We Need to Talk About Groundwater

6th Nov 2024
Etc. Venues, Manchester [ View on map ]

The need to consider the impact and effect of groundwater during all stages of the design and construction process is of paramount importance for almost all construction and building projects. However, the impact of groundwater is often poorly understood by many sectors of the construction industry, even those tasked with the design and construction of earth structures, basements, foundations, roads or pavements. The impact of groundwater can manifest in obvious ways as water inflow into excavations, leakage through retaining walls, uplift buoyancy pressures, but in less obvious ways such as consolidation settlements or loss of strength of the ground, or as the medium for transportation of contaminants or adverse chemical elements.

We Need to Talk About Groundwater is a CPD conference aimed at attendees involved in construction projects from concept and planning through detailed design to construction and is not solely for geotechnical engineering specialists. Taking place at ETC. Venues in Manchester, the conference is proposed to raise awareness of how groundwater can impact construction. This will include presentations about how groundwater and geohydraulic parameters can be reliable determined during investigations and infiltration testing, how groundwater is covered by the new second-generation Eurocodes BS EN 1990:2023 and FprEN 1997-1:2024, measures for control of groundwater, how water pressures can impact cutting slopes or excavations, and a number of other topics.

Speakers for the event include Andrew Bond, who is recognised as one of the leading experts dealing with Eurocodes for geotechnical design, Len Threadgold is a leading practitioner dealing with ground and groundwater investigations, and Stephen Thomas a recognised expert in groundwater control. Further speakers will be announced in due course.



Tickets are priced at £150 for AGS members and £210 for non-members.

A limited number of tickets are available at £95 for retired AGS members, students, local authority and environment agency delegates. To secure a ticket at this rate, please email ags@ags.org.uk. All prices exclude VAT.

To obtain the AGS member rate, please add the delegate place to your basket, select ‘proceed to checkout’, enter delegate details and under ‘billing details’, select your company from the AGS member company dropdown list. The rate at the end of the checkout page will then update to the AGS member rate.

Registration strictly closes on Monday 28th October.



Groundwater Pressures in the Second-Generation Eurocodes

Dr Andrew Bond, Director at Geocentrix Ltd.

This presentation will explain how groundwater pressures are determined in the second-generation Eurocodes, starting from the definition of a water action in EN 1990 Basis of structural and geotechnical design and proceeding to simplify the specification for the particular circumstances in which such actions arise in the ground. Techniques for analysing large data sets of groundwater levels will be presented as well as simpler methods for more commonly-encountered sparse data sets. Real-world examples will illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of these methods.

Eurocode, Groundwater and Geohydraulic Properties, The Next Generation

Will Capps, Technical Manager at Lucion Delta-Simons 

With groundwater being a key component throughout the next generation of Eurocode understanding and accurately determining groundwater and geohydraulic properties such as pressures and hydraulic conductivity is important. This presentation will aim to refresh, replenish and educate attendees on where we currently are with the standards with hydrogeological testing methods and considerations to be given when carrying them out and standards that relate to these. The methods presented in the current standards will be given consideration and any potential pit falls or methods that may cause spurious results examined.

Groundwater in Slopes and its Relationship to Stability

Len Threadgold, Geotechnical Adviser at Geotechnics

Catastrophic landslides and less spectacular ones, are often associated with high rainfalls. However, rainfall is not groundwater until it enters the ground and affects the shear strength of the soils and rocks of which it is composed. Positive porewater pressures reduce the effective stress between soil particles, and hence shear strength, but this applies whether pressure is from above, below or the side of failure surfaces. It is vital that such sources are identified in attempting to understand mechanisms, causes and consequences as well as devising preventative measures or remediation. The presentation will seek to illustrate these elements with reference to case histories.

Stabilisation of Steep Slopes in Saturated Ground using Groundwater Control & Passive Drainage Anchors

Dr Stephen Thomas, Founder, Director and Chair of OGI Groundwater Specialists

OGI’s client was awarded the contract to construct a deep rectangular waste water detention tank in Royton, Greater Manchester. The options of construction were constrained by a number of factors.  The geology was highly variable, comprising weak alluvium ground with a high water table, all overlying rock.  There were also existing structures present which needed preservation and connection.

OGI’s solution comprised the combination of active groundwater control to lower the water table using a series of suction wells, together with a system of Platipus Anchors which were enhanced with strong wick type passive drains to reduce the pore water within the slope.  The stabilisation system was designed by OGI’s in-house technical team with the support of the Finite Element software PLAXIS, which was able to model both the soil and groundwater behaviour.  The resulting system enabled safe and stable steep slopes with a batter angle of 60o together with producing a dry working area.  This stabilisation system saved the contractor over £250,000 over alternative techniques.

This project achieved the 2018 Ground Engineering Award for Technical Excellence.


Infiltration Tests – There are Better Options than BRE 365

Steve Wilson, Technical Director at EPG

This presentation will explore various methods of infiltration testing that are viable (and in some cases better) alternatives to the BRE365 test. Steve will also dispel some common myths around the use of infiltration such as “it cannot be used within 5m of buildings”.



We have a limited number of sponsorship packages for both Members and non-Members of the AGS who wish to have a presence during the event. For package details please click HERE. If you’d like to confirm your support, please contact Angharad Lambourne-Wade on ags@ags.org.uk before Friday 4th October. Please note that packages are limited and are offered on a first come, first served basis.




AFITEXINOV UK LTD is a specialist manufacturer of geosynthetic solutions for over 30 years. Our services are focused on applications such as structural drainage, water barrier linings and soil reinforcement solutions. Our focus industry sectors are in geotechnical applications in public works, environmental projects, residential developments and mining activities.



Landmark Information Group

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Dr Andrew Bond
Director at Geocentrix

Dr Andrew Bond specialises in geotechnical design, software development, and professional training. He is Chair of B/526, the British Standards committee for geotechnics and working on National Annexes for the second-generation Eurocode 7. Andrew was Chair of the Eurocode 7 committee from 2010 to 2019 and was a member of the team that rewrote EN 1990 Basis of structural and geotechnical design. Andrew was the lead author of the highly successful book Decoding Eurocode 7, which he is currently revising.

Will Capps 
Technical Manager at Lucion Delta-Simons

Will has worked in the Geoenvironmental industry for over 17 years, and has experience of operating as a Site Engineer in a wide variety of Site scenarios. Throughout these years he has tended to focus heavily on the physical Site side of Geoenvironmental Site Investigation including the determination of groundwater and geohydraulic properties.

Len Threadgold
Geotechnical Adviser at Geotechnics

Len has over 50 years’ experience in geotechnical engineering and site investigation with extensive experience of managing a diverse range of small and large-scale geotechnical investigation projects. He is a Registered Ground Engineering Adviser, panel member of UK RoGEP and was awarded the John Mitchell Medal by the ICE for excellence in geotechnical practice in 2017.

Vivien Dent
AGS Chair and Technical Specialist: Green Growth and Delivery at the Environment Agency

Vivien is a hydrogeologist with over 26 years’ experience working in contaminated land, specialising in groundwater risk assessment. She recently moved to the Environment Agency where she works on major projects in the Hertfordshire and North London areas. Vivien is the current Chair of the Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists.

Dr Stephen Thomas
Founder, Director and Chair of OGI Groundwater Specialists

Dr Stephen Thomas has over 43 years of experience in the field of ground, groundwater engineering and management. He delights in developing innovative solutions to overcome major engineering challenges.

Stephen has gained substantial experience from many ground and groundwater projects with over 300 designs of groundwater control, slope engineering & artesian pressure reduction systems. He has over 30 publications in the field of Groundwater Engineering & Control, Construction Dewatering & Recharge, Hydrogeology & Geotechnics, Ground Source Energy & Slope Engineering.

He is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, an elected member of the Executive Committee of the British Geotechnical Association, and is an Honorary Fellow at the University of Durham.​  In 2023, Stephen was elected as the Vice-President of the Groundwater Commission of the Portuguese Association of Water Resources. Stephen is an Ironman Triathlete, and has represented the UK in 10 World and European Championships

Steve Wilson
Technical Director at EPG

Steve is a Chartered Civil Engineer and Registered Ground Engineering Advisor.  He has over 30 years experience in the testing, design and construction of infiltration (soakaway) drainage systems. Steve has extensive practical experience of various methods of infiltration and permeability testing. He is one of the authors of the SuDS Manual and the CIRIA Guide to SuDS Construction.

Price: £252.00
AGS Member: £180.00
Student: £114.00
inc. VAT

Price: £252.00
AGS Member: £180.00
Student: £114.00
inc. VAT