This workshop will deal with the central issue of Stress Wave 2000 - quality assurance on land and offshore piling.
Quality assurance in general foundation practice is an important issue worldwide. Its prominence is probably linked to fierce competition within the foundation industry, and a trend in many countries for greater amounts of litigation.
Increased competition has seen margins of safety trimmed from designs, further exposing those responsible for the foundation to risk and hence litigation if things do go wrong. In this new operating environment, an effective and reliable quality assurance strategy is paramount for the client, the designer, the contractor and the tester.
Although there clearly is a need for quality assurance, the reality is that in many instances, techniques do no more than target consistency of processes. In the worst cases, the techniques and their associated paper trail require such a plethora of documentation that ensuring the actual quality of the foundation becomes secondary.
Real QA involves the application of sound engineering knowledge and skill to the process of foundation installation and testing, at all levels - from site worker to specialist tester. Real quality can only be gained by adequate training in the science and art of foundation engineering, supplemented by experience.
This applies particularly to the area of specialist foundation testing, which is the cornerstone of the QA process. If the testing process itself is not subject to a rigorous training and QA process, what confidence can there be in the foundation quality?
The foundation industry needs to put its mind to addressing how meaningful QA can be implemented. This workshop will explore this issue as it applies to the foundation testing industry at large.
Julian Seidel is senior lecturer at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.