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Online Training - Earthworks: engineering geology in design and construction practice

26 October - 23 November 2021
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Event type:
Online Training
Organised by:
Geological Society Events
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This course is for practicing ground and materials engineers who want to learn more about current earthworks practice, explore the principles and application of design, and understand the demands and opportunities during construction. The course covers new build earthworks, in principal rail, road, and developments, but not existing earthworks and their asset management. The course will explain design and construction approaches in a variety of geologies and highlight the:

• Statutory process and how this effects earthworks
• earthwork requirements and performance
• variability of geologies, their design characteristics and classification
• how to manage interpretation of geological data for major projects
• design and preplanning for maximising use of materials on site
• earthworks construction planning
• practicalities of managing geological data and design change during construction
• management of opportunity and risk during construction when the full extent and properties of materials becomes exposed
• Technical control of materials and appropriate test methods
• Environmental considerations for re-use or disposal
• people and team aspects
• future developments

The course will put an emphasis on team working between designer and constructor. This approach is particularly necessary in earthworks linear projects where the geology can be highly variable.

Instrumentation will not be covered in detail as this is included in another GSL Training Course (Andrew Ridley).


Module 1 Introduction and Design Fundamentals - 26 October

17.00 – 17.15 Introduction and programme 
17.15 – 17.30 Earthworks types, descriptions, and purpose 
17.30 – 18.00 Data management for earthworks in a UK regional geological setting
18.00 – 18.15 Earthworks planning process 
18.15 – 18.30 CDM

Module 2 Design Implementation - 9 November

17.00 – 17.30 Design principles 
17.30 – 18.00 Designing for construction and maximising use of materials 
18.00 – 18.30 Earthworks contract documents, standards, guidance and advice 
18.30 – 19.00 Understanding material classes and typical performance 

Module 3 Strategy and Construction Controls - 16 November

17.00 – 17.45 Establishing an earthworks / materials strategy 
17.45 – 18.30 Managing variability of materials, control and change during construction 
18.30 – 19.00 Understanding test methods and controls for mitigating risk 

Module 4 Planning and Managing Risks and Opportunities 23 November

17.00 – 18.00 A14 Case history on Planning earthworks (eg mass-haul, acceptability and quantities. Constraints. Supply demands) support from 
18.00 – 18.30 Soil improvement and stabilisation 
18.30 – 18.45 Environmental controls and Climate Change 
18.45 – 19.00 Key lessons and round up


John Perry 

Dr John Perry BSc MSc PhD CGeol CEng FGS FICE FIMMM

John is a ground engineer with 40 years experience in earthworks research, design and construction. He worked at the Transport Research Laboratory researching into earthworks before moving into research implementation in the Department for Transport where he was responsible for managing the Specification for Highways Works 600 Series Earthworks and where he wrote many of the Advice Notes supporting the specification. Over the latter half of his career John joined Mott MacDonald and worked on major geotechnical projects around the world, in many engineering sectors, giving him a geographically broad detailed appreciation of the use of earthworks in different countries. John is currently an independent consultant working on earthworks projects, providing peer review and expert advice. He is a Chartered Geologist and Chartered Engineer, and a Fellow of the Geological Society, ICE and IMMM.

Alison Graham

BEng (Hons), MSc, MICE CEng

Chief Geotechnical Engineer, Ground Engineering 

Alison is a Geotechnical Engineer with over 25 years’ experience in geotechnical design for infrastructure and buildings, including retaining walls, earthworks and foundations. She is Chief Geotechnical Engineer at Atkins Ltd where she leads the Geotechnical team in Cardiff and Bristol.  She is also responsible for geotechnical design for the A465 Heads of the Valley Dualling Section 5&6 Hirwaun to Dowlais Top in South Wales.  She also acts the Designer Geotechnical Engineer for South Wales Trunk Road Agent.  She is a Member of the ICE, a delegated engineer and has been an ICE Reviewer for the past 6 years.

Steve Phipps 

Steve Phipps – Senior Materials Engineer with Balfour Beatty and BBV Materials Engineering Lead for HS2 Phase 1 N1-N2

Steve has over 30 years’ experience as a materials specialist in highways and high speed rail construction. Steve worked for Sandberg carrying out materials testing before joining Balfour Beatty in 1991. As part of his role, he is responsible for the assessment and control of bulk materials and setting re-use and supply strategies for major infrastructure projects. This includes maximising the use of all materials available on site and locally, minimising disposal off site, identifying value engineering opportunities and managing production techniques and quality control.

Steve’s main areas of expertise covers earthworks including stabilisation, minerals processing and recycling, and contaminated land remediation including regulatory compliance. Steve holds technical competence for EPR waste treatment activities. He also actively supports Britpave contributing to many of their technical and best practice publications.

Vicky Corcoran 

Vicky Corcoran (MSci ARSM MSc DIC CGeol FGS, UK Registered Ground Engineering Professional)

Vicky is a Senior Engineering Geologist and Chartered Geologist specialising in ground characterisation in the offshore, coastal and onshore environments. She is an expert in digital ground engineering and geotechnical data management, co-managing Atkins’ global database for geotechnical data. She has experience of offshore projects from working on a range of current and proposed installations including windfarms and oil platforms. Onshore, she has had a senior role within ground engineering teams working on major road and rail projects. She has recently been assisting an expert witness in a multi-million-dollar international arbitration project.


Registration for this series will close at 12.00 GMT on 25 October.

We offer discounts on group bookings of 5 or more, please email to enquire.

Student Registration

Our speakers Alison Graham and Vicky Corcoran have kindly donated a proportion of their speaker fee to fund places for students, this has enabled the society to offer a limited number of student places at a special rate. Proof of student status required when registering at this rate.


This series of events will be held virtually.


Please contact with any enquiries.

Register now

Registration rates

£ 250.00
£ 320.00

Geolsoc Contact

Conference Office

The Geological Society
Burlington House