Upcoming NZGS Course in Design and Construction Techniques in Soft Ground

Published 02 July 2018
Upcoming NZGS Course in Design and Construction Techniques in Soft Ground

Course objectives and outcomes

This one-day course, developed and organised by NZGS, will provide an introduction to the essential components of soft soil engineering. The course will include an overview of the theory of the behaviour of soft soils and design criteria. Attendees will develop good understanding of the issues arising when building on such soils and of the importance of specific strategy and planning for such projects. The course will also provide methodologies for ground investigation and sampling and techniques for building the ground model. The techniques for soft soil treatment will be discussed, including construction staging and monitoring.

The course will comprise classroom teaching and a short design exercise. At the completion of the course, attendees should be able to consider options to deliver the project, scope a geotechnical investigation to support the design, perform simple calculations to estimate the performance of options including consolidation, stone columns and soil mixing. Attendees will be introduced to implementation of instrumentation and monitoring regime and use of the Observational Method and back analysis. Development of specifications for ground improvement for soft soils will be briefly addressed.

Who should attend?

The course is targeted at geotechnical engineers with minimum 2 years’ experience, and ideally at those with 5 to 10 years’ experience. More senior engineers may benefit from a refresher.
It is assumed that the attendees have a university level understanding of soil mechanics.


The course will be presented by Dr. Richard Kelly, based in Australia and Nick Wharmby based in New Zealand.

Dr. Richard Kelly
Richard is a Chartered Professional Engineer and fellow of the Institution of Engineers, Australia (CPEng). He is currently the Chief Technical Principal – Geotechnical with SMEC Australia – New Zealand, a Conjoint Professor of Practice at the University of Newcastle and an Honorary Professorial Fellow at the University of Wollongong. Richard has extensive expertise in site characterisation, soft soil engineering, ground improvement, materials use, earthworks and foundation design.

Nick Wharmby

Nick is a Civil Engineer specialised in Geotechnology. Nick has been working in New Zealand since 2004, and has been involved in major infrastructure projects playing a key role in bringing new construction methodologies to the country, including ground improvement techniques. Nick has contributed in his area of expertise to many international organisations and committees (Federation of Piling Specialists Technical Committee, ICE, Ground Engineering Advisory Panel, CIRIA). Nick is currently Technical Manager with March Construction.


The cost for the course per attendee is

  • $350 plus GST, for NZGS members
  • $650 plus GST, for non-NZGS members

This covers full attendance, course notes and teaching material, and full catering for the day.

Course locations and dates

  • Auckland – Monday 3 September 2018**(the course will be repeated tentatively on Tuesday 4 September, depending on the level of interest).
  • Wellington – Wednesday 5 September 2018.
  • Christchurch – Friday 7 September 2018.

For further information contact the organiser Eleni Gkeli (eleni.gkeli@wsp-opus.co.nz).



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Issue 95
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ISSN 0111-6851