Engineering Site Investigation
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Andrew Brown

Job title: Engineering Geologist (Site Investigation)

What exactly does an Engineering Geologist do?

Engineering Geologists focus their geological knowledge and skill sets acquired through higher education and apply them to everyday engineering problems or issues. The Engineering Geologist is in a unique position that lies between the extremeties of the Geotechnical Engineer and the Geologist.

The majority of the work I am involved in is centred upon conducting and interpretation of information collated as part of Phase I and II Site Investigations on sites which vary in size. My work is centred upon the engineering of soil; however, there are occasions where I have worked to form solutions at sites which are located entirely in bedrock.

Once geological and / or geotechnical data is ascertained from the sites, engineering problems which exist on site can be solved and design solutions can be tailored to suit. The majority of Engineering Geologists can appraise different situations which are apparent on site, e.g. slope stability, foundation designs, etc. Analytical methods to solve various issues are tackled using diverse metods from hand calculations to computer software. This enables cost-effective solutions which are risk averse to be devised.

Ultimately the Engineering Geologist will convey their findings in a professionally written report, and therefore communication between the Engineering Geologist and the client will be clear and concise at all times

Apart from formal qualifications, what other skills or characteristics do you need?

Formal qualifications are the start of an Engineering Geologists career. The basic skill sets acquired in university are developed under the membership of your employer and colleagues. At Opus, we are developed in a way which compliments both theory and practical application to enable us to develop sound engineering solutions.

Generally the skill sets and characteristics required are the following:
  • Clear communicator
  • Willingness to learn
  • Ability to analyse data sets gained from site investigation
  • Ability to understand basic engineering principles
  • Adaptable and versatile.
Being an Engineering Geologist is most rewarding when you get to see a job through to construction development. The dynamics of my job as an Engineering Geologist ensure that everyday is different.

What advice or information do you wish you’d had before starting this career?

Personally I would have preferred more structured information on where and how Geologists can make the transition to Engineering Geologist; however, I gained a lot of help from other Engineering Geologists who are members of the Geological Society.