Geotechnical Engineering

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Geotechnical engineering is one of BGC’s core competencies. Our expertise is based on a specialized appreciation of the engineering geology of a site and its potential impacts on engineered structures.  We are industry leaders in geotechnical engineering and provide services to a wide variety of clients worldwide, including those in private industry, government and important stakeholders.  We act either directly for these clients or provide sub-consulting services to prime consultants.

BGC’s geotechnical assignments vary from scoping and pre-feasibility level studies and routing evaluations to detailed design, construction inspection, contract management and independent third party reviews.  We provide a complete spectrum of geotechnical services ranging from characterization to assessment to design to construction monitoring and documentation.

  • Characterization

    Effective site characterization is the foundation of a successful engineering project. Our site characterization process begins with a comprehensive review of available information ranging from climate and hydrology to geology and seismic characteristics. We draw from any number of mediums, including reports, maps, aerial photos, satellite imagery and previous site experience.  Based on our initial assessments, BGC prepares and undertakes site investigation programs that typically comprise some or all of the following aspects:

    • Test pits and boreholes
    • In situ testing including Standard Penetration and Cone Penetration Testing
    • Instrumentation installation including piezometers, wells, slope inclinometers and thermistors
    • Geophysical surveys
    • Sample collection and associated laboratory testing.

    We have extensive experience undertaking site investigation programs on land and in river and marine environments. Our hands-on knowledge includes a wide variety of investigation equipment and drill rig types.


  • Assessment

    Following characterization, BGC proceeds to the next step of the process, which consists of the interpretation and assessment of those conditions relative to the project under consideration.  Our expertise includes the evaluation of the stability of natural and man-made slopes using a variety of analytical and numerical modeling techniques, along with other aspects of geohazard assessments.  This assessment phase may include stability, seepage and deformation aspects, which usually require soil, bedrock and groundwater properties and parameters to be estimated based on fieldwork.  BGC employs specialists in the area of liquefaction triggering and flow slides and this can be an important aspect of site assessment for development.  Furthermore, geotechnical risk assessment can be a powerful tool to complement the assessment stage and understand other risks.

  • Design

    BGC’s experts specialize in the application of soil and rock mechanics to the design of dams, dykes, embankments, earth retaining structures, excavations, slopes and foundations in varying situations.  Our foundations team is experienced with the design and assessment of shallow and deep foundations, including the calculation of allowable bearing pressures and settlements, the design of spread footings, rafts and pile foundations and retaining walls.  BGC also has expertise in the design of retaining structures including those involving mechanically stabilized earth (MSE).  We have extensive experience with the use of geosynthetics including geotextiles, geogrids, geomembranes and geosynthetic clay liners (GCLs) for various reinforcement and lining applications.  Our engineers have expertise with various soil improvement techniques which include surcharging and staged construction, dynamic compaction, enhanced drainage and soil mixing and grouting.  Our experience has included the design and construction of numerous foundation systems, earth structures and civil infrastructure from dams and embankments to landfills, lagoons, highways, tanks, pipelines and tunnels.  BGC can provide a range of input from geotechnical recommendations only to a full package of design including drawings, specifications and tender review

  • Construction Monitoring

    BGC plays an important role during the construction phase by providing a range of services including design package review (if done by others), on-going assessment of excavated ground conditions, installation of instrumentation, fill materials monitoring and associated quality assurance and quality control services.  We also conduct footing, pile and plate load tests to assess the performance of these structures.  This final stage in the design/construct process is important so that engineers can react and alter designs, particularly when variable ground conditions are encountered.

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