We offer a wide range of services, ranging from feasibility studies, through detailed analysis of a range of problems including foundation, walls and slopes, to design and specification
We are able to provide a comprehensive range of services to help our Clients develop cost effective, integrated geotechnical solutions. Our services include:
- Feasibility studiesWe will use our expertise to appraise the ground risks at a site and then work with our Clients to identify possible ground solutions within the context of their drivers and constraints, such as programme and levels of acceptable risk. Where required we would engage with other specialist advisors to the Client to help identify a cost-effective holistic solution to the issues.
- Desk studies and preliminary sources studiesA desk study (sometimes referred to as preliminary investigations, Phase 1 reports or preliminary sources studies) would usually include a site walkover and inspection leading to a rapid, relatively low cost appraisal of the following aspects:
- site walkover and inspection
- site setting and topography
- site history
- geological setting
- results of previous ground investigations
- hydrological setting
- flood risk
- hydrogeological setting
- environmental setting
- potential sources of contamination
The desk study would conclude with an appraisal of the anticipated ground conditions and major ground risks, with recommendations for intrusive ground investigation works if deemed necessary. The desk study would also be used as part of a feasibility study to appraise alternative ground solutions and major abnormal redevelopment costs associated with the ground.
- Shallow foundation analysis and design, including settlement analysesOur specialists can appraise the ground conditions at your site and identify the best foundation solution that meets your needs. Our design capability includes assessment of both ultimate limit states (bearing capacity) and serviceability limit states (settlements), for all types of structure from low rise to multi-storey structures, with due consideration of external influences such as mining. We are able to cater too for difficult ground and special design requirements, assist in the design and specification of ground improvement solutions if required, and, through our partners, we are able to provide structural design services to complement the foundation design and appraisal services.
- Piled foundation designWe are able, based on our experience, to undertake the appraisal of alternative piled foundation types, undertake preliminary design appraisals to inform the design process, and prepare performance specifications for the piles. We are able also to design and specify pile instrumentation and loading tests. If required we are able to undertake detailed design of the piled solution, though in our experience this is often best undertaken by piling companies as they are able to control the construction process and its impact on pile capacities.
- Slope stability appraisals and designMost developments will require some degree of ground profile modification. Appraisal of the stability of soil and rock slopes depends critically on a good understanding of the ground and groundwater, ground strength, site drainage, and the proposed construction method. Our experts are able to analyse slopes in all geologies using limit equilibrium or finite element methods as appropriate to the problem at hand, and to design new slopes or assess the degree of stability of existing slopes. We are able also to specify earthworks and other requirements for new slopes, and to design reinforced slopes where appropriate.
- Investigation and assessment of slope instability problemsWhere a slope instability problem is evident, the nature and geometry of the slip together with the likely groundwater conditions at the time of failure must be understood. If this is not achieved the cause of the failure may be missed with consequential effects on the success of any remedial scheme. Our experts have substantial experience in this field and are able to back-analyse failures using limit equilibrium or finite element methods as appropriate. Moreover we are able to appraise and design remedial solutions to rectify the slope instability issues, and will work with our Clients to identify the most appropriate remedial solution that meets their needs.
- Retaining wall analysis and designWhere space on a site is at a premium ground may be retained rather than sloped to maximise development land. We are able to undertake the appraisal and analysis of a wide range of alternative retention solutions including gravity walls (such as mass concrete, gabion and crib walls), embedded walls (such as sheet piling and contiguous bored piled walls) and reinforced earth walls. We understand that assessment of the structural capacity of the wall and likely ground movements is critical to the design of a solution for construction, and we would account for these aspects when specifying design solutions.
- Earthworks assessment and design, including engineered fillsWe have extensive experience in the design of a wide range of earthworks and engineered fill schemes, such as highways, development platforms, and the restoration of opencast coal sites. This has involved us working with a wide range of materials, including natural aggregates and clays, arising from opencast operations, and crushed bricks / concrete. Our expertise is supported by participation in various research projects and numerous publications. Our approach to earthworks design is based on maximising re-use of site-won materials by establishing appropriate acceptability criteria, zoning sites to allow materials to be used most effectively, and devising material improvement solutions if needed. The design solutions are then captured in practical, scheme specific specifications. We are skilled in preparing both method and performance forms, scoping testing regimes, and designing appropriate instrumentation and monitoring schemes. We are able also to provide independent monitoring and validation services.
- Ground risk management adviceThe ground is naturally variable, and complicated further by the influence of man. Our extensive geotechnical experience across a breadth of project types allows us to be able to provide ground risk management advice to Clients in a timely and cost-effective manner. We are happy to engage with our Clients to establish the most appropriate form of support for them. This could include participation in early stage project reviews and feasibility appraisals, undertaking of an oversight role, and / or periodic reviews of project deliverables by others.
- Coal mining risk assessmentsCoal mining, whether it be shallow or deep, historic or recent, can result in significant abnormal development costs being incurred. Furthermore many Local Planning Authorities now require a Coal Mining Risk Assessment (CMRA) to be carried out and included in all planning applications in high risk areas as defined by the Coal Authority. We are able to undertake such coal mining risk assessments. In addition we can advise our Clients on mining risk, whether they be developers, land owners, regulators, insurance companies or local authorities. If needed we can undertake also mining appraisals as part of the design process to meet the needs of our Clients.