Southern Testing Win at the 2016 Geotechnical Data Management Awards

data-management-awards-winner-2016The Keynetix Geotechnical Data Management Awards dinner took place on the 28 November 2016 at the Jury’s Inn in Oxford, on the night before the Keynetix User Conference.
The awards are designed to give recognition to organisations that have put geotechnical data management at the forefront of their organisation and have implemented new techniques or processes using Keynetix software. “This year’s Geotechnical Data Management Awards showcased just how far some companies had come in the embracing of the future of data management, the speed of data delivery and new ways of collaboration” said Roger Chandler, Managing Director of Keynetix.

The awards comprised 4 categories are open to organisations from any part of the ground investigation supply chain, anywhere in the world. Each of the categories celebrated successful investment in people and processes at each stage of the geotechnical data journey; from collection and reporting through to analysis, visualisation and BIM collaboration and workflows. Entries were received from companies across the UK and in USA and whittled down to two finalists in each category.

From the many entries Southern Testing were delighted to be shortlisted in three of the four categories and then to win the Geotechnical Data Visualisation Award for the organisation who have best used Geotechnical Visualisation to either convey the risks and results highlighted by a Site Investigation, or to illustrate the need for an initial or further investigation.


The winning project site is situated in an area which was known to suffer from cambering of the underlying Hythe Formation. Down dip movement towards the River Valley to the North/East of the site has caused rotation and cambering of blocks of interbedded limestone and sandstone. The cambering leaves behind fissures and voids (between 0.5m to 5m in width), which become loosely infilled with overburden materials, in this case clayey sand. The area is susceptible to subsidence, typically due to inundation by water (commonly leaking drains, water services, poorly designed soakaways), as such the risk to the proposed development required detailed assessment to provide foundation design parameters, detail for soakaway location/design and to highlight potential voided areas which may require further assessment/treatment.

assessing-risks-of-ground-instability-probes-loose-zonesIt was agreed with the client and the NHBC to undertake dynamic probing (DPSH) to investigate potential features on a grid across the site. Dynamic probing produces a lot of raw data which can be time consuming to type up, validate and assess. In addition, the short build program necessitated a quick response to identified features in order to further assess the extent of the feature and determine whether special foundation designs would be suitable or whether remedial measures such as compaction grouting would be required.

Southern Testing implemented a new process as part of this investigation that involved on site entry collection, the importing of data into HoleBASE SI and the analysis and display of the results on a themed site plan.The process significantly reduced the number of man hours spent analysing the raw data. It is estimated that the new process has saved 7 man days’ work of work with the 1500 probes already completed on this one project, paying for the investment several times over. These significant savings have led to increased profitability whilst offering the client a saving on overall costs. The new process has, importantly, enabled quicker reactions to identified features on site, enabling further assessment to be undertaken quickly to facilitate the design of the foundations on a plot by plot basis, saving the clients engineer’s time in foundation designs and enabling groundworks to be undertaken quickly and correctly.

Southern Testing were also shortlisted for the;

Data Collection and Reporting award for our implementation and improved data collection efficiently, using tablet data entry on site and streamlined data importing and reporting with both HoleBASE SI, Key AGS and KeyLAB software;

Data Analysis award for our project site at Newhaven Port (where the operations and management base for the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm is to be based). HoleBase SI and the HoleBase SI Extension for Microsoft Excel were used extensively during analysis of site and laboratory data to derive geotechnical design parameters on this project.

Case studies on all three entries will be published in early 2017.

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