Modern Geotechnical Practice

11th September 2019

Whilst there is a wealth of associated standards, codes and technical guidance relating to Geotechnics, Northpoint Geotechnical dissects modern practice for UK professionals.


Geotechnical Practice in the beginning

Site Investigations Code of Practice 1957

The foundations for current UK geotechnical practice go back to the 1950’s, with the publication of the British Standard Code of Practice CP2001 (1957) entitled “Site Investigations”.

The CP included a concise and informative 123 page document. Present day geotechnical professionals would recognise similarities to current field practice, including how to appropriate describe soils and rocks, as well as familiar investigation techniques.

The evolution of Geotechnical Practice

Site Investigations Code of Practice 1981By the start of the 1980’s, BS5930 was born. The standard is the “code of practice for site investigation”, and is fundamental to modern geotechnical practice in the UK. The document was introduced in order to standardise practice.

BS5930 over the years has been revised, and the most noticeable amendments in 2007 include the recognition of Eurocode 7. Rather than the BS conflicting with Eurocodes, the latter was recognised to reflect statute and practices elsewhere in Europe.

Current Standard Practice

Site Investigations Code of Practice 2015In 2015, BS5930 was amended to ensure than UK practitioners were fully compliant with related Eurocode 7 standards. Rather than a mere footnote in its predecessor, firm amendments and cross reference to associated Eurocode sub-documents is evident.

Eurocode 7 generally includes two core reports: BS EN 1997-1 and BS EN 1997-2.

BS5930 provides recommendations for the investigations of sites (consistent with the superseded standards), however includes guidance on the application of BS EN 1997-1/2 and related testing standards.


Since standardisation, not much has changed since the 1980’s apart from the integration of EC7; which has always ran parallel to our own modern standards. As a tool, BS5930 (and CP2001) has always been used for the investigation of sites for the purposes of “assessing their suitability for the construction of civil engineering and building works and of acquiring knowledge of the characteristics of a site that affect the design and construction of such work”. Should the UK leave the European Union, Northpoint can only speculate the fate of EC7 and future BS5930 revisions.


Need Geotechnical Practice advice?

We can help. At Northpoint Geotechnical, we are Site Investigation Experts committed to delivering cost-effective engineering solutions We are fully compliant with the current code of Geotechnical Practice.

We can help you with all of your Ground Investigation needs.

Call us on 0191 917 2310 or email us at for Expert Geotechnical Engineering advice.