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Requirements on ground investigation and role of

ground investigation in geotechnical design

Dr Poh Teoh Yaw


Deep Excavation and Geotechnical Department
Building Engineering Group, BCA
24 April 2015

Contents
1.
2.
3.
4.

Introduction
Requirements on ground investigation
Determination of ground types in accordance to
EC8
Case study on role of ground investigation in
geotechnical design

1. Introduction

Transition from BS to EC7


Ground investigation practices

Malaysia and Singapore, and no doubt other countries,


will no longer be able to specify use of BS5930:1999 as
a basic standard for ground investigation because the
normal logging shorthand of weathering grades is not
part of the revised BS. - Steve Hencher, professor, University of Leeds

Transition from BS to EC7


BS vs EC7

As a code of practice, the British Standard takes the


form of guidance and recommendations in contrast to
specifications such as BSENISO14688-1;146882;14689-3, which take the form of requirements

Ground investigation: EC7


General

1. Designers are responsible for the planning of the


geotechnical investigation and are accountable for their
decisions, i.e. specification of field and laboratory tests,
determination geotechnical design parameters and
characteristic values etc
2. Eurocodes require the rationale behind all geotechnical
parameters used for design to be justified and by inference
this extends to the way in which the parameters were
derived.
3. Designer should make use of BS EN ISO 22475-1 to satisfy
themselves that they are comfortable with the sampling and
testing programme that they specify for individual projects
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2. Requirements on ground
investigation in accordance to EC7

Applicable codes for ground investigation


Field and laboratory works
EC7 Part 2: Ground investigation and testing
BS EN ISO 14688 Geotechnical investigation and testing Identification & classification of soil
BS EN ISO 14689 Geotechnical investigation and testing Identification & classification of rock
BS EN ISO 22475 Geotechnical investigation and testing Sampling by drilling and excavation
and groundwater measurements
BS EN ISO 22476 Geotechnical investigation and testing Field testing
BS EN ISO 22282 Geotechnical investigation and testing Geohydraulic testing
BS EN ISO 17892 Geotechnical investigation and testing Laboratory testing of soil
BS1377 Parts that are not withdrawn
BS5930 1999: +A2 2010 revised and compliant to Euro codes

Competency criteria for personnel and companies


BS EN ISO 22475-2 Qualification criteria for enterprises and personnel
BS EN ISO 22475-3 Conformity assessment of enterprises and personnel by third party

Competency criteria for personnel and


companies
General

The Singapore NA to EN1997-2 says that EN 22475-2


and EN 22475-3, which give qualification criteria and
conformity assessment procedures for enterprises and
personnel involved in ground investigation should be
followed in Singapore practice.
This is the first time that a code has laid down
competency criteria for personnel and companies.

Personnel

Competency criteria for personnel and


companies

Qualified operator documented competence based scheme for lead driller: Skills Evaluation
Certificate (Knowledge) [SEC(K)] for Soil Drilling & instrumentation, issued by the BCA

Responsible expert degree with 3 years experience or diploma with 5 years experience;
sufficient proven knowledge; Sign the GI report

Companies

demonstrate adequate competence and have adequate personnel and facilities


items of equipment conforming to BS EN ISO 22475-1 correctly maintained and
calibrated
a health and safety system; and
a quality assurance system

Conformity assessment of enterprises and personnel by third party

Accreditation scheme by third party


Annual assessment
Competency of enterprise and personnel
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Competency criteria for personnel and


companies
ACCREDITATION OF INSPECTION BODIES FOR SITE INVESTIGATION

Assessment Criteria
An Assessment Team consisting of the Lead Assessor(s) and Technical
Assessor(s) will assess the quality management system and technical
competencies of the inspection bodies against current regulatory
requirements and the following standards, technical note and accreditation
documents:
ISO/IEC 17020: 2012 General Criteria For The Operation Of Various
Types Of Bodies Performing Inspection
SAC 01 - Terms And Conditions For Accreditation
IB 01 Accreditation Process
IB 02 Fees Schedule
Technical Note SI:01 - Specific Requirements For The Accreditation Of
Inspection Bodies For Site Investigation Certified Course for SI Supervisor
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Topic:

Singapore geology
Roles and responsibilities
Drilling, soil sampling, field test
methods and instrumentation

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Geotechnical categories

EN 1997-1 C2.1(8) to C2.1(21)


To establish geotechnical design, structures are
classified into Geotechnical Categories 1, 2 or 3
according to:
- complexity of the structure,
- complexity of the ground conditions
- complexity of the loading
- level of risk that is acceptable for the purpose of the
structure

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Geotechnical categories
Factors to be
Considered
Geotechnical
Hazards/risk
Ground
conditions

Groundwater
situation

Geotechnical Categories
GC1

GC2

GC3

Low

Moderate

High

Known from comparable experience


to be straightforward. Not involving
soft, loose or compressible soil,
loose fill or sloping ground.
No excavations below water table,
except where experience indicates
this will not cause problems.

Regional
seismicity

Areas with no or vary low


earthquake hazard

Influence of the
environment

Negligible risk of problems due to


surface water, subsidence,
hazardous chemicals, etc
Low
Small and relatively simple
structures or construction.
Insensitive structures in seismic
areas
Negligible risk of damage to or from
neighbouring structures or services
and negligible risk of life

Vulnerability
Natural and size
of the structure
and its
elements
Surroundings

Ground conditions and properties


can be determined from routine
investigation and tests.

Unusual or exceptionally difficult


ground conditions requiring non
routine investigations and tests.

No risk of damage without prior


warning to structures due to
groundwater lowering or drainage.
No exceptional water tightness
requirements
Moderate earthquake hazard
where seismic design code (EC8)
may be used
Environmental factors covered
routine design methods

High groundwater pressures and


exceptionally groundwater conditions,
e.g. multi-layered strata with variable
permeability.

Moderate
Conventional types of structures
with no abnormal risks

Possible risk of damage to


neighbouring structures or services
due, for example, to excavation or
piling

Areas of high earthquake hazard

Complex or difficult environmental


factors requiring special design
methods
High
Very large or unusual structures and
structures involving abnormal risks.
Very sensitive structures in seismic
areas
High risk of damage to neighbouring
structures or services

15 1999)
Geotechnical Categories related to geotechnical hazard and vulnerability levels (Geotechnical Design to Eurocode 7; Orr & Farrell,

Geotechnical categories
Local example: GC1
Description of category

Example of projects
GC1

small and relatively simple


structures:
for which it is possible to ensure
that the fundamental requirements
will be satisfied on the basis of
experience and qualitative
geotechnical investigations;
with negligible risk.

Landed housing on shallow foundations in


firm residual soil;
Single storey sheds;
Link-ways;
Minor roadside drain;

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Geotechnical categories
Local example: GC2
Description of category

Example of projects

GC2
conventional types of structure
and foundation with no
exceptional risk or difficult
ground or loading conditions

- canal
- conventional buildings on
- shallow or raft foundations;
- pile foundations;
- walls and other structures retaining or supporting soil
or water < 6m height;
- excavations < 6m depth
- bridge piers and abutments;
- embankments and earthworks;
- ground anchors and other tied-back systems;
- tunnels in hard, non-fractured rock/ competent soils,
and not subjected to special water tightness or other
requirements.

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Geotechnical categories
Local example: GC3
Example of projects

Description of category
GC3

- very large structure such as infrastructure projects for rail


fall outside the limits of and road tunnels
Geotechnical Categories - utilities tunnels of more than 3 m in diameter - airport
terminal buildings
1 and 2
- foundation for building of 30 storey or more; - unusual
structures such as port structures in poor ground
conditions;
- structures involving abnormal risks such as dam, dikes
- GBW(ERSS) in close proximity to existing buildings
except for single unit landed housing development,
- unusual or exceptionally difficult ground such as
foundation in limestone areas for more than 6 storey or
unusually loading conditions
-foundation for high-rise of more than 10 storey on
reclaimed land, or soft soils with combined thickness of soft
soils of more than 8 m
-GBW (ERSS) in soft soil ground conditions
- special buildings subjected to seismic risks (according 18
BC3);

Geotechnical investigations
EN 1997-1

EN 1997-2

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Geotechnical investigations
EC7-1 Section 3: Geotechnical Data
EC7-2 Section 2: Planning of ground investigations
Gathering of all relevant information about the site

Ground investigation
Preliminary investigation (conceptual design) desk
studies & site inspection
Design investigation (detailed design) specify relevant
investigation methods i.e. field tests/ lab tests to justify
choice of foundations, geotechnical works
Control investigation (construction stage) - Verification of
choice of foundation method and design procedure,
control of ground improvement works and stability during
construction
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Preliminary investigations

EN 1997-2 C2.3

Assess suitability of site in comparison with alternative


sites
Assess suitable positioning of structure
Evaluate the possible effects of the proposed works on
surroundings, such as neighbouring buildings,
structures and sites
Walk-over surveys, desk studies of previous site
investigations
Plan the design and control investigations

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Design investigations
EN 1997-1 C3.2.3

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Design investigations
EN 1997-2 C2.4
To provide all the information required for the design of
temporary and permanent works
Identify any difficulties that may arise during construction
Include drilling, field tests, laboratory tests, groundwater
measurement

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Design investigations
EN 1997-2 C2.4

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Adequacy of boreholes investigation points


Suggested minimum number of boreholes for local practices
Structures Type
Buildings
Up to 10 stories high
(excluding landed housings)

Number of BH required

More than 10 stories high

15m to 40m grid, minimum 1 BH per block, and 3


BHs per site
10m to 30m grid, 1 BH per 300sqm, minimum 2
BHs per block, and 3 BHs per site

Large area

60 m grid per BH, at designers discretion

Roads, railways, canals, pipelines,


inland dikes

1 BH every 20 to 200m

ERSS, retaining wall < 6m high


ERSS, retaining wall >= 6m high

1 BH every 15 to 40m

Tunnelling in built-up area


Tunnelling in green field area

1 BH every 10 to 30m
1 BH every 10 to 75m
1 BH every 20 to 200m

Dam, costal dikes, weirs

1 BH every 25 to 75m along vertical sections

Road Bridges, tower stacks, heavy


machinery foundation

2 to 6 BHs per foundation

*GC3 projects should adopt the more onerous number of boreholes

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Design investigations:- sampling


EN 1997-2

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Design investigations:- sampling


EN 1997-2

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Guide on ground investigation


GeoSS Guide

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Guide on ground investigation

Reclassification of soil of soil and


rock from BS to EC

Suggested number of samples

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FAQ

When should I adopt EC-compliant GI work?

All new ground investigation works carried out after 1


Apr 2015 should be complied with EC standards.
Can I submit ST plan based on EC with GI report based on BS?

As ground investigation may be conducted in advance


of ST plan submission, designer may still submit ST
plan in EC with GI report based on BS. However,
designer need to produce an ground interpretative report
based on EC and include it as part of their GDR.
All new ground investigation works carried out after 1
Apr 2015 should be based on EC standards.

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FAQ

How to select an EC-compliant company to carry out your GI work?

Designers to ensure that the GI firm is able to comply


with EC on both field and laboratory requirements. In
additions, the firm is also able to meet the competency
criteria for personnel and companies.
Alternatively, designers may adopt firms accredited by
Singapore Accreditation council (SAC)
under
accreditation scheme for Accreditation Scheme for
Inspection Bodies for Site Investigation
Companies accredited by SAC for the above mentioned
scheme can be deemed as EC-compliant companies.
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FAQ

Can designer adopt existing GI report of immediate neighbour


plots for his EC design without the need to carry out borehole?

For GC1 project, where the values are obtained


from the GI of a neighbouring plot and is
supplemented by available literature such as
geological map and or published ground
parameters, the determined characteristic value
should be reduced by a further factor of 1.2

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FAQ
Can designer used existing GI report based on BS standard for his
EC design?

For project where the ground investigation was


conducted prior to 1 Apr 2015 based on British
Standard, the ground investigation still can be
used for plan submission. However, designers
need to produce an interpretive reports on design
parameters based on Euro codes and include
them as part of their GDR.
All new ground investigation works carried out after 1
Apr 2015 should be based on EC standards.
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FAQ

Which value should be reported in the borehole log, corrected or


uncorrected SPT N value?

Uncorrected SPT N value should be reported in the


borehole log.
Corrected SPT N value should be used when the
designer assessing the potential liquefaction of the
ground.

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3. Determination of ground types in


accordance to EC8

Classification of ground types


Suggested investigation/tests for classification of ground types
Test

Down-hole/cross-hole/PS logging seismic


wave test
piezocone test (CPTU)
(Note: should be carried whenever feasible for building of
important Class I)

Measurement/correlated value
Shear wave
In situ relative density

In-situ permeability tests

Correlated shear wave and


maximum shear modulus
Field permeability

SPT tests

SPT N value

In-situ density
in-situ density tests
Basic soil properties
Laboratory tests; sieve analysis, Atterberg
limits, moisture content, specific gravity, bulk
and dry densities, and maximum and minimum
dry densities tests; constant head permeability
tests on sand, one-dimensional consolidation
tests on clayey soils, and unconsolidated
undrained (UU) triaxial tests on clayey soils

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Classification of ground types


Suspension P-S velocity logging system

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Classification of
ground types

Ground types based


on EC8(+A1:2013)

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Classification of ground types


Classification of ground types

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Classification of ground types


Worked example
Depth (m)

Soil profile

1.5
3.0
4.5
6.0
7.5
9.0
10.5
12.0
13.5
15.0
16.5
18.0
19.5
21.0
22.5
24.0
25.5
27.0
28.5

30.0

Description of soil layer


Fill
Fill
Firm sandy clay/silt
Firm sandy clay/silt
Firm to very stiff sandy silt
Firm to very stiff sandy silt
Firm to very stiff sandy silt
Firm to very stiff sandy silt
Firm to very stiff sandy silt
Firm to very stiff sandy silt
Firm to very stiff sandy silt
Firm to very stiff sandy silt
Firm to very stiff sandy silt
Firm to very stiff sandy silt
Firm to very stiff sandy silt
Firm to very stiff sandy silt
Hard sandy silt
Hard sandy silt
Moderately highly weathered
sandstone
Moderately highly weathered
sandstone

SPT
4
4
7
8
22
20
22
22
24
15
13
18
12
16
20
22
42
75
100

100

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Classification of ground types


Worked example
Should equation (3-1) be also used for SPT N or cu values?

?
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Classification of ground types


Worked example
Using SPT
Depth (m) Description of soil layer
1.5
3.0
4.5
6.0
7.5
9.0
10.5
12.0
13.5
15.0
16.5
18.0
19.5
21.0
22.5
24.0
25.5
27.0
28.5
30.0

Fill
Fill
Firm sandy clay/silt
Firm sandy clay/silt
Firm to very stiff sandy silt
Firm to very stiff sandy silt
Firm to very stiff sandy silt
Firm to very stiff sandy silt
Firm to very stiff sandy silt
Firm to very stiff sandy silt
Firm to very stiff sandy silt
Firm to very stiff sandy silt
Firm to very stiff sandy silt
Firm to very stiff sandy silt
Firm to very stiff sandy silt
Firm to very stiff sandy silt
Hard sandy silt
Hard sandy silt
Moderately highly weathered
sandstone
Moderately highly weathered
sandstone

SPT
4
4
7
8
22
20
22
22
24
15
13
18
12
16
20
22
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Using correlated Vs from SPT N values

Depth/SPT Average value Depth/Vs


(m/s)
0.375
146
0.0102
0.375
146
0.0102
0.214
164
0.0092
0.188
168
0.0089
0.068
311
0.0048
0.075
301
0.0050
0.068
311
0.0048
0.068
311
0.0048
0.063
320
0.0047
0.100
274
0.0055
0.115
261
0.0057
0.083
291
0.0052
0.125
254
0.0059
0.094
280
0.0054
0.075
301
0.0050
0.068
311
0.0048
0.036
384
0.0039
0.020
466
0.0032

Lower bound Depth/Vs


value (m/s)
146
0.0102
146
0.0102
164
0.0092
168
0.0089
259
0.0058
251
0.0060
259
0.0058
259
0.0058
266
0.0056
230
0.0065
220
0.0068
243
0.0062
214
0.0070
234
0.0064
251
0.0060
259
0.0058
316
0.0048
378
0.0040

100

0.015

512

0.0029

413

0.0036

100

0.015
2.240

512

0.0029
0.1132

413

0.0036
0.1283

Avg SPT
Class

13.4
D

Class

265
C

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m/s
Class

234 m/s
C

Classification of ground types

Sand Fill

Sand Fill

Sand Fill

Sample of shear wave


measurements using
PS logging in
compacted sand fill

Residual
soil

Residual
soil

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Classification of ground types


Suggested notes for designer considerations:
The shear wave velocity is the preferred parameter if it is available.
Most rational
Provide the best estimate of the site class

Alternatively, test results from piezocone test (CPTu), SPT N profile or


undrained shear strength profile in the upper 30m should be converted to
shear wave velocities for assessment of site class.
For soft clayey materials with SPT-N value less than or equal to 5, SPT N
values should not be used to derive shear wave velocities. This is because
for these soft clays the SPT N values are often very low (frequently zero)
and not representative for the strengths expected for these materials.

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Classification of ground types


FAQ
Can designer used Singapore Geological Map for site classification?

The above example showed that for an area within the same geological
formation, there could be big variation in ground type classification. As
such, the designer cannot just solely rely on the geological map.
Each project should use its own boreholes to determine the site
classification
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4. Case study on role of ground


investigation in geotechnical design

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Adequacy of ground investigation


Obstruction by existing buildings
Stage investigation
Stage 1 investigation
Stage 2 investigation

2 block of high-rise building


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Adequacy of ground investigation


Sufficient information for the intended design

GI for design of permanent structures


GI for design of ERSS
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Adequacy of ground investigation


Use of probe holes to supplement boreholes

Boreholes

Probed holes

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Adequacy of ground investigation


Case Study
Design of cross-passage: Original ground investigation

BH1

Hard soil above


tunnel crown

Plan of cross passage

Tunnel

Section

CP

Tunnel

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Adequacy of ground investigation


Design of cross-passage: Verification
by new borehole

BH2

BH1

New borehole
Weaker soil
above tunnel
crown

Plan of cross passage

Tunnel

Section

CP

Tunnel

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End of presentation

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