AGS Magazine October / November 2021

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October / November 2021

CLIMATE CHANGE & LAND CONTAMINATION A multi-disciplinary crisis management challenge facing the UK geoenvironmental industry

Image credit: Mark Caldon




Pragmatic and safe approaches to designing & using infiltration systems

The Data Management Working Group reveal details of beta version availability

Mapped training paths for careers as a Ground Practitioner.


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 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.

Chair’s Foreword This is our first magazine since the AGS Annual Conference in September and I am pleased to report that it was a fantastic day, very well received and attended. We had a great turn-out at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham so a big thank you is owed to all those involved, in particular the many fantastic sponsors and speakers. Everyone I spoke to was very appreciative of being able to meet with their industry colleagues in a face-toface setting after all this time, as was I. It was good to see so many of you there and I look forward to reviewing the invaluable feedback from delegates so that we can continue to improve our conference experience for Members. We are continuing our popular series of on-line seminars too and I welcome you to join the next remote event on Sample Disturbance in November. You can read more about past and forth-coming events in this magazine. This month’s issue also features the brand-new guidance produced by the Business Practice Working Group, making sense of Training Paths followed by Ground Practitioners. Another BPWG member and one of our Early Career practitioners is Sarah Hey and we learn of her role as Project Manager with Hydrock. 2



In our articles this month, we highlight the issues associated with ground infiltration testing and construction, and advise on accommodating climate change in land contamination risk management. Read on for the latest news and for updates on new publications and services available to Members, many for free! I hope to see you soon.

Sally Hudson, AGS Chair Caroline Kratz, Forum Court Associates (FCA) Katie Kennedy, FCA Julian Lovell, Equipe Group Calum Spires, Equipe Group David Entwisle, BGS Chris Vincett, Hydrock Lauren Hunt, Arcadis Adam Latimer, Ian Farmer Associates Dimitris Xirouchakis, Structural Soils Emma Anderson, HaskoningDHV UK Jonathan Gammon, Geotechnical Observations

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.

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 or events received.

We would be interested in your feedback on the magazine and our future plans. Please contact if you have any comments.

CONTACT US AGS Forum Court, Office 2FF, Saphir House, 5 Jubilee Way, Faversham, Kent, ME13 8GD   020 8658 8212

Sally Hudson AGS Chair

 Association of Geotechnical & Geoenvironmental Specialists  @agsgeotech

Inside this month’s issue

Image Credit: James Harrison - 4D Geo Ltd


 COVER STORY PAGE 12  Climate Change and Land Contamination Risk Management: A multi-disciplinary crisis management challenge

What is a pragmatic and safe approach to assessing the feasibility and design of infiltration systems on a site? Georgina Donbroski of Leap Environmental Ltd, James Harrison of 4D Geo Ltd and Alex Dent of WSP ask: When is it appropriate to undertake BRE365 tests, and how can we do so safely?

NEW AGS VALIDATOR LAUNCHED BY AGS PAGE 7  The AGS Data Management Committee reveal details of the new beta file validator available now.

Q&A: SARAH HEY PAGE 22  The AGS Magazine conducts a Q & A with Sarah Hey, Programme Manager at Hydrock.

AGS GUIDE TO: TRAINING PATHS PAGE 18  Mapped training paths for careers as a Ground Practitioner.



News in Short: Incl. Annual Conference


Webinar Update: Sample Disturbance

PAGE 25 

Working Group Update Business Practice

October / November 2021


News in Short

This year’s AGS Annual Conference, returned to the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham. The Annual Conference was the first AGS face-to-face event since January 2020. The day was a great success and well attended by 132 delegates. The presentations covered a range of geotechnical and geoenvironmental topics which were well received. The conference was chaired by AGS Chair, Sally Hudson. The keynote speaker, Luke Swain of Network Rail, presented on the importance of Geo Engineers in the response to the symptoms of a changing climate, including looking at climate change and why Geo Specialists are so critical to the response. Julian Lovell of Equipe Group provided an update on the Third Edition of The UK Specification for Ground Investigation (Yellow Book) and the major changes involved within the third edition. The third edition is due to be published within the first quarter of 2022. Helen Townend of Amey Consulting gave a presentation on building inclusion, showing how it can appeal to the next generation and the benefits experienced by operating in an inclusive way. Duncan Scott of Vertase FLI provided a presentation on how old landfills in the UK can



be reclaimed. Ian Webber of Coffey Geotechnics discussed misuse of monitoring and testing. Ian used case histories to provide details on lessons learnt. The final talk of the day was provided by Clare Brint of Network Rail, who presented on Earthworks Asset Management at Network Rail (Eastern Region). Clare provided details of how the team operate to fully understand the risks from different hazards and how they mitigate the risks by predicting, preventing and responding.

All the AGS Working Group Leaders delivered updates on what they have been working on over the past year. Special thanks to this year’s speakers; Sally Hudson (AGS Chair and Coffey Geotechnics), Luke Swain (Principal Route Engineer (Geotech), Network Rail), Julian Lovell (Managing Director, Equipe Group), Helen Townend (Technical Director, Amey Consulting), Duncan Scott

Dyslexia Awareness in the Geotechnical & Geoenvironmental Sectors October 4th to 10th was dyslexia awareness week and, having a husband and a daughter with dyslexia, I felt prompted to write this article to raise awareness and celebrate the contribution that people with dyslexia make to our industry. This year’s theme is Invisible Dyslexia. Dyslexia itself isn’t visible and is all too often overlooked in the workplace and in education. As a result, people with dyslexia often feel unsupported, undervalued and invisible. There are many benefits of dyslexia that are desirable to the geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering sector including spatial visualisation, lateral thinking, deciphering data and creativity. Being able to spatially visualise complex ground conditions is an invaluable skill. Each person’s experience

(Technical Director, Vertase FLI Ltd), Ian Webber (Manging Director, Coffey Geotechnics Limited) and Clare Brint (Route Engineer, Eastern Region, Network Rail). Special thanks also to this year’s sponsors and exhibitors. The speaker presentations can be viewed on the AGS website HERE.

of dyslexia will of course be different, but each will bring skills to your business. If you work with someone with dyslexia, please don’t focus on the mis-spelledt words and other errors in grammar -it’s easy for someone else in your team to proof read and spell check. Instead focus on the technical content and the fact you have a much better report as a result For anyone wanting to understand a little more about dyslexia or for anyone who needs support and advice, I recommend visiting the British Dyslexia Association website. British Dyslexia Association ( They have a number of services and resources available for people including a helpline and can provide workplace needs assessments. They have a powerpoint designed for a workplace presentation. Link: com/op/view.aspx?src=https%3A%2F%2Fcdn. ts%2FSupport-Us%2F2021-Dyslexia-WeekWorkplace-presentation.pptx%3Fv%3D1632413 597&wdOrigin=BROWSELINK Vivien Dent AGS Chair Elect. Chair Business Practice Working Group

October / November 2021


News in Short Breaking Ground: Recruitment, Education & Development within Geoscience The latest episode of Breaking Ground, the new podcast from the Ground Forum and Ground Engineering Magazine, is now available for free download. In this episode of Breaking Ground, Steve Hadley (Chair of the Federation of Piling Specialists and Managing Director of Central Piling) is joined by Richard Fielden (Managing Director of WJ Groundwater and Chair of the British Drilling Association) to talk about the world of ground water and dewatering. Richard started his career in the piling industry, working on a big basement project in Central London. He realised here that big holes in the ground interested him, and this led him to take an interest in groundwater and dewatering. Breaking Ground is available for free download on channels including Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts. To listen to the podcast, click HERE.

The Ground Forum is an umbrella trade association made up of 13 industry bodies, including the AGS. Its overall aim is to provide focus for the UK ground engineering industry by effective communication between member organisations, enhancing their profiles, promoting awareness at a governmental and national level and taking the lead on common interests. For further information on the podcast or for podcast sponsorship opportunities please email

The top three AGS publications in the last month 1. Assessment and Control of Asbestos Risk in Soil – Part 1: Protection of Personnel working on Ground Investigations 2. AGS Guide: The Selection of Geotechnical Soil Laboratory Testing 3. AGS Guidance on Waste Classification for Soils – A Practitioners Guide To download the publications for free; click here.



New AGS Validator launched by AGS The Data Management committee has been busy again. Just months after releasing AGS 4.1 we are releasing a beta version of an AGS file validator. The ‘AGS Validator BETA’ is free to download and will provide a single source for validating ‘Electronic Transfer of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Data - AGS4’ (AGS Data Format) files. For many years the industry has used commercial AGS Data Format checking applications (checkers) that sometimes produce differing results due to the varied assumptions made by the developers. Therefore, clients have traditionally specified AGS files must be validated by several of these checkers before the data is submitted to them, resulting in additional work for clients, contractors, and software providers. The AGS Validator initiative, started by Asitha Senanayake from Fugro and aided by Roger Chandler from Bentley, has been running for six months and has been rigorously tested by members of the AGS committee over recent months. The committee feel it is ready to be tested in the real world and are therefore releasing it to the industry for beta testing.

The ‘AGS Validator BETA’ is a standalone software program. There are further initiatives in the pipeline to provide capability to import AGS Data Format files into Excel and the BGS are working on an online web validator due for release at the end of the summer. All validator Python libraries have been developed under Lesser General Public (LGPL) open-source licences and the AGS would welcome review of the code and further comment. The project has received coding contributions from four countries to date, demonstrating the power of the collaborative, open-source working environment.

To download the beta software visit: If you have any questions, find any problems or need help with the AGS Validator BETA please complete the feedback form on the website, or if your company is a registered data format user please post your comment on the AGS Discussion Boards at The AGS Validator will be in `Beta until the Autumn 2021. It must not be specified in contracts until it is fully released later in the year.

October / November 2021




The AGS webinar on Geotechnical Engineering in a Net Zero Carbon World took place on 6th October. The event was sponsored by Geotechnical & Environmental Associates and WSP. This webinar saw Dr John Henry Looney (Director, Visiting Fellow and Hon Professor at Sustainable Direction Ltd, University of Bristol and the University of Nottingham), Natalia Fernandez (Associate Director at Ramboll) and Tony Suckling (Director at A-squared Studio Engineers Ltd and A2 Site Investigation Ltd) investigate what targets we need to set, which construction methods and materials provide major sources of embedded carbon, and explore how we can all contribute to a more sustainable approach to investigation, design and construction. The event also covered why carbon reduction is important, how to reduce emissions by measuring the carbon footprint and how Ground Investigation has helped or prevented a more sustainable solution being used. If you missed this webinar, the replay is now live and available for view on the AGS website for free. Click HERE to view the replay and download the speaker presentations and file handouts. Image credit: Johanna Houlahan



The AGS are pleased to announce details of their free webinar; Sample Disturbance – What is it? which is taking place on Thursday 25th November at 11am. The aim of this free webinar is to stimulate a discussion and start a process whereby we can begin to decide on factors which might produce or create a disturbance classification. Both EC7 and BS5930 suggests that there are five quality classes of sample which can be obtained from intrusive ground investigation. Some are quite self-explanatory, however, for strength and deformation testing, we are advised to use Class 1 samples. This webinar will ask what constitutes a Class 1 sample – the codes suggest that to obtain Class 1 samples we should use techniques such as thin wall sample tubes or rotary coring methods such as Geobor S. However, practitioners and laboratory technicians alike will tell you that even with these methods many samples are evidently disturbed and not Class 1 Iit is, therefore, clear that even by using one of these methods, a Class 1 sample is not always achieved. This webinar will look at: • The sampling process and methods that might provide a Class 1 sample • What constitutes a Class 1 sample and how do we recognise sample disturbance? • Are there grades of disturbance and what is acceptable? • Should there be a scale to enable technicians and laboratories to recognise and report the degree of disturbance?

Attendees can expect to learn: • The sampling process and what influences sample disturbance • What makes a Class 1 sample and why is it so important • The differences between the sample classes and the effect on sample behaviour and measured parameters • How to visually identify sample disturbance This webinar will be of interest to engineers of all grades; practitioners; specifiers; laboratories and investigation designers.

Speakers •

• • •

Sally Hudson (AGS Chair and Regional Manager & Associate, Coffey Geotechnics Limited, A Tetra Tech Company) Tom Lunne (Expert Adviser, Norwegian Geotechnical Institute) David Norbury (Director, David Norbury Ltd) John Powell (Technical Advisor at Geolabs Limited)

Ticket Prices This webinar is free to attend.

Register To register for this event please click HERE.

Sponsorship There are Gold sponsorship packages available for this webinar. For more information on sponsorship packages, please click HERE or email Bespoke packages are available on request. The deadline for sponsoring this webinar is 5th November.

October / November 2021


Webinar Sponsorship Packages Since our first webinar, which took place just over a year ago, almost 3,000 people have registered to attend our virtual events and have attended from countries across the globe including Australia, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, USA, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates and Canada, to name but a few. The AGS have Diamond and Gold sponsorship packages available for each of our webinars. They offer an affordable way to reach a worldwide audience via our various platforms including AGS Magazine, our LinkedIn and Twitter social media channels and of course, during the webinar itself, which will be available on the AGS website post-event for ongoing company exposure. Please see package details below:



*one package available per webinar

*10 packages available per webinar

Price: £800 (members) or £1,100 (nonmembers)

Price: £350 (members) or £650 (nonmembers)

Company website link or pop-up promotion to feature during the live webinar

Logo on sponsor slide during the webinar (and webinar recording)

Large logo on sponsor slide during the webinar (and webinar recording)

Logo and overview in the event program

Company mention during webinar opening & closing address • Logo and overview in the event program • Company Q&A feature in AGS Magazine (4,250 subscribers) • Full page advert in AGS Magazine (worth £400)

Company mention during webinar opening & closing address

• • •

Logo featured in promotional marketing emails Company directory insert in AGS Magazine, worth £50 (4,250 subscribers) One complementary webinar registration (worth up to £90)

Two complementary event registrations (worth up to £180)

Company logo and overview on the AGS’ Twitter page (3120 followers)

Company logo and overview featured on the webinar registration page

Company logo and overview on the AGS’ LinkedIn page (5,370 followers)

Logo featured on promotional marketing emails

Company mention in a follow up article in AGS Magazine (4,250 subscribers)

Company logo and overview on the AGS’ Twitter page (3120 followers)

Company overview on the AGS website

Company logo and overview on the AGS’ LinkedIn page (5,370 followers)

Company logo featured on replay email campaigns

Company logo featured on replay email campaigns

Company mention in a follow up article in AGS Magazine (4,250 subscribers)

If your company would like to support any AGS webinars or if you’d like any further information on the events, please contact Caroline Kratz on




Delivered in partnership with RPA Safety Services

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

Learn in detail how to keep yourself and your on-site operatives safe in the field - industry SSSTS equivalent

IOSH Avoiding Danger from Underground Services - £175 + VAT

In accordance with the requirements and guidance set out within HSG47

Other Health and Safety Courses Delivered in partnership with EB Safety Soltuions & RPA Safety Services

MARGI - Managing & working with Asbestos Risk in Ground Investigation - £225 + VAT

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

Geotechnical Courses

Prof. David Norbury’s Soil Description Workshop - £295 + VAT

Providing a detailed approach to soil description practices and techniques

Prof. David Norbury’s Rock Description Workshop - £295 + VAT

Providing a detailed approach to rock description practices and techniques

Online Geotechnical Courses Delivered in partnership with Plough Geotechnical

Geotechnical Foundation Design - £250 + VAT

Comprehensive overview for geotechnical practitioners and engineers

Earthworks Design and Construction - £250 + VAT

A general overview of materials sourcing / selection for design & construction

Slope Stability Design - £250 + VAT

Comprehensive overview for geotechnical practitioners and engineers

October / November 2021


Image Credit: Mark Caldon

Climate Change and Land Contamination Risk Management A multi-disciplinary crisis management challenge

Article contributed by Paul Nathanail (GHD), Claire Dickinson (Geo Environmental Matters) and Dr. Tom Henman (RSK Geosciences)


limate change is causing extreme weather events - more intense precipitation, flooding events, prolonged droughts, extremes of temperature, prolonged periods of high or low temperature, more intense storm events leading to frequent and stronger winds and rapid changes in atmospheric pressure. In their pioneering presentation at the 10th Congress of the International Association for Engineering Geology and the Environment, held in Nottingham, Judith Nathanail and Vanessa Banks (2009) highlighted the effect of climate change on land contamination, among other aspects of engineering geology. These changes will influence the way we manage land contamination and carry out ground investigations, risk assessments and design, undertake and verify remediation. As well as influencing slope stability and



rates of soil erosion, these events will affect the ground and hence the risks posed by chemical contaminants in the soil, water, nonaqueous and gaseous phases. The strength, deformability, permeability and durability of ground will change. Prolonged droughts will deepen and widen desiccation cracks in high plasticity soils. More intense precipitation will saturate and weaken ever deeper soils. There will also be effects on the water table. Higher temperatures will increase rates of chemical absorption rates, weathering and biological activity. Extreme weather events will alter the behaviour of contaminants. Increased volatilisation will result from the higher vapour pressure of volatile organic compounds (VOC) resulting from higher temperatures. Most ground gas related incidents relate to very large falls in atmospheric pressure so their occurrence may increase unless adequately mitigated Higher temperatures and more precipitation resulting in faster weathering could capture inorganic carbon in carbonate minerals. Increased dissolution could release nutrients

stimulating microbial activity such as hydrocarbon degradation. Heavy metal mobility can increase by acidification as more carbon dioxide dissolves in rainwater.

Register is managed by the Professional and Technical Panel (PTP) of representatives from relevant professional bodies.

There is always uncertainty within site Remediation works will be disrupted by assessments; consideration of potential sudden downpours. Wet, slippery conditions climate change impacts should be as siteincrease wear and tear on tyres and can make specific as possible and based on available working conditions more dangerous. Worker regional or local climate projections. The and public safety will be NQMS mandates consideration threatened by stronger winds of uncertainties and the For climate picking up hoardings or loose implications for both the site change to materials and equipment. assessment and decisions be effectively taken on next steps. Risk assessments, accommodated in land remediation design and For climate change to be contamination risk choice of construction effectively accommodated management, each materials must be resilient to in land contamination profession needs to modelled climate scenarios, risk management, each ensure its insight into such as extreme summer profession needs to ensure and winter temperatures its insight into the effects of the effects of extreme and increased precipitation extreme weather events are weather effects are intensity. The probabilistic UK considered at each stage of a considered at each Climate Projections (UKCP18) project. SiLCs are well placed stage of a project. are based on a limited number to contribute to such multiof future greenhouse gas (GHG) disciplinary assessments emission scenarios. Land contamination and advise on the wider implications for the professionals will need to ensure that an project. appropriate range of future GHG emission The authors are members of the SiLC scenarios have been taken into account. Professional and Technical Panel. For more In the UK, a professional is usually identified information on SILC please visit as being a chartered member of their uk relevant body. A chartered practitioner has You can also contact Paul via email: paul. demonstrated a high level of knowledge, skills and experience, and is bound by a strict code of professional conduct. REFERENCE

A SiLC is a senior professional with the broad awareness, knowledge and understanding of land condition to provide impartial advice in the SiLC’s field of expertise. The SiLC Register lists professionals from the range of professions relevant to land condition matters. SiLC is also the approving body for SQPs able to sign declarations of document adequacy under the National Quality Mark Scheme (NQMS). The

Nathanail, J. & Banks, V. 2009 Climate change: implications for engineering geology practice. In: Culshaw, Martin; Reeves, Helen; Jefferson, I; Spink, T.W., (eds.) Engineering geology for tomorrow’s cities. Geological Society of London Engineering Geology Special Publication, pp 65-82, 17pp. Available at: http://nora.nerc.

October / November 2021


Image Credit: James Harrison - 4D Geo Ltd

What is a pragmatic and safe approach to assessing the feasibility and design of infiltration systems on a site? When is it appropriate to undertake BRE365 tests, and how can we do so safely? Article contributed by Article by Georgina Donbroski (Technical Director at Leap Environmental Ltd), James Harrison (Director at 4D Geo Limited) and Alex Dent (Associate Director at WSP)


ith respect to Health and Safety matters, it should be noted that CDM Regulations place duties on both the Designer (of the ground investigation,



including scheduling soakaway tests) and the Contractor who will be conducting the tests. Based on CDM requirements, the following considers the ERIC principle, of Eliminate, Reduce, Improve and Control. As with any ground investigation process, a phased approach makes the most sense. A good desk study should be able to ascertain a ground model to assess the feasibility

for infiltration systems to work on site and undertake large scale testing. C753 states that hence the potential requirement for BRE365 “groundwater levels should be investigated to testing. Consideration must be given not only ensure the base of the proposed infiltration to the potential infiltration rates achievable, component is at least 1m above the maximum but also the potential for contaminated anticipated groundwater level (taking in to land and/or groundwater, flood risk, winter account any seasonal variations in levels (maximum) groundwater and any underlying trends)”, levels, designation of the and a greater unsaturated It is also critical groundwater resource, zone may be required by for detailed design potential for ground the Environment Agency if that the BRE365 test instability etc, any of which your site is located within may have a significant impact undertaken accurately a groundwater source on the feasibility of the use protection zone. replicates the zone of of infiltration-based drainage infiltration proposed for It is also critical for detailed systems. design that the BRE365 the final design. CIRIA C753 SuDS manual test undertaken accurately outlines how the above should replicates the zone of be considered at the conceptual design stage infiltration proposed for the final design. An and encourages a preliminary assessment infiltration rate obtained from 2m head of using desk-based sources. Assuming no water in a 3m deep trial pit will not provide other constraints exist, C753 also gives some an appropriate infiltration rate for permeable preliminary infiltration ratings (good/poor/ paving. Similarly, a 1m shallow soakaway very poor/other) based on soil type and test will not provide a suitable infiltration rate -6 notes that where infiltration rates of 10 m/s for permeable paving design if ground levels or lower are anticipated (clays, clayey ‘loams’, are to be significantly reduced. And finally, structureless chalks), then an infiltration particularly for sites where the infiltration scheme may not be viable. potential is borderline and interbedded soil types are predominant, then testing at your Thus, we can eliminate (ERIC) unnecessary proposed infiltration component location will testing at an early design stage. The be critical to obtain representative parameters elimination of unnecessary testing is clearly for design. desirable, not only in terms of cost savings for the client but also from a Health and So, what can we do at the Phase 2 stage? Safety point of view, especially when one Unless you can prove groundwater at depth, considers the specific health and safety issues then groundwater monitoring is key, and associated with soakaway testing (deep where groundwater is potentially high, more excavation and water). and more local authorities are insisting on winter monitoring. We are also at an ideal stage Assuming the desk study indicates an to classify our soils using relatively cheap infiltration-based drainage system may be laboratory classification testing (PIs and PSDs), feasible, then is the phase 2 investigation which will enable us, as designers, to estimate a good time to undertake BRE365 testing? potential infiltration rates more accurately. Possibly not. Do you know the maximum Preliminary testing may also be undertaken in groundwater level, the detailed scheme layout, boreholes, but the results should be used with final ground levels, proposed location of caution, noting the smaller volume of water SuDS? If not, then perhaps it is still too soon to

October / November 2021


BRE365 notes the pit should be to the same depth as the proposed soakaway, and 1-3m long and 0.3-1m wide, vertical trimmed sides, square and if necessary, for stability, filled with granular material. Noting that an assessment of pit stability is needed, as only pits within clay soils or rock might be stable (even this is not a given), and that clay soils should have been deemed unsuitable during the desk study phase, then arguably most pits will need to have a coarse-grained backfill to adhere to the BRE DG365 methodology. Providing a coarse backfill also acts to reduce risk (ERIC) by: Significantly reducing the likelihood of trial pit collapse to the short period it remains open; removing the presence of open water filled pits; and enabling greater ease of measurement of water levels via the slotted pipe installed for monitoring. It also enables testing to continue safely beyond a single day, removing the potential for open pits on site.

Image Credit: James Harrison - 4D Geo Ltd used, the potential for smearing of the borehole sides, depth tested and the need to still test 3 times. BRE365 tests can be undertaken at this stage, but the client should be made aware that unless the testing is at the correct depth and location, additional BRE365 test could be required at the detailed design stage. Having established the site is suitable and the type and specification of your infiltration system, then BRE DG365 sets out the method for obtaining the design soil infiltration rate. Testing is usually within trial pits, which should be undertaken in accordance with the AGS Guidance on the safe excavation of trial pits.



Coarse backfill may be delivered to site in large bulk bags of pea gravel, enabling the excavator to easily move these to test locations. The monitoring pipe is placed within the trial pit (and covered with a bulk bag to prevent infilling), and the base of the shingle bag split to pour the gravel directly into the pit. Above proposed invert level, the pit may be backfilled with arisings and the topsoil and turf re-laid if further testing may be required. If trial pits are deemed stable when water is added, for example in competent chalk, then the trial pit should be covered to minimise/ improve (ERIC) the risk of working next to open water, typically with a fencing or barriers, prior to testing. Open pits should be secure, not be left unattended for any period, and must be backfilled immediately once testing is complete. Testing must only be undertaken by suitably trained and qualified staff, controlled (ERIC) under the Safe Systems of Work defined in the RAMs.

Like any geotechnical design, parameters backfill (or if this is unclear) this should be obtained from testing must first be used queried with them at tender stage. accordingly. The infiltration rate is an empirical When clients (or their advisors) are requesting measurement, which should be calculated as soakaway testing, it should be queried as to defined in BRE DG365 (with due regard to the whether suitable desk study research has use of gravel). If it is not possible to carry out been undertaken (for instance see guidance a test to the full depth of the in BS 5930). Where this is pit, the guidance is clear that All good being driven by a third the results may be calculated party and being requested construction based on the time for the counter to the findings of practice comes from fall of water from 75%-25% desk study, for example to full of the actual maximum experience and prove a negative to a LLFA water depth achieved, with learning from others, or local drainage board, a similar correction for including mistakes and they should be reminded of internal surface area. Results the Health and Safety risks near misses. should not be extrapolated that they are introducing by to empty. Secondly, the results demanding a test that puts must not be viewed in isolation, and must be personnel (and perhaps the public) at risk for given due consideration with respect to all very little or no technical benefit. Perhaps in the other factors known on site. For example, this situation, if boreholes are being formed an infiltration rate c10-4m/s obtained on a site anyway for foundation design purposes, known to be underlain by silty clayey sand consideration could be given to testing based or ‘loam’ is indicative of some other factor on BS EN ISO 22282-2:2012 Section 6.1.4 (which influencing the local infiltration rate. Either the is also referred to in the SuDS Manual). ground model is wrong, or some other factor, such as a void, made ground, service trench All good construction practice comes from etc, are influencing the result. Geotechnical experience and learning from others, including design requires experience and training, and mistakes and near misses. The authors would the selection of design parameters is critical be pleased to hear members’ experience on to providing a sustainable design, including for BRE 365 soakaway testing. Have you had SUDs. any near misses? Do you use any alternative

In summary: •

Just like any aspect of geotechnical design, a phased approach to investigation (comprising desk study, preliminary investigation and detailed investigation) should be standard practice. As with any other aspect of geotechnical investigation, due consideration should be given to Health and Safety issues by all parties. If a GI contractor is proposing to undertake soakaway testing without use of gravel

methods for assessing infiltration? Have you had occasion to test infiltration systems and compare with original design parameters?

References CIRIA Report C753 ‘The SuDS Manual’, CIRIA 2015 BRE DG365 ‘Soakaway Design’, BRE, 2016 BS EN ISO 22282-2:2012 ‘Geotechnical Investigation and Testing – Geohydraulic testing. Part 2: Water Permeability testing in a borehole using open systems’, BSi, 2012

October / November 2021


Suitably Qualified and experienced Person under NQMS (SQP) NBSF Level 4

Training Paths for Ground Practitioners: Geoenvironmental Engineers

Chartered Geologist, Geological Society (CGeol, FGS) Professional Review. Relevant post-graduate work experience, generally not less than 4 years required to gain the necessary level of competency. Recognised masters degree or equivalent qualification in geoscience, or post-graduation experience to demonstrate masters level (RQF Level 7). Fellow Geological Society of London FGS See for requirements to become FGS.

Specialist in ( NBS

On-line exam or combined with SiLC exam.

Full Member as Chartered Engineer, Institution of Civil Engineers (CEng, MICE)

Demonstrate sufficient rele submission and pass w

SiLC Affiliate Scheme (adviser/mentor to Chartership then SiLC). Enter scheme at any level post-graduation.

Chartered Member, Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (C.WEM, MCIWEM)

Professional Review. Period of relevant work experience not specified but generally not less than 4 years will be required to gain the appropriate range of experience. Accredited masters degree in engineering (RQF Level 7) or further learning and experience to demonstrate Level 7.

An honours degree (RQF Level 6) and generally not less than 5 years relevant experience. Alternatively, very experienced applicants may be able to demonstrate sufficient experience.

Chartered Me Chartered Ins of Environm Health (CEn MCIEH)

Hold either M (MCIEH) Fellowship (F grade. Also, Level 6 qualifi and curren working environmenta or alternative sufficient rel practice in an of environm health (th experience ro

School (Typically - entry to degree courses requires RQF Level 3, e.g. A-levels, level 3 BTEC

Notes: 1. See individual professional institutions for more details on their routes to membership. 2. See for more details on SiLC re companion sheet Training Paths for Ground Practitioners - Geotechnical Engineering / Engineering Geology.



n Land Condition (SiLC) SF Level 4

evant experience, provide written written exam and interview.

ember, stitute mental nvH, )

Member or FCEIH) , RQF ication ntly in al health

ely, levant ny area mental he oute).

ASoBRA Fully Accredited Member of Society of Brownfield Risk Assessment (SoBRA) NBSF Level 4 Chartership required, e.g. CEng, CEnv, CSci. etc.

RSoBRA Risk Assessor registered with Society of Brownfield Risk Assessment (SoBRA) NBSF Level 3

Demonstrate sufficient relevant experience through written submission and interview.

Full Member Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment, and Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv, MIEMA) Working in a role which is largely focused on environmental management or similar. Written submission and interview to demonstrate technical knowledge relevant to your experience.

Chartered Chemist, Royal Society of Chemistry (CChem, MRSC) Masters level degree (RQF Level 7) in the chemical sciences or equivalent and undertake RSC PDP or have at least 6 years professional experience through further study or employment. Current role should require responsibility, knowledge and skills in the chemical sciences.

Chartered Environmentalist CEnv, or Chartered Scientist CSci, of any licenced body, eg CIWEM, GS, ICE, IEMA, IES, RSC ) Professional Review. Accredited /Recognised masters degree (RQF Level 7) or have post graduate experience to demonstrate Level 7. Period of relevant work experience, duration not specified by the professional institutions, but in general not less than 4 to 5 years needed to gain the appropriate range of experience with a masters degree and 6 years with a bachelor’s degree.

C, Scottish Highers. For entry to other courses requires RQF Level 2, e.g. GCSE Grades 4 to 9.)

equirements. 3. RQF – Regulated Qualifications Framework. 4. NBSF – National Brownfield Skills Framework (see 5. See also

October / November 2021


Training Paths for Ground Practitioners: Geotechnical Engineering / Engineering Geology

Geotechnic (RoGEP - Registered Grou

Typically, 5 years practice a

Geotechnica (RoGEP - Registered Grou

Typically, will have a relevant masters degree and 6 years

Geotechnica (RoGEP - Registered Groun

Chartered Geologist (CGeol, FGS)

Chartered Member Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (CEng, MIMMM)


Chartership – pass the Professional Review.

Period of relevant work experience, duration not specified by the professional institutions, but generally not l than a total of 4 years post-graduation experience will be required to gain the appropriate level of competen Recognised degree or equivalent qualification in geoscience at masters (M) level or post-graduation experience to demonstrate M level (RQF Level 7) or minimum of total 12 years practising in geoscience. Fellow Geological Society of London FGS

Accredited / Recognised masters degree in engineering (RQF Level 7) Or Accredited / Recognised bachelor degree i engineering (RQF Level 6) and further learning masters level (RQF Level 7).

Recognised geoscience degree (RQF Level 6) or not less than 6 years relevant experience.

School (Typically - entry to degree courses requires RQF Level 3, e.g. A-levels, level 3 BTEC,

Notes: 1. See individual professional institutions for more details on their routes to membership. 2. Routes to ground practitioner grades (blue boxe Those who are on the Register wi in the AGS Byelaws. 4. Clients, such as Highways England in their document CD 622, and other organisations may use similar or other job/role titles b companion sheet: Training Paths for Ground Practitioners – Geoenvironmental Specialists.



cal Adviser und Engineering Adviser)

as a Geotechnical Specialist.

al Specialist und Engineering Specialist)

relevant post-graduate experience in ground engineering.

al Professional nd Engineering Professional)

Chartered Member titution of Civil Engineers (CEng, MICE)

less ncy.

in g to

See Institution of Civil Engineers and Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining websites for routes to chartership from Incorporated Engineer or Engineering Technician.

Geotechnical Practitioner (RoGEP - Registered Ground Engineering Practitioner)

Geotechnical Technician (RoGEP - Registered Ground Engineering Technician)

Incorporated Engineer IEng, MICE or IEng, AIMMM

Engineering Technician EngTech, MICE or EngTech, TIMMM

Generally, not less than 3 years relevant work experience plus Accredited / Recognised bachelor degree in engineering (RQF Level 6) or foundation degree, HNC or HND, plus further learning through working, or a technical report route (RQF Level 4/5).

Approved RQF Level 3 diploma or an HND or foundation degree plus min 2 years relevant work experience.

, Scottish Highers, for entry to other courses requires RQF Level 2, e.g. GCSE Grades 4 to 9).

es) are based on the requirements of the corresponding grades in the Register of Ground Engineering Professionals (RoGEP) ill have had their level of competency and experience assessed by RoGEP. 3. Geotechnical Practitioner grade here is as defined by RoGEP and not as but competency may or may not be defined, or may be defined differently to RoGEP’s. 5. RQF – Regulated Qualifications Framework. 6. See also

October / November 2021


Q & A with...

Sarah Hey


Job Title: Project Manager (Programme Delivery) Company: Hydrock Brief Biography: I have 8 years’ experience in ground engineering, specialising in ground investigations and contaminated land. I was based in the Midlands for 5 of those years as a geo-environmental consultant before moving to Manchester in 2018 as a senior geo-environmental consultant. During this time, I gained my chartered geologist and scientist status with The Geological Society. As of January 2021, I side stepped into a project manager role within Hydrock’s programme delivery team. I now manage multi-disciplinary projects and have since gained the APM project fundamentals qualification in project management.



What is your background and how did you end up working within the geotechnical industry?

job varies greatly day to day and no two days are the same. I graduated from the I manage multiple projects University of Leicester in simultaneously, which are all 2013 with a master’s degree at various stages within the in geology before embarking project life cycle, although on my journey as a geomany of my current projects environmental consultant. are at the outline/detailed Prior to graduation I never planning application stage. I considered working within help coordinate and facilitate the construction industry as I our technical teams and didn’t really know much about often attend virtual meetings it. However, a friend on my to discuss progress on a degree course recommended project or to run through the me for an internship with a project requirements. I also firm in Burton-upon-Trent, frequently write and collate which I started immediately fee proposals when tendering after graduating. During the for opportunities, as well as early stages of my internship, coordinating any due diligence I primarily carried out gas and work to aid our clients with groundwater the purchasing monitoring My role also of land for a and gradually development. involves a progressed lot of business My role also to a role as development, as I involves a lot a geologist of business am the main point undertaking development, ground of contact for our as I am the investigations clients... main point and report of contact writing. for our clients, it is important What does a typical day that I build a relationship with entail? existing and new clients either through virtual or face to face Being a Project Manager, my meetings, which often involve

catching up over a drink or heading out for something to eat.

Within your career to date, what is your greatest achievement? There have been quite a few, I was over the moon when I got my chartered geologist status but I would say winning the Best Young Brownfield Professional in 2020 has been my greatest achievement to date.

What is your favourite part of your job? The socialisation and networking both internally and externally. Especially with virtual meetings through the likes of Microsoft Teams, I

would say team members are more accessible. Even though I am based at the Manchester office I work on projects across the UK and as a result I engage with the various disciplines and Hydrock offices so it is great getting to know my colleagues. I am also developing and growing my client relationships, which is a new experience for me.

What are the most challenging aspects of your role? It’s probably not surprising that I’d say, dealing with problems that I have never dealt with before is the most challenging aspect of my job. However, I enjoy problem solving, where you are faced

with an issue that makes you sit back and think about it for a while before deciding on the best course of action. However, as I am relatively new to project management, it does mean I am facing new challenges that I have never encountered before. I am also the point of contact between the client and the Hydrock teams so it’s my job to have those difficult conversations when they come up!

If you could do it all over again, would you choose the same career path for yourself? And if not, what would you change? I would definitely choose the same career path as I love the variety this role provides; I




For more information visit October / November 2021


exciting content.

Why do you feel the AGS is important to the industry? One of the best attributes of the AGS is the user-friendly guidance documents that are readily available online as part of being an AGS member. For early careers in particular, I think these are a great starting point to ensure an understanding of the different elements such as how safely and correctly to conduct a ground investigation from the excavation of a trial pit to sampling of soils for geotechnical or geoenvironmental testing.

have worked in some amazing What AGS Working places within the UK and have Group(s) are you a made some friends for life. member of and what are It’s a small world within this your current focuses? industry so you’re regularly I am part of the Business crossing paths with former colleagues and acquaintances. Practice Working Group and the first early career The only thing I would change, committee member, which if I was to do it again, would I was fortunate be to explore to be asked international I would to join after work in the definitely choose winning the early stages the same career path Best Young of my career. Brownfield as I love the variety I have always this role provides... Professional been intrigued award that as to what it’s like was kindly working abroad both sponsored by the AGS. Our from a fieldwork perspective, current focuses are to really especially to examine the geology in other countries, but promote AGS by enhancing our methods of marketing to also working on international attract the wider population, projects where the standards so watch this space for some are different.



Lastly any advice or words of wisdom that would you give someone who is either considering this type of job or who are progressing towards chartership? The advice I always give to anyone starting in this industry is to log your CPD from the word go. This is pivotal if you are applying for chartership with an organisation such as The Geological Society. It’s much harder to backtrack what you’ve learnt and remember that practically everything counts as CPD when you first start out. The Geological Society have an excellent mind map which demonstrates all the activities that count as CPD and I think this is a good starting point.

AGS Working Group Focus

Business Practice Overview on the AGS website which are Client’s Guide to the Selection of Geotechnical Specialists – Geotechnical Engineering / Engineering Geology and Client’s Guide to the Selection of Geoenvironmental Specialists. The client guides can be downloaded here and here. Vivien Dent, AGS Chair Elect and Leader of the AGS Business Practice Working Group, has provided an update on the top issues the AGS Business Practice Working Group discussed at their last meeting which took place in September 2021.

1. New AGS Client Guides Two new AGS client guides have recently been published

2. Training Paths Documents Two new training paths documents have recently been published on the AGS website which are Training Paths for Ground Practitioners – Geoenvironmental Specialists and Training Paths for Ground Practitioners – Geotechnical Engineering / Engineering Geology. The training paths

documents can be downloaded here and here and are included in this issue of the AGS Magazine on pages 18 to 21 inclusive.

3. Other activities The BPWG are looking at updating the AGS byelaws, collecting data regarding travelling to meetings and conferences in terms of sustainability and producing AGS promotional videos. We are always keen to welcome new members into the BPWG and so for those interested in the governance of the AGS and wish to know how you can contribute to the BPWG, please contact the AGS Secretariat at uk.

October / November 2021


Training Courses Equipe Training: Specialist Geotechnical Courses Equipe Training are delighted to confirm that their specialist geotechnical training courses are continuing to be delivered, both in person at our dedicated training facility just outside of Banbury, Oxfordshire., and also online via Zoom! The in-person courses will be operating with limited places to ensure social distancing. Available upcoming dates are provided below: •

24th November 2021 - Earthworks Design and Construction (Online Course)

25th November 2021 - Slope Stability Design (Online Course)

9th December 2021 - Professor David Norbury’s Rock Description Workshop

14th December 2021 - Professor David Norbury’s Soil Description Workshop

Places on these courses can be booked online here, or via contacting Equipe on +44 (0)1295 670990 or

Equipe 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 resumed being delivered in person, as well as being delivered online where required. 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 have limited numbers of places available in order to maintain social distancing within the classroom environment. Upcoming dates include: • 17th November 2021- Managing and working with Asbestos Risk in Ground Investigation (MARGI) • 24, 25 & 26 November 2021 - IOSH Safe Supervision of Geotechnical Sites • 14th January 2022 - IOSH Avoiding Danger from Underground Services 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 Executive meeting. The deadline for the next round of completed applications is Tuesday 18th January 2022.

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 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

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

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, Instrumentation & Monitoring or Laboratories which you think the industry should be aware of 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.

October / November 2021


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 that 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 6 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.

Directory Stuart Wells Limited Stuart House Hargham Road Shropham, Norfolk NR17 1DT 01953454540

AGS Dates for Your Diary Sample Disturbance – What is it? (webinar) • • • •

Date: 25th November 2021 Time: 11:00 – 13:00 Cost: Free of Charge Sponsorship: Gold packages available

October / November 2021


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