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Industry urged to publish more details of ground conditions

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Engineering geologist and geotechnical engineers are being called to publish more ground investigation information, particularly when unexpected geological formations are encountered.

GCG senior partner Jackie Skipper said that sharing of such information was important to benefit the overall industry at the AGS Ground Risk: Why take the chance conference yesterday in London.

Skipper pointed to discovery of faulting within the Lambeth Group during excavation of a basement for UCLH as one of the reasons why more data is needed. “The faulting was not expected and it was only by chance I saw a photograph of the fault line showing the Lambeth Group faulted up into the London Clay,” she said.

“Another nearby site reported a drift filled hollow and it was only through my knowledge of the faulting at the UCLH site that further ground investigation was undertaken and showed the drift filled hollow was actually a surface depression caused by the faulting. The ground conditions presented challenges to the piling work but these might have been greater or unexpected without knowledge of the faulting.”

Skipper called on engineers to trust their professional judgement when something doesn’t seem right and to give honest advice to clients. She also urged the industry to communicate about when unexpected ground conditions are found and to publish details to pass on the knowledge, particularly through publication of technical papers or notes within GE.

Session chair Ramboll director Stephen West commented that in Finland all ground investigation reports have to be lodged publicly for future use and questioned whether it is time for the UK to follow suit.

Skipper said: “Data should be shared with the British Geological Survey but often it is not or remains confidential, which is frustrating when you can see there is data local to a site but you can’t see the detail.”

Skipper also urge the industry to push clients to share data.


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