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Overview of the role

Understand, model and analyse the ground.

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Geotechnical engineer (integrated degree)

Details of standard

Occupation summary

Geotechnical engineers operate in the engineering sector and deal with engineering in the ground.

They may work for contractors, asset owners and operators, consultants, developers and regulatory bodies.

The broad purpose of the occupation is to understand, model and analyse the ground in relation to natural and engineering processes. They specify and manage ground investigations (both desk studies and intrusive investigation) and create detailed ground models to analyse the response of the ground to loading for example, by man-made structures, engineering activities such as railway cuttings and natural processes such as erosion. They are required to manage and interact with a broad range of stakeholders (engineers, clients, asset owners, developers) from conceptual advice through to construction of ground engineering projects. They undertake and manage the specification and detailed design, including optioneering/value engineering of geotechnical structures and ground engineering solutions. They manage resources, budgets, sustainability and risk in relation to ground engineering projects. They manage teams and/or other professionals and aid other’s professional development.

In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with their direct team within the organisation in which they work, as well as other internal teams, managers and senior employees. External to the organisation in which they work, they will interact with representatives from suppliers (material and services), contractors, engineers, asset owners and operators, regulatory bodies, developers, and clients. They will typically report to team leaders and directors within the organisation in which they work. They will have considerable autonomy in their day to day work.

They may work within an office, on site or split their time between both of these.

An employee in this occupation is responsible for managing ground engineering projects specifically in relation to sustainability, risk, cost, programme, resources, health, safety and environment. They are responsible for understanding the effects of natural and engineering process on the ground and modelling the response of the ground in relation to these activities. They understand and have a working knowledge of the relevant commercial, contractual and legal requirements of the projects that they work on. They work and adhere to their organisation’s internal processes and management systems. They are required to undertake continuing professional development activities and encourage and aid the development of others. They are required to undertake all duties in a professional and ethical manner representing the organisation in which they work and adhering to specific and relevant standards, execution codes and accepted methods of practice.

Entry requirements

Typically, an honours degree in a relevant subject for example, engineering, science, geoscience or mathematics. Practical experience will also be taken into account. 


Occupation duties

Duty

KSBs

Duty 1 Create ground-models by interpreting geological, geomorphological and hydrogeological data and identify geo-hazards for example, adverse settlements, subsidence and landslides, across both surface and sub-surface to facilitate management of risk and uncertainty in the ground throughout the life of a project.

K1 K2

S2

B3

Duty 2 Analyse, interpret and critically evaluate the data of a ground investigation via desk study research, using for example, historical maps and planning records to plan future engineering investigations and activities.

K3 K4 K5 K10

S2 S3 S10

B3

Duty 3 Design and supervise a ground investigation for example, intrusive investigations such as trial pits and boreholes, non-invasive investigations via geophysical techniques, taking of samples for laboratory testing and testing in the field (to determine ground properties), scheduling laboratory testing, establishing monitoring approaches and setting up appropriate instrumentation to monitor ground responses.

K1 K2 K4 K5 K19

S1 S5 S9 S14

B2 B3 B5 B6

Duty 4 Identify, manage and mitigate risks for example, health and safety, project and financial risks on site (throughout the life of a project, whether during ground investigation or construction process).

K2 K3 K15 K16

S3 S10 S11

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 5 Work with contaminated land specialists to identify risks associated with contaminated land and determine engineering measures to manage those risks.

K2 K4 K7 K19

S10

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6

Duty 6 Undertake detailed assessment and analysis (using appropriate methods for example, analytical, numerical, critical analysis) of the ground behaviour including properties of rocks and soils, and their response to natural or proposed engineering activities.

K2 K3 K7 K10

S3 S4

B3 B4 B5

Duty 7 Design geotechnical structures for example, slopes, foundations, retaining structures including optioneering and detailed design, allowing for consideration of sustainability, constructability and ground conditions.

K2 K3 K6 K8 K9 K10 K11 K12 K16

S3 S5 S6 S7 S8 S10

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 8 Produce geotechnical reports throughout the phases of investigation, optioneering, design and construction for stakeholders for example, engineers and clients.

K11 K12 K16 K20 K21

S5 S6 S7 S8 S10 S14 S15

B1 B3 B4 B5

Duty 9 Provide geotechnical and/or engineering geology support to stakeholders for example, engineers and clients and guidance throughout investigation and construction stages.

K3 K12 K13 K16 K20 K21

S6 S7 S10

B1 B3 B4

Duty 10 Develop maintenance strategies and recommend practical interventions for asset management of geotechnical structures for example, earthworks, retaining structures, foundations.

K3 K12 K13 K16

S3 S6 S8 S10

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 11 Manage, supervise and develop (depending on the level of seniority) other engineers/professionals.

K19 K20 K21

S9 S13 S14 S15

B1 B3 B5 B6

Duty 12 Manage stakeholders for example, communicate and negotiate with other engineers, clients, subcontractors and regulatory bodies .

K17 K19 K20 K21

S9 S10 S13 S14 S15

B1 B2 B3 B6

Duty 13 Manage geotechnical projects, including: planning, programming, design, risk, budgets, costs and resources.

K13 K14 K15 K16 K17 K18 K19 K20 K21

S9 S10 S11 S12 S13 S14 S15

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6

Duty 14 Assess and promote sustainable geotechnical solutions considering societal, environmental and economic impacts.

K9 K10 K11 K12 K13 K16

S5 S6 S7 S10

B1 B3 B4 B5


KSBs

Knowledge

K1: Ground investigation techniques and solutions to derive soil and rock parameters for subsequent geotechnical engineering activities: intrusive and non-intrusive in situ techniques, laboratory tests, and instrumentation and monitoring techniques. Back to Duty

K2: Ground conditions and ground shaping processes: soil and rock forming, hydrology, hydrogeology and geomorphology; naturally occurring and/or from human activities. How they can impact on construction projects and create geohazards for geotechnical assets. Back to Duty

K3: Soil and rock behaviour (soil and rock mechanics) when exposed to changes in load and/or environmental conditions and the implications this can have on the short- and long-term performance of geotechnical assets. Back to Duty

K4: Numerical, analytical and critical analysis techniques for the analysis of engineering problems and development of solutions. The limitations of these approaches. Back to Duty

K5: Desk based research techniques for developing a specification for a ground investigation. Correlating outcomes from a ground investigation with fundamental engineering parameters relating to the soil/rock. Back to Duty

K6: Principles of economic responsibilities, ethical principles, social responsibilities and, environmental protection and sustainability. How they must be applied to geotechnical engineering activities in the short- and long-term. Back to Duty

K7: The implications of contaminated land on geotechnical activities and design solutions in the short- and long-term. Contaminated land remediation approaches. Back to Duty

K8: Design principles and methods for geotechnical engineering and their limitations. Back to Duty

K9: Design codes and standards for geotechnical engineering activities. Back to Duty

K10: Current and previous industry developments, case studies and forensic analysis for use in design solutions. Back to Duty

K11: The need for 'buildability' and consideration of long-term asset performance during the design stage. Back to Duty

K12: Geotechnical asset management techniques and approaches through construction and post construction; and the importance of considering these during the design stage. Back to Duty

K13: Construction methods and management approaches used when constructing/managing geotechnical assets. Back to Duty

K14: Project management techniques for geotechnical engineering activities: estimating, programming, cost and budget control and resource management. Back to Duty

K15: Risk management techniques relating to the uncertainty/ambiguity inherent geotechnical engineering activities. For example, controlling risks to the environment, economy and society, risks arising during construction, risks on the geotechnical assets themselves, and those associated with the project: programme/budget control, commercial and financial issues. Back to Duty

K16: Legal requirements, including Health and Safety at Work, Environmental Protection and sustainability, Construction Design Management (CDM), data protection. Back to Duty

K17: Commercial and contractual requirements when undertaking geotechnical engineering activities: forms of contract, mechanisms of payment, specifications, and procurement. Back to Duty

K18: Time management techniques. Back to Duty

K19: Teamwork and leadership: negotiation techniques, conflict management, development techniques and, diversity, equality and inclusivity considerations. Back to Duty

K20: Communication techniques: oral, written, drawings and presentations. Back to Duty

K21: Information technology: digital tools for research, analysis, and presentation of data, Building Information Modelling (BIM), digital communication and collaboration packages. Back to Duty

Skills

S1: Specify ground investigations to obtain geotechnical data including in situ techniques, laboratory tests and instrumentation and monitoring techniques. Back to Duty

S2: Interpret the ground investigation data and develop a ground model including the identification of geohazards, contaminated land and other risks to the project as appropriate. Back to Duty

S3: Collect, analyse, and interpret data using numerical, analytical and critical analysis techniques to develop an engineering understanding of the ground and how this will impact upon future design solutions; short- and long-term responses. Back to Duty

S4: Undertake research and employ suitable methods to improve understanding of the engineering response of the ground. For example, undertake a laboratory study, numerical analysis, interpret previously published data on the ground conditions (or data from laboratory/numerical investigations), learn from previous case studies and/or utilise established correlations between parameters. Back to Duty

S5: Make geotechnical engineering decisions. Back to Duty

S6: Use geotechnical design principles, methods, codes and standards when developing geotechincal solutions. Back to Duty

S7: Develop geotechnical engineering strategies and evaluate the potential impacts of these. For example, economic sustainability, ethical, societal and, environmental and sustainability perspectives and practical considerations such as buildability and long-term asset management. Back to Duty

S8: Produce geotechnical engineering designs, specification and drawings. For example, for tender and construction stages. Back to Duty

S9: Use project management techniques. For example, estimating, programming, cost and budget control and resource management. Back to Duty

S10: Identify and comply with legal and statutory requirements. For example, health and safety, Environmental protection and sustainability, CDM and data protection. Back to Duty

S11: Use risk management techniques and manage risks associated with geotechnical engineering activities. Back to Duty

S12: Plan and manage own time. Back to Duty

S13: Work with and lead others including, negotiation, conflict management and developing others; taking account of diversity, equality and inclusivity. Back to Duty

S14: Communicate with colleagues and stakeholders: oral, written, drawings, and presentations. Back to Duty

S15: Use information technology: digital tools for research, analysis, and presentation of data, Building Information Modelling (BIM), digital communication and collaboration packages. Back to Duty

Behaviours

B1: Prioritises and promotes ethical, sustainable and socially responsible practices. Back to Duty

B2: Adaptable, flexible and resilient in challenging and/or changing environments. Back to Duty

B3: Takes responsibility for decisions, designs and procedures. Back to Duty

B4: Takes a whole life cycle view. Back to Duty

B5: Committed to continued professional development and is open to innovation. Back to Duty

B6: Collaborates and promotes team work across diverse teams: internal, external and across disciplines. Back to Duty


Qualifications

English & Maths

Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End-Point Assessment. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. A British Sign Language (BSL) qualification is an alternative to the English qualification for those whose primary language is BSL.

Other mandatory qualifications

Master's in geotechnical engineering

Level: 7 (integrated degree)

Professional recognition

This standard partially aligns with the following professional recognition:

  • The Institution of Civil Engineers for Chartered Engineer

    *The degree programme must be accredited by the Engineering Council to be considered by the Institution of Civil Engineers as part of the chartership process. This apprenticeship standard is designed to prepare successful apprentices to meet the educational base/further learning requirements for professional recognition. The experience gained and responsibility held by the apprentice on completion of the apprenticeship standard will either wholly or partially satisfy the requirements for registration with the professional body. The awarding of professional status is under the remit of the professional institutions and is subject to their rules and requirements. For more information, please refer directly to the professional institutions’ guidance on chartership routes and requirements.

  • The Geological Society for Chartered Geologist

    This apprenticeship standard is designed to prepare successful apprentices to meet the educational base/further learning requirements for professional recognition. The experience gained and responsibility held by the apprentice on completion of the apprenticeship standard will either wholly or partially satisfy the requirements for registration with the professional body. The awarding of professional status is under the remit of the professional institutions and is subject to their rules and requirements. For more information, please refer directly to the professional institutions’ guidance on chartership routes and requirements.


Additional details

Occupational Level:

7

Duration (months):

30

Review

This apprenticeship standard will be reviewed after three years

Status: Approved for delivery
Level: 7
Degree: integrated degree
Reference: ST0881
Version: 1.0
Date updated: 10/08/2021
Approved for delivery: 3 August 2021
Route: Engineering and manufacturing
Typical duration to gateway: 30 months
Typical EPA period: 9 months
Maximum funding: £21000
Trailblazer contact (for apprenticeship standard content and trailblazer membership queries only): Zoe.Baldwin@skanska.co.uk
Employers involved in creating the standard: Aecom, Amey Consulting, Atkins, Cementation Skanska, Geo Consulting Engineering Ltd, Geotechnical consulting group LLP, Groundwater Engineering Limited, Jacobs, LEAP Environmental Ltd, Network Rail, Peter Brett Associates, RSK Environment Ltd, Severn Trent Water, Wardell Armstrong LLP
LARS Code: 652
EQA Provider: Office for Students

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