five tips that will help you have those conversations you’re tempted to put off.

The general principle is that we need to start by looking at human nature and understanding human behaviour, communication is most effective if the context is understood. So, start from the mindset -that for almost every behaviour, there is always a reason

1) The main focus of an effective safety conversation is to be “curious”. To find out “why” people have behaved the way they have, so that:
(i) If it’s good we can look to share it, and positively reinforce it through praise, encouragement and/ or reward.
(ii) If it’s not good we can investigate the root cause(s) and change the environment in an effort to make improvements. Through effective questioning and support we can also elicit a glad , not grudging promise, to do it differently next time.
2) There are different types of Safety conversations and it’s important to pick the appropriate type. Pre-work and Post Incident are just two of them, and their very different styles and content, will be more/ less effective depending upon the situation.
3) Make time to practice, preferably in an “emotionally safe” environment with people you can trust.
4) Feedback is key and two-way of course so you need to practice:
(a) Receiving feedback on safety conversations facilitated,
(b) Giving feedback to others on safety conversations observed, and
5) Build a useful checklist of the steps to holding an effective safety conversation to keep as a handy reference to refer to when you’re planning your next conversation.

Article contributed by Quentin Emery, Principal Consultant of RyderMarsh OCAID Limited

Article

Q&A with Dr Claire Stone

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Tags: Featured

Full Name: Dr Claire Stone

Job Title: Quality Manager

Company: i2 Analytical Ltd

Having decided at an early age that I wanted to work in analytical sciences in the environmental field, I was lucky enough to undertake an Analytical and Environmental Chemistry degree. Having completed my degree, I then studied for a PhD in Analytical Chemistry and through this work and post-doctoral work specialised in metals analysis, quality control/assurance and other inorganic analytical techniques. Having joined i2 in 2006, I first worked I was first employed as a method development chemist, I then went on to run the inorganic analysis departments, before becoming Quality Manager in 2009.

What or who inspired you to join the geotechnical industry?

It’s hard to say – I’ve wanted to be involved in this type of work for so long I don’t think I can honestly remember who or what first inspired me to do it!

What does a typical day entail?

As well as managing my Quality team to ensure all our laboratories are maintaining our accreditation and extending our scope of testing to ISO 17025 and MCERTS, I also work closely with our Technical teams to develop novel and innovative solutions both in terms of analytical methods and techniques. Being a senior chemist, I also speak to our customers about any challenging sites or problems they have and look to work with them to produce a cost effective analysis proposition.

Are there any projects which you’re particularly proud to have been a part of?

The “asbestos dustiness” method development and accreditation of this particular technique is the project I’m most proud of. This is an innovative solution to provide additional lines of evidence for customers who may face challenges when dealing with asbestos contaminated sites.

What are the most challenging aspects of your role?

Ensuring the highest quality standards are met whilst ensuring that the work carried out by the whole of i2 is commercially fit for purpose.

What AGS Working Group(s) are you a Member of and what are your current focuses?

I’m a member of both the Laboratories Working Group and the Contaminated Land Working Group and my current focus is on bringing more environmental chemistry input to the Laboratories group and ensuring that labs are well represented on the Contaminated Land group. Personally I’m looking at the challenges of deviating samples in respect to both geotechnical and geo-environmental analysis – an analysis is only as good as the sample provided!

What do you enjoy most about being an AGS Member?

The AGS events are always enjoyable and I was lucky enough to speak at one of them – having a presentation really well received by such a diverse audience has certainly made these events my favourite aspect of being an AGS member.

What do you find beneficial about being an AGS Member?

Being involved with a wide range of disciplines working in the geotechnical sector means that both personally and professionally strong relationships can develop and through collaboration more opportunities and challenges present themselves.

Why do you feel the AGS is important to the industry?

The AGS provides a focal group to work through a variety of challenges within the sector and I think the fact that it’s run by the members for the members gives it a great strength.

What changes would you like to see implemented in the geotechnical industry?

I would like to see more practical cross discipline experience in the people involved in the industry. I think that by appreciating and understanding the impact of others work and roles the whole industry would benefit.

Article Loss Prevention

Loss Prevention Alert 69: The need for well-defined objectives and scope agreed by the Client and Ground Engineering Specialist

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Tags: Featured

Over the last couple of years several AGS members have encountered contractual difficulties arising from the absence, or poor definition, of the objectives or scope of their work.  In some cases, this has led to substantial claims in legal disputes, in others a breakdown in the relationship with the client.

A common cause of disagreement (and in some cases legal dispute) between a client and the ground engineering specialist is a gap between the client’s expectations of the final product from a site investigation (most commonly a report) and that actually published by the specialist.  Sometimes that gap results from a shortcoming in the execution of the sitework or in the drafting of the report.  However, more often it results from a lack of clarity or agreement between the parties regarding the objectives or scope of the work / report.

LPA 69 has brought together some of these experiences, provided some examples of common issues and proposed some simple good practice measures to avoid such disputes, namely;

  1. Before you commence work, put in writing your understanding of the agreed objective(s) and the scope of work necessary to meet those objectives.
  2. Ensure the title of your work is appropriate by referring to the relevant standards and reflects the scope and methodology of the work.
  3. In your report, include a statement of the agreed objective(s) and scope of the work.

All practitioners are recommended to read the full text of LPA 69 (it is only 1500 words), to publicise or otherwise transmit this out to their teams, and (hopefully) to avoid these potential pitfalls in their future work. LPA 69 can be downloaded for free on the AGS website.

This topic of scope and objectives is one of the areas being covered at the half-day AGS Commercial Risks and How to Manage Them Conference which is taking place on Wednesday 22nd January 2020 at the Manchester Conference Centre in Manchester. For further information on the conference and to book your place to attend, please visit the AGS website or email ags@ags.org.uk.

Article provided by Hugh Mallett, Technical Director at BuroHappold Engineering.

Article

The Value in Ground Engineering

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Tags: Featured

Now more than twenty years ago in his review in rethinking construction, Egan said that the construction industry at its best is excellent, but at the time of his review there was concern that it was underachieving and needed to deliver more inherent value. His conclusions also highlighted that the industry in general needs to educate and help its clients to differentiate between best value and price. The same conclusions apply to the Ground Engineering industry, in fact more so since unlike other products of construction built out of the ground, almost all our work is usually concealed from sight, in the ground. For us as an industry then, there really is an imperative to be able to provide evidence and compelling description of our value. Without doubt we are aware of this and often internally discuss this, but our mission is to take this external and present the evidence in terms and language that is understood by our clients and multi-disciplinary partners who hopefully become our advocates.

So, what is value? Clearly value is not necessarily the lowest cost or the quickest solution. A straw poll of leaders in major infrastructure yielded responses along the lines of value being ‘…the most effective way to achieve an outcome with legacy being important…’ This description highlights need for definition of outcome to measure ultimate success, optioneering to assess the most efficient or effective approaches to get there, and an eye on the timeline and downstream benefits. It’s arguably the journey to the outcome and downstream legacy benefits where we need to work most to ensure that counterparts and clients understand the value of our work.

Certainly, in the public sector, delivery of an outcome is rightly increasingly emphasising more than just simply cost with a move away from just transactional business to integrated, collaborative outcomes-focused delivery. Social value is often mentioned in tender criteria for ground engineering work, but a blended approach considering all of the Capitals is the direction of travel in major project procurement, these being human, manufactured, financial, natural, social and intellectual. Our industry regularly makes substantial contributions in all the Capitals areas, and especially in the circular economy, but would benefit from work, perhaps most appropriately initiated by the AGS, to measure and document outcomes more explicitly against these criteria in an array of common project tasks, building a body of compelling case study evidence. This would need to be accessible in the widest sense, kept current and be in those common areas that the target audience can easily relate to in language they appreciate. Doing so would probably place us at the forefront of the construction industry ahead of our colleagues in other related disciplines but we need it more given our benefits to a project are usually less obvious as noted above, unlike architecture, structural or civil engineering.

A decade ago the Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP) initiated a study with similar intent, advocating for the use of geosystems in civil engineering applications. The primary objective was reduction of wastage but this was to be achieved by greater knowledge and use of engineered geosystems (geosynthetics) as actually selected alternative options to conventional ground engineering construction approaches. In doing so this raised the profile of the geosynthetics industry principally through the presentation of case studies quantifying cost, time and environmental benefits by evaluation against more conventional construction approaches. The guidance was presented in an accessible way with information that clients and the developer market could relate to by including non-technical information and quantification in directly relevant terms, these being mainly financial savings.

Quantifying the benefits, the information was compelling mainly from identifying, especially in time and cost terms, the advantages of re-using site-won spoil which would otherwise have been sent to landfill and substituted for imported higher specification aggregates as well as high carbon steel and concrete. Case studies included back analysis of actual construction of environmental, financial and carbon cost of works including a grade separated highway interchange, a noise/environmental bund, retaining walls and fill platforms as compared to the delivery of the initial design. The study did present challenges in compiling evidence in that initial design information was sometimes not developed in detail and required reasonable assumptions in quantities to derive environmental and financial costs. However, the outcomes were nevertheless clear in terms of potential benefits.

Refreshed and expanded upon, this approach could be used as a template for building information on the benefits that the ground engineering industry brings, by utilising case studies underpinning common themes with clients. Current conversations within our industry are commonly too internally-focused, and availability of this type of information is invaluable to allow us to take our regular conversations externally and talk in those terms clients, counterparts, developers and, for that matter, the general public understand. Generally, the industry has a wealth of experience in the benefits of various ground engineering tasks which are almost waiting to be documented.

Case studies could include several case studies valuing a focused and appropriate site investigation versus the usual acknowledgement by decision-makers on the ‘need for boreholes’ without understanding the specific direct downstream benefits these provide in risk mitigation and options for geotechnical design and the opportunities for more sustainable or innovative solutions. They may also include common work in optimising retaining walls through further analysis and the direct opportunity to slim down or shallow the wall through more analysis. Ground improvement is essentially entirely directed to optimisation of shallow foundations and surely would be more commonly used or requested if information on applicability and advantages was better described in a non-technical and quantified way. Earthworks and re-use of materials is an area where there is perhaps most to gain through this approach.

In summary then, surely with the tools and knowledge we now have and routinely use, the time is ripe for us to take the initiative and move one step further in talking about value with our clients, regularly including specific value statements in our work, describing short term investment for longer term gain, development of non-technical guidance documents to demystify the industry, surveying our clients to let them know we’re serious in focusing on our customers and solicit areas for work to improve our offering, creating a collective compendium of quantified case studies identifying the value that the ground engineering industry contributes to society including the value ground engineering can bring to enhancing sustainable solutions. Some of this the AGS has certainly initiated but is this not a wider role for the AGS to initiate through a working party or similar?

Remembering the sage-like but obvious conclusion from Egan, we as specialists need to educate and help our clients differentiate between value and lowest price.

Article provided by Patrick Cox, Director Major Projects at AECOM

Article Data Management

AGS Data Management Working Group Update

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Tags: Featured

Jackie Bland, Leader of the Data Management Working Group, has provided an update on the top issues the Data Management Working Group discussed at their last meeting which took place on 18th September 2019.

Release of AGS4.1
The Data Management Working Group are in the process of working on AGS4.1 which is due to be released at the AGS Data Format Conference in 2020. As standards are changing, the group need to ensure that all data can be transferred between relevant parties. We also need to be aware that perhaps different methodologies may be required in future for transferring this data. The update to AGS4.1 is important to members of the AGS because frustratingly large costs can be incurred in bespoke system design where there are no appropriate or specific locations within the format to store the data. It’s preferable that everyone follows a standard within the industry and therefore the same update can be applied to all software packages capable of receiving or producing AGS digital data.

Release of AGSi
AGSi is almost ready for beta publication in 2020. AGSi has been developed by the Data Management Working Group over the last few years. It provides the ability to move the ground model in a structured way between parties and will hopefully reduce the meetings, sheets of paper and the requirement for the same software package. This also continues our groups’ desire to continue to be truly be software agnostic or software independent.

The AGS Data Format Conference 2020
The Data Management Working Group are in the early stages of organising the AGS Data Format Conference 2020 which will be taking place on Wednesday 23rd September 2020 and will be returning to the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham. Sponsorship opportunities for the conference are already available and make sure to keep an eye out for future issue of the AGS Magazine and on the AGS website for registration details and speaker line-up.

Registered Users of Data Format
There are now 87 registered companies of AGS Data Format. As a reminder, it is now a requirement to be a registered user of AGS Data Format if your company supplies or receives AGS Data. Also, we ask that, if you are a consumer of AGS data, you check that any company supplying you with AGS data is shown on the list of registered users. To register as a Data Format user, email ags@ags.org.uk for further information.

Event

CIRIA Event: Hazardous ground gases – are we doing any better?

Tags: Featured
CIRIA Event: Hazardous ground gases – are we doing any better?
2019-11-0808th Nov 2019
CIRIA Offices, Griffin Court, 15 Long Lane, EC1A 9PN

Hazardous ground gases – are we doing any better?
This event looks to discuss how construction professionals are managing hazardous ground gases.

When
Friday 8th November 2019
10:00 – 15:00 (Registration from 09:30)

Where
CIRIA Offices
Griffin Court
15 Long Lane
EC1A 9PN

This event will:
• Explore current issues with management of ground gas risk from risk assessment to verification
• Any gaps with current guidance and training and any other ways that we can improve practice further
• Discuss issues how as an industry could do better
• Share good practice and experience

https://www.ciria.org/CIRIA/Navigation/Events/Event_Display.aspx?EventKey=E19306