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Ground investigation: Some requirements and

case studies

Dr Poh Teoh Yaw


Deep Excavation and Geotechnical Department
Building Engineering Group, BCA

21 February 2017

Contents
1. Requirements on site investigation
Case study 1 the need for SI borehole
2. Specific requirements on ground investigation in
accordance to EC7
3. Preliminary investigation
Case study 2 preliminary investigation
4. Case study on role of ground investigation in
geotechnical design
Case study 3 highly variable rock head
Case study 4 site classification for cost-effective approach
Case study 5 design optimisation
Case study 6 design verification
5. Concluding remarks

2
1. Requirements on site investigation

Requirements on Site Investigation

Site investigation
Building Control Regulation

31.(1) Where foundation, tunnels, site formation (including excavations) or


related earthworks are proposed to be constructed or carried out on any
premises, an investigation of the site shall be undertaken by the qualified
person appointed under section 8(1)(a) or 11(1)(d)(i) of the Act in respect of the
structural elements of the
relevant building works in order to establish the type and character of the
ground and groundwater conditions on which the foundations, tunnels, site
formation (including excavations) or earthworks are to be constructed or
carried out.
Requirements on Site Investigation

Site investigation
Building Control Regulation

31(2) Whenever any site investigation is to be carried out, the qualified person
appointed under section 8(1)(a) or 11(1)(d)(i) of the Act shall carry out proper
and adequate site investigation
(a) in accordance with the relevant standards and codes of practice; and
(b) by conducting adequate investigation boreholes and other appropriate
investigation means, in-situ field tests and laboratory tests to establish the
ground and groundwater conditions, their variability and the geotechnical
aspects for the works to be carried out.
(3) Whenever any site investigation is to be carried out in respect of the
building works, the qualified person appointed under section 8(1)(a) or
11(1)(d)(i) of the Act shall submit the site investigation reports to the
Commissioner of Building Control and in accordance with paragraph (4).
(4) All site investigation reports shall contain field and laboratory data, and
tests and results, and shall be accompanied by a certificate from an
appropriate professional engineer who, having carried out, supervised or
directed the site investigation, certifies that he has verified the accuracy of the
information given in the site investigation report.

Requirements on Site Investigation


https://www.bca.gov.sg/StructuralPlan/asp_23.html
Requirements on Site Investigation

Joint BCA/IES/ACES/GeoSS Circular

Requirements on site investigation


(Quantity of BH and termination criteria)
Buildings of 10-storey or more Buildings of 5 to 9-storey

1 BH per 300 m2 or 1 BH per 10 to 30 1 BH per 15 to 40 m interval; and


m interval and minimum 3 BHs per Minimum 2 BHs per site
site
BH termination criteria
Min 5 m into hard stratum with SPT N >100 or 3 times the pile diameters
beyond the founding depth of foundation

Case study 1 The need for SI borehole

QP has adopted the following


design approach:

Site investigation
Minor building work, QP
has adopted safe bearing
capacity approach for the
design of foundation without
site investigation

Foundation design
Adopted raft foundation at
shallow depth
No basement

Control measures
Adopted plate load test to
verify design assumption on
safe soil bearing capacity.
8
2-storey landed corner unit
Case study 1 The need for SI borehole

Plan approval
Structural plan approved
Construction permit issued

Construction
Builder constructed as per approved plan
No excavation below GWL or footing level of adjoining unit
No feedback during substructure works

Feedback
Upon completion of the superstructure works, BCA received
feedback from owner of adjoining unit on damage of his
house.

What was happening ?

Case study 1 The need for SI borehole

The new 2-storey house


had tilted 236mm from the
vertical, and settled by
655mm.

The adjacent single-storey


terrace house affected by
rotation of the new house.
Cracks up to 200mm wide
appeared on walls, and
beams.

Structural frame of the new


2-storey house and the
adjacent single-storey
terrace house had become
unstable,
these two houses were
demolished and re-built.
The adjacent unit was affected by the
rotation of the corner terrace. 10
Case study 1 The need for SI borehole
Can plate load test verify the safe bearing capacity of the raft foundation?
Size effect Shape effect

Plate loading test Raft Foundation

Size effect
Site investigation borehole was conducted to
verify the ground conditions
0.3 m wide about 8 m wide (26 times) Ground consisted of Fill layer underlying
by thick layer of soft Marine clay up to a
Shape effect
depth of 25 m.
square strip
11

Case study 1 The need for SI borehole


Was the design assumption for foundation design appropriate ?

Design loading
Assumed Actual
Loadings from building structures Loadings from building structures
Soil loadings of 1.5 m backfill soil to
higher platform level.
Soil conditions
Soil beneath the Fill layer has the Thick layer of soft Marine clay up to
same or higher safe bearing a depth of 25 m.
capacity
Building settlement
Not check but assumed to be Building settlement of up to 655 mm
within 25 mm. and a building tilt of 236 mm.

12
Case study 1 The need for SI borehole
Possible Causes

The new 2 storey house was supported by a shallow raft


foundation founded on Fill layer underlying by a thick layer of
very soft marine clay (up to a depth of 25m).

Surcharge load of 1.5m additional backfill of earth was placed


to raise the platform level which was not considered in the
design.

Heavy building loads and backfill soil surcharge loads caused


the thick layer of very soft marine clay to consolidate and
settled.

Observations

Excessive settlement of the new 2-storey house caused the


adjacent terrace house to settle and crack.
13

Case study 1 The need for SI borehole

Site investigation borehole provide


essential information for QP to
determine an appropriate type of
foundation system that is able to
meet the safety and functionality
(ULS & SLS limits) of the proposed
building works.

14
Requirements on Site Investigation

For works involving foundations

BC Regulations requirements
QP to derive the design bearing capacity based on
results of site investigation boreholes, including
landed properties.

15

2. Specific requirements on ground


investigation in accordance to EC7
Ground investigation: EC7

General

1. Designers are responsible for the planning of the


geotechnical investigation and are accountable for their
decisions, i.e. specification of field and laboratory tests,
determination geotechnical design parameters and
characteristic values etc
2. Eurocodes require the rationale behind all geotechnical
parameters used for design to be justified and by inference
this extends to the way in which the parameters were
derived.
3. Designer should make use of BS EN ISO 22475-1 to satisfy
themselves that they are comfortable with the sampling and
testing programme that they specify for individual projects
17

Applicable codes for ground investigation


Field and laboratory works

EC7 Part 2: Ground investigation and testing


BS EN ISO 14688 Geotechnical investigation and testing Identification & classification of soil
BS EN ISO 14689 Geotechnical investigation and testing Identification & classification of rock
BS EN ISO 22475 Geotechnical investigation and testing Sampling by drilling and excavation
and groundwater measurements
BS EN ISO 22476 Geotechnical investigation and testing Field testing
BS EN ISO 22282 Geotechnical investigation and testing Geohydraulic testing (Part 1 to 6)
BS EN ISO 17892 Geotechnical investigation and testing Laboratory testing of soil
BS1377 Parts that are not withdrawn
BS5930 2015 revised and compliant to Euro codes

Competency criteria for personnel and companies


BS EN ISO 22475-2 Qualification criteria for enterprises and personnel
BS EN ISO 22475-3 Conformity assessment of enterprises and personnel by third party

18
Competency criteria for personnel and
companies
Personnel
Qualified operator documented competence based scheme for lead driller: Skills Evaluation
Certificate (Knowledge) [SEC(K)] for Soil Drilling & instrumentation, issued by the BCA
Responsible expert degree with 3 years experience or diploma with 5 years experience;
sufficient proven knowledge; Sign the GI report

Companies
demonstrate adequate competence and have adequate personnel and facilities
items of equipment conforming to BS EN ISO 22475-1 correctly maintained and
calibrated
a health and safety system; and
a quality assurance system

Conformity assessment of enterprises and personnel by third party


Accreditation scheme by third party
Annual assessment
Competency of enterprise and personnel

19

Compliance to Eurocode 7

20
Competency criteria for personnel and
companies

ACCREDITATION OF INSPECTION BODIES FOR SITE INVESTIGATION

Assessment Criteria
An Assessment Team consisting of the Lead Assessor(s) and Technical
Assessor(s) will assess the quality management system and technical
competencies of the inspection bodies against current regulatory
requirements and the following standards, technical note and accreditation
documents:
ISO/IEC 17020: 2012 General Criteria For The Operation Of Various
Types Of Bodies Performing Inspection
SAC 01 - Terms And Conditions For Accreditation
IB 01 Accreditation Process
IB 02 Fees Schedule
Technical Note SI:01 - Specific Requirements For The Accreditation Of
Inspection Bodies For Site Investigation Certified Course for SI Supervisor
21

Competency criteria for personnel and


companies

22
Topic:
Singapore geology
Roles and responsibilities
Drilling, soil sampling, field test
methods and instrumentation

23

GeoSS guide on ground investigation

GeoSS Guide

24
GeoSS guide on ground investigation

SI Spacing for Building Works


Structures Type Number of BH required
Buildings
Up to 10 stories high (excluding 15m to 40m grid, minimum 1 BH per block, and 3
landed housing) BHs per site
10m to 30m grid, 1 BH per 300sqm, minimum 2 BHs
More than 10 stories high per block, and 3 BHs per site
Large area 60 m grid per BH, at designers discretion
Roads, railways, canals, pipelines, 1 BH every 20 to 200m
inland dikes
ERSS, retaining wall < 6m high 1 BH every 15 to 40m
ERSS, retaining wall 6m high
1 BH every 10 to 30m
Tunnelling in built-up area 1 BH every 10 to 75m
Tunnelling in green field area 1 BH every 20 to 200m

Dam, costal dikes, weirs 1 BH every 25 to 75m along vertical sections

Road Bridges, tower stacks, heavy 2 to 6 BHs per foundation


machinery foundation
*GC3 projects should adopt the more onerous number of boreholes

GeoSS guide on ground investigation

Geotechnical categories
Local example: GC1
Description of category Example of projects
GC1
small and relatively simple
structures: Landed housing on shallow foundations in
for which it is possible to ensure firm residual soil;
that the fundamental requirements Single storey sheds;
will be satisfied on the basis of Link-ways;
experience and qualitative Minor roadside drain;
geotechnical investigations;
with negligible risk.

26
GeoSS guide on ground investigation

Geotechnical categories
Local example: GC2
Description of category Example of projects
GC2
- canal
- conventional buildings on
conventional types of structure - shallow or raft foundations;
and foundation with no - pile foundations;
exceptional risk or difficult - walls and other structures retaining or supporting soil
ground or loading conditions or water < 6m height;
- excavations < 6m depth
- bridge piers and abutments;
- embankments and earthworks;
- ground anchors and other tied-back systems;
- tunnels in hard, non-fractured rock/ competent soils,
and not subjected to special water tightness or other
requirements. 27

GeoSS guide on ground investigation

Local example: GC3 Geotechnical categories


Description of category Example of projects

GC3
- very large structure such as infrastructure projects for rail
fall outside the limits of and road tunnels
Geotechnical Categories - utilities tunnels of more than 3 m in diameter - airport
terminal buildings
1 and 2
- foundation for building of 30 storey or more; - unusual
structures such as port structures in poor ground
conditions;
- structures involving abnormal risks such as dam, dikes
- GBW(ERSS) in close proximity to existing buildings
except for single unit landed housing development,
- unusual or exceptionally difficult ground such as
foundation in limestone areas for more than 6 storey or
unusually loading conditions
-foundation for high-rise of more than 10 storey on
reclaimed land, or soft soils with combined thickness of soft
soils of more than 8 m
-GBW (ERSS) in soft soil ground conditions
- special buildings subjected to seismic risks (according 28
BC3);
GeoSS guide on ground investigation

Determination of geotechnical characteristic values

29

GeoSS guide on ground investigation

Reclassification of soil and rock from BS to EC

Suggested number of samples

30
FAQ

When should I adopt EC-compliant GI work?

All new ground investigation works carried out after 1


Apr 2015 should be complied with EC standards.

Can I submit ST plan based on EC with GI report based on BS?

As ground investigation may be conducted in advance


of ST plan submission, designer may still submit ST
plan in EC with GI report based on BS. However,
designer need to produce an ground interpretative report
based on EC and include it as part of their GDR.
All new ground investigation works carried out after 1
Apr 2015 should be based on EC standards.
31

FAQ

How to select an EC-compliant company to carry out your GI work?

Designers to ensure that the GI firm is able to comply


with EC on both field and laboratory requirements. In
additions, the firm is also able to meet the competency
criteria for personnel and companies.
Alternatively, designers may adopt firms accredited by
Singapore Accreditation council (SAC) under
accreditation scheme for Accreditation Scheme for
Inspection Bodies for Site Investigation
Companies accredited by SAC for the above mentioned
scheme can be deemed as EC-compliant companies.
32
FAQ

Can designer used existing GI report based on BS standard for his


EC design?

For project where the ground investigation was


conducted prior to 1 Apr 2015 based on British
Standard, the ground investigation still can be
used for plan submission. However, designers
need to produce an interpretive reports on design
parameters based on Euro codes and include
them as part of their GDR.

All new ground investigation works carried out after 1


Apr 2015 should be based on EC standards.
33

FAQ

Which value should be reported in the borehole log, corrected or


uncorrected SPT N value?

Uncorrected SPT N value should be reported in the


borehole log.
Corrected SPT N value should be used when the
designer assessing the potential liquefaction of the
ground.

34
3. Preliminary investigation

Geotechnical investigations

EC7-1 Section 3: Geotechnical Data


EC7-2 Section 2: Planning of ground investigations

Gathering of all relevant information about the site

Ground investigation

Preliminary investigation (conceptual design) desk


studies & site inspection

Design investigation (detailed design) specify relevant


investigation methods i.e. field tests/ lab tests to justify
choice of foundations, geotechnical works

Control investigation (construction stage) - Verification of


choice of foundation method and design procedure,
control of ground improvement works and stability during
construction
36
Preliminary investigations

EN 1997-2 C2.3

Assess suitability of site in comparison with alternative


sites
Assess suitable positioning of structure
Evaluate the possible effects of the proposed works on
surroundings, such as neighbouring buildings,
structures and sites
Walk-over surveys, desk studies of previous site
investigations
Plan the design and control investigations

37

Preliminary investigations
Study of existing underground structures/utilities to avoid accident

38
Preliminary investigations
Literature Survey

Desk Study: Published Paper


The Fort Canning Boulder Bed
(UGS 2003)

Next to FCBB

Site

Preliminary investigations
Desk Study: Geological Map

Desk Study:
Geological Map

Kallang
Formation

Site A
Preliminary investigations
Desk Study:
Neighbouring SI information

Boulder Clay Formation

Fort Canning Boulder Bed

SPT samples are inadequate


To properly identify it, cored samples are necessary

42
Case study 2 Preliminary investigation
Plan layout of site
Road

Proposed development
8 units of detached
landed houses with
basement
Landed houses

Existing building
Existing building
Site investigation
3 investigation
boreholes

43
Road

Case study 2 Preliminary investigation


Ground conditions

Residual soil of Bukit Timah Granite

44
Case study 2 Preliminary investigation
Adopted ERSS system

Soldier piles with timber laggings system


design based on favorable ground conditions

Section showing adopted ERSS scheme across the site


45

Case study 2 Preliminary investigation


Observation during construction

Stop work for


During installation of soldier pile 3 months
Feedback on damage
Work stop for
further
investigation

Additional SI
boreholes
conducted to
verify ground
conditions

46
Case study 2 Preliminary investigation
Plan layout of site
Additional SI boreholes
Very soft soils - Soldier piles
with timber laggings system
not appropriate

47

Case study 2 Preliminary investigation


Plan layout of site
Desk study and site
inspection
if conducted, should
discover the presence of
existing 3.05 m wide drain.
crucial information for QP
to determine on the
adequacy of site
investigation boreholes and
appropriate location for
these site investigation
boreholes for design of
ERSS system.

Existing drain

48
Case study 2 Preliminary investigation

Desk study and site inspection should be


conducted during the preliminary
investigation stage.
It should help to identify special feature/site
weakness where QP can specify detailed
investigation boreholes.
This can help to avoid unsafe works that may
result in unnecessary prolong stop works
during construction due to unforeseen
ground condition.

49

4. Case study on role of ground


investigation in geotechnical design

50
Improper tools may affect the quality of SI works

Blunt shoe Dent shoe

Poor rod joints Rope-pulley

51

Quality of SI works

High quality SI works can only be


produced by experience personnel with
the use of proper tools. Designer should
select SI firms that provide good quality
and reliable information on the type and
character of the ground and ground
water conditions

52
Highly variable rock head

Highly variable rock head

Mapping of rock head/competent soil layer

Rock mapping
showing highly
variable rock head.
Highly variable rock head

Do your borehole terminated


in the boulder or bedrock?

Highly variable rock head

Use of probe holes to supplement boreholes

Design boreholes
Probed holes conducted during wall construction

56
Obstruction by existing buildings

Stage investigation
Stage 1 investigation
Stage 2 investigation

2 block of high-rise building


57

Case studies
Case study 3 Highly variable rock head

Original design
6 existing SI boreholes

Proposed development
mixed high-rise development > 30
storey

Site investigation
6 investigation boreholes
Met minimum BH requirements

Challenges
highly variable rock head
tight construction schedule
long waiting time for site RE to
obtain confirmation from QP(D)
risk of short pile if RE misinterpret
the rock head Plan layout of foundation

Case study 3 Highly variable rock head

Which borehole to use?


TP3 and TP4

Pile TP3 and TP4

BH A1 : Pile length = 47.5 m


BH A11 : Pile length = 57 m

Which pile length to adopt?

long construction time and


costly if RE insisted on
longer pile length
Plan layout of foundation
Case study 3 Highly variable rock head

Which
borehole to
use?

T6
Barrette Pile T6
BH A1 : Pile length = 47.5 m
BH A2 : Pile length = 58 m

Plan layout of foundation

Case study 3 Highly variable rock head

Which
borehole to
use?

Barrette Pile T8

Barrette Pile T8

BH A1 : Pile length = 47.5 m


BH A2 : Pile length = 58 m

Plan layout of foundation


Case study 3 Highly variable rock head

Revised design with


additional boreholes
6 existing SI boreholes

23 new SI boreholes

Plan layout of foundation

Case study 3 Highly variable rock head

TP3 and TP4

Pile TP3 and TP4

BH A1 : Pile length = 47.5 m


BH A11 : Pile length = 57 m

BH TA2: Pile length = 44.3 m

saving in time and cost >>>


cost for additional SI
boreholes

Plan layout of foundation


Case study 3 Highly variable rock head

Barrette Pile T6

BH A1 : Pile length = 47.5 m


BH A2 : Pile length = 58 m T6

BH TA13: Pile length = 45.1 m

saving in time and cost >>>


cost for additional SI
boreholes Plan layout of foundation

Case study 3 Highly variable rock head

Barrette Pile T8

Barrette Pile T8

BH A1 : Pile length = 47.5 m


BH A2 : Pile length = 58 m

BH TA11: Pile length = 60.5 m

may result in short pile if no


additional SI borehole Plan layout of foundation
Case study 3 Highly variable rock head

Observations

For site with highly variable Bukit Timah Granite rock head,
conducting an adequate and appropriate site investigation
boreholes help to:
avoid the risk of short pile and hence ensure a safe foundation
obtain optimum foundation design
promote efficient construction which result in a shorter
construction time
Avoid long waiting time for RE to obtain confirmation from
QP(D)
Avoid cases where RE insisted a long rock socket to
achieve the pile length shown in the approved plan
Avoid long waiting time for amendment plan (for cases
involving change in design that constitute material
changes)

Case study 4 Site classification for cost-


effective approach
Overseas practices

Site Area ~ 35,000m2


16 Residential Buildings
Sewage Treatment Plant (STP)
Case study 4 Site classification for cost-
Overseas practices
effective approach

SI Plan
3
Difficult ground
condition limestone 3
Potential presence of
large cavity
Over 400 drill-holes
Drilled holes spacing ~
10m centres

Case study 4 Site classification for cost-


effective approach
Overseas practices

High Construction Cost for Building on large


and deep cavity

SECTION 3-3
Case study 4 Site classification for cost-
Overseas practices effective approach

Site Classification Structure to avoid very difficult zone


saving in foundation cost >>> SI cost.
% of Area with
Legend Site Class
Borehole Rating 5
0 10 A ( Easy Site) 11
10 25 B ( Fair Site)
8 10
25 50 C ( Very Difficult Site)
9

12
Original Design
17 Residential 7 STP 16 15
Buildings 13
6
Presence of 5 14
Deep Cavity

Cost-effective 4
Approach
Revised Design 1
3 2
16 Residential
Buildings

Role of SI borehole in site classification

The use of SI borehole for site


classification enable identification and
hence avoidance of very difficult
site/area. This would result in a safer and
cost-effective foundation design.

72
Case study 5 Design optimisation
Proposed development
Station and entrances for MRT line

Site investigation
9 investigation boreholes for design of permanent structures and notional TERS
scheme

Plan layout of MRT station showing location SI boreholes 73

Case study 5 Design optimisation

Design of Foundation system

Original design

Residual soils

Rock or hard residual soil

Residual soils

Contour plot of bottom of Kallang Formation

Soil condition at the base of :


Raft
Entrance 1 and 2: Residual soil
foundation
Main box structure: Rock or hard residual soil adopted 74
Case study 5 Design optimisation
Design of TERS Notation scheme shown in tender drawings
Original design

TERS
Secant pile wall 3 rows of retaining walls
7 levels of struts (presence of KA
above base of entrance structures)

Entrance
structure

Station structure

Soldier pile +
Sheet pile

closely space strut Secant pile wall


difficult to excavate
difficult to construct station
structure, many joints, low headroom

Case study 5 Design optimisation


Weakness in TERS system
Original design

Weak reentrance
corner!

Notional TERS wall layout plan shown in tender drawing


Case study 5 Design optimisation
Weakness in TERS system

Bad example: weak re-


entrance corner

Adequate support and


continuous waler at reentrance corner

Where possible, avoid having a


re-entrance corner

Case study 5 Design optimisation

Additional SI borehole
24 additional SI borehole was conducted
remove risk of unforeseen ground conditions
provide more accurate soil layers and properties
=> enable more efficient design for TERS

9 existing SI boreholes

24 new SI boreholes (by builder)


Case study 5 Design optimisation

Design of foundation system: Verification based on new SI

Soft soils extended more than 5 m


below the proposed raft level

Contour of bottom of Kallang Formation

Case study 5 Design optimisation


Design of foundation system: Verification based on new SI

Entrance 2

Base of raft foundation

Thick layer of soft soils


beneath proposed raft level
Remedial proposal
required !
Case study 5 Design optimisation

Design of foundation system: Verification based on new SI

Entrance 1

Base of raft foundation

Thick layer of soft soils


Remedial proposal
beneath proposed raft level
required !

Case study 5 Design optimisation

Design of deep excavation : Verification based on new SI

Re-design required !
Soldier pile + Sheet pile Secant pile wall
(Sensitive building present in close proximity)

Soft soils extended


beyond toe of sheet
pile wall, design not
adequate !

Contour of bottom of Kallang Formation


Case study 5 Design optimisation

New TERS system


stronger external wall => more robust
Single row of wall by combining internal and external walls => cost saving and faster
construction
5 levels of stiffer struts => more robust and faster installation and removal

Combining external
temp wall and internal
secant pile wall

Stronger external
Soil berm secant pile wall
provide better
Larger spacing between strut protection to adjacent
easier to excavate => faster excavation sensitive building
less construction joint saving in
more space, easier to construct station structure => faster construction construction time and
cost

Case study 5 Design optimisation

Larger unobstructed area between struts


large unobstructed area enable speedy completion of excavation
works.
speedy completion of the station permanent structures
time and cost saving >>>>>> cost for the additional site investigation

84
Case study 5 Design optimisation

Key role of ground investigation

Adequate and appropriate ground


investigation play a crucial role in a
safe, robust, productive and
economic design

85

Case study 6 Design verification


Design of cross-passage CP 14
no SI borehole at the CP location
3 SI boreholes in close proximity
Location plan for CP14 designer proceeded with the design
new borehole at CP location prior to construction
Tunnel
Tunnel

CP

Reference BH used in design


good ground conditions suitable
for construction of CP
Case study 6 Design verification
Design of cross-passage: Verification by new borehole

Plan of original location for CP14

Tunnel
Tunnel

CP
SS10

Verification by new borehole


very weak rock at CP14 location
high risk on excavation safety
not cost-effective to build CP14 at this
location
designer decided to shift CP14 to a location
with better ground conditions

Case study 6 Design verification


Design of cross-passage: Verification by new
borehole Shifting of CP to better ground
conditions
Safer to construct
Plan of new location for CP14 More economic design due to better
rock conditions
Less impact to adjacent strucures

CP
Tunnel
Tunnel
Case study 6 Design verification

SI borehole shall be carried out at


critical location where localise
weakness of the soils will have a
significant effect on the design.
Examples include shaft, cross passage
or mined tunnels.

89

Case study 6 Design verification

If face with site or time constraint,


designer should at least specify on
plan site investigation borehole needed
to verify his design before
construction. This will help to avoid
unforeseen ground conditions and
ensure the safety of the building works.

90
5. Concluding remarks

91

Concluding Remark

Role of SI

6 case studies has been


presented to demonstrate the
importance of ground
investigation in geotechnical
design

92
Concluding Remark

Determination of safe bearing capacity for foundation works

Site investigation borehole provide essential


information for QP to determine an appropriate
type of foundation system that is able to meet the
safety and functionality (ULS & SLS limits) of the
proposed building works.

For works involving foundations, the Building


Control Regulation requires the QP to derive the
design bearing capacity based on results of site
investigation boreholes, including landed
properties 93

Concluding Remark

Quality of SI works

High quality SI works can only be


produced by experience personnel with
the use of proper tools. Designer
should select SI firms that provide
good quality and reliable information
on the type and character of the ground
and ground water conditions

94
Concluding Remark

Key role of ground investigation

Adequate and appropriate ground


investigation play a crucial role in a
safe, robust, productive and
economic design

95

End of presentation

96
GUIDE ON
GROUND INVESTIGATION AND
GEOTECHNICAL
CHARACTERISTIC VALUES TO
EUROCODE 7

th
Revision: 24 April 2015
Working Group

Chairman : Er. Dr. Ng Tiong Guan - Geotechnical Society of Singapore

Members : Er. Dr. Poh Teoh Yaw - Building and Construction Authority
Er. Prof Harry Tan Siew Ann - National University of Singapore
Er. Chua Tong Seng - Kiso Jiban Singapore Pte Ltd
Er. Dr. Wen Dazhi - Geotech & Tunnel Consult
Er. Niu Jian Xin - GeoAlliance Consultants Pte Ltd

Acknowledgements: Er. Chin Leong Siong - Building and Construction Authority


Er. Michael Sien - Building and Construction Authority
Er. Lim Shiyi - Building and Construction Authority
Ms. Tung Qiaoyue - Building and Construction Authority

Copyright @ 2015 Geotechnical Society of Singapore

All rights reserved. This document or any part therefore may not be reproduced for any reason whatsoever in
any form or means whatsoever or howsoever without the prior written consent and approval of the Geotechnical
Society of Singapore.

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, the
Geotechnical Society of Singapore, its members or agent shall not responsible for any mistake or inaccuracy by
these said parties.
Content Page

1.0 Introduction 1
1.1 Background 1
1.2 Compliance of Ground Investigation Practices to Eurocode 7 2
2.0 Preliminary Investigations 2
2.1 Geotechnical Categorisation (GC) of Projects 2
2.2 Suggested Minimum Number of Boreholes for Local Practices 5
2.3 Re-classification of Soil/Rock from Existing GI in British Standards 6
3.0 Design Investigations 6
3.1 Planning of Field and Laboratory Testing 6
3.2 Ground Water Measurement 7
3.3 Soil Sampling 7
3.4 Suggested Number of Field and Laboratory Tests 8
4.0 Determine the Value of a Geotechnical Parameter for Design 10
4.1 Concept of Characteristic Values 10
4.2 Availability of ground investigation data and application of methods to 12
determine characteristic values
4.3 Other acceptable design solution 13
5.0 Submission documents 13
5.1 Ground Investigation Report (GIR) 13
5.2 Geotechnical Design Report (GDR) 14
5.3 Ground Investigation Data in Standardised Electronic Format 14
6.0 Further Reading 15

Annex A Guidance on re-classification of soil and rock from British Standards to


Eurocode Standards
Annex B Guidance on field tests to determine soil parameters
Annex C Guidance on laboratory tests to determine soil parameters
Annex D Suggested number of samples to be tested to obtain soil/rock parameters
Annex E Example of obtaining characteristic values of c and tan from laboratory
tests or other correlation
Annex F Example of obtaining characteristic SPT N values (large amount of data)
Annex G Example of obtaining characteristic values of c and tan using s-t tests at
failure
1. Introduction

1.1 Background

This guide aims to highlight to designers the key aspects of geotechnical


investigation to Eurocode 7 for producing a Ground Investigation report
(GIR) and subsequently for the determination of characteristic ground values
as part of the Geotechnical Design Report (GDR).

Eurocode 7 requires designers to be responsible for the planning of the


geotechnical investigation and the specifying of the necessary field and
laboratory testing to be carried out. Eurocode 7 holds the designers of ground
investigation accountable for their decisions and requires the rationale behind
all geotechnical parameters used for design to be justified.

BS EN ISO 22475-1 provides guidance to designers on specifying the


sampling and testing programme that they would need to determine the
geotechnical parameters and produce a GIR. Thereafter, designers have to
determine the characteristic value of a geotechnical parameter based on the
derived data values from the GIR and together will form part of the GDR. The
GIR and GDR are key geotechnical reports that the designer is expected to
deliver as part of Eurocode 7 requirements (refer section 5 for further details
on GIR and GDR). The GIR and GDR will form the basis for the designers to
carry out geotechnical design for the project.

This guide will cover the key aspects of the GIR and the GDR as below:

Ground Investigation Report (GIR)


i) Preliminary investigations
- Geotechnical Categorisation of projects
- Planning of borehole locations
ii) Design investigations
- Identification of types of parameters required for geotechnical
design
- Planning of field and laboratory testing, ground water
measurement, soil/rock sampling, number of field and laboratory
tests to be carried out

Geotechnical Design Report (GDR)


iii) Determination of characteristic ground values for geotechnical design
- via selection method or statistical evaluation
iv) Detailed geotechnical design
- Geotechnical calculations and drawings

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Notwithstanding this, designers should also refer to relevant references
mentioned in section 6 and any other specialist guidance that may be
available.

1.2 Compliance of Ground Investigation Practices to Eurocode 7

The National Annex (NA) to SS EN1997-2 has adopted guidance from


EN22475-2 and EN 22475-3 for the qualifications criteria and conformity
assessment procedures for enterprises and personnel involved in ground
investigation. For compliance on the requirements of personnel, the specialist
GI firms are suggested to obtain an Accreditation of Inspection Bodies for
Site Investigation administered by SPRING Singapore.

2. Preliminary Investigations

2.1 Geotechnical Categorisation (GC) of Projects

2.1.1 Designers are required to carry out the preliminary categorisation of the
projects based on the guide provided in the Table 2.1 and Figure 2.1. Note a
geotechnical categorization may apply to a whole or to part of a project. It is
not required to treat the whole of the project according to the highest of these
categories. (SS EN 1997-1:2004 Cl 2.1(13))

Figure 2.1: Geotechnical Categorisation of projects

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Table 2.1: Geotechnical Categorisation of Projects

Geotechnical Description of Category Example of projects


Category (in Singapores context)
1 - small and relatively simple - Landed housing on shallow foundations in
structures: firm residual soil
- for which it is possible to - Single storey sheds
ensure that the fundamental - Link-ways
requirements will be satisfied - Minor roadside drain
on the basis of experience
and qualitative geotechnical
investigations;
- with negligible risk.
2 - conventional types of - canal
structure and foundation - conventional buildings on
- with no exceptional risk or - shallow or raft foundations;
difficult ground or loading - pile foundations;
conditions - walls and other structures retaining or
supporting soil or water < 6m height;
- excavations < 6m depth
- bridge piers and abutments;
- embankments and earthworks;
- ground anchors and other tied-back
systems;
- tunnels in hard, non-fractured rock/
competent soils, and not subjected to special
water tightness or other requirements.

3 fall outside - very large structure such as infrastructure


the limits of Geotechnical projects for rail and road tunnels
Categories 1 and 2 - utilities tunnels of more than 3 m in diameter
EC7. Clause 2.1 - airport terminal buildings
Expectations of GI, - foundation for building of 30 storey or more;
refer table 2.2 - unusual structures such as port structures in
poor ground conditions;
- structures involving abnormal risks such as
dam, dikes
- GBW(ERSS) in close proximity to existing
buildings except for single unit landed housing
development,
- unusual or exceptionally difficult ground
such as foundation in limestone areas for
more than 6 storey or unusually loading
conditions
-foundation for high-rise of more than 10
storey on reclaimed land, or soft soils with
combined thickness of soft soils of more than
8m
-GBW (ERSS) in soft soil ground conditions
- special buildings subjected to seismic risks
(according BC3);

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2.1.2 Eurocode 7 requires designers to plan the geotechnical investigations
so as to ensure that relevant geotechnical information and data are available
at the various stages of the project. (SS EN1997-2:2007 Cl 2.1.1(1)P)

2.1.3 Geotechnical investigations is not limited to ground investigations but


also include appraisal of the surroundings (near canals, buried utilities, known
ground abnormalities), adjacent buildings and history of the site (previous
buried rivers etc.). (SS EN1997-2:2007 Cl 2.1.1(5))

2.1.4 Depending on the outcome of the geotechnical investigations, a GC 2


project could be reclassified as a GC 3 project. For instance, if underlying
cavities were found during the geotechnical investigations, the designer may
need to specify more detailed investigations as he deems fit.

2.1.5 In other words, geotechnical categorisation is an on-going process and


should be reassessed at different design stages by the designer.

Figure 2.2: Assessment of Geotechnical Categorisation during design process

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2.2 Suggested Minimum Number of Boreholes for Local Practices

2.2.1 All projects identified or re-assessed under GC 2 and 3 are required to


carry out borehole investigations to sufficient extent and depth. The
geotechnical investigations shall provide sufficient data concerning the ground
and the ground water conditions for a proper description of the essential
ground properties and a reliable assessment of the characteristic values of the
ground parameters to be used in design calculations. (Reference SS EN
1997-2 cl.3.2.1) The number of investigation boreholes should meet the
requirements as stipulated in Table 2.2. Where appropriate, CPTu may be
used to complement the borehole investigation planning.

2.2.2 Boreholes should go more than 5m into hard stratum with SPT blow
counts of N>100 or more than 3 times the pile diameters beyond the intended
pile toe termination depth, whichever greater. For shallow foundation, the
boreholes should be at least 3 times the width of foundations, such as pad
footing / strip footing or other types of shallow foundation.

2.2.3 Previous ground investigation carried out could be considered if the


borehole meets the requirements, and additional boreholes should be carried
out where the designer deems necessary.

2.2.4 Designers should refer to SS EN 1997-2 Annex B for additional


guidance and examples.

Table 2.2: Suggested minimum number of boreholes for for local practices

Structures Type Number of BH required


(GC3 projects should adopt the more
onerous number of boreholes)
Buildings

Up to 10 stories high 15m to 40m grid, minimum 1 BH per block,


(excluding landed housings) and 3 BHs per site

More than 10 stories high 10m to 30m grid, 1 BH per 300sqm,


minimum 2 BHs per block, and 3 BHs per
site

Large area 60 m grid per BH, at designers discretion

Roads, railways, canals, 1 BH every 20 to 200m


pipelines, inland dikes

ERSS, retaining wall < 6m high 1 BH every 15 to 40m

ERSS, retaining wall >= 6m high 1 BH every 10 to 30m

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Tunnelling in built-up area 1 BH every 10 to 75m

Tunnelling in green field area 1 BH every 20 to 200m

Dam, costal dikes, weirs 1 BH every 25 to 75m along vertical


sections

Road Bridges, tower stacks, 2 to 6 BHs per foundation


heavy machinery foundation

2.3 Re-classification of Soil/Rock from Existing GI in British Standards

2.3.1 The classification and description of soil/rock types in Eurocode 7 is


different from those in the BS standards. The designer should reclassify the
soil/rock types to the Eurocode and this information should be documented as
part of the GIR/GDR. Designers could refer to Annex A of this document on
how reclassify the soil/rock types. Annex A also provides guidance on key
differences between British Standards and Eurocodes.

3. Design Investigations

3.1 Planning of Field and Laboratory Testing


3.1.1 SS EN 1997-2 requires designers to design the investigation
programmes to specify the investigation boreholes layout and suitable field
and/or laboratory tests relevant to the proposed works at the various stages of
the project.

3.1.2 Before designing the investigation programme, the available information


and documents gathered during the preliminary investigations should be
evaluated in a desk study. (SS EN 1997-2:2007 CL2.2 (2)P)

3.1.3 After the desk study, designers are required to visually examine the site
and record findings and cross-check against the desk study evaluated
information. (SS EN 1997-2:2007 CL 2.4.2.2(1))

3.1.4 Test results from existing ground reports that are obtained from field
testing are acceptable across all Geotechnical Categories. SS EN1997-2
provides Annexes which give correlations for various geotechnical parameters
using common field tests. The list of common field tests to correlate to
relevant geotechnical parameters and the suitability of the tests with respect to
different soil types are shown in Annex B.

3.1.5 Test results from existing ground reports that are obtained from
laboratory testing are only acceptable if the tested samples were obtained

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from suitable methods of sampling. The table in Annex C suggests different
lab tests for obtaining the relevant soil parameters.

3.1.6 The tests must be undertaken and reported in accordance with the
corresponding Testing Standard of EN ISO 22476 Annex 9.4 Table A4.2.

3.2 Ground Water Measurement


3.2.1 The existing ground-water levels shall be established during the ground
investigation. Any free water levels observed during the investigation shall be
recorded.

3.2.2 Ground water measurement shall comply with BS EN ISO 22475 -1


regarding drilling and sampling methods for different soil conditions. (SS
EN1997-2:2007 CL3.6.2(1))

3.2.3 Measurements must be made at a frequency that ensures that


variations are properly detected and equipment must be appropriately
selected and installed to allow this to be done.

3.2.4 Field-tested soil permeability values from existing ground reports could
be adopted across all Geotechnical Categories.

3.3 Soil Sampling


3.3.1 SS EN 1997-2 imposes requirements on the quality of the samples
depending on the sampling methods and ground conditions. The requirements
could be found in BS EN ISO 22475-1.

3.3.2 Sampling methods are categorised into Cat A, B and C. BS EN ISO


22475-1 requires appropriate sampling category to be carried out to obtain
different quality class of samples. Refer to Table 3.4. The detailed
categorisation of the methods of sampling depending on the soil conditions
can be found in BS EN ISO 22475-1 Tables 2 and 3.

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Table 3.4 Quality class and soil properties that can be determined
(SS EN1997-2:2007 Table 3.1)

Quality Class
1 2 3 4 5

Sampling category according to A


EN ISO 22475 -1 B
C
Unchanged soil properties

Particle size

Water content

Density, density index, permeability

Compressibility, shear strength

Properties that can be determined

Sequence of layers

Boundaries of strata-broad

Boundaries of strata-fine

Atterberg limits, particle density, organic content

Water content

Density, density index, porosity, permeability

Compressibility, shear strength

3.4 Minimum Number of Field and Laboratory Tests


3.4.1 The suggested minimum number of tests per soil stratum to be carried
out is shown in Appendix D where appropriate.

3.4.2 Test results from existing ground report with appropriate quality class
sampling are allowed to be adopted. Additional sampling or field tests
would be required if the minimum suggested number of specimens
could not be met.

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4. Determinate the Value of a Geotechnical Parameter for Design

4.1 Concept of Characteristic Values


4.1.1 Eurocode 7 introduces the concept of characteristic values in which
partial factors are applied to obtain suitably safe but economical design values
of soil parameters. Eurocode 7 defines the selection of the characteristic value
of a geotechnical parameter as a cautious estimate of the values affecting the
occurrence of the limit state.

4.1.2 The applicable geotechnical parameters required to be determined as


characteristic values for design are as follows:

Applicable Geotechnical Parameters


tan Effective angle of shearing resistance

c Effective cohesion value


cu Undrained shear strength

N SPT N values

qc CPT qc values

4.1.3 SS EN1997-1 Clause 2.4.5.2(4)P states, the selection of characteristic


values for geotechnical parameters shall take account of the following:

geological and other background information, such as data from previous


projects;
the variability of the measured property values and other relevant
information, e.g. from existing knowledge;
the extent of the field and laboratory investigation;
the type and number of samples;
the extent of the zone of ground governing the behaviour of the
geotechnical structure at the limit state being considered;
the ability of the geotechnical structure to transfer loads from weak to
strong zones in the ground.

However, literature has shown that when designers were asked to select
characteristic values of various geotechnical parameters, the result revealed
a very wide range of interpretation in which the design outcome would be
grossly affected. The designer should determine the characteristic value as
not more than the mean value of the geotechnical parameter with half a
standard deviation reduction (moderately conservative parameters) or 1.65
times standard deviation (inferior parameters).

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4.1.4 SS EN1997-1 Clause 2.4.5.2(10) suggested statistical methods to
determine characteristic ground values. When applying statistical methods,
the designer should consider the following:

- adequacy and quality of geotechnical investigations


- distribution of sampling/testing
- highly variable non-conforming nature of geo-materials
- allowing the use of a priori knowledge of comparable ground properties,
- applying engineering judgement

4.1.5 When adopting statistical methods, for most limit state cases where the
soil volume involved is large, the characteristic value should be determined
such that a cautious estimate of the mean value is a selection of the mean
value of the limited set of geotechnical parameter values, with a confidence
level of 95% (moderately conservative parameters); where local failure is
concerned, a cautious estimate of the low value is a 5% fractile (inferior
parameters). Figure 4.1 illustrates some examples for better understanding.
(SS EN 1997-1 Cl. 2.4.5.2 (11))

Typical retaining wall design Pile design*

Anchored wall design Square footing design

*not applicable if shaft resistance contribute to at least 70% of design pile resistance (i.e. local failure
due to pile bearing is unlikely)
Figure 4.1 Some examples of limit state design

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4.1.6 Where local weakness is discovered during the ground investigations
e.g. faults, localised soft spot due to presence of streams/rivers, the designer
shall carry out design based on the low value of 5% fractile for the affected
design section.

4.1.7 Designer could consider the statistical methods suggested in Annex E


and F.

4.1.8 It is suggested for better estimation of geotechnical characteristic


parameters c and tan , designer could specify s-t tests (stress path) with at
least 12 numbers of tested sample with different applied pressure to obtain c
and tan of the same stratum. An example is shown in Annex G.

4.2 Availability of ground investigation data and application of methods


to determine characteristic values
4.2.1 Designers should refer to Table 4.3 to determine characteristic values
based on the available ground investigation reports.

Table 4.1: Suggested methods to determine characteristic values for different


Geotechnical Categories

Geotechnical GI availability Determining characteristic values


Category

1 Based on available GI, or eyeball method (Section 4.1.3) could be adopted.


GI of immediate
neighbour plots Where the values are obtained from the GI of a
supplemented with neighbouring plot, the determined characteristic value
available literature e.g. should be reduced by a further factor of 1.2.
geological map,
published ground
parameter
2 Available GI based on BS eyeball method (Section 4.1.3) or Statistical method
and/or new GI to EC stds (Section 4.1.7)
3 Available GI based on BS eyeball method (Section 4.1.3) or Statistical method
and/or new SI to EC stds (Section 4.1.7), the latter is suggested if >= 13 sets of
data is available (Bond & Harris 2008)

4.2.2 Designers are encouraged to conduct new ground investigations to the


latest Eurocode standards to obtain more reliable data for safe and economic
design.

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4.3 Other design considerations
4.3.1 In some design situations, for example, very soft soil with low undrained
shear strength, if the designer could demonstrate that the application of partial
factors to the ground characteristic values will lead to design which are
unreasonable or even physically impossible, he could apply the partial factors
directly to the effects of the actions instead. (reference SS EN 1997-1 cl.
2.4.7.3.2 (2))

5. Submission documents

5.1 Ground Investigation Report (GIR)


5.1.1 Ground investigation report would record the preliminary investigation
and the design investigation works prescribed by the design. The geotechnical
investigations shall be planned taking into account the construction and
performance requirements of the proposed structure. The scope of the
geotechnical investigations shall be continuously reviewed as new information
are obtained during execution of the work.

5.1.2 Routine field investigations and laboratory testing shall be carried out
and reported generally in accordance with international recognised standards
and guidance. Deviations from these standards and additional test
requirements shall be reported.

5.1.3 Preliminary and design investigations prescribed by the designer shall


be reflected in the Ground Investigation Report and provide the following:

i) Geotechnical categorisation of the project.


ii) Planning of boreholes and sampling methodology
i) Evaluation of the field and laboratory reports
ii) Derivation of the geotechnical values based on the field and
laboratory reports
iii) Information required for an adequate design of the temporary and
permanent works
iv) Information required to plan the method of construction
v) Information on groundwater
vi) Any difficulties that may arise during construction

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5.1.4 The parameters, for example localised area of poor soil due to pre-
existing rivers, which may affect the ability of the structure to satisfy its
performance criteria shall be established before the start of the final design.

5.2 Geotechnical Design Report (GDR)


5.2.1 The results of a geotechnical investigation shall be compiled in a
Ground Investigation Report (GIR), which shall form a part of the Geotechnical
Design Report (GDR). The Geotechnical Design Report (GDR) should form
part of the structural design report for submission to BCA and to include the
following items:

a) a description of the site and surroundings;


b) a description of the ground conditions;
c) a description of the proposed construction, including actions;
d) design values of soil and rock properties, including justification, as
appropriate; (i.e. determination of characteristic values)
e) statements on the suitability of the site with respect to the
proposed construction and the
f) level of acceptable risks; (i.e. impact assessment)
g) plan of supervision & monitoring
h) a note of items to be checked during construction or requiring
maintenance or monitoring.

5.3 Ground Investigation Data in Standardised Electronic Format


In 21st January 2013, the BCAs Singapore Geological Office (SGO) issued a
circular on the implementation of SI Data in standardised electronic format.
The Guidelines on Electronic Transfer for Site Investigation Data which
covers Singapore first standardised electronic file format protocol AGS(SG)
(Association of Geotechnical and Geo-environmental Specialist) for the
geological, geotechnical, geo-environmental, geophysical field and laboratory
testing data can be downloaded from the BCA website at the following link:
http://www.bca.gov.sg/StructuralPlan/others/Electronic_transfer_SI_data.pdf.

All SI contractors shall provide the following items to their client:


1. Ground Investigation report (pdf format) with the labelling of GI report
file as SGO_SI_xxxx.pdf
2. Ground Investigation data in AGS(SG) format with the labelling of GI
data file as SGO_SI_xxxx.ags
3. AGS checker log in text format with the labelling of AGS checker log as
SGO_SI_AGS Checker log.txt
4. GI report Declaration page (pdf format) with the labelling of GI report
declaration file as SGO_SI_Declaration.pdf
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It shall be the duty of the GI contractor to provide the above mentioned items
in the prescribed naming convention for electronic submission of GI data.

The submission of GI data in the AGS(SG) electronic format is now


a requirement, with effective from 1st July 2013, for all new projects. All
Qualified Person doing the first submission for the new project are to submit
the files provided by the GI contractor. They are to submit the above
mentioned 4 files in as-it-is state. Renaming of file or incorporating the GI
report into the design report will affect the electronic submission and thus
result in Written Direction.

6. Further reading

a. Designers Guide to EN 1997-1 Eurocode 7: Geotechnical design General


rules

b. Concise Eurocodes: Geotechnical design

c. Eurocode 7: Geotechnical Design Worked Example, JRC Scientific and


Policy Report (available from internet)

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Annex A
Guidance on re-classification of soil and rock from British Standards to
Eurocode Standards
Annex A.1. Comparing EC 7 and BS 5390:1999

Key Item Commentary on Practical Application


Relative density (sands &
No change is required as 14688 permits SPT to be used as basis but without defining
gravels) scale
Consistency Terminology is same as BS5930 for clay, the terms are defined solely by hand tests and
(fine soils) have no numerical strength connotations (e.g very soft, soft very stiff). (See Table A2)
Undrained shear strengthIntroduce terms (e.g low, medium, high), based on results of field or laboratory tests.
(fine soils) The strength term to be presented in log in addition to consistency. (See Table A3)
Secondary fractions Introduce secondary fine constituents to a fine principal soils (silty CLAY and clayey
SILT), but these will be used only when secondary constituents is significant. (See EN
ISO 14688-1:2002 clause 4.3.3)
EC7 (EN ISO 14688-1:2002) mention using prefixes (slightly, - very) for coarse
secondary fractions. No mention of a prefix for fine secondary fractions. As there is no
field mechanism for quantification, recommend the prefixes not be applied.
Particle shape Introduce two additional terms (very angular.well rounded) to extend the range (See
Table A4)
Particle size Change boundaries between fractions which were 6.0 and orders of magnitude to
become 6.3
Introduce additional sub-fraction of large boulders (particles > 630mm) (See Table A5)
Principal fraction Discontinue the hybrid term CLAY/SILT
Minor constituents Introduce defined terms specifically for carbonate content (free, calcareous, highly
calcareous) but only use where presence detected.
Table A1. SUMMARY OF KEY CHANGES AFFECTING DESCRIPTION OF INORGANIC SOILS
Local Undrained Terms BS 5930:1999 BS 5930:1999 A2:2010 EN ISO 146881:2002 (Clause
Practice Shear 5.14)
extracted Strength,
From Cu (kPa)
TERZAGHI
& PECK
(SPT N- (Table13, (Table13, Page114)
value ) Page114)
Finger easily Finger easily pushed in up to
It exudes between the fingers
0 to 2 <20 Very Soft pushed in up to 25mm; exudes between the
when squeezed in hand.
25mm fingers
Finger pushed in up to
Finger pushed in It can be moulded by light finger
2 to 4 20 to 40 Soft 10mm, moulded by light
up to 10mm pressure.
finger pressure
It cannot be moulded by fingers,
Thumb makes impression
Thumb makes but rolled in hand to thick
4 to 8 40 to 75 Firm easily, cannot be moulded
impression easily threads without breaking or
by fingers, rolls to threads
crumbling.
It crumbles and breaks when
Can be indented slightly by
Can be indented rolled to 3mm thick threads but
8 to 15 75 to 150 Stiff thumb, crumbles in rolling
slightly by thumb is still sufficiently moist to be
thread; remoulds
moulded to a lump again.
It has dried out and is mostly
Can be indented by thumb light coloured. It can no longer
Can be indented by
15 to 30 150 to 300 Very Stiff nail, cannot be moulded, be moulded but crumbles under
thumb nail
crumbles pressure. It can be indented by
thumbnail.
Hard (or
Can be scratched Can be scratched by
>30 >300 very weak NA
by thumbnail thumbnail
mudstone)
Table A2. Comparison Table for Field Practice For Determination Consistency of Fine Soils
BS 5930:1999 EN ISO 146891:2003

Undrained Shear
Term Term
Strength (kPa)
<10 Extremely low
Very Soft <20 10 to 20 very low
Soft 20 to 40 20 to 40 low
Firm 40 to 75 40 to 75 medium
Stiff 75 to 150 75 to 150 high
Very Stiff 150 to 300 150 to 300 very high
Hard (or very weak >300 300 to 600 extremely high
mudstone)
Table A3. Comparison Table for Undrained Shear Strength (kPa) of soil
BS 5930:1999 Particle shape EN ISO
146881:2002
Angularity/roundness Very angular
Angular Angular
Sub-angular Sub-angular
Sub-rounded Sub-rounded
Rounded Rounded
Well rounded
Form Cubic
Flat or Tabular Flat
Elongate Elongate
Rough Surface texture Rough
Smooth Smooth
Table A4. Comparison Table for Terms for the designation of particle shape

BS 5930:1999 EN ISO 146881:2002


Soil fractions
Particle sizes Symbols Sub- Sub- Symbols Particle sizes
(mm) fractions fractions (mm)
Large
LBo > 630
Very coarse boulder
> 200 Bo Boulder soil Boulder Bo > 200 to 630
>60 to 200 Co Cobble Cobble Co >63 to 200
>2 to 60 Gr Gravel Gravel Gr >2 to 63
Coarse Coarse
>20 to 60 CGr CGr >20 to 63
gravel gravel
Medium Medium
>6.0 to 20 MGr MGr >6.3 to 20
gravel gravel
>2.0 to 6.0 FGr Fine gravel Coarse soil Fine gravel FGr >2.0 to 6.3
>0.06 to 2.0 Sa Sand Sand Sa >0.063 to 2.0
>0.6 to 2.0 CSa Coarse sand Coarse sand CSa >0.63 to 2.0
Medium Medium
>0.2 to 0.6 MSa MSa >0.2 to 0.63
sand sand
>0.06 to 0.2 FSa Fine sand Fine sand FSa >0.063 to 0.2
>0.002 to 0.06 Si Silt Silt Si >0.002 to 0.063
>0.02 to 0.06 Csi Coarse silt Coarse silt Csi >0.02 to 0.063
>0.006 to 0.02 Msi Medium silt Medium silt Msi >0.0063 to 0.02
Fine soil
>0.002 to >0.002 to
Fsi Fine silt Fine silt Fsi
0.006 0.0063
0.002 Cl Clay Clay Cl 0.002
Table A5. Comparison Table for Particle size fractions
Annex A.2. Comparing EC 7 and BS 5390:1999 for Rock

Key Item Commentary on Practical Application


Strength Change in the range of terms have been extended and they have ISRM definitions (both
field identification & numerical values) (See Table B2)
Grain size Change in the orders of boundaries magnitude from 6 to become 6.3 (same as for soils)
Minor constituents Introduce defined terms specifically for carbonate content
(same as soils)
Weathering No change required in Description of weathering effects at material or mass scales
(BS5930 Approach 1).
Change to CLASSIFICATION is that BS5930 Approach 2 & 3 are discontinued; where
appropriate Approach 4 or 5 will continue. (See Table B3)
Discontinuities Spacing: quantifying prefix given to be maintained
Roughness: change to definition of scale terms (small, medium,
large), to ISRM (mm, cm, m) (See Table B4)
Aperture: change to terms and definition to ISRM(See Table B5)
Seepage: change to one of terms (strong becomes large)
Table B1. SUMMARY OF KEY CHANGES AFFECTING DESCRIPTION OF ROCKS
BS 5930:1999 EN ISO 146891:2003
Term Unconfined Compressive Term
Strength (kPa)
Very weak < 1.25 <1 Extremely weak
Weak 1.25 to 5 1 to 5 Very weak
Moderately weak 5 to 12.5 5 to 25 Weak
Moderately strong 12.5 to 50 25 to 50 Medium strong
Strong 50 to 100 50 to 100 Strong
Very strong 100 to 200 100 to 250 Very strong
Extremely strong > 200 > 250 Extremely strong

Table B2. Comparison Table for Unconfined Compression Strength (MPa) of rock
BS 5930:1999 Standard EN ISO 146891:2003

Description Grades Term Grades Description


Classification for Rock Mass and Symbols Symbols Classification of Rock Mass Weathering
Rock Materials grade
Unchanged from original state I Fresh 0 No visible sign of rock material weathering;
perhaps slight discoloration on major
discontinuity surfaces.
Slight discolouration, slight II Slightly 1 Discoloration indicates weathering of rock
weakening weathered material and discontinuity surfaces.
Considerably weakened, penetrative III Moderately 2 Less than half of the rock material is
discoloration Large pieces cannot weathered decomposed or disintegrated. Fresh or
be broken by hand discoloured rock is present either as a
continuous framework or as core stones
Large pieces cannot be broken by IV Highly 3 More than half of the rock material is
hand weathered decomposed or disintegrated. Fresh or
Does not readily slake when dry discoloured rock is present either as a
sample immersed in water discontinuous framework or as core stones.
Considerably weakened Slakes V Completely 4 All rock material is decomposed &/or
Original texture apparent weathered disintegrated to soil. The original mass
structure is still largely intact.
Soil derived by in situ weathering but VI Residual soil 5 All rock material is converted to soil. The mass
retaining none of original texture of structure & material fabric are destroyed.
fabric There is a large change in volume, but the soil
has not been significantly transported.
Widely and commonly use in local practice for The descriptive terms are provided and defined in 14689-
classification of rock materials and rock mass 1(Table2) as Fresh, Discoloured, Disintegrated,
weathering grade. Decomposed to describe the results of weathering/
alteration of rock material. These terms may be subdivided
using qualifying terms of partially, wholly and slightly.
Table B3. Comparison Table for Classification of Weathering Grade
BS 5930:1999 (Table15, EN ISO 146891:2003
Page.135)
Intermediate Small Scale Medium Small Scale
Scale (m) (cm) Scale (cm) (mm)
Stepped Rough Stepped Rough
Stepped Smooth Stepped Smooth
Stepped Striated
Undulating Rough Undulating Rough
Undulating Smooth Undulating Smooth
Undulating Striated
Planar Rough Planar Rough
Planar Smooth Planar Smooth
Planar Striated
Table B4. Comparison Table for Surface Roughness of Discontinuities

Aperture size term Aperture Aperture size term

BS 5930:1999 EN ISO 146891:2003


Very Tight < 0.1 mm 0.1 mm Very tight
Tight 0.1 to 0.5 mm 0.1 to 0.25 mm Tight
Moderately open 0.5 to 2.5 mm 0.25 to 0.5 mm Partly open
Open 2.5 to 10 mm 0.5 to 2.5 mm Open
Very open >10 mm 2.5 to 10 mm Moderately wide
Cannot normally be described in cores. 1 to 10 cm Wide
10 to 100 cm Very wide
>1 m Extremely wide
Table B5. Comparison Table for Description of Discontinuity Aperture
Annex B
Guidance on field tests to determine soil parameters

List of geotechnical parameters and correlation to relevant field tests common


in Singapore
Reference SS EN
Geotechnical Parameters Relevant Field Tests 1997-2 (unless
otherwise mentioned)
Effective angle of shearing resistance
Cone Penetration Test
E Drained Youngs modulus Annex D
(CPT)
Eoed One-dimensional odeometer modulus

Bearing resistance factor for spread


k Pressure Meter Test
foundations Annex E
(PMT)
k Compressive resistance factor for piles

ID Density index Standard Penetration Test


Annex F
Effective angle of shearing resistance (SPT)

Field Vane Test


Cu Undrained shear strength Annex I
(FVT)

Flat Dilatometer Test


Eoed One-dimensional odeometer modulus Annex J
(DMT)

Cu Undrained shear strength

Eoed Plate loading test modulus Plate Loading Test


Annex K
(PLT)
ks Coefficient of subgrade reaction
List of suitability of field tests to ground type and useful geotechnical
information
Type of ground and suitability
Type of Field tests
Rock Coarse Soils Fine Soils
CPT ((Type of Rock [Soft])) Extension of layers Extension of layers
Compressibility Shear strength
(Type of soil) (Type of soil)
(Groundwater) (Pore water pressure)
(Pore water pressure) (Density)
(Density) (Compressibility)
(Shear strength) (Permeability)
((Permeability))

PMT ((Type of Rock)) Shear strength Shear Strength


((Extension of layers)) Compressibility Compressibility
((Types of soil)) ((Type of soil))
((Extension of layers)) ((Extension of layers))
((Pore water pressure))
((Permeability))
SPT with sample (Types of soil) Type of soils
(Extension of layers) Particle size
(Particle size) (Extension of layers)
(Water content) (Water Content)
(Density) (Atterberg limits)
(Shear strength) (Density)
(Compressibility) (Compressibility)
(Chemical tests) (Chemical test)

FVT Shear Strength [soft to firm


soil]
Flat DMT (Types of soil) (Extension of layers)
(Extension of layers) (Shear strength)
(Density) (Compressibility)
(Shear Strength) ((Type of soil density))
(Compressibility)

PLT (Shear strength) Shear strength Shear Strength


Compressibility Compressibility

SUITABILITY => HIGH, (MEDIUM), ((LOW))


Annex C
Guidance on laboratory tests to determine soil parameters

List of geotechnical parameters and relevant lab tests


Type of soil
Geotechnical Peat
Parameters Gravel Sand Silt NC Clay OC Clay organic
clay
Oedometer
Eoed
modulus
Compression
Cc (OED) (OED) (OED) (OED) (OED) (OED)
index
(Triaxial) (Triaxial) (Triaxial) (Triaxial) (Triaxial) (Triaxial)
One-
dimensional
compressibility
Youngs
E
Modulus
Shear Modulus G
Triaxial Triaxial Triaxial Triaxial Triaxial Triaxial
Drained
(effective) shear c,
strength
Undrained
Cu NA NA Triaxial Triaxial Triaxial Triaxial
shear strength
Bulk Density BDD BDD BDD BDD BDD BDD

Coefficient of NA NA OED OED OED OED
cv
consolidation Triaxial Triaxial Triaxial Triaxial
Permeability TXCH TXCH PTC TXCH TXCH TXCH
k PSA PSA TXCH (PTF) (PTF) (PTF)
(PTF) (OED) (OED) (OED)
( ) => partially suitable only BDD Bulk Density determination PTF Permeability test in the
OED Odeometer Test falling head permeameter
PSA Particle size analysis PTC Permeability test in the
Triaxial Triaxial Test constant head permeameter
TXCH Permeability constant head
test in the triaxial cell (or
flexible head permeameter)

For more details, please refer to (SS EN1997-2:2007 Table 2.3)


Annex D
Suggested number of samples to be tested to obtain soil/rock parameters

Table 3.3A: Classification tests. Minimum number of samples to be tested in


one soil stratum (EN1997-2:2007 Annex M Table M.1)

Classification test Minimum number of tests


Particle size distribution (Sieve + Hydro) 3
Water content All samples of Quality Class 1 to 3
Strength index test All samples of Quality Class 1 to 3
Consistency limits (Atterberg limits) 2
Loss on ignition (for organic and clay soil) 2
Bulk density All samples
Density index As appropriate
Particle density 1
Carbonate content As appropriate
Sulfate content As appropriate
pH As appropriate
Chloride content As appropriate
Soil dispersibility As appropriate

Table 3.3B: Density tests. Minimum number of samples to be tested in one soil
stratum
Variability in measured density Minimum number of samples
Range of measured density >= 0.02 Mg/m3 3
Range of measured density <= 0.02 Mg/m3 2
Mean value shall be adopted as the final density

Table 3.3C: Triaxial compression tests. Suggested minimum number of testsa


for one soil stratum
Geotechnical parameter Minimum number of testsa
Effective angle of shearing resistance 3
Undrained shear strengthb 4
a
One test means a set of three individual specimens at different cell pressures
or derived value from correlation to relevant field tests (SS EN 1997-2
Informative Annexes); Minimum 1 number of lab test is to be carried out
b
If ratio max/min > 2, additional 1 test (field or lab) is to be carried out.
Table 3.3D: Incremental odeometer test. Suggested minimum number of
testsa for one soil stratum

Variability in oedometer modulus Eoed Minimum number of testsa


Range of values of Eoed 50% 3
~20% < Range of values of Eoed <~50% 2
Range of values of Eoed < ~20% 2
a
The number of specimens tested should be increased if the structure is very
sensitive to settlements i.e. Kallang Formation
Mean value would be adopted as the final Eoed

Table 3.3E: Permeability tests. Suggested minimum number of soil specimens


to be testeda for one soil stratum

Variability in measured coefficient


Minimum number of tests
of permeability (k)
kmax/kmin > 100 4
10 < kmax/kmin 100 3
kmax/kmin 10 2
The evaluation of the coefficient of permeability can be optimised by a
combination of any of these methods:
1. field tests, such as pumping and borehole permeability tests;
2. empirical correlations with grain size distribution;
3. evaluation from an oedometer test;
4. permeability tests on soil specimens in the laboratory.
Please refer to SS EN 1997-2 S.3 for suggested methods for different soil types.

Table 3.3F: Uniaxial compression tests. Suggested minimum number of test


specimens to be tested for one rock formation - Brazillian split tests and
triaxial tests

Geotechnical parameter Minimum number of tests


Uniaxial compressive strength 4a
a
If standard deviation of measured strength > 50%, additional 2 test specimen is
to be tested.
Annex E
Example of obtaining characteristic values of c and tan from laboratory
tests or other correlation

E.1) Schneider(1999) Method


This method could be applied to determine the characteristic value of a
geotechnical parameter.

d = m 0.5sX
(upper bound equivalent to 95% mean reliable)

d = m 1.65sX
(lower bound equivalent to low value 5% fractile)

where

d = characteristic value
m = mean value
sX = standard variation
n = number of samples

An example of the determination of the characteristic value using the


Schneider Method is illustrated as below: (take note of the deviation of shall
be based on tan as the characteristic value)

d = m 0.5sX (95% reliable)


d = m 1.65sX (5% fractile)

Characteristics values Upper bound Lower bound


ck 2.5 1.25
tan k 0.568 0.532
k 29.6 28.0
The Schneider method assumes a normal distribution of data. Some
geotechnical data fits a log-normal distribution especially for very soft soil or
soil with very wide variation of parameters, hence using this method can result
in characteristic values not complying with a 95% confidence limit.

E.2) Statistical Evaluation Method


For GC3 projects where usually higher frequency of soil tests are carried out,
designers should adopt the statistical method where a higher number of
samples would give a more favourable characteristic value. Projects with
more derived soil data from good quality sampling would benefit from this
method.

Assuming homogenous soil, (e.g. residual, fluvial sand/clay) the characteristic


mean value of a geotechnical parameter is calculated using: (EC0 D7.2)

d = m (1 knVX)

d = characteristic mean value at 95% reliable or 5%


fractile, depending on the kn input
m = mean value
kn = coefficient for 95% reliable of 5% fractile mean value
(Table 4.1 or 4.2)
VX = coefficient of variation (unknown)

Note VX unknown is adopted until more data are available and VX known is
established.

For VX unknown case, VX will be calculated using:

VX = sX/m

where

n = number of samples
sX = standard variation

Hence
d = m (1 kn,95 VX)
= m kn,95 sX)
This method is more suitable for GC3 projects where usually > 10 data sets
are available. However for illustration purpose, we will demonstrate obtaining
the 95% reliable characteristic values with a simple example as below: (take
note of the deviation of shall be based on tan as the characteristic value)

Mean values of c and , their standard deviation and coefficient of variation obtained from four triaxial results

d,95 = m (1 kn,95 VX) where n = 4, kn,95 =1.18 (Table 4.1)

Characteristics values Mean value (95%)


ck 0.8
tan k 0.519
k 27.5

Values of the coefficient kn for the assessment of a characteristic value as a


95% reliable mean value
Values of the coefficient kn for the assessment of a characteristic value as a
5% fractile

.
For large amount of data, the mean line could be determined using the plotting
Excel spreadsheet trendline function. Some examples of how to determine the
ground characteristic values are shown in Annex F.
Annex F
Example of obtaining characteristic SPT N values (large amount of data)

The designer could adopt the following methods to obtain the characteristic
SPT N values, where there is large amount of data available.

i) A particular homogenous soil layer shows a linear regression trend.

No. of data, n =25

Mean N Mean N
Depth derived N (Xm) X-Xm Depth derived N (Xm) X-Xm
-1.0 3 1.3 1.7 -12.8 4 6.7 -2.7
-1.5 3 1.6 1.4 -14.0 9 7.3 1.7
-1.5 3 1.6 1.4 -14.3 7 7.4 -0.4
-1.5 3 1.6 1.4 -15.5 5 8.0 -3.0
-1.5 3 1.6 1.4 -15.8 5 8.1 -3.1
-1.5 3 1.6 1.4 -15.8 7 8.1 -1.1
-1.5 3 1.6 1.4 -17.3 8 8.8 -0.8
-3.3 6 2.4 3.6 -18.8 8 9.5 -1.5
-4.0 2 2.7 -0.7 -20.0 6 10.0 -4.0
-4.0 3 2.7 0.3 -20.0 10 10.0 0.0
-4.0 5 2.7 2.3 -23.3 10 11.5 -1.5
-4.3 7 2.8 4.2 -24.5 8 12.1 -4.1
-7.0 3 4.1 -1.1 -26.5 8 13.0 -5.0
-8.0 9 4.5 4.5
-9.5 4 5.2 -1.2
-9.5 10 5.2 4.8
-10.0 4 5.5 -1.5

From derived trendline (using Excel) equation y = mx + C, m = -2.1807, C =


1.8931
 (X-Xm)2 = 193, std deviation, s = 2.6, kn,95 = 0.31, C95 = 1.0935
 Plot 95% reliable trendline using formula y = -2.1807 + 1.0935
ii) For a particular soil layer, where there is no apparent linear regression
trend, designer could average the SPT N values by depth. (similar to
current practice)

No. of data, n =10

No. of data, n =10

Mean N
Depth N n (Xm) X-Xm (X-Xm)2 = 53.6
-26.3 30 10.0 35.3 -5.0
-28.0 32 -3.0 std deviation, s = 2.4
-29.8 34 -1.0
kn,95 = 0.58
-30.5 35 -0.1
-31.0 36 0.5 kn,95 Xm = 1.42
-31.0 36 0.5
-31.3 36 0.8 N95 = 34
-32.5 38 2.2
-32.5 38 2.2
-33.0 38 2.8
-34.3 40 10.0 42.6 4.2
-34.5 40 4.5 (X-Xm)2 = 571.2
-35.0 41 5.1
std deviation, s = 2.4
-35.8 41 6.0
-36.8 43 7.1 kn,95 = 0.58
-36.8 43 7.1
-37.0 43 7.4 kn,95 Xm = 1.36
-39.3 45 10.0
-39.5 46 10.3 N95 = 41
-39.5 46 10.3
Annex G
Example of obtaining characteristic values of c and tan using s-t tests at
failure

From the triaxial tests of a soil stratum (at least 12 sets), the t-s points are
derived as below.

The t-s points are plotted and using the trendline function from Excel, the
trendline and equation could be obtained and back-substituted with s values
to obtained the t* values.

The example shows how to derive the 95% reliable mean values of c and .
Refer to the formulas in this annex, denoting z to be s and x to be t, the tk
values could be derived and the characteristic trendline of tk-s could be
plotted. The characteristic values of ck and tan k may be deduced by
linearizing the relation tks. The appropriate s interval should be selected so
that the t-intercept (i.e. ck) is more than zero. In this example s intervals from
100kPa to 600kPa are selected.
ck = 0.8kPa and k = 30o

Relevant formulas:

To obtain 95% reliable mean values (denote x = t and z = s respectively)


To obtain 5% fractile value, substitute s1 with s2.

t factor of from students distribution could be obtained below, where r = n-2. (n=no of samples)