NZGS Guidelines

NZ Ground Investigation Specification


There has not previously been a standard template in New Zealand for the specification and procurement of ground investigation work, and specifications varied significantly from project to project and between organisations.  Long project specific specifications were unlikely to be fully read by tenderers (at least within the tender period) while short specifications were unlikely to capture all the appropriate details.  This has resulted in a number of problems:

  1. Time was wasted writing a fresh specification for each project, adding to costs.
  2. There was inconsistent pricing within and between tenders due to the lack of clarity on scope.
  3. Inconsistent or unread specifications resulted in confusion about the scope of work, including expectations and practices about the quality standards required, leading to unexpected variations or rework on site.

This specification is the fruit of a collaborative process involving major clients, large and small consultants and contractors. It a free to use, ready-to-go document pack which is suitable for small, medium and large projects of any complexity.  It is designed to be easy to use, to simplify the procurement process, and to be customisable to suit the requirements for more complex projects.

The full specification comprises a number of inter-related components that, when used together, provide best opportunity to achieve a quality ground investigation and a simpler, clearer and more consistent tendering process for all parties.

Current status

The draft NZ Ground Investigation Specification was issued for consultation in April 2016, and feedback closed in November 2016.  This feedback has now been incorporated and the documents available here are the finished documents ready for use on your projects.

Future revisions

It is anticipated that these specifications will be updated at regular intervals (likely every 1-2 years) to reflect lessons learned from the use of the specification.  You can provide feedback on the specification, with suggestions for improvement to be incorporated into the next revision, using this online form.


Volume 0

This volume provides general advice regarding the correct application and use of the Specification and the procurement of geotechnical services.  It does not form part of the Specification, although the Specification is intended to be read in conjunction with this document.

This document is not a guide to the management or implementation of ground investigations, or the interpretation and development of ground models.  For more information on this the reader should consult one of the many text books on the topic.  One example is Simons, et al, 2002,  The MBIE/NZGS (2016) Earthquake Engineering Module 2 provides an excellent introduction with a New Zealand emphasis.

This volume also provides (as appendices) a set of standard templates and guidance which may be useful in improving the consistency of ground investigation practice but do not form a part of the specification.  This allows the consultants involved to use their own preferred templates where they already exist or where they are more appropriate for the project and site requirements.

Volume 1, Master specification

The Specification comprises a series of clauses which are intended as minimum requirements.  These minimum requirements have been set for the geotechnical investigation techniques which are most commonly used in New Zealand.  It is implicit that only the sections relevant to the specific investigation being undertaken are applied to a particular project.

The Specification is fixed in content and scope; project specific requirements, including identification of which sections of the Specification are relevant to that project, are defined in the Project Specific Requirements.  This way the Specification can be scaled to suit a range of project sizes.

Volume 2, Project Specific Requirements

The Project Specific Requirements document is a template designed to be completed by the Client and Geotechnical Professional to give details on which aspects of the Specification will apply to the project, and any changes to the standard wording.

Volume 3, Bill of Quantities

An example Bill of Quantities, together with a preamble which defines payment terms, is provided.  This is designed to be compatible with the Specification and allow easy management of a ground investigation by defining consistent payment and measurement methods.  It is also the preferred tool to clearly define the scope of work to the Consultant or Contractor.  Some parties may choose to use the Specification alone with their own alternative method of measurement.


Tags : #Ground investigation#Specification

NZGS Guidelines
Ross Roberts
Vol 0: 978-1-98-851730-8 - Vol 1: 978-1-98-851731-5

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