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Geotechnics

HARP wins the award for Ground Investigation Project of the Year At The Ground Engineering Awards

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

We look back at 3 of the challenges the project presented us with...



Ground Engineering Awards 2021

We're proud to have been involved with the Haweswater Aqueduct Resilience Programme (HARP), a project which this week won the Ground Engineering Award for ‘Ground Investigation Project of the Year’. It's a scheme with fantastic engineering challenges which will ultimately greatly benefit communities in the North-West, and we were lucky to be able to work as part of a wider industry team comprising some great people and teams from United Utilities, Jacobs, Wardell Armstrong, Socotec, SEGL, AEG, Fugro, British Geological Survey and Mott MacDonald Bentley (MMB).


Well done to all those involved!


There has been some great collaboration, hard work, commitment and dedication shown by everyone involved. We look back fondly on what for us has been a great project and a great learning experience as part of the wider HARP project team. - Paul Hayes, Managing Director, Geotechnics


As today is #throwbackthursday we thought we'd take the opportunity to look back at three of the challenges we faced and how our team overcame them:


Challenge 1; COVID-19 (Coronavirus)


Solution; 'Coping with COVID', an initiative in collaboration with SOCOTEC and Macklin Geotech


A collaborative team comprising senior figures from Geotechnics Ltd and SOCOTEC UK Ltd, with the assistance of Macklin Geotech, devised a safe system of work for geotechnical site investigation (GI) in-line with the UK government and industry guidelines on social distancing. Both companies were acutely aware that there were numerous situations in the everyday operations of a GI where the 2m social distancing guidelines could be breached. To this point, one option would be to use Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), but with the NHS in urgent need of these vital resources, alternatives had to be found.


The team used the standard hierarchy of control model to rework the risk assessment process using the PPE option as a last resort. They also developed and fitted protective perspex screens to drilling plant, and provided new working methodologies to help maintain social distancing, including solutions for manual handling.

You can read more about the initiative here.



Challenge 2; Managing quality control of logging and sampling of large volumes of core.


Solution; A bespoke Technical and Quality Assurance Plan


With a large volume of drilling being undertaken simultaneously across the project area, it was clear that an efficient, rigid process for logging and sampling had to be in place from Day 1. Luckily, Geotechnics has considerable experience working on large complex site investigations, and our team was able to call on this experience to develop a bespoke plan for the project.


Geotechnics' Project Manager Conor Southall did an excellent job on-site and in the office coordinating the overall process, while Senior Engineer Jonathan Gray managed the hands-on logistics to ensure core samples were taken at the right time and transported to where they needed to be. Back at our on-site logging facility our Lead Logging Engineer, Principal Engineer John Knowles developed our bespoke Technical and Quality Assurance Plan and provided a watchful eye and helping hand to ensure quality control procedures was followed, with the plan covering the following key areas:

  • Remoteness and sensitivities

  • Core Preparation

  • Core Photography:

  • Core Metrics (TCR/SCR/RQD and FI)

  • Preliminary Borehole Record

  • Engineer Examination and Scheduling Chemical or Rock Tests

  • Discontinuity Logging

  • Schmidt Hammer Tests

  • Packing Core Boxes

  • Groundwater Sampling from Packer Test Section


If you'd like more details about our approach to logging and sample quality control contact us here.


Challenge 3; Communication due to site scale and complexity, and COVID-19 considerations


Solution; Accelerated uptake of available communication technologies


The combination of a large-scale, complex ground investigation, with numerous activities running simultaneously, spread over such a large area, coupled with the impact of COVID-19 presented our team with a considerable challenge for effective communication.


How do you undertake daily team briefings? How do you manage the sign-in/sign-out process (main site compound AND individual positions)? How do you keep everyone informed of progress, or issues affecting the programme?


Geotechnics' Project Manager Conor Southall and Senior Engineer Jonathan Gray rose to the challenge and developed new processes on-site, including:


  • Inductions via video call, or via online Learning Platform provided prior to attendance on site.

  • Electronic signatures, combined with document scanning for competency card checks, again prior to site attendance.

  • Daily SIgn-in/sign-out managed through WhatsApp messenger, providing a fully auditable trail. This was also one method used to maintain communications on progress.

  • Use of cloud storage e.g. OneDrive to manage process documentation

You can find out more about what we're working on to improve on-site communication and deliver project efficiency savings by contacting us here.







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