John's Corner

Posted on January 25, 2017
Archive : January 2017
Category : Geotopics

John Booth, Geotechnics Managing Director, looks at the challenges and opportunities of the current ground investigation market for the launch of the new edition of Geotopics, our annual company newsletter.

Click here to read this year’s magazine, which includes articles about our work for local councils, United Utilities and Triton Knoll - Europe’s largest offshore wind farm.

We certainly live in interesting times! Political and economic upheaval and lack of clarity about the fortunes of the UK and its relationship with our trading partners has dominated headlines over the last few months. For our part, we have just been getting on with what we do best. We have always recognised that we have to look forward with confidence and be flexible in our approach to deal with whatever comes.

As one who is old enough to have worked through several cycles of boom and bust in our industry, strategic planning and management in the currently buoyant investigation market is certainly more enjoyable. The increase in workload brought about by a commitment to building and marketing client relationships, new staff members who bring fresh ideas and skills, and the experience of loyal colleagues who have stuck with us through thick and thin is now paying dividends. Investment in staff, skills, and equipment, coupled with our ‘can do’ attitude, has led to four nominations in this year’s Ground Engineering Awards - a clear recognition of our capabilities by our peers.

Success brings its own challenges within the company and throughout the wider industry. Setting up a new regional office in Yorkshire needed belief in the market and the new staff. Recruitment of intermediate and senior level staff is challenging as they are in high demand, but our investment in technical and operational training has been key to giving all our staff the skills they need to develop as individuals and for the company. Health and Safety continues to be at the forefront of our thinking, and our #GOSAFE initiative really delivers new ways of communicating ideas and good practice.

We aim to be at the forefront of formulating and delivering technical excellence, and we want to offer our clients a service which exceeds their expectations. Management of the changes in British Standards has required a clear understanding of the technical and logistical requirements, and we are now well placed to give value-engineered solutions. A collaborative approach with clients, subcontractors, suppliers - and even competitors - must be the way forward if we are to share ideas, knowledge and best practice. As leaders in the development of AGS Format data transfer, we can also ensure direct input into BIM models and digital modelling. 

The recent BDA/AGS Task Force Position Paper gave the impression that many in the industry have low morale and are disillusioned by outdated practices which are not fit for purpose. It’s not a view that is shared here, but we recognise that we cannot stand still. We choose to be part of both our own and industry-wide initiatives to educate and work with our clients; to develop equipment and techniques to improve quality and safety; and to promote the skills and capabilities of our industry as widely as possible.

Read more about our site investigation work over the past year in Geotopics, including…

·        Our work on the electrical system for Triton Knoll, Europe’s largest offshore windfarm

·        Our 4 nominations at this year’s Ground Engineering Awards

·        Our work near an ancient English Heritage site for United Utilities

·        Our flood recovery work in Yorkshire following Storm Eva

·        Our work on flood defences in the South West of England

·        Our continuing #GOSAFE Health and Safety initiative