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RHD Operational Procedure – Technical Services Wing
BRRL - Soil Investigation Division
OP/BRL/2.1 - Major Field Soil Investigation
Purpose and Scope :

This procedure covers the process to be adopted following a request from a Circle or Zone within RHD for a major field soil investigation for a road or bridge project.
Definitions :

Major Field Soil Investigation - is deemed to require the mobilisation of one or more drilling rigs, vehicles and testing equipment to site for a period of several days or more, with subsequent laboratory analysis on samples and preparation of a soil investigation report.
Responsibility :

Superintending Engineer - BRRL (SE-BRRL) - has overall responsibility for services undertaken or provided by BRRL.

Executive Engineer - Soil Investigation Division (EE-SID) - has overall responsibility for the management and conduct of soil investigations including laboratory tests on samples and interpretation of results

Sub–Divisional Engineer - Soil Investigation Division (SDE-SID) - is responsible for the soil investigations on site and subsequent laboratory analysis of samples together with the preparation of the interpretive report for review by EE-SID/SDE-SID will be supported in this by the BRRL geologist and other BRRL support staff.

Additional Chief Engineer - Zone/Wing - as the originator of the request for a field investigation responsible for obtaining budget approval for it.
Method :


Requests for a major field soil investigation will generally arise during the early stages of project preparation for new road and bridge projects. As such they could arise from any of the Zones or Wings (e.g. the RHD Bridge Management Wing or Road Design & Safety Circle).

Upon receiving such a request EE-SID will agree with the originator of the request the scope and content of the required soil investigation, together with an estimate of the resources needed to carry it out and a programme for undertaking it.

EE-SID will submit the programme and resource estimate to SE-BRRL for a decision on whether or not BRRL will have to outsource the fieldwork due to other commitments.


Following a decision by SE-BRRL with respect to outsourcing the fieldwork, EE-SID will prepare a budget estimate for the soil investigation. If the fieldwork is to be undertaken by BRRL this budget should include for all expenses incurred by BRRL outside the laboratory whereas if the fieldwork is to be outsourced it should include for the procurement of a contractor to undertake this work. EE-SID should submit this budget estimate to the originator of the request for the soil investigation with a request for them to arrange the necessary funding.


Upon approval from the originator of the request to the budget estimate and confirmation from them that funds are available to undertake the soil investigation, EE-SID in consultation with SDE-SID should prepare a Work Plan for undertaking the investigations based on the approved programme.

Should outsourcing of the fieldwork be required then procurement of a contractor to undertake this work should be undertaken in accordance with RHD Procedures and included in the Work Plan.


Prior to mobilisation for the field investigations SDE-SID should ensure that any necessary permits have been obtained and the location of any underground utilities identified by the originator of the request for the soil investigation. Immediately prior to mobilisation SDE-SID should check that equipment to be taken to site is fully operational (with spares as appropriate) with adequate fuel and other consumables. Similarly SDE-SID should check that laboratory equipment needed to test samples from the field is both operational and fit for the purpose.

All soil investigations for proposed bridge sites must conform to the requirements of the RHD Bridge Designer’s Handbook. Amongst other things this requires such investigations to comply with the relevant British Standards or AASHTO requirements, and where appropriate the RHD Standard Test Procedures. At locations other than bridge sites where the required soils information relates solely to the design of embankments and road pavements, then the RHD Standard Test Procedures alone are likely to suffice.


Upon completion of all field work and laboratory testing on samples SDE-SID will prepare a report on the field investigations including borehole logs and raw data from both in-situ and laboratory tests carried out. Based on this SDE-SID will prepare an interpretive report on the soil properties, characteristics and strength parameters for review by EE-SID.

Subject to any amendments by EE-SID the field log and interpretive report will be finalised and submitted to the originator of the request for the field investigation. SDE-SID will ensure that an archive copy of both the field log and interpretive reports are retained by BRRL.
References :

· RHD Standard Test Procedures (May 2001)

· AASHTO Standard Test Procedures/British Standards

· RHD Bridge Designer’s Handbook

· OP/PC/2.1 – Pre-qualification of Contractors

· OP/PC/2.2 - Approval of Tender Documents

· OP/PC/2.3 – Evaluation of Tenders
Procedure Flowchart :

The procedure flowchart for this procedure is detailed below -




For duties associated with each grade of personnel see


Updated on : 1/12/2003