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UK lags behind Europe on drilling parameter recording

Ability to record drilling parameters during ground investigation has been possible since the 1950s but the UK is still not benefitting from this information despite being required under new standards.

Soil Engineering innovation manager Digby Harman said that the UK was failing to harness potentially useful ground investigation information at the British Drilling Association conference on innovation last week.

“Providing drilling parameters is called for under BS5930 already and will also form part of the requirements of the new EN22574-15 standards that are currently being voted on for adoption across Europe,” he said.

Harman said that Soil Engineering’s rigs uses systems supplied by Jean Lutz and, although such systems have been common in Europe since the 1970s, they have not gained the same acceptance in the UK.

“It allows us to measure the behaviour and response of the ground in real time when used with destructive open hole techniques and can provide additional data in coring applications,” he explained. “Assessment of the thrust, rotation, rate of penetration and flush pressure can be interpreted to create a better ground model. I don’t understand why it is not used more widely.”

Harman added that the parameters had proved invaluable in chasing a sand channel on one site. “It is much cheaper than using coring on all holes,” he said.

Other speakers at the event also commented on the need for greater use of digital data in ground investigation.

Arup director Tim Chapman that the advent of BIM should help drive a better flow and sharing of data but questioned why AGS data is still often not shared with everyone involved in a project. Chapman also called for automatic sharing of information with the BGS to enable the iGeology app to become more informative.

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