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Online Training: Earthworks engineering geology in design and construction practice

07 - 28 November 2023
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Event type:
Course, Contributes to CPD, Online Training, Virtual event
Organised by:
Geological Society Events, Online Training
Virtual event
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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 led by Andrew Ridley.


Module 1 Introduction and Design Fundamentals - 7 November

16.00 – 16.15 Introduction and programme 
16.15 – 16.30 Earthworks types, descriptions, and purpose 
16.30 – 17.00 Data management for earthworks in a UK regional geological setting
17.00 – 17.15 Earthworks planning process 
17.15 – 17.30 CDM

Module 2 Design Implementation - 14 November

16.00 – 16.30 Design principles 
16.30 – 17.00 Designing for construction and maximising use of materials 
17.00 – 17.30 Earthworks contract documents, standards, guidance and advice 
17.30 – 18.00 Understanding material classes and typical performance 

Module 3 Strategy and Construction Controls - 21 November

16.00 – 16.45 Establishing an earthworks / materials strategy 
16.45 – 17.30 Managing variability of materials, control and change during construction 
17.30 – 18.00 Understanding test methods and controls for mitigating risk 

Module 4 Planning and Managing Risks and Opportunities 28 November

16.00 – 17.00 A14 Case history on Planning earthworks (eg mass-haul, acceptability and quantities. Constraints. Supply demands) support from 
17.00 – 17.30 Soil improvement and stabilisation 
17.30 – 17.45 Environmental controls and Climate Change 
17.45 – 18.00 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

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 building projects, including retaining walls, earthworks and foundations. She worked for Atkins for over 20 years lately as the Geotechnical Discipline Design lead for major Highways dualling project on the A465 Heads of the Valley and also as the Designers Geotechnical Advisor for the South Wales Trunk Road Agent Western Region Framework.  She has recently joined Arcadis as aTechnical Director (Geotechnics) and is involved in the Technical Advisor Role for National Highways projects in the North East as well as a reviewer for the CAT III checking role on the HS2 section around Birmingham.  She is a Member of the ICE, a supervising engineer, mentor and an ICE Reviewer.

Sam Boden

Sam Boden (GMICE Materials Engineer & Aggregates Technical Manager N1&N2, Balfour Beatty VINCI, HS2)

Sam is part of the Balfour Beatty Materials Department for over 7 years and has experience working on major highways projects in the U.K. Completing the Balfour Beatty graduate program and gaining the APM Project Management qualification.

He has strong knowledge of earthworks, highways design, IAN73/06, HD26/06, compliance/monitoring/testing of various materials disciplines; soils, concrete, stabilisation and aggregates.

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 6 November.

Registration fees 

 Member   £275 
 Non-Member   £545
 Student  £40

If you are not a Member of the Society, save money for this course and much more, by applying for Membership. Visit our Membership section for further details.

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


We offer students a generous discount, please verify your student status by either registering with your student email address, or upload a photograph or your student identification/ acceptance letter.

The society offers a limited number of concessionary rates for those in financial hardship. Please contact [email protected] (please note you may be required to provide details/evidence to back up your application for this rate).


This series of courses will be held virtually.


Please contact [email protected] with any enquiries.

Register now