Geotechnical Engineering

What is geotechnical engineering?

Geotechnical engineering is the specialist branch of civil engineering concerned with the behaviour of earth materials and the application of soil and rock mechanics. Geotechnical engineers determine the physical, mechanical and chemical properties of soil and rock to design foundations, retaining structures and earthworks.

Foundations may be shallow or deep depending upon the ground conditions encountered. Retaining structures include earth-filled dams and retaining walls. Earthworks include embankments, tunnels, channels, reservoirs and bunds.

A geotechnical site investigation determines the engineering parameters of soil and rock and how they will interact with a proposed construction. Ground investigation is typically carried out in order to assess the geotechnical, geoenvironmental, geological and hydrological risk to humans, property and the environment.

RSA Geotechnics is an independent geotechnical and geoenvironmental specialist. We provide site investigation, laboratory testing and professional consultancy services for all aspects of soil engineering, contamination and environmental assessment, land remediation and validation. Our range of geotechnical engineering services include:

  • site appraisal and site investigation design
  • geological and hydro-geological characterisation
  • excavation, earthworks and slope engineering
  • ground improvement and soil stabilisation
  • natural and man-made cavity and mine workings stabilisation
  • piling mat design, support systems and temporary works
  • foundation, basement and retaining wall engineering
  • subgrade testing for roads and external pavements
  • ground instrumentation and monitoring
  • directional drilling feasibility studies
  • subsidence engineering and underpinning advice
  • risk assessment and monitoring

A typical geotechnical report will include detailed exploratory logs and the results of in-situ and laboratory testing. The information is used to develop recommendations and design parameters for foundation and construction purposes. The contents of each geotechnical report are tailored to meet a projects specific needs and may contain discussion and advice for the type of foundations, retaining walls, earthworks and sub-grades required for the construction of the proposed man-made structures.