An Overview of Geotechnical Engineering and Design


Most civil, municipal and environmental practitioners involved in construction and transportation projects require a working understanding of soil behaviour under various loading and environmental conditions. This course provides an opportunity to understand basic concepts of geotechnical engineering used in a variety of applications so that participants can gain confidence in dealing with subsoil related problems that they encounter on engineering projects. The course will focus on both fundamental concepts of soil mechanics as well as applications of those concepts in the design of geotechnical structures such as foundations, embankments, excavations, and retaining walls. All key concepts and applications will be explained and emphasis will be placed on the practical application of the information provided. We will also provide a certificate to verify that you have completed the short course.

Who Should Attend

This course would be beneficial to all construction, municipal and transportation practitioners and especially to those involved in the design, approval and maintenance of civil and environmental engineering projects and any other structural and construction systems. The course will be of value for those who are new to geotechnical engineering as well as to those who have experience with geotechnical practice. 

Program Outline

Day 1: Basic Concepts of Geotechnical Mechanics
8:30 Registration and Breakfast
9:00 Basic Soil Engineering Concepts
Origin and formation of soil, soil composition, particle size distribution, phase relation in soil, soil classification, stress in soil
10:30 Refreshments and Networking
11:00 Water in soil: Permeability and Seepage
Groundwater flow in soil, permeability of soil, 1-D and 2-D flow, controlling groundwater in construction, seepage analysis, engineering consequences of flow control in soil
12:30 Lunch
1:30 Stress Distribution in Soil and Soil Settlement
Distribution of stress in soil, effective stress, consequences of stress variation in soil, settlement in soil, consolidation analysis, settlement calculations
3:00 Refreshments and Networking
3:30 Shear Strength and Soil Failure
Failure in soil, stress-strain behaviour of soil, shear strength analysis and measurement, shear strength parameters used in design
Day 2: Geotechnical Engineering in Practice
8:30 Breakfast
9:00 Site Investigation
Planning subsurface investigation, geophysical methods, geotechnical drilling, in-situ testing, understanding and interpreting geotechnical reports, field identification of soil samples
10:30 Refreshments and Networking
11:00 Foundations Analysis and Design
Shallow versus deep foundations, foundation design requirements, bearing capacity analysis for shallow foundations (LSD and LRFD), settlement estimation, and shallow foundation design
12:30 Lunch
1:30 Slope Stability Analysis
Slope instabilities, failure types and causes, slope stability analysis (hand calculations and computer programs), stabilization techniques for unstable slopes
3:00 Refreshments and Networking
3:30 Lateral Earth Pressure and Retaining Structures
Lateral earth pressure, earth pressure coefficients, retaining walls, design of retaining walls, excavation supports.
5:00 Questions and Answers & Participants’ Feedback on Achievement of Learning Outcome