Ground Investigation Specification

There is currently no New Zealand standard for the procurement and specification of ground investigation works.  This has resulted in:

  1. inconsistent tendering processes and outcomes
  2. inconsistent pricing within and between tenders due to the lack of clarity on scope
  3. unclear expectations and practices about the quality standards required when undertaking ground investigation works

A working group led by Geomechanics News co-editor Ross Roberts and including representatives of Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, EQC, Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment, NZ Drillers’ Federation, NZ Geotechnical Society, NZ Transport Agency and Watercare have produced a suitable specification.  We believe that this will be fantastically valuable to the New Zealand industry by helping to improve standards, increase consistency, reduce tendering costs and decrease unforeseen costs in ground investigation.

For contractors and consultants it should help reduce tendering costs by standardising the process and expectations.  There will be no need for consultants to create a new specification for each project, and no need for contractors to read and assess a new specification every time they tender.

For clients it should make the procurement of investigations much simpler to compare tenders by getting all parties tendering to the same standard, and it should reduce the cost of the tendering process by eliminating the need to procure a project-specific specification.  By setting a sensible level of minimum standard it should give clients confidence that they are getting an investigation that safely meets their design needs and addresses their project risks.

The document can easily be up or down scaled depending on the nature and complexity of the project.   We hope that the specification will be accepted by the building and infrastructure industries as a de facto standard.  In order to get this to work well for everyone we have made the documents available for review and trial (where appropriate) for a six month feedback period, after which we will review all the feedback and make any required improvements.

Feedback is open until the end of November.  Documents are available for download here  All feedback would be gratefully received to enable us to produce a final document that is technically robust and meets the needs of all parts of the industry.

The sponsors gratefully acknowledge the hard work of the co-authors Guy Cassidy, Tony Fairclough, Stuart Finlan, Stephen Grace, Sally Hargraves, Gilles Seve and Harry Wahab, as well as numerous industry contributors from clients, consultants and drillers.

Author: Ross Roberts

Ross is Auckland Council’s geotechnical specialist, with responsibility for managing council’s geotechnical risk, setting geotechnical policy and providing an interface with industry. He is a Professional Engineering Geologist (PEngGeol) and Chartered Geologist (CGeol). After being educated in Edinburgh and Newcastle he moved to New Zealand in 2008.

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