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Geotechnical Engineering

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There are a wide range of opportunities in the Civil Engineering profession for Geotechnical Engineers. Do you have good team work skills, excellent communication skills and are able to work on your own initiative with minimal supervision? If you do, you are exactly the type of candidate our multinational consultancies specialising in geotechnical engineering are seeking, for their expanding offices in the UK and overseas.

Geotechnical engineering is one of the sectors under civil engineering covering earth materials. Geotechnical engineering is important in civil engineering and is involved in mining, petroleum and other engineering disciplines that are connected with construction on the surface or within the ground.

Geotechnical engineering uses the principles of soil mechanics and rock mechanics to investigate materials to evaluate stability of natural slopes. It also assesses risks posed by site conditions, design earthworks and structure foundations, and monitors site conditions, earthworks and foundation construction. Site investigations are needed to have a good understanding of the area where the engineering will take place.

Job Duties of a Geotechnical Engineer
Geotechnical engineers generally require a bachelors degree in geotechnical engineering or engineering geology or other ground related discipline. A MSc or PhD in soil mechanics or rock mechanics is desirable.  In order to gain chartered engineer status (CEng), an individual must have a relevant accredited Honours Degree in Engineering plus 2 years training and a further two to three years experience.

There are 4 main responsibilities for a Geotechnical Engineer:

  • Subsurface investigation: the job essentially starts with a collection of soil samples from the project's site, using bores and test pits. The analysis will determine the ground's stress bearing capability and stability.
  • Field test: after research, geotechnical engineers must decide whether issues like erosion, settlement and slope will pose a safety risk to the project.
  • Computer analysis: the job requires analysing the results of subsurface investigations and field tests with software. A good understanding of data is required as it is development of the construction project. After analysis, geotechnical engineers may be required to assist in the development of earthworks and foundations suitable to the conditions of the site.
  • Client meetings: a regular duty is to meet with clients for evaluations of project progress. Budget and time constraints will be important in any discussion and geotechnical engineers will be expected to know and provide a variety of important information.

The typical job duties of a geotechnical engineer begin with a review of the project and which materials are required. This is followed by a site investigation of soil, rock, fault distribution and bedrock properties and goes on to decide if their engineering properties will interact with a proposed construction.

The job also involves making plans and designs for the structures for buildings, roads and other construction projects. You will also have to deal with geological hazards like landslides and in some conditions, earthquakes. Investigations can include the assessment of the risk to humans, property and the environment from natural hazards such as earthquakes, landslides, sinkholes, soil liquefaction, debris flows and rock falls.

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