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Frequently Asked Questions
- we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions below for your assistance
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Q: How do you decide how to investigate a site (i.e. number of test locations) and the techniques you use?
A: For geotechnical work there is no set answer. It depends on the anticipated ground conditions and what is being built. With those two things in mind defining the scope of the works comes down to experience and a clear understanding of what each investigation technique will give you. The investigation has to provide sufficient information about the ground, its likely variability and the required geotechnical parameters for design.
Acid Sulphate Soils investigations have a far more prescriptive approach that are detailed in state legislation.
Q: How do you investigate a site where the contractor requires guidance on rock excavation?
A: Investigating rock excavation characteristics can be undertaken using a variety of techniques. These include cored boreholes and test pits. Geophysical methods such as seismic are also useful. Laboratory strength testing methods include uniaxial and point load test methods. The collated data can be analysed using the charts of Petiffer and Hooke and the Caterpillar rippability table.
Q: How do you assess the slope stability of a site?
A: Assessing the slope stability of a site requires an understanding of the geomorphology, groundwater and geology. A qualitative assessment can then be carried out as described in the AGS ‘Practice Note Guidelines for Landslide Risk management 2007′. A quantitative assessment (i.e. calculating a Factor of Safety) requires assignation of geotechnical parameters to a geological model within a program such as SLOPEW.
Q: Shear box tests typically are undertaken under three confining stresses of 100kPa 200 kPa and 300 kPa. Are these confining stresses appropriate for all tests?
A: No, the confining stresses that the tests are undertaken at should reflect the stresses from where the samples are taken and/or likely stresses along actual or potential failure planes.
Q: What does factor of safety mean and how should it be used?
A: Factor of safety (FOS) is simply the ratio of resisting forces to disturbing forces. Typically long term FOS values should be at least 1.5. Given the inherent variability in the ground a range of values should be used in the calculation of FOS. Typically a probabilistic function can be employed in software such as SLOPEW to carry out the analysis.
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