An Introduction to Engineering Geology

Engineering geology is most appropriately described as the application of the geology to engineering assessment with the purpose of assuring that the geological aspects are considered in key aspects of a design, such as location, hazards, sub-surface conditions and design/construction techniques. Engineering geologists provide geological and geotechnical analysis, design and recommendations, associated with interactions of the natural environment, the anthropological pressures imposed by development and how the earth or earth processes impact man-made structures.

The principal objective of the engineering geology is the protection of life and property against damage caused by various geological conditions which can include:

The construction of many varying developments ranging from housing and basements to roads, dams, reservoirs and wind farms would not be able to proceed without detailed engineering geological input. The natural world is complex and alongside the added pressures of redeveloping brownfield sites, analytical solutions have to be tested against real-world conditions. Failure to do so can put feasibility and safety at risk.

Ground structures and groundwater behaviour are critical controls on many schemes. The engineering geology and hydrogeology can influence stability, contamination migration and exploitation of water, oil and other minerals. 

Our experience in the area of Engineering Geology includes:

  • Stability of extensive slope complexes and the impact on existing development in south Wales;
  • Construction of major road/highways in England and Wales;
  • Stability assessments of colliery spoil and refuse tips in the mountainous Welsh Coalfield.
  • Stability design of opencast coal sites throughout the UK.
  • Management of water resources in arid regions.
  • Geochemical attack on construction materials in the UK and Middle East.
  • Solving quarrying problems at minimum cost and disruption to the operator. Assisting in deepening, extensions, stability assessments and environmental impact assessments.
  • Management of complex groundwater conditions, notably artesian groundwater conditions whilst cutting into the hillside of a Welsh valley.

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