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Date 3 April 2019
Title AGS Annual Conference 2019
Organiser Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists
Location National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham

The AGS are pleased to announce that their inaugural Annual Conference is taking place on Wednesday 3rd April at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham.

Formally known as Members’ Day, this full day seminar will focus on the work and achievements of the AGS and see expert speakers present on geotechnical and geoenvironmental topics and summarise lessons learnt. Please see working event programme below:

Between a rock and hard place: communicating geoscience to dissonant and wary publics: Iain Stewart, Professor of Geoscience Communication and Director, Sustainable Earth Institute at University of Plymouth
The geological subsurface represents an alien frontier in public consciousness – out of sight and out of mind. Increasingly, however, underground geological issues are rising to the surface as acute community concerns over conventional resource extraction and new public anxieties about novel insertions of waters and waste. So how do we communicate these complex geoscientific issues with an increasingly dissonant and wary public? This talk explores how approaches from popular mass media and from social science disciplines can be integrated into a new evidence-based geo-communication science that address the emergent issues of ‘contested geoscience’.

Emerging challenges with new and old contaminants: Phil Crowcroft, Technical Fellow at ERM
Ground contamination continues to present a range of challenges, whether associated with substances we haven’t considered before, or substances which are well-known, but our understanding of their properties is changing. New knowledge on toxicology, availability and other characteristics can change our assessment of risk, and lead to changes in Drinking Water Standards, EQS values or human health Assessment Criteria. Whilst in the past we have tended to focus on specific elements or compounds such as arsenic or sulphate, we are now as much concerned about the size of particles such as microplastics, or their persistence in the environment, such as the PFAS group of chemicals. This paper reviews some of the most recent issues where our approach to assessing sites may need to adapt in the coming years.

Reducing uncertainty – the quest for representative sample: Chris Swainston, Principal Environmental Engineer at Soils and Mike Plimmer, Technical Director at Geotechnical and Environmental Associates
Can the recent AGS sampling guidance together with the old and new British and Iso standards and guidance, assist in reducing uncertainty? A discussion of the uncertainties associated with soil sampling, the variations in laboratory sample preparation techniques and the difficulties in avoiding cross contamination where very low concentration thresholds are to be adopted.

Delivering geotechnical value in a multi-disciplinary environment: Patrick Cox, Director Major Projects at AECOM
By provoking thought and discussion of our future as a step towards transformation of perception of our specific area of industry, the presentation aims to:

  • Describe and illustrate where and how geotechnical specialists can add tangible value by talking the language of clients and project teams tasked with building an asset considering what really matters to them in plain terms;
  • Start the body of knowledge to change the conversation around why geotechnical specialists should be first on the team sheet in a multi-disciplinary project in contact with the ground;
  • Provide actual examples quantifying time / cost / meaningful benefits to clients and others involved in projects in aspects such as earthworks, retaining walls, foundations and site investigation potentially forming the basis of a new approach to guidance on why involvement is required, a carrot (incentive through benefits) rather than a stick (inadequate information will result in claims);
  • Offer pointers around engagement to sell our services and solutions and provoke discussion on how we engage with those other than the converted;
  • Consider the Rethinking Site Investigation concept, moving away from commoditisation of the industry and how to encourage more intelligent approaches to our communication of value that aren’t reliant on assumptions of a given right to SI or only request more budget through the simplistic linkage of project value to SI budget.

• Practical Asbestos Ground Investigations: James Macfarlane, Technical Director (Asbestos) at Hydrock
This presentation will;
• Discuss the impact of the Control of Asbestos Regulations relative to asbestos in soils;
• Discuss the relative risks between asbestos in buildings vs. soils
• Highlight the evolution of asbestos in soils ground investigation works and industry guidance;
• Introduction to the AGS ‘Ground Investigations – Work with Asbestos Risk Assessment’ guidance
• Practical implementation of the guidance
• Case Study

• Who Owns Data? The Legal Considerations of Transfer of AGS Data: Jackie Bland, IT Manager at Geotechnics, David Entwisle, Senior Engineering Geologist at BGS, Steve Walthall and Hugh Mallet, Technical Director at BuroHappold Engineering.

A small presentation will also be provided by each AGS Working Group Leader.

A limited number of delegates per AGS member company may attend the conference free of charge. The number of complimentary tickets provided are dependent on the number of practitioners in your company*, (please see Table 1 on page 2 of the registration form). Additional tickets may be purchased for £60 (plus VAT) per AGS Member.

To confirm your attendance please complete the below registration and return it to before Friday 22nd March 2019. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

AGS Annual Conference registration form


Envirolab provides laboratory services spanning a broad organic and inorganic portfolio. Our reputation for excellence is built on continually providing our clients with reliable results delivered on time and within budget. Our UKAS and MCERTS accreditations guarantee our commitment to quality.

Celebrating their 10th year as a leading ground investigation contractor and consultancy in the UK, Land Science are working on many different geotechnical and geo-environmental projects for a diverse range of clients.

Quantum Geotechnical, based in South Wales and South West England, working nationwide, provides a comprehensive service across the ground investigation, geotechnical contracting and geotechnical consultancy sectors. We have a specialist fleet of multi-purpose drilling rigs, a UKAS accredited in-house laboratory and a team of experienced and chartered engineers and geologists.

AmbiSense is a technology company operating in the environmental sector. We build machine learning models utilizing field deployable sensor technologies and contextual data sources to simplify, automate and improve the delivery of environmental risk assessment. Through real-time sensor platforms, we generate unique insights into a multitude of industrial and environmental processes.

NHBC is the UK’s leading warranty and insurance provider for new homes. NHBC sets standards for its registered house builders and works to improve the construction quality of the homes they build. NHBC is a non-profit distributing organisation with no shareholders that dedicates resources and technical expertise to support the industry in raising the standards of new homes.

Lankelma specialise in high-quality cone penetration testing (CPT), delivering ground investigations and providing engineering consultancy for construction projects. We have an extensive fleet of CPT equipment, operated by experienced staff, which can be mobilised anywhere in the world.

Fugro is the leading international provider of geo-intelligence and asset integrity solutions with expertise extending from pre-construction site investigation to measurement, monitoring and testing throughout the asset life. Our experts acquire and analyse geo-data and provide insight and advice helping you achieve your budget, programme and quality objectives.

Equipe offer a vast array of services; their expertise ranges from specialist geotechnical health and safety training for on-site staff, to developing innovations that will make your life easier and your workflow smoother. Their strategic partnerships with industry experts, health and safety specialists and software developers means their catalogue of services is unparalleled in the geotechnical sector.

Landmark Information specialises in data and technology to help land, property and environmental professionals calculate, manage and reduce potential risks. It does this by providing a range of market-leading desktop reports, digital mapping and consultancy services to support organisations in a range of areas including flood risk management and climate change adaptation reporting.

Derwentside Environmental Testing Services offer a range of analytical services for the environmental, construction, waste, fuel and engineering industries, and are accredited to ISO 17025 and MCERTS for soils and waters. DETS also have a team of six vans and drivers to facilitate sample collection, and an online reporting system to enable data access 24/7.

RAW is a market leading remediation contractor, specialising in recent and historical contamination issues, determining contaminant fate, transport and impact to building structures, groundwater, surface waters and soils / materials. RAW undertakes design and implementation of diverse, cost-effective remediation solutions, offering an innovative approach and extensive experience.

With over 50 years of experience, Soil Engineering are one of the country’s foremost Ground Investigation and Specialist Grouting Contractors. The comprehensive in-house geotechnical laboratory, continually updated plant fleet, and ongoing investment in training and staff development, allow Soil Engineering to provide a reliable and cost-effective solution for any geotechnical project, throughout the UK.

Concept is an award-winning geotechnical specialist operating from regional offices thought-out the UK. Our in depth understanding of project design requirements allow us to assist our Clients in the planning, procurement, completion and interpretation of all aspects of the site investigation work; be that geotechnical, environmental or structural.

Formed in 2012, Causeway, a GI contractor has expanded quickly to employing around 100 staff members, with a fleet of over 60 vehicles operating across Ireland and Great Britain. Our core values and integrity have remained unchanged throughout this time, with our primary goal being customer satisfaction for each and every contract.

In Situ Site Investigation is a multi-national specialist geotechnical and geo-environmental site investigation company, which specialises in the use of Cone Penetration Testing techniques including seismic, shear vane, video cone, pressuremeter, magnetometer, MiHpt & MOSTAP sampling. Our specialised rigs enable us to work in most locations including railways, marine, brownfield sites, river slopes & mountainous terrain.

Geoterra are geospatial engineers and consultant chartered land surveyors who specialise in above and below ground geo-referenced surveys.
Geoterra utilise a variety of innovative solutions to obtain accurate survey data upon which engineering decisions can be made, reducing the risk of the unknown; what lies beneath. We offer clients unique solutions for their various requirements throughout the UK.

Sponsorship opportunities are available at the AGS Annual Conference, and can provide an excellent marketing platform for companies wishing to increase their profile and raise awareness of their company initiatives. The following sponsorship package is currently available;

SILVER SPONSORSHIP PACKAGE (AGS Member Rate: £400/ Non-Member Rate: £480)
• Entry for one delegate into the event
• Company logo on event PowerPoint Presentation holding slide
• Company logo on the event programme
• Company overview on the AGS website
• Announcement of your company’s involvement on the AGS Twitter page

Prices exclude VAT.

For further information on the event and sponsorship opportunities contact Caroline Kratz on 0208 658 8212 or email

Further Information