AGS Victoria Symposium 2024

Piling and Ground Improvement Applications

The Victorian Chapter of AGS is pleased to announce the 2024 AGS Victoria Symposium on ‘Piling and Ground Improvement Applications’ to be held on 18 September 2024.

The symposium forms part of the continuing program of events organised by the Victorian Chapter of the AGS and is designed to showcase piling and ground improvement applications in the regional geological setting. This symposium will be held as a face-to-face event in Melbourne.

The event

The construction industry has experienced a significant increase in piling and ground improvement works in recent years driven by development of major road and rail infrastructure projects under Victoria’s Big Build Scheme and construction of high-rise residential and commercial buildings in the CBD and suburban town centres. Fishermans Bend Development precinct, labelled as Australia’s largest urban renewal project and located within the Yarra Delta, will require significant piling and ground improvement works and is another example of such developments. In many cases these construction activities require piling and ground improvement works to be carried out in areas with space constraints, limits on ground vibration, noise and offsite impacts while ensuring the safety of workers and the durability and integrity of the foundation support system. Increasingly, these activities are occurring in dense urban environments and benefit from supporting instrumentation, monitoring and early warning systems.

The piling and ground improvement solutions can vary greatly depending on the geological setting, which in Melbourne, ranges from compressible soft soil in the Yarra Delta, reactive soil and high strength rock in the basalt plains and weak rock associated with the bedrock underlying Melbourne. Tailored ground engineering solutions in piling and ground improvement works are often required to achieve project objectives in these diverse geological settings.

Research work on piling and ground improvement has undergone considerable expansion in recent decades, driven by advancements in materials, design and construction techniques. This research is being propelled in part by the exploration of recycled materials, eco-friendly binders, innovative cementitious materials and emerging technologies aimed at improving piling and ground improvement methodologies.

The Symposium aims to provide a platform for geo-professionals to exchange insights and ideas on piling and ground improvement applications with a particular focus on addressing challenges in the local geological setting including Melbourne and regional Victoria.

Important dates and submission

19 April 2024 – Abstract submission
26 April 2024 – Notification of accepted abstracts 
8 July 2024 – Full paper submission 
26 July 2024 – Paper acceptance notifications 
5 August 2024 – Final paper submission and registration deadline 


The organising committee is looking for potential sponsors of the symposium. Information is available in the sponsorship flyer. Organisations can purchase sponsorships online.

Interested parties should contact Yuqi Tan via [email protected]

Keynote Speaker

Dr Ben Collingwood Managing Director, FSG Geotechnics & Foundations

Design, Installation and Verification of CFA Piles in the Melbourne Region

Dr Ben Collingwood is Managing Director of FSG Geotechnics & Foundations, where he leads a growing team of professionals practicing in a broad range of geotechnical fields nationally.  His career in geotechnics spans almost 30 years and during this time he has been involved in many of the major infrastructure and building projects in and around Melbourne.

After completing his undergraduate degree at Monash University, Ben commenced his industry career in 1995 with a leading tunnelling contractor of the time, Transfield Tunnelling, and geotechnical consultant, Golder Associates, before returning to Monash University to complete a Ph.D. in Geomechanics under the supervision of Dr Julian Seidel and Dr Chris Haberfield.

Upon completion of his Ph.D. on the effect of construction practices on the performance of rock socketed bored piles, Ben spent 11 years with national piling contractor, Wagstaff Piling. During this time, he was responsible for tendering, design, project engineering and project and construction management for a large number of commercial foundation and retention construction contracts, in both the building and infrastructure sectors. In his roles he developed a detailed understanding of a broad range of deep foundation and retention systems including bored piling, CFA piling, driven precast, steel and timber piling, sheet piling, piled retention systems, diaphragm walls, cut-off walls and ground improvement.

Ben considers himself fortunate to have obtained a blend of technical knowledge, construction management experience and commercial understanding of foundation engineering practice, which provides a broad base for his project and industry involvement.

Since establishing FSG with colleague Dr Julian Seidel in 2010, Ben has led the company in its growth from three initial staff specialising in foundation engineering to a broadly skilled geotechnical consulting firm employing over 90 staff with offices in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.  Through FSG, he has been involved in a diverse range of projects within the building, resources, energy and infrastructure sectors, both nationally and overseas.

Ben is the Engineers Australia representative on subcommittee BD-090-03 for AS 5100.3:2017 – Bridge Design – Foundations and Soil Supporting Structures and a member of the provisional scoping committee for the upcoming review of AS2159-2009 – Piling: Design and Installation.

Dr Eric Chong Engineering Manager, Keller

Application of a Multi-Technique Ground Engineering Solution to Overcome Geotechnical and Physical Challenges in Docklands

Dr Eric Chong is an Engineering Manager with Keller and has over 15 years of industry and research experience in deep foundation and ground engineering. He has delivered over 100 piling projects in Victoria ranging from high rise towers above 75 levels to deep excavation up to 7-level basements. Within the Keller global network, Eric is regarded as a subject-matter expert in deep CFA piling, providing advice on this technique for applications around the world. He authored a technical paper titled “Design and Construction of the Deepest CFA Piles in Australia”. Eric has contributed to developing new Australian Standards and is a frequent guest lecturer at local universities. He is a Chartered Professional Engineer and a Fellow of Engineers Australia.

Prof Yinghui Tian Department of Infrastructure Engineering, University of Melbourne

The soil resistance of offshore displacement pile during installation

Dr Yinghui Tian is a tenure professor, Fellow of Institution of Engineering Australia, currently as an ARC (Australian Research Council) Future Fellow, working at the Department of Infrastructure Engineering of the University of Melbourne. His research background is offshore geotechnics. 

He is the recipient of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) David Hislop Award for the best paper on offshore engineering in 2017. He has produced a total of 213 publications (120 journal papers, 65 conference papers, 3 book chapters, 25 technical reports for industry projects).

Dr Ying Tay Technical Executive, WSP

Verification of pile design with bi-directional load testing

Ying is a Technical Executive of WSP with 28 years’ experience in related fields of geotechnical and groundwater engineering consultancy for projects in the Middle East, United Kingdom, Australia; and in academia. Ying’s leadership experience includes technical delivery of the geotechnical design of major urban buildings and infrastructure projects. Her technical expertise includes soil-structure interaction analysis of deep basement and foundations, pile load testing, ground improvement, and implementation of remediation strategy for sites with geo-hazard profiles such as voiding, compressible soils and high groundwater table. During her 14.5 years in the Middle East, she has been involved in the designs of numerous deep basements, foundations for tall towers and metro stations. In the recent years, she has been working on major projects in Melbourne, Australia.

Paper Guidelines and Template

Speakers and authors are encouraged to read the symposium paper guidelines and template.


Non-presenting co-authors are entitled to discounted registration, please contact the symposium organisers for a coupon code.

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$880.00 inc. GST
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