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Ground Investigation Project of the Year

This award recognises ground investigation that stands out in terms of its credentials in innovation, quality, sustainability, health and safety and value engineering. Entrants had to demonstrate elements within the design and delivery that were focused on minimising risk from unexpected ground conditions during the construction phase and demonstrate the steps taken to achieve this.

Sponsored by 

geo bear logo

geo bear logo

Atkins Mouchel JV and Raeburn Drilling and Geotechical

A9 Dualling Northern Section 

a9 dualling

a9 dualling

At 25km, the Dalraddy to Slochd section of the A9 dualling project is the longest requiring upgrade. Located in the Cairngorms National Park, the existing A9 traverses challenging geology in a highly constrained corridor.

The predominantly southbound widening by benched-in extensions to existing embankments and cuttings is the preferred option for the scheme, and the GI included work in environmental and geological conservation area. As well as using Lidar survey, web GIS was implemented and this allowed the GI information to carried by team members and complete automated pre-condition surveys.

Bam Ritchies

Brunstane mineral investigation 

bam ritchies ge 2

bam ritchies ge 2

A 49ha brownfield site in Edinburgh lies within a high-risk mine workings area that had effectively precluded any economic redevelopment. Studies had already identified the possibility of 15 mine shafts and bell pits within the site as well as shallow mine workings.

A detailed ground model, including historic mining features was developed, a key element for the redevelopment, not only for design and to secure planning permission, but also for financial modelling to determine the feasibility of redevelopment and unlock the site for regeneration.

National Grid Property, Advisian, Atkins, Sweco, Wood and WYG

Live Wires - high voltage electricity substations



In 2017 National Grid Property carried out ground investigation at 20 high voltage substations and land containing high voltage transmission equipment, to understand land contamination liabilities.

Working with multiple stakeholders to undertake the GI, the work was incident free despite the exceptionally high risk, highly constrained sites including live overhead equipment, extensive below ground services and induced voltage.

Using an enhanced planning and adapting ways of working, the team were able to safely and efficiently complete the programme of GI whilst also creating zero impact on transmission operations.

Peter Brett Associates

Pinner Wood School, Middlesex

pinner wood school

pinner wood school

When a 3m wide hole unexpectedly opened up in the school car park in the summer holidays of 2015, tests showed it was sitting on a disused shaft entry chalk mine, with partially collapsed mine tunnels extending beneath the school.

Investigations included a laser survey that shot out beams in three dimensions reflected off solid surfaces creating a cloud of surface points. These were used to build a correctly sized and oriented shape image of the void and its surfaces. CCTV was also used to provide an even clearer picture of the unmapped mines.

Soil Engineering Geoservices

HS2 Central Package A

hs1 gi work

hs1 gi work

The technical and logistical challenges to provide the data for the design of the 3.4km viaduct to form part of the HS2 Phase 1 rail link was among the many challenges faced by the project delivery team.

Both land and overwater investigation was undertaken, including 73 boreholes, geophysical and pressuremeter testing, and trial pits, whilst liaising with multiple landowners, local authorities and other stakeholder groups, in an area of high environmental sensitivity.

Structural Soils and HS2

HS2 Central Package Area D

hs2 central package area d 2

hs2 central package area d 2

The timescale for the delivery of the GI for this package was very tight as land access along the 20km section from Northamptonshire to Warwickshire, was obtained much later than planned.

While much of the GI was undertaken in well-known and understood ground, the varied sequence of sedimentary rocks proved challenging. At its peak, two cable percussion rigs, four rotary drilling rigs, two window sampling rigs, a trial pitting crew and a static cone penetrometer crew were in operation, requiring complex logistics in the tight time frame.

Structural Soils, Mott Macdonald and National Grid

Wylfa - Pentir 400kV Cable Section, Phase 2 Onshore GI

wylfa pentir 400k v cable section, phase 2 onshore gi

wylfa pentir 400k v cable section, phase 2 onshore gi

For the development of the Horizon nuclear power station at Wylfa, Anglesey, a new 400kV transmission connection is required between Wylfa and the substation on the mainland – a 4km long cable tunnel crossing beneath the Menai Strait.

The ground investigation, undertaken within a technically demanding geological and geotechnical environment, used cable percussive with rotary drilled and inclined rotary drilled boreholes were used with machine dug trial pits including soakaway. At the peak of activity, there were four drilling rigs.

Vertase FLI

Aberdeen site investigation

aberdeen 1

aberdeen 1

A number of phases of investigation were completed on the site of the new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, to locate, assess the nature and impact of radiological and biological contamination associated with two animal waste burial pits.

The work included a detailed desk study by Arup to specify the works, determining the location of the burial pits, removal of the waste and testing for contaminants. Throughout the project Arup and Vertase FLI worked with the client to develop the investigation methodology from excavation to remediation strategy.


Oxford flood alleviation scheme

trial pit supervisors

WYG trial pit supervisors

In February 2017, WYG was instructed to undertake ground investigation of a 300ha site to support the design of the Oxford flood alleviation scheme.

Complex ground conditions meant that recovering quality information was difficult and techniques often required tailoring to localised ground conditions. Methods adopted needed to consider access constraints, as well as dewatering, fencing, aquifer protection, contamination, services, ecology and archaeological interest.

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