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Engineering Group and the British Geotechnical Association: The many faces of Q

05 February 2020
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Event type:
Evening meeting, Lecture, Specialist Group
Organised by:
Engineering Group, British Geotechnical Association
Institution of Civil Engineers, Westminster
Event status:

The many faces of Q – rock mass characterisation for tunnels, caverns, slopes, TBM prognosis, deformability, shear strength, seismic velocity, permeability

This is a joint meeting with the British Geotechnical Association. You find more information about this meeting on their event page.

In civil engineering projects involving concrete, steel and foundations in soil, it is possible to fabricate, sample, or test representative elements of the media that will be involved in the foundation and construction.

In the case of tunnel or cavern excavations, or foundations in jointed and perhaps faulted rock, this ‘simplicity’ is absent. ‘Samples’ are too big. This is where a good rock mass classification comes into its own.

Ratings for some principal components like relative block size, inter-block friction, stress/strength ratio and water, are combined to form quantitative guidance, sometimes using simple equations.

The Q-system now addresses such widely-ranging themes as core-logging, tunnel-logging, tunnel support, shotcrete thickness, bolt spacing, seismic velocity, deformation modulus, tunnel and cavern deformation, shear strength, over-break, permeability, TBM prognosis, tunnel delays in fault zones, construction cost and time, and safe rock slope angles.

The lecture will be liberally illustrated with the basics and with some good examples of application.

Please join us from 6.00pm for this talk.


Dr Nick Barton

Nick Barton has a PhD from Imperial College London. He worked at the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI) in Oslo between 1971 and 2000, and also spent four years at TerraTek in Salt Lake City from 1981 to 1984.

Since 2000 he has run a rock engineering consultancy, Nick Barton & Associates, based in Oslo, Norway. He has consulted on projects in 40 countries during a total of 48 years, has 260 publications as first or single author, and has written two books.

He developed the Q-system for classifying rock masses, and was originator of the rock joint parameters JRC and JCS, and of the Barton-Bandis laws for rock joint modelling. He has also developed the QTBM prognosis method, QSLOPE and QH2O.

Cost and registration

This event is free to attend and booking is not required.


Institution of Civil Engineers
1 Great George Street