Our team is highly experienced in investigating, analysing, testing and managing the movement of earth and other material around a site to establish formation levels for building and landscaping.  This can involve importing material as well as removal of surplus material leading to ground improvements covering methods of improving the engineering properties of the ground.

We have strong terrain modelling capabilities that enable us to optimise earthworks associated with re-profiling the landscape. This allows us to produce resource efficient designs that respond to the local environment.

We address all aspects of settlement: Settlement subsidence in which there is a change in ground level because of load applied by building or changing groundwater regime. The risk is that it causes cracking in buildings. Differential settlement is the rate of settlement that varies across the site/building which is a major cause of cracking. Angular distortion is a change in angle of a building with the ground, caused by differential settlement. Total settlement is the maximum settlement across building: cracks unlikely if whole building settles by same amount but services may be affected.

We have expertise in identifying, analysing and managing risk of running sand which occurs where loosely packed sand becomes fluidised and swept away by water flowing through the spaces between the grains.

Responding to specific site requirements, we engage in geotechnical centrifuge testing as a well-established method of reliably modeling the behaviour of geotechnical materials at small scale. The ability to deal with diverse unstable conditions is a core skill base for the team. We have built up expertise working with meta stable soils prevalent in the Middle East and other hot arid environments. These soils have been deposited by gentle accumulation such as wind-blown deposits and have a porous structure. When water evaporates slight cementation can occur. On re-wetting with irrigation the cementation is lost and significant settlement occurs. Soils can also collapse if disturbance occurs due to seismic shock or pile driving. During ground investigation the Inundated Plate Load Test can be used to identify this problem.

Key contact

Andy Murdoch


  • work+44 2079 279 700