Loss Prevention Guidance

Guide to Good Practice in Writing Ground Reports

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Updated in 2015

The Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists (AGS) believes that clear and concise communications between all parties involved in the construction of the built environment will benefit those parties by reducing misunderstanding and hence reduce rework, loss of opportunities and possible litigation. This guide aims to help its readers improve the style, language, and terminology used in their reports. It does not aim to be comprehensive, but instead concentrates on those areas of particular relevance to geospecialists. Readers of this guide are encouraged to read some of the numerous books written on the subjects of report writing, English grammar and writing plain English.

The need for guidance documents on the preparation of geotechnical and geoenvironmental reports was identified by the AGS some while ago. In 1996 the Model geoenvironmental site assessment report was published as an aid to control the risks in geoenvironmental practice. The need for a guidance document on the preparation of geotechnical reports was identified by the AGS in 2000 after a presentation to them by the late Sir John Knill. Two documents were published by the AGS in 2005 – Guidelines for the preparation of the ground report and Management of risk associated with the preparation of ground reports. These supersede the 1996 document. The former concentrates on the structure and content of ground reports. The latter on good practice for minimising and managing business risks in the report writing process. The 1996 document contained guidance on terminology which was not incorporated in the subsequent documents. This guide reproduces and extends that guidance.