Ground Investigation

The intricate detail and quality of information gleaned from ground conditions will influence a project team’s ability to develop an appropriate, efficient and easy-to-implement design. The data also informs a strategy for dealing with potential geohazards during construction, such as faults, mine workings, soft alluvial material, underground obstructions and groundwater, thereby negating unnecessary costs and/or delays. Ground investigations focus specifically on intrusive and non-intrusive geotechnical work such as boreholes, trial pits and geophysics, and form a specific phase of a wider site investigation, which can include desk studies, detailed walkover surveys and the collation of more general information from the client and third parties.

RSK’s site investigations will help you to establish a site’s suitability for construction, plan and design safe and economical construction phases appropriate for the area, foresee potential risks caused by natural or human-oriented changes and determine the possible impact of groundwater, including corrosivity caused by different groundwater conditions.

Decades of reliable expertise

RSK’s high-level geotechnical expertise, coupled with its excellent practical skills enables its specialist Geosciences team, and subsidiaries Structural Soils, Ian Farmer Associates, Central Alliance and Electrokinetic, to integrate closely with clients of all types, including structural and civil engineers, architects, developers and contractors. Moreover, our combination of highly skilled ground engineers, engineering geologists, and geotechnical and civil engineers means we can complete wide-ranging work from inspecting large-scale rock slopes, assessment of slope stability through to specifying foundation and earthworks solutions to complex infrastructure projects.

Diverse services

With more than three decades of combined expertise, RSK, led by its specialist subsidiaries, is a national, multidisciplinary, integrated geotechnical and geoenvironmental ground investigation organisation. It undertakes contracts across the UK and internationally and works for a large range of clients: from private individuals seeking advice on house subsidence to multinational energy companies looking to construct new power stations, and everyone in-between. Our service offerings include desk studies; intrusive investigations; in-situ testing; monitoring; soil, rock and materials laboratory testing; a red laboratory for testing soils contaminated with asbestos and hydrocarbons; factual and interpretive reporting; and consultancy services.

Understanding complex challenges

Our clients, while improving the operation and maintenance of infrastructure, enhancements, renewals and new developments, often ask us for help with gaining planning permission or seeking regulatory approval. We find that budget restrictions and unforeseen ground conditions are often the cause of interruptions to work, which can lead to costly delays and sometimes even the permanent closure of a site. We respond quickly to changing circumstances and advise our clients accordingly. We also provide extensive early contractor involvement to ensure our clients get the best information within their budget constraints.

Long-term partners

When working with a client, our fundamental understanding of geotechnical concepts allows our team to provide solutions to almost any geotechnical problem. Our teams are responsive and experts in their field of work; they have significant experience of design-and-build projects and can provide an in-house design and build service coupled with rock and soil slope stabilisation work. We pride ourselves on our ability to complete challenging projects and deliver them through bespoke solutions to solve project and industry challenges.

Our services are designed to add value by ensuring that solutions are specifically tailored to site conditions. We offer management and technical solutions covering land quality issues to industry, developers and government using technical specialists located across the UK, Europe, the Middle East and the former Soviet Union.

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Our Expertise

  • Comprehensive desk-based geotechnical/engineering geology hazard assessment and options appraisal

    Commonly adopted for long linear projects such as pipeline and tunnel route evaluation, but also used for general ground characterisation and engineering design

  • Shallow foundation design and settlement assessment

    Various services included under the umbrella phrase: pile designing and reviewing (including reuse of foundations), raft and basement designing, investigating foundation failures and its influence on underlying tunnels and influence on and from adjacent structures. Both traditional lump factor and EC7 partial factor design approaches are commonly adopted.

  • Rotary drilling

    Includes rotary coring, rotary-percussive, open holing, DTH, Geobore-S, hollow stem augering, inclined drilling and specialist mine workings investigations

  • Cable percussion

    We engage our fleet of rigs to complete boreholes at various diameters through soft ground and/or soil, including all aspects of sampling and in-situ testing.

  • Dynamic sampling

    Our range of tracked and bespoke modular rigs can undertake undisturbed sampling and in-situ testing.

  • Bespoke drilling rigs

    Using bespoke modular dynamic sampling and rotary rigs, slope climbing rigs (with cone penetration testing and dynamic sampling and rotary capability) and platform rigs mounted on telehandlers and long-reach excavators, we can expertly access restricted access areas to acquire data where it is most needed.

  • Continuous surface wave testing

    Continuous surface wave testing is an innovative means of non-intrusive ground stiffness profiling. It is ideal for foundation design, crane pad design and as an alternative to plate load testing.

  • Reporting

    Our specialists compile desk studies, factual and interpretive reports, and logging to BS5930:2015.

  • Remote sensing

    Satellite saturated ground mapping using L-Band synthetic aperture radar, surface deformation monitoring and satellite imagery.

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