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February 2020

EMERGENCY RESCUE: ARE YOU PREPARED? The second of a series of articles related to safety and trial pitting, this time looking at emergency rescue procedures.




Overview of a 30-minute crash course to site safety using Lego

Results of a recent Laboratory survey to judge testing standardisation

Full details of the line-up for the AGS Annual Conference to be held in April


Chair’s Foreword The 31st January saw the UK finally make its prolonged exit from the European Union and we now enter into a ‘transition period’ before completely severing official ties on December 31st 2020. Whilst the pros and cons of this decision can be argued until the cows come home, it cannot be disputed that the return of certainty and clarity to the political state of the UK can only be a good thing. Whatever your political persuasion, the upheaval and uncertainty has caused countless headaches for everyone, especially when it comes to infrastructure decisions and now appears to be impacting on our future involvement and adoption of European led standards. For the most part, it seems as if it is business as usual; Eurocode revisions are well advanced; HS2 will be continuing and further investment is to be made in infrastructure across the country - this can only be a good thing for everyone with a geotechnical hat on. Now is the time to really show our worth to the rest of the construction sector with excellent quality work and impeccable health and safety. As Chair of the AGS, I challenge our members to lead the way in raising and maintaining standards across the sector. I am confident that with the skills and knowledge within our membership, we can be excellent examples to the wider GI community and 2


raise the profile of geotechnical work across the construction sector. In news closer to home, this month’s issue of the AGS Magazine features an update on the programme for our Annual Conference, scheduled to take place on Thursday 2nd April 2020 at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham. For more information on who will be presenting, check the News in Short section. This month’s magazine also features the second in a series of articles related to safety and trial pitting. This month, Steve Everton of Jacobs provides his input on the issue with a focus on emergency rescue procedures. We are always on the lookout for additional, informative content for the magazine, so if you have a case study or technical article that you think the wider geotechnical and geoenvironmental public would find beneficial, please do get in touch. We would be interested in your feedback on the magazine and our future plans. Please contact ags@ags.org.uk if you have any comments.

The Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists (AGS) is a non-profit making trade association established to improve the profile and quality of geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering. The membership comprises of UK organisations and individuals having a common interest in the business of ground investigation, geotechnics, geoenvironmental engineering, engineering geology, geochemistry, hydrogeology, and other related disciplines. EDITORIAL BOARD Julian Lovell, AGS Chair Ciaran Jennings, Forum Court Associates Katie Kennedy, Forum Court Associates Calum Spires, Equipe Group Neil Parry, GEL EDITORIAL STORY If you have a news story or event which you’d like to tell our editorial team about, please contact the AGS on 020 8658 8212 or ags@ags.org.uk. Please note that articles should act as opinion pieces and not directly advertise a company. The AGS is under no obligation to feature articles and events received. CONTACT US Association of Geotechnical & Geoenvironmental Specialists Forum Court, Office 205 Devonshire House Business Centre, 29-31 Elmfield Road Bromley, Kent, BR1 1LT

 ags@ags.org.uk

Julian Lovell AGS Chair

 020 8658 8212  Association of Geotechnical & Geoenvironmental Specialists  @agsgeotech www.ags.org.uk

Inside this month’s issue


Health & Safety - Lego style

The AGS Safety Working Group hosted the ‘Safety in Mind’ conference at the National Motorcycle Museum, COVER STORY Solihull, UK, on Thursday, 21 November 2019. At the PAGE 16  conference, Roseanna Bloxham held a workshop Steve Everton of Jacobs entitled ‘health and safety awareness in the field’, provides the second of a which was a 30-minute crash course on how to series of articles related to manage a site investigation safety that utilised safety and trial pitting. Lego as an effective & innovative learning tool.

ON STONEY GROUND: REVISITED PAGE 8  Results of a recent Laboratory survey to judge if testing has become more ‘standardised’ over the last decade.

AGS COMMERCIAL RISKS CONFERENCE PAGE 12  A review of the recent AGS Commercial Risks and How to Manage Them conference.

Q & A: Phil crowcroft PAGE 20  The AGS Magazine conducts a Q & A with ERM’s Phil Crowcroft



News in Short: Incl. Top 3 Publications


AGS Annual Conference Programme Announced

PAGE 22 

Events Incl. GEOfuture 2020

February 2020


News in Short AGS Annual Conference 2020 – Programme Announced The AGS Annual Conference 2020 will be taking place on Thursday 2nd April 2020 at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham. This full day seminar will focus on the work and achievements of the AGS and see expert speakers present on geotechnical and geoenvironmental topics and summarise lessons learnt. Registration will start at 9:15am and the conference will finish at 16:00pm. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.


Geotechnical Working Group Report: Stephen West, Director, Ground Engineering, Ramboll

Eurocodes and Part 2 update: Matthew Baldwin, Independent Consultant

Contaminated Land Working Group Report: Vivien Dent, Associate Technical Director, RSK Group

Safety Working Group Report: Adam Latimer, Ian Farmer Associates

Laboratories Working Group Report: Mark Beastall, Operations Manager, SOCOTEC UK

Loss Prevention Working Group Report: Hugh Mallett, BuroHappold Engineering


Chaired by Julian Lovell, Equipe

Keynote: Nick Koor, Associate Head Research & Innovation, University of Portsmouth speaking on the decline of geosciences undergraduates

Climate Change Panel Debate: With Luke Swain, Network Rail

A talk from the USA-based Geoprofessional Business Association: Joel Carson, CEO, GBA

Monitoring best practice: Ian Webber, Coffey

Annual General Meeting

AGS Awards

Business Practice Working Group Report: Sally Hudson, Regional Manager, Coffey

Instrumentation and Monitoring Working Group Report: Jonathan Gammon, Non Exec Director, Geotechnical Observations Ltd

Data Management Working Group Report:


Jackie Bland, IT Manager, Geotechnics Limited


A limited number of delegates per AGS member company may attend the conference free of charge. The number of complimentary tickets provided are dependent on the number of practitioners in your company – please see Table on the registration form. Additional tickets may be purchased for £60 (plus VAT) per AGS Member. Non-members may attend for £120 (plus VAT). If you wish to attend, then please email ags@ags.org.uk for a booking form.

Sponsorship Packages Promote your organisation, services and skills – take advantage of one of our great sponsorship opportunities, which include benefits such as exhibition stands, advertising space and more. To register your attendance or for details on our available sponsorship packages, please contact Joanna O’Neill at ags@ags.org.uk or click here to visit the AGS website.

Avoid abbreviating date in 2020 As you may be aware, this year’s abbreviation of ‘20’ instead of ‘2020’ is easily changeable and could be

used against you to forward or back date financial or legal documents. For example, a document

AGS LPWG Input to NEC4 Professional Services Contract The Loss Prevention Working Group has been in communication with the NEC4 drafting committee regarding the extent of professional indemnity insurance cover required under the Professional Services Contract. NEC are to provide additional guidance on how to complete Contract Data for the insurances within the published guidance notes. At present, guidance on this insurance in Volume 2 simply recommends that the advice of an insurance specialist be obtained. NEC now propose to add the following. When insurance cover is restricted for certain work required under the contract, for

dated 01/02/20, can be changed to 01/02/2021 by adding two numbers on the end. Ensure to use the full date to avoid the date being amended and leaving you vulnerable to fraud.

example advice in relation to land affected by contamination where an aggregate limit has been imposed, the compiler should include the entry “….. in respect of each claim without limit to the number of claims, but subject to an aggregate limit of …. In respect of claims relating to ...”. The same approach should be followed where other restrictions are placed on the cover which Consultants are able to obtain for services under the contract. This will allow consultants to be covered by their usual policies which usually limit cover relating to contamination to be in the annual aggregate. Article contributed by Neil Parry, Director, Geotechnical Engineering on behalf of AGS Loss Prevention Working Group

The top three AGS publications for Jan’ 2020 1. AGS Guide to Ground Investigation Reports 2. Guidance for Safe Intrusive Investigation of Contaminated Land 3. AGS Guide: The Selection of Geotechnical Soil Laboratory Testing To download the publications for free; click here.

Spam Emails The AGS are aware that a spam company (Expopromatrix) have been emailing AGS members regarding selling attendance details

for the AGS Commercial Risks Conference. Please note this is a spam company/emails, which is not endorsed by the AGS and the AGS do not provide any details to 3rd party organisations.

February 2020


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A foundation to site safety for all personnel involved in the drilling and geotechnical industry

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Comprehensive guidance to deal with asbestos in a GI environment, including CAR 2012

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An introduction to contaminated land for those involved in ground investigations and geotechnical work

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On Stoney Ground: Re-Visited


method and specifies the requirements for he way a soil sample is prepared each batch of samples submitted ‘. However, prior to analysis varies between our experience suggests that the majority laboratories. In the September 2011 of those scheduling chemical analyses are issue of AGS News we presented an article unaware of the potential differences between entitled ‘On Stoney Ground’ in which we laboratory sample preparation methods. discussed the results of a sample preparation survey of the main commercial MCerts Metals Analysis accredited laboratories. The survey revealed significant differences in whether stones The Blue Book acknowledges that were removed or crushed prior to the analysis contaminants are not distributed evenly for metals, whether PAHs were tested on between the fines and the larger particles as received or air-dried samples, and in the within a soil and presents two “standardised” solvents used for PAH and TPH extraction. We methods for preparing soil samples prior to have recently repeated our laboratory survey chemical analysis. In one method the whole to see if the laboratories have sample is dried, ground and become more ‘standardised’ In 2010 just homogenised; this method is over the last decade. for general site assessment under half of the

and waste classification. In laboratories surveyed In 2015 the Standing the other method only the Committee of Analysts dried and crushed the <2mm fraction is analysed (established by the whole sample for the following sieving; this Department of the metals analysis... method is used for human Environment in 1972) health risk assessment. published ‘The preparation and pre-treatment of potentially contaminated In 2010 just under half of the laboratories soils and associated materials’ (the “Blue surveyed dried and crushed the whole sample Book” method) which provides authoritative for the metals analysis, one third removed the guidance on recommended methods for stones greater than 10mm, two laboratories sample preparation. The Blue Book states removed the stones greater than 2mm and a that ‘it is crucial that the client/supplier of single laboratory removing all ‘inert’ stones. If the samples is aware of the default laboratory we assume that laboratories are not receiving



samples containing particles larger than one third of the tub diameter, two thirds of laboratories are now drying and crushing the whole sample, but only one laboratory is following the alternative <2mm sieve preparation method. The remaining quarter of the laboratories are not following a Blue Book method and remove stones of between 4mm and 10mm.

assessment is being adopted.

But Does it Matter?

PAH Analysis

If a sample that contains a significant proportion of metal-rich clinker or slag was submitted to a range of MCerts accredited laboratories, two- thirds of the laboratories would report greater concentrations of the metallic contaminants than the remaining third. This remaining third could be expected to produce a range of results for the same sample, dependent upon the particle size of the slag and clinker. Only one of the fifteen MCerts accredited laboratories that responded to the survey would by default, produce a result that would be appropriate for the assessment of the likely potential human health exposure routes. Furthermore, whilst most commercial laboratories can offer the analysis of the <2mm fraction, in accordance with the Blue Book method, they report that it is unusual for them to be requested to do so. It would therefore appear that where a human health risk assessment is being carried out, the significance of the particle size being analysed is frequently not being considered by those scheduling the analyses. Alternatively, analyses are being scheduled for multiple purposes (human health risk assessment, waste classification, pipe selection, groundwater risk etc.) and an overly conservative approach to human health risk

A decade ago, just under half of the laboratories reported that they tested the asreceived sample; this figure has now risen to two-thirds. Those that dry and crush or sieve the sample do so at temperatures ranging from 20°C to 37°C. Samples for PAH analysis are required to be stored in a glass container, under cold conditions, to minimise the potential losses by volatilisation. Indeed, if they are not, they may be listed as being a ‘deviating’ sample under the MCerts scheme. It is therefore surprising to see that these same samples can then be air dried at 37°C without such losses occurring. It may be that, as PAHs in soil are typically present in a complex mixture bound with long chain hydrocarbons, that the volatility of naphthalene is reduced and that negligible losses actually occur at temperatures of up to 37°C. It would be interesting to see if any research has been carried out to assess the potential for such losses in ‘real’ soils both during air drying in the laboratory and in the period between sampling and testing when stored in glass verses plastic containers. However, to minimise uncertainty, it may be best to keep holding times to a minimum and to analyse the as-received sample as soon as

February 2020


a different extraction efficiency for different compounds, there is the potential for some variation in the TPH or PAH measurement of the same sample between the laboratories. In 2010 three-quarters of laboratories were using dichloromethane (DCM) as the extraction solvent, with others using DCM/ hexane, hexane/acetone or pentane. The plots below indicate the solvents used today. Whilst DCM still dominates, far more laboratories are using hexane/ acetone than in 2010 and a greater range of other solvents are now used by different laboratories. If data sets over an extended period are to be compared to study long-term trends, it would therefore be worth checking with the laboratory that the extraction solvent (and test method) has remained constant over the period of monitoring.

But Does it Matter?


Extraction Solvent The solvent(s) used to extract hydrocarbons and PAHs varies between laboratories and as each solvent or mix of solvents will have



To comply with MCerts accreditation, laboratories have to take part in an inter-lab proficiency scheme such as CONTEST. Under such schemes each laboratory analyses the same sample and is able to compare their result to those achieved by the other laboratories. The effect of the different solvent extraction efficiencies can therefore be investigated through a study of the proficiency scheme data (however, the effect of sample preparation cannot be investigated as the same spiked, homogenised reference material is supplied to each laboratory).


have upon the results and The solvent and analytical The potential how they interpret them. methods are detailed in the effect of the CONTEST data, and from All too often, when a sample variation in sample Round CN118 it is apparent that is known to contain that there is no clear trend preparation methods fragments of clinker, slag between the solvent used between laboratories or part burnt coal is found and the results for the three remains significant... to contain a metal or PAH to five ring PAHs. However, for concentration in excess of naphthalene, although there is a human heath threshold notable variation between laboratories, those value, the default position is to recommend using DCM have generally measured a greater removal or a capping scheme. If, however, concentration (averaging at 1.08mg/kg) when the results were considered with knowledge compared to those using hexane/acetone of the sample preparation method, a more (averaging at 0.78mg/kg). appropriate analysis could be carried out on a sieved sample that may yield a result This suggests that for naphthalene at least, that could indicate that remedial measures the solvent used by the laboratory does were, in fact, not necessary. Such sieved reaffect the concentration that is reported, with laboratories using hexane/acetone being likely testing of samples is not significantly costly or time-consuming, and by gaining a greater to report a lower naphthalene concentration understanding of the sample preparation than those using DCM. When combined with method and the uncertainty associated with the uncertainty regarding the potential loss the analytical result, a far more sustainable of naphthalene during drying, it is questioned remedial scheme can be considered. Similarly, whether the adoption of a very low threshold before applying low threshold values, the value for naphthalene is reasonable. potential variability between laboratories and Conclusion the magnitude of the uncertainty associated with the analytical method should be The potential effect of the variation in sample considered. preparation methods between laboratories remains significant, and whilst no one method is â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;the correct methodâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, engineers and consultants who are scheduling analyses should be aware of how the laboratory will prepare the sample and what effect that could

Article contributed by Mike Plimmer Technical Director Geotechnical & Environmental Associates

February 2020


AGS Commercial Risks and How to Manage Them Conference 2020 Following the success of the first AGS Commercial Risks and How to Manage Them Conference in July 2019, the conference was held on 22nd January 2020 at the Manchester Conference Centre.

business provides an offer and then the other business provides a counteroffer. Russell concluded that the battle is usually ‘won’ by the party that fired the last shot!.

Hugh Mallett (BuroHappold Engineering and The conference was sponsored by Geotechnics, AGS Loss Prevention Working Group Leader) SOCOTEC UK, Geotechnical Engineering and discussed the importance of defining scope Envirolab. The afternoon and objectives in proposals conference was attended by and project reports by Stephen 60 delegates and following reference to real life case Hargreaves lunch and opportunity to studies which led to dispute (Griffiths & Armour) network with the sponsors or claims and referred described several and attendees, Jo Strange delegates to LPA 69 for (CGL), who was chairing further information. case studies based the event gave the opening on insurance claims, Stephen Hargreaves address. showing that (Griffiths & Armour) fundamental errors Russell Jones (Golder described several case Associates) started the studies based on insurance can equal high value afternoon speaking about claims, showing that disputes. . ‘battle of the forms’, which fundamental errors can arises when two businesses are equal high value disputes. negotiating the terms of a contract and one Stephen advised on an “eyes wide open”



policy to manage the risks around making assumptions. Zita Mansi (Beale & Co) spoke about collateral warranties, emphasising that collateral warranties are new contracts with third parties. Zita informed the delegates the measures available to mitigate risk and the fundamental importance of limiting liability in such agreements.

advice or providing designs should make sure that their contract specifically refers to “reasonable skill and care” and not to “fit for purpose”. To avoid any misunderstanding Rachel recommended that this clarity should be reiterated in AGS Member’s professional reports.

The final talk of the day was provided by Lee Beveridge (Environment Agency), who discussed the Whereas After refreshments and implications for Members provision of further networking, Adam of recent changes in Landfill Gombocz (NHBC) discussed services falls under Tax (see AGS Magazine how NHBC adopt a proactive a requirement for March/ April 2019). Lee approach to managing advised that the new rules ‘reasonable skill and risks on sites registered for were in effect now but could care’ under the Supply Buildmark warranty. Through also date back to activities of Goods and Services case studies, Adam explained from 1st April 2018. Lee what is to be avoided on Act. warned delegates that residential developments. the HMRC were looking to enforce the new regime with considerable Rachel Griffiths (Fugro) considered the vigour. important distinction between the ‘duty of

care’ required in providing (a) services or (b) goods. Goods fall under a ‘fit for purpose’ requirement of the Sale of Goods Act. Whereas provision of services falls under a requirement for ‘reasonable skill and care’ under the Supply of Goods and Services Act. These standards are fundamentally different and consultants giving

The presentations from the conference (with approval from speakers) are now available on the AGS website together with numerous documents and up to date commercial guidance, freely available. The Legal Helpline also offers members 15 mins of free advice from Beale and Co.

February 2020


Health and safety Lego style The AGS Safety Working Group hosted the ‘Safety in Mind’ conference at the National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull, UK, on Thursday, 21 November 2019. At the conference, leading industry experts presented topics on health and safety in the geotechnical and geoenvironmental industry. RSK’s Gerwyn Leigh and Roseanna Bloxham presented. Gerwyn spoke on ‘the truth about service avoidance’, and Roseanna held a Lego workshop entitled ‘health and safety awareness in the field’. The workshop was a 30-minute crash course on how to manage a site investigation safety.



As a starter activity, delegates were given Lego mock-ups of site situations to spot NMPI’s. They were all identified with only a few obscure ones missed. The photo exercise aimed to promote the importance of being aware of what’s happening on the site to ensure that everyone is working safely and the importance of intervention. The delegates then got involved in the main part of the session. They had to decide where to place their borehole taking into account site constraints. They then had to plan the work using Lego, marking safe-working areas, ensuring that public access is restricted,

managing traffic, and keeping the site open with as little disruption as possible. Lego barriers were used to demarcate safe-working areas, cars were used as test vehicles to see if access was possible, and â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;man at workâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; signs were positioned in visible open areas to warn the public.


Many of the delegates were impressed with how useful Lego is as a tool for site planning and commented that they would like to use it in their companies as a tool to aid engineers.

It was interesting to see that while the borehole position was similar for all groups, all their approaches to the site set up were slightly different. Some groups tried to reduce the working area to ensure public access, while others created larger-working areas for their staff. No answer is correct, the aim of the task was to raise awareness of what you need to consider when planning an investigation and give project managers an understanding of what challenges our

engineers can face daily.

All 25 delegates were involved in the task and worked well in their teams. There were many discussions about what size working areas were required and what affect this would have on surrounding infrastructure. Many of the delegates were impressed with how useful Lego is as a tool for site planning and commented that they would like to use it in their companies as a tool to aid engineers.

Article contributed by Roseanna Bloxham Senior Geo-Environmental Engineer RSK

February 2020


Emergency rescue from a trial pit: Are you prepared?


magine the situation: you are in a meeting at your office and your phone buzzes - a number you don’t recognise; it buzzes again, and you mute it. You carry on with your important meeting, when it buzzes with a text “URGENT - accident, call straightaway!”.



You excuse yourself and call the unknown number. The voice says “I’m the JCB driver at ... site; your Engineer has fallen into a trial pit; it’s quite deep and they’re hurt. What do we do?”, and then says “I’ve called the Fire Brigade, but they’re not here, and the pit sides are looking

likely to collapse. There’s standing water and inflow at the base of the pit, and they might not be able to breathe soon!” Perhaps reading this you are thinking to yourself that you wouldn’t get a call like that because you always have a 2 person team on site? Well maybe it’s one of the two calling you and you’ve still got a very difficult problem to address. Maybe you are thinking you won’t get that call because your company generic and site specific RAMS or Construction Phase Plan includes a detailed Emergency Rescue Plan for such a situation, and your staff have been trained on it, and the field team have been briefed on it, and there is equipment available. That would be good. Because you do have generic and site-specific rescue plans don’t you? The AGS Safety guidance note “Work at Height”, which is based on the HSE document “Working at Height : a brief guide”, states “... this must include planning for emergencies and rescue, without resort to the emergency services in the first instance...”.

respondents employ rescue plans. But in collating and In Autumn 2019, interpreting those survey the AGS Safety responses, it started to Working Group sent out concern me that no-one even mentioned it in their questionnaires to AGS response. members, asking for

their feedback on how they managed Work at Height when carrying out machine dug trial pitting activities...

In Autumn 2019, the AGS Safety Working Group sent out questionnaires to AGS members, asking for their feedback on how they managed Work at Height when carrying out machine dug trial pitting activities, and particularly focused on logging activities close to the unprotected edge of a trial pit circa 2, 3, 4m+ deep. Whilst a specific question was not asked about rescue plans, not one of the respondents identified rescue plans as a part of their work at height / trial pitting arrangements. Because a specific “rescue” question was not asked in the questionnaire, it would be premature and unreasonable to deduce that none of the

The questionnaire and discussions within the AGS Safety Working Group over the past year, contributed to a paper presented at the AGS “Safety in Mind” conference in November 2019, entitled “How far is SFARP when working at Height during trial pitting”. Subsequent discussions following the presentation have concerned me that rescue plans for trial pitting, specifically rescuing a logging engineer who has fallen into a trial pit, do not appear to be as widely practiced as I might imagine. There are all sorts of reasons why we carry out trial pitting, and why we have for many decades undertaken this by standing (for part of the operation at least) close to an unprotected edge of a pit several metres in

February 2020

 17

to lift them out? Do you know how to attach a rope to an injured person, so that it will support them, and not lead to them slipping and being injured further? Perhaps if they were wearing a rescue harness then you could attach the rope to that, but that involves having a rope of sufficient strength available. Maybe you could wait for the fire brigade, but that presumes they can get there in time, are not dealing with other emergencies, and also that they can easily get to where you are trial pitting, which may not always be easy. And importantly, will they get there before the pit collapses, because if not you are dealing with removal of a body rather than rescue of an injured person. Maybe you think you could ride down on the JCB bucket and help the person into the bucket and lift them out. There certainly are products and equipment in the construction and utilities industries which might contribute to implantation of a pre-planned rescue. depth. A discussion about However, it is usually about those aspects is contained this time in a discussion There are within the “Safety in Mind” discussions ongoing that someone will raise conference presentation “Confined Space!”. Whether (which is available on the within the AGS Safety any individual trial pit is a AGS website) and will be the Working Group about confined space is dependent subject of the next article on actual site conditions, Working at Height and in this series. There are but a trial pit is certainly a trial pitting... discussions ongoing within potential confined space, the AGS Safety Working Group not least if that groundwater about Working at Height and trial inflow is causing a rise of water at the base pitting, and about new equipment coming into of the pit, or if ground gas is present. And we the industry which might be practicable, and probably all know the mantra about confined which may further prevent a fall into a trial spaces - you don’t send another person in at pit. However, until that becomes available, we risk to rescue because then we may have 2 should as an industry, and as employers and people to rescue. What a conundrum! If it’s managers be thinking about rescue. not easy to you, what kind of challenge does it pose to the JCB driver and your second young Rescue from a trial pit is not easy. You might graduate engineer on site who are actually have an extendable ladder within the boot faced with it? of your car / van. But if the fallen person is injured, can they even climb a ladder? What if So, preparing for emergency rescue isn’t easy. you descend the ladder, could you pick them It might involve equipment you don’t have; you up and carry them back up a ladder? Perhaps would need to train your staff and brief others; you could attach a rope to them and get the JCB you haven’t implemented it before and are not



calls to make which will keep you from your important meeting - to your Managing Maybe it is easier to just believe because Director, to the HSE/RIDDOR, the outcomes of it hasn’t happened to you before, it’s not which will no doubt lead to business loss and too urgent. One thing the potential prosecution, and most questionnaire responses importantly to the family I am sure that identified, is that during of your injured member of hundreds of years of some readers staff. collective experience, none of will think this is the respondents or the author “scaremongering”, and I am sure that some readers will think this is have experienced or known that people don’t fall “scaremongering”, and of a single case of a logging down trial pits... that people don’t fall down engineer / geologist falling trial pits, as long as they into a trial pit. This is comforting are “competent” and follow to some extent. However, a fall into sensible guidance and the (“perfect”) RAMS. a trial pit would almost certainly lead to major Are you absolutely sure that you can rely on injury, broken bones, back, neck etc. Or worse. that; and what about UXO and Archaeology I would suggest that as employers, managers Watching Brief observers who also want to and as an industry, our methods of work peer into the pit - are you sure? Do you want should allow human beings to make human to make those telephone calls or speak to the mistakes (such as tripping or stumbling close HSE Inspector under caution? to the edge perhaps) without having their life substantially affected forever as a result. Please have this discussion within your own projects and organisations. Download the AGS This article is not intended to be judgmental or “Work at Height” guidance note and read it critical. It is intended to raise, for discussion or and disseminate it around your organisation action, an issue of concern, certainly to me at to raise awareness. The AGS Safety Working least. I have been involved in trial pitting for Group are having this discussion and are over 30 years and have derived great personal establishing a Trial Pitting Sub-Group. Please and project benefit from getting up close to the let the AGS know your thoughts, views, ground, and from the information that can be experiences and ideas on rescue, particularly if uniquely obtained from pits. I have no interest you already implement a proven methodology in “banning” trial pitting. The synthesis and for such a situation, which would benefit other collation of information on this subject over AGS members from its dissemination. the past year however has prompted personal thoughts about whether we as an industry and The time to think about emergency rescue employers are doing enough, particularly to from a trial pit is NOT when you need it - it is seek other practicable technological solutions long before. The person who needs to think which allow us to continue to benefit from trial about it is not your young logging engineer / pitting. geologist, but the employer and managers. Back to the initial telephone call. Let’s imagine that the Fire Brigade have got there, Article contributed by and fortunately, before the sides of the pit Steve Everton collapsed. Your staff member is out of the Director of Operations pit, but on their way to hospital with broken Jacobs bones at least. You now have 3 telephone aware of others who have done so.

February 2020


Q & A with...

Phil Crowcroft

Job Title: Technical Fellow Company: ERM Brief Biography: Phil Crowcroft is a Technical Fellow in the Asset Management team of ERM based in the Edinburgh office. He has over 40 years experience in dealing with land contamination, brownfield regeneration and natural resources, combining his training as a civil and geotechnical engineer with experience on the broader aspects of the environment such as chemistry and hydrogeology. Phil was SiLC Chair of the Board (2011-2019) and the PTP (2008-2017). He is moving into retirement in 2020, and joining his wife in running a vintage department store in Berwick upon Tweed.

What inspired you to get into the brownfield regeneration field? My fear of chemistry pushed me to take maths, physics and geography A levels, and I realised then that the ground



and what lies below was really where my interest and enthusiasm lay. This led on to a Bachelors degree in civil engineering and a Masters in geotechnical engineering. After 2 years work in mainstream construction, I moved jobs in 1978 to join a site investigation contractor, and discovered the huge variety of work and challenges that the ground poses to every building and civil engineering project. I also realised that I couldn’t leave chemistry behind because of the range of brownfield sites which were coming to development. Undertaking investigations on gasworks and landfill sites in the 1980s also highlighted the the very rudimentary state of understanding the challenges posed by such sites present.

What does a typical day entail? There is and has never been a typical working day, which is part of the fun of being in this business. Looking back over the last 45 years, I have enjoyed the challenge of helping to develop the approach to dealing with brownfield sites, whether as a contractor, a consultant or a

regulator. But I’ve also tried to balance work with home life, so you won’t catch me working late into the evenings, unless I’m away from home, which perhaps was far more often than I ever expected.

Are there any cases which you are particularly proud to have advised on? From a continuity point of view, I am proud to have worked on the contaminated land aspects of the EIA for high speed rail, starting in 1990 on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link from Folkestone to London, then since 2012, from London to Birmingham and Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds. I’ve worked alongside some brilliant people on this major project, and I am a huge fan of the railways, having spent far too much of my life sitting in traffic jams on motorways. I am also very pleased to have worked on national guidance since the 1990s, including Industry Profiles, NFHA guidance, Model Procedures and the WDA Manual. I am sad that government

policy has swept away great centres of excellence such as the Environment Agency Contaminated Land and Groundwater Centre, and has abandoned the production of guidance.

What are the most challenging aspects of your role? I think that developing a capability in providing expert witness services has been the scariest thing I have done, but over time, it becomes less scary and more thought-provoking. I’m lucky to have developed an understanding of what we actually considered to be best practice at any moment of time since 1980, and I have most of the guidance since that time in my attic. I have a memo I wrote in 1985 telling fellow geotechnical engineers how to use ICRCL guidance. How sad is that? My career is finishing off with two cases in court, with the exciting prospect of being cross-examined by articulate barristers intent on your downfall. The battle commences….

What changes would you like to see implemented in the industry? I would like to see the allocation of sensible government budgets to support development of relevant guidance covering the brownfield industry, and the support by public funding

of research bodies such as CLAIRE, CIRIA and SiLC .

Why do you think SiLC is important to the brownfield regeneration field? Lord Rogers and his Urban Task Force recognised in 1989 the need for competent people to work in a sector which embraces many different disciplines, and within 2 years, a working group comprising public and private sector bodies had developed the scheme and got it up and running. It continues to this day, and this is testimony to the need for and value delivered by such a scheme. My most recent litigation has centred on whether a consultant was negligent in dealing with a brownfield site, and much of the discussion has been around whether people were competent to carry out the roles they played. SiLC delivers confidence that an individual

has core competence in their own subject area, whilst recognising and appreciating the parallel skills which are needed to deliver the reclamation and redevelopment of brownfield sites.

What has been one of the highlights of your career? Over the last 40 years, I have been lucky to have worked with, and been responsible for, groups of talented people who deliver day in day out on brownfield projects. I don’t know how many job offers I have made, but I know many people who it has been my privilege to offer jobs to, who have then gone on to run their own teams, and lead the way in their own subject areas. I have managed, and then been managed by some, and they make me so proud to have helped them start their careers, and achieved success. Thank you to all of you.

February 2020


Upcoming Events

AGS Annual Conference Date: Thursday 2nd April 2020 Location: National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham The AGS Annual Conference 2020 will be taking place on Thursday 2nd April 2020 at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham. This full day seminar will focus on the work and achievements of the AGS and see expert speakers present on geotechnical and geoenvironmental topics and summarise lessons learnt. Registration will start at 9:15am and the conference will finish at 16:00pm. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. TICKETS A limited number of delegates per AGS member company may attend the conference free of charge. The number of complimentary tickets provided are dependent on the number of practitioners in your company – please see Table on the registration form. Additional tickets may be purchased for £60 (plus VAT) per AGS Member. Non-members may attend for £120 (plus VAT). If you wish to attend, then please email ags@ags.org.uk for a booking form. SPONSORSHIP PACKAGES Promote your organisation, services and skills – take advantage of one of our great sponsorship opportunities, which include benefits such as exhibition stands, advertising space and more. To register your attendance or for details on our available sponsorship packages, please contact Joanna O’Neill at ags@ags.org.uk or click here to visit the AGS website.



AGS Laboratories, Instrumentation & Monitoring Conference 2020 The AGS are pleased to announce that the AGS Laboratories, Instrumentation & Monitoring conference is taking place on Wednesday 15th July 2020 at Hamilton House, Euston, London. Further information will be released in due course. To register your place or to enquire about sponsorship, contact ags@ags.org.uk.

AGS Data Management Conference 2020 The AGS are pleased to announce that the AGS Data Management conference is taking place on Wednesday 23rd September 2020 at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham. Further information will be released in due course. To register your place or to enquire about sponsorship, contact ags@ags.org.uk.

GEOfuture 2020 From the team behind Geotechnica, the UK’s largest dedicated geotechnical conference and exhibition, comes a new project and event - GEOfuture 2020. Debuting in July 2020, GEOfuture will be a multi-faceted event which will promote the geotechnical and associated industries, discuss topics which affect the future of geotechnics in the UK and champion the latest industry innovations, with a particular focus on Professional Development. The event will take place at the Warwickshire Event Centre on Wednesday 1st July and Thursday 2nd July. It will include an exhibition, conference, Early Careers Fair and Team Building Fun Day. Exhibition prices and packages will be made available, along with the conference speaker line-up, later this month.

SiLC Annual Forum Specialists in Land Condition (SiLC), an institution of the AGS, have announced details of their Annual Forum, a half day seminar, which is taking place on Friday 6th March at the Geological Society in London. This half day seminar will see a series of industry experts present on topics such as the REMSOCs Practitioners Framework for Remediation, updates on C4SL and the revised Land Contamination Risk Management guidance. The full event programme will be released in due course. To confirm your attendance please email silc@silc.org.uk for a registration form before Friday 21st February. Tickets for SiLC’s are priced at £85. Non-SiLC tickets are priced at £105. Local Authority may attend the Forum for £50. All prices exclude VAT. Lunch will be available from 12pm and the conference will start at 1pm. All catering will be provided.

February 2020


Training Courses

CL:AIRE 2020 training courses now available Verification of Gas Protection Systems - Doncaster 27th February 2020

15th October 2020

https://www.claire.co.uk/commerce/112374-gas-protection CAR-SOIL Reading - 26th March 2020

Bristol - 2nd July 2020

https://www.claire.co.uk/commerce/car-soil-full-day/112359-car-soil-full-day Non-Licensable Work Training for Land Professionals - Reading 18th March 2020

18th June 2020

https://www.claire.co.uk/commerce/non-licensable-work-including-nnlw-forgroundworkers/112358-non-licensable-work-including-nnlw-for-groundworkers All asbestos in soils courses also available for delivery at your company offices. Please enquire using the help desk https://www.claire.co.uk/help-desk

Revised Training: Specialist Geotechnical Heath and Safety Courses Equipe Training and their health and safety training partners RPA Safety Services and EB Safety Solutions are delighted to announce their collection of specialist health and safety courses for the geotechnical market have been revised and renewed for 2019. These courses are approved and certified by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and meet the requirements of UK Health and Safety regulations for working on geotechnical and land drilling sites. Upcoming courses include: • 19th – 21st February 2020 - IOSH Safe Supervision of Geotechnical Sites • 18th March 2020 - IOSH Working Safely (on Geotechnical Sites) • 14th February 2020 - IOSH Avoiding Danger from Underground Services Other health and safety courses include our latest H&S, asbestos-focussed course: •

11th February 2020 - Managing and working with Absestos Risk in Ground Investigation

Places on these courses can be booked online here, or via contacting Equipe on +44 (0)1295 670990 or info@equipegroup.com 24


How to become a Member of the AGS AGS Members all share a commitment to quality in the geotechnical and geoenvironmental industry. This has become widely recognised by clients, governmental bodies and other associations that touch issues to do with the ground. We welcome both companies and individuals who want to be recognised for their quality of practice to join our growing membership of over 130 Members. We shape our industry, continually improve practice and collaborate on issues that affect us all; from clients, all the way through to the people who use the land and the buildings we help develop. To become a Member of the AGS, please visit http://www.ags.org.uk/about/become-a-member and submit your application online. Please note that all membership applications are reviewed by the Membership Committee 6 weeks in advance of each quarterly Senate meeting. The deadline for the next round of completed applications is Tuesday 12th May 2020.

AGS Chemical and Legal Helplines All Members of the Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists are entitled to free chemical and contractual advice through the use of Loss Prevention Committee Members, Marquis & Lord and Beale & Co. For advice on chemical safety and best practice, Marquis & Lord will provide 30 minutes of free advice to all AGS Members. Additionally, if you’re an AGS Member and are looking for legal advice, please contact Beale & Co and ask quote ‘AGS Helpline’ where the first 15 minutes of legal advice will be free of charge. CHEMICAL SAFETY HELPLINE Marquis & Lord Tel: +44 (0) 121 288 2386 www.marquisandlord.com

LEGAL HELPLINE (Please quote Beale & Co ‘AGS Helpline’) Tel: +44 (0) 20 7469 0400 www.beale-law.com

Member Reporting Service for Industry Issues If you have any queries regarding AGS Data Format, there is a discussion forum on the AGS Data Format website, where queries can be posted and answered by the Data Format team. If a Member has any issues with regard to Safety, Contaminated Land, Geotechnical or Laboratories which you think the industry should be aware of please email ags@ags.org.uk, we will then forward your email to the relevant AGS Working Group.

Disclaimer These articles are the opinions of the authors and are not intended to be a complete or comprehensive statement of the law, nor do they constitute legal or specialist advice. They are intended only to highlight current issues from date of publication that may be of interest. Neither the writer, nor the AGS, assumes any responsibility for any loss that may arise from accessing, or reliance on the material and all liability is disclaimed accordingly. Professional advice should be taken before applying the content of the articles to particular circumstances.

February 2020


Advertising and Rates An online advertising campaign within the AGS Magazine will help to build and increase industry awareness of your company’s profile, initiatives and offerings. The AGS can help build a package to suit your needs and budget; whether it’s a series of adverts across multiple issues, a combination of event sponsorship and advertising, or a single advertorial. How to Advertise in the AGS Magazine The AGS Magazine is a free email publication which looks at a range of topical issues, insights and concerns, whilst publishing new guidance notes, working group activities and information on upcoming industry seminars. With 10 issues each year, our subscribers include industry professionals such as practitioners, chartered specialists, senior decision makers and managing directors To receive a media pack or to discuss advertising rates, please contact Caroline Kratz on 0208 658 8212 or email ags@ags.org.uk

Adversiting Requirements

Advert Sizes and Rates

All adverts should be sent in a PDF, PNG, JPEG, TIFF, PSD (Photoshop) or EPS (Illustrator) format.

 FULL PAGE W: 210mm H: 297mm RATE: £400  HALF PAGE W: 210mm H: 145mm RATE: £250  QUARTER PAGE

company name address contact number email

W: 105mm H: 145mm RATE: £160


 DIRECTORY Company name, address, contact number, email and one logo.

RATE: £50


All advertising artwork must be supplied in 114 dpi resolution.


Artwork must be delivered to the AGS using the agreed artwork specification size listed left. Artwork should be emailed to ags@ags.org. uk no later than 10 days prior to publication.




AGS Dates for Your Diary Upcoming AGS Events AGS Annual Conference

AGS Data Management Conference 2020

National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham

National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham

Thursday 2nd April 2020

Wednesday 23rd September 2020

For more information, contact ags@ags.org.uk

For more information, contact ags@ags.org.uk

AGS Laboratories, Instrumentation & Monitoring Conference 2020 Hamilton House, Euston, London Wednesday 15th July 2020 For more information, contact ags@ags.org.uk February 2020


Profile for AGS Magazine

AGS Magazine - February 2020  

AGS Magazine is a FREE magazine from the Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists. The magazine focuses on geotechnics,...

AGS Magazine - February 2020  

AGS Magazine is a FREE magazine from the Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists. The magazine focuses on geotechnics,...