AGS Victoria Symposium 2023

Novel Solutions in Geotechnical Engineering

The Victorian Chapter of the Australian Geomechanics Society (AGS) is pleased to announce the 2023 AGS Victorian Symposium titled “Novel Solutions in Geotechnical Engineering” to be held on 25 October 2023.

The symposium forms part of the continuing program of events organised by the Victoria Chapter of the AGS. The event is designed to showcase recent novel solutions and innovations to address geotechnical challenges in practice.  This symposium will be held as a face-to-face event in Melbourne. 

The event

For the past decade, Australia and particularly Victoria has seen an unprecedented boom in infrastructure investment involving mega-projects, transport and rail developments. These significant infrastructure developments have generated new geotechnical challenges due to complex geological condition, spatial variability of the ground and urban construction. Adding to these challenges are the need for higher efficiency, cost saving and consideration for sustainable developments. All these challenges and requirements have spurred novel and innovative solutions across all aspects of geotechnical engineering – management, investigation, design, construction and operation. 

Fuelling the geotechnical creativity and innovations is the advancement in technology and knowledge, which allows novel solutions and tools to be developed to tackle these geotechnical challenges using a variety of approaches (e.g. advanced numerical modelling, physical testing, data-driven solutions, field instrumentation and monitoring). 

This Symposium will provide the platform to showcase, promote and inspire novel and innovative solutions in geotechnical engineering. To promote engagement with young engineers, the Symposium will host an inaugural Young Geoprofessionals’ poster corner.

The symposium will bring together geotechnical practitioners, researchers, specialist contractors, regulators, educators and students to share and discuss recent novel solutions, with a particular emphasis on tackling the geotechnical challenges in the Melbourne region and regional areas of Victoria.

Keynote Speaker

Dr Samintha Perera Senior Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering, University of Melbourne

Dr Samintha Perera is a senior lecturer at the University of Melbourne. Her research focuses on rock-fluid interactions in deep underground reservoirs during various field applications, including CO2/H2 storage and natural gas extraction. Her research findings led her to win ROCHA Medal 2014 from ISRM, the Philip Law Medal 2016 from the Royal Society of Victoria, and the Dorothy Hill Medal 2022 from the Australian Academy of Science. She has recently been featured among the “top 2% scientists in the world in the Energy field” in the Stanford University Review in 2020 and Engineers Australia “Create” Magazine in 2022.

Photo of Ben Coombes, Principal Engineer at NOMA Consulting

Ben Coombes Principal Engineer, NOMA Consulting

Ben Coombes is a Principal Engineer with over 20 years of experience in both the mining and civil tunnelling industries. He has worked in Australia, Papua New Guinea, India and Kazakhstan. As part of his career, he has enjoyed using his numerical analysis skills in conjunction with his site based experience. Ben was involved with the Detailed Design and Construction Phase Supervision of the mined tunnels (caverns, cross passages and back stubs) on Melbourne Metro.

Dr Lean-Hock Ooi Geotechnical Director, Gamuda Berhad

Ground improvement works for cutter head intervention and cross passage for Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (KVMRT)

Dr. Ooi is a professional civil engineer with more than 30 years of experience in the field of geotechnical engineering design and construction implementation. He has been managing geotechnical designs and construction of major infrastructural projects in South East Asia and Middle East. These projects include runways, railways, dams and highways. Apart from that, he also has more than 10 years of experience in Metro underground works, which includes deep excavation, cut and cover structures and tunnelling. The tunnelling methods employed in the projects that he was involved in included, TBM tunnelling, drill and blast tunnelling and box jacking. Recently he was relocated to Australia and is fortunate to be involved in both metro and highway related projects and a firsthand experience on road header tunnelling.

Some of the major projects that he was involved included the Klang Valley Mass Rail Transit (KVMRT) Lines 1 and 2, Electrified Double Track Project (Ipoh-Padang Besar), Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (SMART) Project, Pergau HEP Dam in Malaysia; Hamad International Airport, and Dukhan Highway in Qatar; Sitra Causeway Bridges in Bahrain; and Nam Theun 1 HEP Dam in Laos.

Dr. Ooi graduated with a PhD in Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Sydney in 1990. He is a Member of Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM), Member of the Institution of Engineers, Malaysia (MIEM), Member of Engineers Australia and CPEng.

Technical Programme

8:30 – 8:40amWelcome & Opening Remark

Session 1 – Novel geotechnical analysis

8:40 – 9:20amKeynote: Numerical Analysis of the Melbourne Metro State Library Station Cavern
Ben Coombes, NOMA Consulting
9:20 – 9:35amInterpretation of Shape Array Inclinometer Data to Assess Trigger Action Levels in Tailings Dams – A Case Study
M. Naeini, ATC Williams
B. G. Nejad, ATC Williams
9:35 – 9:50amBack Analysis, Monitoring and Remediation of Instability in a Soil Nail Wall in Fissured Basaltic Clay
A. E. M. Dupleix, Mott MacDonald Pty Ltd
R. A. Day, Arup Australia Pty Ltd
D. N. Hagues, Mott MacDonald Pty Ltd
9:50 – 10:05am Platinum sponsor presentation: Chadwick Geotechnics
10:05 – 10:15amQ & A
10:15 – 11:00amMorning Tea & Young Geoprofessional Poster Exhibition

Session 2 – Challenging Geotechnical Conditions

11:00 – 11:40amKeynote: Ground Improvement Works for Cutter Head Intervention and Cross Passages for Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (KVMRT)
Lean-Hock Ooi, Gamuda Berhad
11:40 – 11:55amEarthquake Site Subsoil Classification in Melbourne’s South-west – A Crack in the Code?
A. McIntyre, Douglas Partners
11:55 – 12:10pmGas Permeability of Cement-Bentonite Cut-off Wall Materials with Powder and Granular Bentonite
S. Al-Baiaty, Tonkin + Taylor
A. Bouazza, Monash University
12:10 – 12:25pmGold sponsor presentation: Global Synthetics
12:25 – 12:35pmQ & A
12:35 – 1:35pmLunch & Young Geoprofessional Poster Exhibition

Session 3 – Rock Behaviour in Mining Applications

1:35 – 2:15pmKeynote: Novel Solutions in Utilising Underground Coal Seam Gas Reservoirs for Gas Storage/Recovery
Samintha Perera, University of Melbourne
2:15 – 2:30pmVein Effect on Mechanical Properties and Fracture Behaviour of Porphyry Rock
H.J. Wang, Monash University
Q.B. Zhang, Monash University
2:30 – 2:45pmSome Geotechnical Properties of the Bendigo Goldfield
A. D. Campbell, Mott MacDonald Pty Ltd
2:45 – 3:00pmGold sponsor presentation: Insitu Geotech Services
3:00 – 3:15pmQ & A
15:15 – 4:00pmAfternoon tea & Young Geoprofessional Poster Exhibition
4:00 – 4:30pmHeritage Time Capsule & Discussion Session
Negin Yousefpour, University of Melbourne
4:30 – 4:40pmClosing Remarks and Thanks
4:40 – 6:00pmCanape and drink

Further information

For further information, please contact 

Shiaohuey Chow
Phone: +613 9035 7504
Email: [email protected]


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Presenters (both technical papers and posters) will enjoy free entry to the symposium. Discounts will apply for co-authors (excluding poster).

Engineers Australia members participating in AGS technical sessions can record attendance on their personal CPD logs. Members should refer to Engineers Australia CPD policy for details on CPD types, requirements and auditing guidelines.