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May 2019

GUIDE TO GOOD PRACTICE UPDATE Chris Swainston of Soils Limited provides an opinion-piece on the update to the AGS Guide to Good Practice in Geoenvironmental GI

Photo credit: Josh Simmonds




New AGS Chair Julian Lovell outlines his ambitions for his term at the helm

An overview of this year’s award winners, announced at the AGS Annual Conference

The AGS Loss Prevention Working Group issue further contract guidance


Chair’s Foreword This month’s magazine will mark the first as my time as AGS Chair, and I would like to extend a massive thank you to my predecessor Neil Parry for all of his hard work during his term. I am very much looking forward to my term as Chair and hope to continue the great work carried out by those who have held the post before me. As we reflect on the greatly successful delivery of the AGS Annual Conference 2019 on 3rd April, I am filled with positivity and excitement about the future of not only the AGS as an organisation, but the geotechnical and geoenvironmental industries as a whole. The great attendance, insightful content and deserving Award Winners at this year’s conference serves as evidence to the bright future we have ahead of us.

the Sponsorship Packages are almost sold out, so get in touch now to avoid missing out. In this issue of the magazine, we have insightful entries on collateral warranties, offered by David Hutchinson on behalf of the AGS Loss Prevention Working Group; a Q&A with RSK’s Roseanna Bloxham; confirmation of the winners for the 2019 AGS Awards; and how survey information can be utilised to identify sewers and drainage pipes. 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 Looking to build on the success and our future plans. Please contact if you of the Annual Conference, the next AGS event due for delivery have any comments. is the half-day seminar organised by the AGS Loss Prevention Working Group: Julian Lovell Commercial Risks and How AGS Chair to Manage Them. Tickets for this are still available, however



The Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists (AGS) is a nonprofit 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 Caroline Kratz, Forum Court Associates Katie Kennedy, Forum Court Associates Chris Swainston, Soils Limited Stephen West, Ramboll 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 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

  020 8658 8212  Association of Geotechnical & Geoenvironmental Specialists  @agsgeotech

Inside this month’s issue

Photo credit: Josh Simmonds


What are Collateral Warranties?

COVER STORY PAGE 22  An opinion piece, written by Chris Swainston, Principal Environmental Engineer at Soils Limited

The AGS Loss Prevention Working Group has just published another paper for the Loss Prevention Guidance 2017 document, namely “Loss Prevention Guidance 024 – Collateral Warranties”. This gives guidance on the use of collateral warranties to confer rights related to the main contract of appointment on persons or organisations who are not party to that contract, ie third parties.

AGS AWARD WINNERS 2019 PAGE 12  A review of the winners of this year’s AGS Awards, as nominated by Working Group Leaders.

SURVEYS, DRAINS & SEWERS PAGE 16  British Plastics Federation Pipes Group offer advice on how to utilise survey information to identify drains & sewers.

Q & A: ROSEANNA BLOXHAM PAGE 20  The AGS Magazine conducts a Q & A with RSK’s Roseanna Bloxham.



Notes from the Chair Address from Julian Lovell

PAGE6-11  News in Short: Incl. Student Membership info


AGS Working Group Update Geotechnical

May 2019


Notes from the Chair

New AGS Chair Julian Lovell discusses the state of the Association, wider industry and his aims and aspirations as the newly elected Chair


t is a great honour for me to have been voted on as Chair of the AGS during the Annual Conference in April. It also fills me with a little trepidation as I feel I am following a lot of great past Chairs and have a great responsibility to continue the good work they started.

only good traits for me as an individual but also for any organisation including the AGS.

I truly believe that we have some exceptional people within our industry and the young Engineer’s talks at Geotechnica last year I feel that the industry is in a good place, indicated that this will continue at least for the evidenced by the recent Annual Conference immediate generations. However, there are (formally known as Member’s Day) which influences such as the current procurement had one of its best attendances. There was processes which are far too a notable buzz around often (some might say the exhibition hall and This is an industry always) driving down conference and there was a which I have grown cost, which does not help real positive feel to the day. to love and I will help an industry or Clients This is an industry which to drive the AGS to to recognise true value. I have grown to love and I Considering this, as with will help to drive the AGS to continue to promote many industries, we find continue to promote all of all of the good work it ourselves in a fight to the the good work it does and does and contribute to bottom and aspects of our contribute to improving it. improving it. work which should develop So, what are my aspirations for pride, such as a good job the AGS and industry during my done and the technical quality of any such tenure? The industry has changed over the last jobs, become a secondary or even tertiary 30 years, in some ways for the better and some consideration. In March, we had our first not so. I have learnt over that time that it is meeting of the AGS Procurement of Ground important to want to do a good job, have pride Investigation Steering Group. This initiative has in what you do and collaborate. These are not




been set out to question the current system and to develop new approaches to improve procurement and understanding of Ground Investigations. This is not a small project but there appears to be a ground swell, with catastrophes such as Carillion failing, driving other industries to look at these processes. This will be a collaborative initiative led by the AGS, FPS and BDA and will engage with the wider geotechnical community and other industries.

industry which should drive the Association and not the Committees. With this in mind, I believe that the AGS is the industry’s body and therefore more people in the industry should get involved.

Communication is a very interesting subject and academics like Prof. Iain Stewart who gave a thought-provoking talk at the Annual Conference provide a different perspective on the subject. For the last 30 years I have attended conference after conference and Over the last five years, the AGS has set its meeting after meeting where we agree that stall out as an organisation and have started to ‘we must educate the client’. For the last 30 focus on delivery of our aims. It is now my duty years and previous to that we have clearly to move this forward. Improved engagement failed. We will always have educated clients internally within the industry such as Highways England, has started but there is still Network Rail etc but we We will always a lot of work to be done will also always have be very good at but we are also looking to Project Management talking amongst improve relationships with organisations, Main ourselves ... but unless academia and other sectors. Contractors, Developers who Currently, academia is also we will never truly educate. it is communicated looking to industry to help Principally, this is because in the client’s terms it, as many of the geology/ when we talk passionately and language we will environmental/earth related about what we do, we talk a continue to fail. graduate courses are battling different language and often declining numbers. There is a have very different goals. We desire amongst some of those establishments will always be very good at talking amongst to develop more courses and they understand ourselves and agreeing a way forward but that these should be developed to meet unless it is communicated in the client’s terms industry needs and therefore the AGS will have and language we will continue to fail. With the a role to play in this. We also need to develop a help of people like Iain and Hazel at University strategy to encourage students to pick those of Plymouth I believe we can make progress. courses otherwise the industry will be fighting However, we need to be able to communicate over less and less skilled people. with the client and if we truly believed we could ever educate the client then we would no As an organisation we have not been good at longer be ‘specialists’. communicating what we do as an organisation or as an industry to those outside of the AGS So, let’s recognise the true value we bring to Committees. AGS is renowned for the data the projects we are involved with and shout format but those involved in the Association about it, improve how we share best practice, know we represent the membership in so learn from lessons, share knowledge and many more ways and we are a very active collaborate better. That way we can provide a body. The AGS represents the geotechnical unified voice as AGS to promote and improve and geoenvironmental industry and it is the our industry.

May 2019


News in Short AGS Student / Graduate Membership The AGS are now accepting Student / Graduate membership applications. •

Student membership is open to students who are currently engaged in studies in an area relevant to the activities of the AGS.


Graduate membership is open to graduates who have a university degree in an area relevant to the activities of the AGS and graduated up to three years ago.

If you are interested in becoming a student / graduate member of the AGS, please contact for an application form and further information.

The top three AGS publications for April 2019 1. AGS Guide to Environmental Sampling 2. AGS Guidance on Waste Classification for Soils - A Practitioners Guide 3. AGS Guide: The Selection of Geotechnical Soil Laboratory Testing To download the publications for free; click here.



AGS Annual Conference 2019 – an overview This year’s AGS Annual Conference, previously known as Members’ Day returned to the National Motorcycle Museum, where AGS Members’ Day 2018 took place. As last year’s Members’ Day was so popular with attendees and sponsors, it was an easy decision to return to the same venue. The day was a great success and well attended by nearly 200 delegates.

talk on how it can be difficult communicating geoscience to dissonant and wary publics, highlighting that when information is complex, people make decisions based on their values and beliefs and people most trust those whose values mirror their own.

Chris Swainston of Soils and Mike Plimmer of Geotechnical and Environmental Associates gave a Geoenvironmental Standards update including the Standards which are due to be published shortly. Chris and Mike also looked at uncertainty The in sampling presentations and how this can be only covered a range of be reduced by geotechnical and doing more geoenvironmental sampling and topics which were testing.

The well received. presentations Patrick Cox covered a of AECOM range of geotechnical and provided an insight into the geoenvironmental topics Value of Ground Engineering which were well received. explaining that value is not Prof. Iain Stewart of the University of Plymouth presented an interesting

necessarily the lowest cost or the quickest solution. Patrick’s talk also covered

‘The Five Capitals Model’ which takes sustainability into consideration. More information on this model can be viewed here. Following Guy Lane’s talk on AGS data at Members’ Day 2018, Roger Chandler of Keynetix and Steve Walthall, AGS Honorary Member, provided their view on ‘Who owns data’ explaining there are still ongoing discussions about whether the producer or client own the data and suggesting that a way forward could be that AGS Data is made available to all under open license. Phil Crowcroft of ERM presented examples of Emerging Contaminants including Lead, Asbestos, Mercury, Phthalates, PFAS and Microplastics and the concerns surrounding these. During his presentation, Phil explained that not all ‘emerging contaminants’ were new substances but included contaminants which we now have a better understanding of their effect on the environment or

May 2019


human health. Phil explained that it’s the properties which substances exhibit which are of concern and it often takes 20 years or more to see the negative effects that a substance has. The final talk of the day was provided by James Macfarlane of Hydrock on Practical Asbestos Ground Investigations, who highlighted the industry have produced a number of guidance documents focusing on asbestos in soils and covered potential issues with asbestos on site investigations. This led to a discussion regarding the relevance and pragmatism of current guidance with relation to standard ground investigations. It is hoped that AGS will produce guidance to address this. 8


All the AGS Working Group Leaders delivered updates on what they have been working on over the past year.

(University of This led to Plymouth), Chris a discussion Swainston regarding the (Soils), Mike relevance and Plimmer pragmatism of (Geotechnical current guidance and Environmental with relation to Associates), standard ground Patrick Cox investigations. It is Jonathan (AECOM), Gammon hoped that AGS will Roger was made produce guidance to Chandler an Honorary (Keynetix), address this. Member of Steve Walthall, the AGS during Phil Crowcroft the AGM and Neil Parry (ERM) and James Macfarlane presented individuals with (Hydrock). awards for their hard work and contribution to the AGS Special thanks also to this after being nominated by the year’s sponsors and exhibitors. Working Group Leaders. To view the speaker Special thanks to this year’s presentations from the speakers; Prof. Iain Stewart conference; please click here.


Health and Safety Courses

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IOSH Safe Supervision of Geotechnical Sites (3 Days) - £495 + VAT Upcoming Dates:

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IOSH Avoiding Danger from Underground Services - £175 + VAT Upcoming Dates:

7th June 2019 2nd August 2019

IOSH Working Safely (on Geotechnical Sites) - £175 + VAT Upcoming Dates:

1st August 2019

Geotechnical Laboratory Courses Delivered in partnership with GEOLABS

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Advanced Geotechnical Laboratory Testing Awareness - £225 + VAT


Other Geotechnical Courses

Soil Description Workshop - £275 + VAT

Delivered by UK's leading Soil & Rock Description expert - Prof. David Norbury Upcoming Dates: 19th June 2019 24th July 2019

Rock Description Workshop - £275 + VAT

Delivered by UK's leading Soil & Rock Description expert - Prof. David Norbury Upcoming Dates: 11th June 2019 20th June 2019

Geotechnical Foundation Design - £250 + VAT Upcoming Dates:

24th May 2019 – Birchwood Park, Warrington 21st June 2019

May 2019


Commercial Risks and How to Manage Them A half day seminar presented by the AGS Loss Prevention Working Group This half day seminar organised by the Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists will provide a focus on the management of commercial risks. Taking place on the afternoon of Wednesday 3rd July at 1 Moorgate Place in London, this SEMINAR CONTENT REGISTRATION & LUNCH: 12:30 WELCOME ADDRESS AND INTRODUCTION Jo Strange, Technical Director CGL RELIANCE, COLLATERAL WARRANTIES AND LIMITING LIABILITY Zita Mansi, Senior Associate at Beale & Co. THE IMPORTANCE OF DEFINITIONS WHEN AGREEING SCOPES AND OBJECTIVES Hugh Mallett, Technical Director at BuroHappold Engineering GETTING IT RIGHT …. AND WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON’T Sarah McNeill, Associate Director at Griffiths & Armour and Michael Stubbs, Director, Claims Division at Griffiths & Armour 10


CPD conference is aimed at both junior and experienced ground engineers, who are interested in improving their knowledge and skills within this sector. The event will also be relevant to practitioners approaching Chartership, as well as those in smaller practices where there may be limited or no inhouse legally qualified sources of help or advice. Chaired by Jo Strange, Technical Director at CGL, attending delegates will be provided with an introduction of the guidance and advice provided by the AGS Loss Prevention Working Group, with particular attention being given to recent hot topics. THE BATTLE OF THE FORMS - A FOCUS ON CONTRACT FORMATION AND PURCHASE ORDERS Dr Russell Jones, Principle at Golder Associates UK REDUCING RISK AND PREVENTING CLAIMS ON COMPLEX BROWNFIELD RESIDENTIAL SITES Adam Gombocz, Senior Geotechnical Engineer at NHBC FITNESS FOR PURPOSE OR REASONABLE SKILL AND CARE. Rachel Griffiths, Contracts Manager at Fugro POTENTIAL LIABILITIES FOR LANDFILL TAX Jonathan Atkinson, Technical Specialist at the Environment Agency CLOSING ADDRESS & FINISH: 16:30

LANYARD SPONSORSHIP PACKAGE* (AGS Member Rate: £500 / Non-Member Rate: £750) • • • •

• • • • •

Company logo on each attending delegates lanyard Full page advert in AGS Magazine** Entry for three delegates into the event A designated area to exhibit company initiatives, research and software. This exhibition space can also showcase marketing materials, literature and banners Company logo on the event PowerPoint presentation holding slide Company logo and overview on the event programme Company overview on the AGS website Two announcements of your company’s involvement on the AGS Twitter page Two announcements of your company’s involvement on the AGS’ LinkedIn page

CATERING SPONSORSHIP PACKAGE* (AGS Member Rate: £500 / Non-Member Rate: £750) • • • • •

T T U U O O SOLD SOLD • • • • •

GOLD SPONSORSHIP PACKAGE (AGS Member Rate: £375/ Non-Member Rate: £560) • •

• • • • •

Company logo across the catering area Company logo on catering napkins Full page advert in AGS Magazine** Entry for three delegates into the event A designated area to exhibit company initiatives, research and software. This exhibition space can also showcase marketing materials, literature and banners Company logo on the event PowerPoint presentation holding slide Company logo, overview and URL on the event programme Company overview on the AGS website Two announcements of your company’s involvement on the AGS Twitter page Two announcements of your company’s involvement on the AGS LinkedIn page

Entry for two delegates into the event A designated area to exhibit company initiatives, research and software. This exhibition space can also showcase marketing materials, literature and banners Company logo on the event PowerPoint presentation holding slide Company logo and overview on the event programme Company overview on the AGS website Announcement of your company’s involvement on the AGS Twitter page Announcement of your company’s involvement on the AGS’ LinkedIn page


TICKET PRICES AGS members may attend for £70, whereas non-AGS Members may attend for £130. Prices exclude VAT. Event registration closes on Monday 24th June.

SILVER SPONSORSHIP PACKAGE (AGS Member Rate: £250 / Non-Member Rate: £375) • • • • •

Entry for one delegate into the event Company logo on event PowerPoint Presentation holding slide Company logo on the event programme Company overview on the AGS website Announcement of your company’s involvement on the AGS Twitter page

Bespoke sponsorship packages also available upon request. To register your attendance, contact us for the registration form or for details on our available sponsorship packages please contact Joanna Franaszczuk on 0208 658 8212 or email ags@

May 2019


AGS Awards 2019 This year’s winners


his year’s AGS Awards took place during the Annual General Meeting at AGS Annual Conference 2019 on Wednesday 3rd April at the National Motorcycle Museum, in Birmingham. A select number of AGS Working Group Members, who were nominated by their Working Group Leaders, were presented with awards and commendations by Neil Parry, AGS Chair, to thank them for their contribution and dedication to the AGS over the past year.

AGS Award Winners 2019 AGS Executive Award Matthew Baldwin Matthew chaired the AGS between 2015 and 2017, overseeing some significant changes in the way the Association operates and interacts with its members. He was instrumental in the setting up of a Geotechnical Working Group and has always been a strong believer in the successful delivery of the output of all our working groups to the membership. Prior to becoming chair Matthew was Leader of the Business Practice Working Group, which focused on making the AGS relevant and accessible during his tenure. He sees the AGS



as a mark of quality and during the years where he has been a member has fervently promoted this aim. AGS Business Practice Working Group Award John Talbot John has been a stalwart of the AGS for decades and has been instrumental in working with the Business Practice Working Group to ensure the AGS’s values are maintained, membership applicants meet the requirements and that AGS governance is maintained at a high level. He has been a primary source for compliance and has been instrumental in revisions of the AGS Byelaws, Articles, Membership Criteria and Membership Values amongst many others. He chaired the committee with vigour and control and has worked selflessly for the good of the AGS and its members. AGS Contaminated Land Working Group Award Marian Markham of Jacobs For her work on updating the AGS Asbestos in Soils guidance. AGS Geotechnical Working Group Award Chris Raison of Raison Foster Associates

Chris is a founding member of the Geotechnical drafted Alerts, Articles and Guidance Zita Working Group and is a well-known industry has been generous with her time and always figure and a long-term supporter of the AGS. helpful in subjecting those documents to legal Chris is a highly experienced Geotechnical scrutiny. Her comments are always kind, Engineer and well useful and improve the advice respected for his clarity and to Members. In particular, Without this help, independence of thought. the Papers could not Zita was instrumental in He has used this knowledge the up-dating of the Loss have been published and his industry contacts to Prevention Guidance papers and would have to have where she was able to represent the UK in term of the drafting of amendments use her contacts to find a been archived and lost to the new Eurocode 7 suite of barrister able to conduct the as a most valuable standards. Chris is passionate legal up-date to all the 20+ resource for AGS about the role and status of papers. Without this help, Members. the Geotechnical Engineer the Papers could not have in the construction industry been published and would and is a strong advocate of the importance have to have been archived and lost as a most of suitable consideration of geotechnical risk valuable resource for AGS Members. Zita is in the development of all projects. He has now leaving BLM but has persuaded her new represented the Geotechnical Engineering firm (Beale & Co) to become members and the Industry in a variety of institutions in the UK new hosts of the Loss Prevention Working and has written thought provoking articles for Group (and to keep the Legal Helpline running the ICE and at various conferences as well as from this new location). for the AGS. We can think of no better person On the basis of all of this invaluable to receive an AGS award on behalf of the contribution, we would very much like to Geotechnical Engineering Working Group. recognise Zita’s significant contribution to the AGS Laboratories Working Group Award AGS and the Loss Prevention Working Group Dave Entwisle with an AGS Award.


For his long-time service to the geological and geotechnical community as a now retired (before April 3) BGS employee, active participation in various AGS groups and standard development. AGS Loss Prevention Working Group Award Zita Mansi of Beale & Co This is to reflect her long-standing contribution to the AGS and the Loss Prevention Working Group over more than 10 years. Zita has been instrumental in the research and preparation of numerous Loss Prevention Alerts and Newsletter articles, as well as providing the first responder on the AGS Legal Helpline. Where other members of the LPWG have

AGS Safety Working Group Award Peter Boyd Peter has been an invaluable member of the AGS Safety Working Group and has created several concise and excellent guidance documents during his time in the group and also produced some informative articles in the AGS magazine. Peter announced his retirement from the group at the end of 2018 and this is a reward for all his hard work.

AGS Commendations 2019 AGS Safety Working Group Commendation Marian Markham of Jacobs

May 2019


What are Collateral Warranties? “ T

he AGS Loss AGS member organisations A collateral Prevention Working and their employees who Group has just are not contractual or legal warranty gives a published another paper for specialists. third party (or several the Loss Prevention Guidance third parties) rights to A collateral warranty is 2017 document, namely “Loss a contract between two sue when they might Prevention Guidance 024 – not otherwise have that parties, separate from and Collateral Warranties”. This alongside contracts for gives guidance on the use of right. work, services or supply collateral warranties to confer (the ‘principal contracts’). rights related to the main contract Collateral warranties create direct contractual of appointment on persons or organisations links between third parties (such as future who are not party to that contract, ie third occupiers of buildings and funders of projects) parties. and the consultants or contractors with whom Many AGS members who do not get involved such third parties would ordinarily have no in the contracts and legal side of geotechnical contractual link. A collateral warranty gives a engineering and geoenvironmental work third party (or several third parties) rights to will not be familiar with the use of collateral sue when they might not otherwise have that warranties. This article explains what right. collateral warranties are for the benefit of It provides for liability to third parties in respect



the consumer’s statutory rights under the Sale of Goods Act (1979). It can also help to reduce the likelihood of the shop-keeper and intermediate suppliers becoming involved in disputes over liability, and hence reduce or eliminate any additional legal costs that have to be borne eventually by the manufacturer if his goods are found to be faulty. An example related to the work of AGS members would be where they have undertaken work such as a ground investigation for a developer and are subsequently requested to enter into a collateral warranty by the developer who wants his purchasers and tenants to have a right of action against the designer and builder of the development should some defect be found in the future. This may assist ...the manufacturer the developer in obtaining promises the funding for the project and consumer that if assist in selling or leasing the goods are not the site when work has been satisfactory he will put completed.

of non-fulfilment or defective performance of the principal contract. The beneficiary of the collateral warranty is not normally the same person as the beneficiary of the principal contract, but the person undertaking the work, the problem right... Other ways in which third service or supply obligation parties can gain rights of under the principal contract action against AGS members undertakes the liability under the contractual are the use of the Contracts (Rights of Third warranty to the third party. Parties) Act 1999 and by reassignment of An everyday example of a collateral warranty liability by means of a letter of reliance. More is the manufacturer’s guarantee that comes details of these and what AGS members should with electrical goods purchased from a shop. do to limit their exposure to business risks The manufacture who originally produced when entering into these agreements are the goods is not a party to the contract of sale described in the AGS LPG 024. between the shop-keeper and the purchaser. AGS Loss Prevention Guidance is available However, the manufacturer promises the consumer that if the goods are not satisfactory for free for AGS Members on the AGS website here. For non-members, the AGS Loss he will put the problem right or provide Prevention Guidance costs £50 + VAT and can compensation. The guarantee is a legally be downloaded here. binding contract separate from, and alongside (ie collateral to) the contract between the Article contributed by consumer and the shop-keeper. David Hutchinson, The manufacturer can use the guarantee AGS Honorary Member to define and limit his liability, subject to

May 2019


Using Survey Information for New Drains and Sewers


s pressure increases to use brownfield sites for new housing, the specialist skills involved in assessing the risks that contaminants pose to the quality of the water entering the surface water drainage and foul water sewerage system from the surrounding soil, is vitally important to house developers and water companies. The BPF Pipes Group has prepared a new guide “Designing drains and sewers for brownfield sites� providing drainage engineers with clear advice on choosing a pipe which will be fit for the long term, starting with the information available to them from the investigation of potentially contaminated land and drawing



on the materials expertise from pipe manufacturers.

Effect of contaminants on ingress An initial flow diagram in the guide sets out a step-by-step process for the drainage engineer to identify if a quantitative risk assessment has been carried out, whether the contaminants could pose a risk if left in the ground and whether the source or the pathway might be removed due to the proposed remediation plans. The geotechnical specialist undertaking the quantitative risk assessment and options appraisal can support the drainage engineer

by drawing out the essential information from the site history and soil sampling: •

confirming where there is (and is not) a possible source of contamination - this is particularly pertinent on large sites with a mixed history of use;

The BPF Pipes Group guide provides practical assistance on designing drains and sewers for brownfield sites.

clearly setting out what chemicals are present from the many included in the test report and in which zones (areas) of the site; and explaining the mitigation strategies proposed so that any impact on the source of contamination or the pathway can be recognised.

Suitability of materials for drains and sewers A second flow diagram in the guide assists the engineer to identify the impact that residual contaminants may have on plastic pipe materials. Where organic compounds are shown to be present in the soil, the guidance provides limits for PAH, BTEX and TPH which represent a safe level with respect to long-term performance of polypropylene, polyethylene and PVC-U pipes. The engineer is again reminded that any

remediation activities which might remove the source of the contamination or the pathway to the drainage or sewerage system would render these limits superfluous.

Working together The BPF Pipes Group guide provides practical assistance on designing drains and sewers for brownfield sites. However, to be truly useful to the drainage engineer, it requires that a risk assessment has been completed, an options appraisal has been carried out to identify solutions, and that the geotechnical specialist provides information in a form which can readily be used in the decision-making process. Working together, clear and targeted information can be offered, ensuring the longevity of the surface water drainage and foul sewerage networks on brownfield sites. The guide is available on its website at www. guidance-notes.

Article contributed by British Plastics Federation Pipes Group

May 2019


AGS Working Group Focus

Geotechnical Overview Photo credit: S M Associates

1. Developing tools to aid members in the delivery of excellence in Ground Investigation

Whilst overall value of PI The Geotechnical Working related claims is dropping Group are working on the the proportion final draft of a Whilst of these ‘thought piece’ relevant to the overall value on the risks Geotechnical involved with of PI related claims Industry still inadequately is dropping the remains the planned and proportion of same. Many of designed GI these relevant to these are due for members to inadequate the Geotechnical and project allowance stakeholders. Industry still The group are remains the same. for specialist geotechnical also looking input at the to produce an information pack to assist AGS right stage of projects, if at

Stephen West of Ramboll, the Leader of the Geotechnical Working Group, has provided an update on the top issues the Geotechnical Working Group are discussing following the group’s first two meetings of 2019.



members liaising on this issue with non-specialist project stakeholders and professional bodies.

all. We are looking to help our members convince regular clients and project partners why getting them ‘round the table’ is best value in the long term and protects the interests of all.

2. Promotion of early stage career development and training for Geotechnical Engineers and Engineering Geologists in the Construction Industry

3.Engagement with the update process of the Geotechnical Suite of Eurocodes

agenda of all construction projects, not just the larger value infrastructure and commercial schemes.

The Geotechnical Working Group are also involved in the update process of the Geotechnical Suite of Eurocodes and sub-working groups are being primed to review relevant parts of 02 and 03 editions of BS EN1997 starting in May.

The AGS can look to use the weight of expertise in our working groups to interact with other institutions, large public clients, and government to ‘fight our corner’ on these issues.

The As an Industry, Geotechnical we must take As an Industry, Working Group our part in are focusing on we must take our commenting the promotion part in commenting and advising of early the Eurocode and advising the stage career drafting Eurocode drafting development committees committees... and training to ensure for Geotechnical that these Engineers and codes align Engineering Geologists in with suitable practice in terms the Construction Industry of design/interpretation/ by setting up a sub-working investigation for geotechnical group to explore this elements. issue which will include 4. What impact do these representatives from key issues have on AGS Universities.

Budget constraints and the demands of programme mean that many of the ‘hands on’ training in terms of dealing with and investigating/ testing geological materials is not being provided during many University courses. We are looking to help members target the right training at new graduates to deliver our business requirements as efficiently as possible.

Members and what should the AGS do about these issues? In simple terms, all of these issues can cost our members in terms of lost income, lost project opportunity, and industry reputation and often these losses are not directly down to our members actions or decisions. We are endeavouring to raise suitable consideration of Geotechnical Engineering issues up the

Additional topics being discussed by the Geotechnical Working Group Other issues providing significant discussion within our group have included: suitable consideration of health and safety in ground investigation proposals, it is clear that CDM regulations are not being followed by many who procure ground investigation; inconsistency of terminology for common laboratory tests and resultant parameters, this is of particular importance when National scale projects use terminology different to that set out in relevant codes; suitable use of pile and anchor load testing to actually investigate the load carrying capacity of the ground these foundation elements are located within, “don’t be afraid to fail your test piles and anchors!”. If you wish to attend AGS Geotechnical Working Group meetings, please contact the AGS Secretariat by emailing

May 2019


Q & A with...

Roseanna Bloxham BEng (Hons) FGS

Job Title: Senior Geoenvironmental Engineer Company: RSK Environment Ltd Brief Biography: I am a senior geoenvironmental engineer in the geosciences team at international environmental and engineering consultancy RSK. Based in our Hemel Hempstead office, I am a project manager, health and safety lead for RSK’s UK contract with Shell, on the ASG Safety Working Group, and have recently been invited to join the CL:AIRE Technology and Research Group. I am also a STEM ambassador and outside of work I am a Guide leader, volunteer at a local theatre, play hockey twice a week (and find time for the gym!)



What or who inspired you to join the geotechnical industry? I was never pushed to study engineering or take it on as a career, however having a father who is a civil engineer might have helped. From a young age I did not know exactly what I wanted to do and, to be honest, I still do not know what is in store for the future. At A-level I chose the subjects I enjoyed the most, which for me was physics, maths and physical education. Then when it came to choose a degree, all I knew was that I did not want an office job. I saw the engineering geology and geotechnics degree at the University of Portsmouth and it seemed like it was made for me: a perfect balance of fieldwork and class-based study leading me in to the geotechnical industry.

and enables me to develop my knowledge and skills every day.

Are there any projects which you’re particularly proud to have been a part of? I have thoroughly enjoyed all the projects I have worked on during my career with RSK but if I had to choose I would say working as health and safety lead on RSK’s Shell contract, as it has hugely shaped my career in terms of both development and my role within health and safety. In addition, my geotechnical expertise has improved significantly since working with Redrow on a large housing project, where I have been involved in the construction of several retaining walls.

What does a typical day entail?

What are the most challenging aspects of To be honest there is no ‘typical your role? day’ in this industry and I have found that no two days are the same. Every project we work on has its own challenges that need to be overcome. For me, this makes the job exciting

The most challenging part of my role is having the courage to say ‘no’. Project opportunities arise on a daily basis and knowing your limits within regards to time

Photo Credit: Roseanna Bloxham

commitments What do you Whist I would and expertise enjoy most is a big part like to be able to about being of being help with everything, an AGS successful. I have learnt the hard Member? Whist I would way that sometimes I enjoy being like to be able we have to say no. able to share to help with the skills I everything, I have learnt have learnt the hard with others in the industry as way that sometimes we have well as being able to network to say no. and gain new insights from What AGS Working others.


Groups are you a Member of and what are your current focuses?

I am currently a member of the AGS Safety Working Group. Our focus is the creation of bespoke and clear guidance for ground engineers. We are currently working on updating several existing documents.

What do you find beneficial about being an AGS Member? The AGS helps to provide support to the industry and being part of the group enables me to have access to the excellent guidance they provide, and gain support and knowledge from other members.

Why do you feel the AGS is important to the industry? The AGS is an important hub for the industry and it is a great way of networking and sharing new ideas. It also provides essential guidance on ever changing standards and sheds light on complicated legal jargon.

What changes would you like to see implemented in the geotechnical industry? I would like to see an increased use in technology. The world is ever changing and every day we are seeing further developments to improve our future. Rather than fearing its capabilities we need to embrace what technology can do to improve or replace existing techniques.

May 2019


AGS Guide to...

GOOD PRACTICE IN GEOENVIRONMENTAL GROUND INVESTIGATION – UPDATE An opinion piece, written by Chris Swainston, Principal Environmental Engineer at Soils Limited Photo credit: Josh Simmonds


t has long been the aim of the Contaminated Land Working Group to produce a definitive guide to ground investigation good practice similar to that produced for Geotechnical Ground Investigation in 2016. As with many things in life, I feel that this has rather been eclipsed by events.


With the publication of the ISO BS 18400 series on Soil Quality, hopefully some of this existing variation will be resolved, rationalised and summarised to some extent.

The definition of good practice has certainly changed over time and the available standards and guidance available from BSI, ISO, CEN, AGS, CIRIA, CL:AIRE and many others continues to develop around us. Indeed, there is a veritable treasure trove of training and advice available on almost any aspect of site investigation, sampling and monitoring you care to consider and keeping up with them all, and especially acting on them, can be a job in itself. This is even more true if you subscribe to or work under ISO9001 et al. With the publication of the ISO BS 18400 series on Soil Quality, hopefully some of this existing variation will be resolved, rationalised and



summarised to some extent.

Having been in this business for over 25 years now, training students, young practitioners and fellow professionals in the art and science of site investigation, sampling and monitoring as well as being current chair of BSI EH/4 (responsible for BS10175), I am perhaps more aware than most of the sheer range of material out there. Indeed, I have noted on previous occasions that if stacked on top of each other, the guidance alone would probably reach to your waist. So, do we really need any more guidance on this topic? Well perhaps the main reason for doing so would be to at least provide a road map and summary of where to find all the other information you might need to know (or at least should know about) when undertaking or commissioning a ground investigation. Firstly though, we should step back and consider what ground investigation actually is

and why we undertake them in the first place. In simple terms investigation is the process used to determine and quantify remaining unknowns from the Conceptual Site Model (CSM). As such, actual ground investigation can come in many forms, types, phases and be given many (often confusing) names depending on how, where, when and what is planned. For a Desk Study or preliminary investigation for example this is usually as a site visit and observation and then remotely from the office following a review of the available data.

the ground and finding out what’s there. What happens afterwards is a whole topic and world of its own beyond the scope of consideration in this discussion, but should be considered and questioned when designing any investigation. What you plan to do with the data you will gather should in part, through consideration of the CSM, resources, available analysis, analytical tools available, etc. dictate what data you actually get from the investigation. Failure to appreciate this aspect from the start of the process can sometimes lead to quite significant problems and What you plan costs further down the line.

If, following an initial to do with the data assessment of the CSM, So, where do we go from you will gather should a risk has the potential here? Well a good stop-gap in part [...] dictate what to be present, potentially and the method I would data you actually get significant unknowns remain generally suggest at the from the investigation. and/or further quantification moment as a starting of perceived issues is required, point to anyone who asks, we then move on to designing is to look to the various the intrusive or main investigation phase. This standards that guidance themselves reference, should be based on and reflect consideration especially given that all good practice should of a range of factors depending on both what ultimately be standards driven or at least we know and what we don’t and should backed by standard references. BS10175 is ultimately dictate where we look, sample, a good summary of most of what you need install and monitor real world locations and to know when investigating potentially materials. This can be followed by any number contaminated land and has extensive of additional supplementary investigations to references to other relevant standards confirm specific aspects, the most common of including in the most recent update/revision, which is probably undertaken to determine the the BS ISO 18400 series. So how would I write extents, composition and nature of identified an AGS guidance note for good practice in deleterious materials to thereby assist in Geoenvironmental ground investigation? Well the production of a site-specific materials I can certainly think of worse than a white management plans and/or remediation page with a large arrow pointing to the latest strategy. version of BS10175 and the BS ISO 18400 series. But, as I chair of the committee that looks after So, given the above, what is Geoenvironmental all of this for BSI, I suppose I would say that Ground Investigation? This is somewhat of an wouldn’t I…. open question really and as with many things depends ultimately on context and perception. For Geoenvironmental practitioners, I think Article contributed by the clue is in the name and should be about Chris Swainston following a scientifically justifiable, recordable Principal Environmental Engineer and systematic approach to digging holes in Soils Limited

May 2019


Upcoming Events

AGS Safety Conference Date: Thursday 21st November 2019 Location: National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham This full day event will focus on topics of interest such as an occupational health, mental health, the challenges of an HSE investigation and the dangers associated in working around pipelines. There will also be two breakout workshops to allow delegates to participate in more intimate roundtable discussions. Tickets will be priced at ÂŁ145 for AGS Members and ÂŁ215 for Non-Members, and will include catering and refreshments Prices exclude VAT. Full details including speakers will be released in due course. Sponsorship Take advantage of this great opportunity to promote your organisation to an audience of geotechnical & geoenvironmental experts at our Safety Conference. Packages include stand space, your logo promoted across conference materials, the chance to network with delegates, and bespoke elements such as sponsorship of catering and lanyards. For information on the sponsorship packages available or to register your interest, please contact Joanna Franaszczuk on 0208 658 8212 or email



The UK’s Largest Geotechnical Conference & Exhibition With just over 2 months remaining until Geotechnica 2019, there are an increasingly limited number of exhibition stands left, with the event now 90% SOLD OUT. Geotechncia 2019 is shaping up to the biggest Geotechnica ever, with fresh enquiries for exhibition space arriving every day from companies across Europe. To avoid missing out in July, get in touch now with Equipe to reap the rewards: •

Communicate with industry leading practitioners, academia, suppliers and manufacturers.

Promote your specialist services, latest products and innovations to the complete crosssection of geotechnical clients and customers.

Network with peers, friends, old acquaintances, new potential clients and valued customers to form new business opportunities.

Learn about different approaches, techniques & what is going on within and around the industry

Registration for Geotechnica 2019 is now open, with exhibition spaces already in high demand. Members of the AGS can claim a 5% discount on their booking total - to claim this discount contact For full event details or to book your Sponsorship or Exhibition Package, visit the Geotechnica 2019 website:


w w w . g e o t e c May h n2019 i c a . 25

Training Courses

CL:AIRE 2019 training courses now available • E-Learning Courses : Brownfield Site investigation; Soil and Groundwater Risk Assessment; Sustainable Remediation Appraisal & Asbestos Awareness for Land Professionals •


Non Licensed Work for Land Professionals

Non Licensed Work for Groundworkers •

Verification of Gas Protection Systems All courses (except elearning and gas verification) also available on a bespoke basis. Please go to Help Desk and provide your requirements:

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: • 26th – 28th February 2019 - IOSH Safe Supervision of Geotechnical Sites • 28th March 2019 - IOSH Working Safely (on Geotechnical Sites) • 29th March 2019 - IOSH Avoiding Danger from Underground Services Other health and safety courses include our latest H&S focussed course: • 11th April 2019 - Accident and Incident Investigation Places on these courses can be booked online here, or via contacting Equipe on +44 (0)1295 670990 or



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 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 isThursday 16th May 2019.

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: 0800 083 4610

Beale & Co Tel: +44 (0) 20 7469 0400 (Please quote‘AGS Helpline’)

Other Assistance

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. For all other queries, please email, 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.

May 2019


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

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


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 uk no later than 10 days prior to publication.




AGS Dates for Your Diary Upcoming AGS Events AGS Loss Prevention Seminar One Moorgate Place in London Wednesday 3rd July 2019 For more information, contact

AGS Safety Conference National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham Thursday 21st November 2019 For more information, contact

May 2019


Profile for AGS Magazine

AGS Magazine - May 2019  

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

AGS Magazine - May 2019  

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