Geotechnical Investigations for Non-Geotechnical Engineers
Venue: Prosperitas Auditorium (No 53 – on map),
Central University of Technology (CUT),
1 Park Road, Willows, Bloemfontein
Date: Thursday 15 February 2018
Registration: 12:00

Lecture: 13:00 – 17:00Presented by: Peter Day – Jones & Wagener and
Philip Stott – Central University of Technology

We are in the process of applying for ECSA CPD points for the lecture.
Minimum requirements for geotechnical investigations with specific reference to housing developments on expansive clays – Peter Day

From the days of Jennings, Brink and Williams, South Africa has a well-established competency in geotechnical investigation. The expertise, equipment and facilities exist within our country. Why then should we still and ourselves in a position where so many projects go wrong because of inadequate geotechnical information? In most such cases, it is not that no geotechnical investigation was carried out, but that the scope of the investigation was inadequate for the particular project. Does the problem lie with reluctance of developers to spend the money, poor specification of the investigation requirements or the mistaken belief that the industry already knows the geotechnical conditions likely to occur in a certain area?

This lecture will deal with the various regulatory (legal) and normative (standardised) requirements for geotechnical investigations and the level of investigation required for various categories of development. It will highlight the need to ensure that the investigation provides the information required for the planning, design, pricing, construction and management of projects. Examples will be presented of a number of projects that have incurred significant cost overruns, delays or damage on account of inadequate investigation.

Particular attention will be paid to the problem of expansive soils in the Free State province. This will include the origins of the expansive soils, investigation requirements, prediction of heave movements and appropriate foundation types. Problems regarding the specification and procurement of geotechnical investigations for housing developments will be discussed.

The lecture will end with a discussion session on what the geotechnical profession can do to assist clients, planners and project managers to specify and procure investigations that are appropriate for the project at hand.

Can we afford to continue testing soils by standard methods? -Philip Stott

This lecture examines the suitability of current South African standard testing methods for assessing engineering soils. So many failures have occurred, especially in low cost housing, that we need to ask the question “why are all these economic calamities happening?” The current standards were developed specifically for testing roads construction materials; and they may be adequate for this small group of soils.

Nevertheless, even roads are experiencing severe problems because of the underlying sub-grade soils, which are not adequately assessed by the standard procedures. The tests generally known as the “foundation indicators” are probably adequate only for the least problematic kinds of soil. It looks as if the whole philosophy behind the current tests may be fundamentally flawed; some aspects of soil behaviour which seriously impact foundation problems appear to be completely ignored. These weaknesses of the standard tests are examined and some alternatives are put forward for consideration.

Registration Costs

SAICE Geotechnical members R500.00
Non members R750.00
Students R250.00
Group Registration and Co-Operative Sponsor R10 000.00
(This allows for a maximum of 10 registrations and being one of the sponsors of the lecture.)


Registration: 12:00 – 13:00
Lectures: 13:00 – 17:00
Networking opportunity: 17:00

Completed registration forms to be returned to
For more information, please contact Yolandé van den Berg on +27 82 323 3910.

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