NZ Geomechanics News

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Free rapid assessment workshops for geo-professionals

Geotechnical professionals who are interested in applying their skills in a civil defence response are invited to attend a free MBIE workshop in early 2018.

The workshops will be run in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, and provide training on how to assess geo-hazards that could pose a life-safety risk to building occupants, as part of a rapid building assessment process. Once trained, participants will be added to MBIE’s register of rapid building assessors who can be called on to help during a state of emergency, or during a lesser event in special circumstances.

This course is for geo-professionals (especially CPEng and PEngGeol) with at least three years’ experience, including the assessment of geo-hazards and/or land instability.

The geotechnical field guide, published by MBIE earlier this year, is the accompanying resource and provides further information on the assessment process.

The all-day programme will include training on:

  • the Civil Defence Emergency Management structure
  • the rapid geotechnical assessment process and the role of the geo-professional in an emergency event
  • identifying geotechnical life-safety hazards and standard descriptions
  • decision-making around application of placards.
  • completing assessment forms
  • interacting with residents and building owners
  • safety and wellbeing.

Register to attend a workshop.  Please note that limited spaces are available.

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AGS Data Transfer Format updated for New Zealand

In response to international changes, and some local requirements, our version of the Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists (AGS) data transfer format has been updated and is now available for your use on the NZGS library (

The concept of transferring geotechnical data between all industry parties in electronic format is widely used internationally and in New Zealand. The adoption of a standardised data transfer file format provides a significantly improved ability to access geotechnical data and will allow greater utilisation of the information obtained. The initial concept for the transference of geotechnical data in an electronic format was first identified and established a number of years ago in the UK by the Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists (AGS – Since its initial release in 1992, the AGS format has undergone a series of successive updates that have reflected the needs of the industry. The AGS format is now in its Fourth Edition.

By basing the New Zealand version of the Format closely on the AGS (UK) Format, benefit is gained from the experience and lessons learned over the last 20 years as the Format has developed. We have now updated our version. The changes reflect the changes made internationally so that we remain compatible with international practice, as well as minor adjustments to New Zealand localisations (fully compatible with the international edition) to reflect changes in local practices.

The modifications are summarised in the document to enable easy updating of your databases or correspondence files. Examples include the additional SPT requirements of the Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering Module 2, and the increased use of  the sDMT in everyday practice.

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As many of you may be aware, a technical group has been set up in CEATNZ to represent the CPT operators in NZ. This has been referred to simply as the “CPT Group”. The main driving force for setting up this group was to develop a minimum quality standard for the industry. This is to help provide engineers, clients and stakeholders with confidence in the quality of the data coming from the CPT contractors.

All 22 known CPT contractors in NZ have now joined this group. This shows an industry wide commitment to improving and maintaining high quality standards. The CPT Group has decided to adopt the ISO 22476-1 standard over the ASTM standard that is in current use. The process is to be started by a round of appraisals by a third-party auditor. Graeme Duske, a highly experienced geotechnical technician, has been appointed the auditor. He will be assisted by Allan McConnell of IGS in Australia. Each contractor will be assessed undertaking a CPT test against the ISO standard. Information obtained from these appraisals will form a picture of the current state of the industry. It will also highlight any issues that there may be with the ISO standard and how those are being dealt with by individual contractors. The information obtained will be collated and assessed with the intention of developing an industry best practice guideline. The best practice guideline, with the ISO standard at its core, will form the basis for a later round of audits. By passing those later audits the contractors will be award a certificate to demonstrate that they have met the required standard of quality.

The first round appraisals will be undertaken between January and March 2018. The best practice guideline is expected to be completed by October. NZGS members and other interested parties will be invited to comment on the guidelines before they are finalised. We are aiming to have all contractors audited to those guidelines by the end of 2018. From then on it is expected that the audit certification will be the benchmark for assessing competence in CPT testing. The longer term goal is to move towards IANZ accreditation for the test.

For more information regarding the CPT Group, please contact Marco Holtrigter:




NZ Geomechanics News
NZ Geomechanics News>Issue 94 – December 2017

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