Simplified Geotechnical Analyses – “Back of the Envelope” Methods

About the course

The availability of complex methods and software for geotechnical analysis and design may suggest that simplified methods of geotechnical analysis and design have now been superseded. However, there are several circumstances in which such methods are still applicable, and indeed essential, and these include:

The latter application is very important as there is a tendency for time-poor and less-experienced users to uncritically accept the analysis results.

This workshop will review the steps involved in identifying the critical design issues and developing appropriate geotechnical models for simplified analysis, and will then present methods that can be implemented via simple charts or equations that do not require computer programs, other than perhaps a spreadsheet for more convenient implementation.

About the presenters

Professor Harry Poulos Senior Consultant, Tetra Tech Coffey

Professor Harry Poulos joined the Department of Civil Engineering at Sydney University in 1965, and was appointed a Professor in 1982, a position he held until his retirement in 2001. In 1989, he joined Coffey Partners International, and is currently a Senior Consultant with Tetra Tech Coffey. He is also an Emeritus Professor at the University of Sydney and an Adjunct Professor at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He has been involved in a large number of high-rise and infrastructure projects in Australia and overseas, including the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Creek Tower in Dubai, and the 720 km Egnatia Odos motorway in Greece. He has received a number of awards, the most recent being the 2020 Peter Nicol Russell Medal from Engineers Australia and the inaugural ISSMGE Lifetime Achievement Medal in 2023.

Kim Chan Senior Technical Director in Geotechnics, GHD

Kim Chan graduated from the University of Calgary in Canada with a BSc (Eng) degree and later received his MEngSc degree from the University of Sydney. He has over 40 years of post-graduate experience and is highly regarded in the industry for his ability to solve challenging geotechnical problems using practical and theoretically sound solutions. He has worked on all facets of geotechnical engineering and has published over 50 peer reviewed technical papers and book chapters on various geotechnical subjects. Kim is currently a Senior Technical Director in Geotechnics and previously held the position of Australasia and Asia Service Line Leader of Geotechnical Engineering in GHD for 8 years.

Dr Tim Hull Technical Director in Geotechnics, GHD

Dr Tim Hull was a full-time Technical Director in Geotechnics for GHD and had been associated with the GHD geotechnical group for over 20 years as a technical advisor whilst working at The University of Sydney. He joined GHD full-time in 2006 and has led the GHD geotechnics analytical team on some milestone projects covering various geotechnical aspects. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil, Honours) degree and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Sydney. Tim’s more than 30 publications include notable peer-reviewed journals and conference papers on a variety of topics which reflect his experience in analysis over a wide-range of areas in geotechnical engineering.

Topics Covered

  1. Introduction and basic soil properties.
  2. Shallow footings – bearing capacity and settlement/consolidation.
  3. Pile design – axial and lateral capacity, lateral loading, single and group settlement.
  4. Slope stability – limit equilibrium, stability charts and rock slope stability.
  5. Retaining wall design – gravity walls and soil nail walls.
  6. Excavation and groundwater control, including impact of dewatering.

Who Should Attend

The workshops will be designed for engineers, geologists and other professionals.

It is envisaged that each participant will have some industry experience and, as a minimum, a knowledge of soil mechanics and geotechnical engineering to Bachelor of Civil Engineering standard.


AGS Members: $495
AGS Post-Graduate Members: $295
Non-Members: $695


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Melbourne, Monday 25th March 2024

AGS Member

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AGS Post-Graduate Student Member

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$695.00 inc. GST

Brisbane, Wednesday 27th March 2024

AGS Member

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AGS Post-Graduate Student Member

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$695.00 inc. GST