[WEBINAR REPLAY] The Standard Penetration Test: its origin, evolution and future

This webinar took place on 15th Sep 2020 11:00
Duration: 1hr 30mins

The Standard Penetration Test (SPT) is a much-loved test and specified on the majority of UK ground investigations but do practitioners and clients truly understand its origins and limitations when used to determine parameters? During this webinar replay, AGS members will provide facts about the SPT test, its use or misuse, limitations and potential future developments.

This webinar provides the background to the SPT and its humble origins, and how its use has evolved over the decades to become the most used in-situ test in the UK. It aims to distinguish the facts from the myths and compare the results with other sampling and testing methods.

The panel debate why the SPT is so widely used yet current standards appear to discard the test. They also discuss how it is used in geotechnical design, suggest alternatives and debate whether this test fits into the 21st century which thrives on electronic and data capture to be used with analysis models of evolving complexity and power. Finally, the panel examine whether the rudimentary results have the reliability to be used in today’s evolving and complex analytical software.




SOCOTEC is the UK’s market-leading provider of site investigations. Expert field operations backed up by UKAS accredited analytical testing and proven technical support draw on over 80 years’ experience in delivering high quality services to help our clients to minimise ground related uncertainty and risk, as well as maximising efficiencies.


Julian Lovell
AGS Chair and Managing Director at Equipe Group

Julian is the current Chair of AGS and has been involved in the geotechnical industry for over 30 years. He is actively involved in producing safety and technical guidance for the industry and sits on British and European committees. He is also Managing Director of Equipe which is the UK’s leading provider of vocational training and assessment. Julian is currently working with UGUK to ensure geoscience training meets the industry needs.

Peter Reading
Managing Director at PRGC and Senior Teaching Fellow at the University of Portsmouth

Peter has over 50 years’ experience in the Geotechnical Industry. He’s a Chartered Geologist, a Chartered Scientist, a UK Registered Ground Engineering Adviser and a Senior Teaching Fellow at Portsmouth University.

Peter runs his own consultancy, PRGC Ltd, providing geotechnical advice to civil engineering companies and bodies including SOCOTEC UK.

Stuart Wagstaff
Director at Soil Consultants

Stuart is a keen advocator for the geotechnical engineering industry. He’s been Chair of the Home Counties North Regional Group and has served on multiple groups within The Geological Society. Stuart delivers regular CPD talks to the engineering world and is actively involved with various mineralogical groups, principally for the preservation and research into British minerals.

Stephen Lawrence West
Director, Ground Engineering at Ramboll UK and AGS Geotechnical Working Group Leader

Stephen is a leader within Ramboll Ground Engineering who deliver innovative designs for some of the most complex infrastructure, and marine projects in the UK and overseas. He delivers for contractors which often rely on limited scope ground investigation as a basis for tender designs which use the SPT to interpret a wide variety of parameters.