Engineers Australia

Laboratory Testing, Theory and Practical Application (COURSE FULL)

The course aims to provide information on geotechnical laboratory testing methods to professionals working in the civil and mining industry. Although the subject is often taught during formal education, the actual implementation of that knowledge is not always straight forward. Some of the issues that will be covered in this workshop are:

  • Soil classification and compaction testing
  • Shear strength testing
  • Compressibility and permeability testing
  • Revised CBR Australian Standard Test Method (AS 1289.6.1.1-2014)
  • Likely reasons behind the changes and their practical and financial implications
  • New minimum curing times and surcharging of the CBR test
  • Other important factors that potentially affect the CBR test results the implications.
  • An introduction to Geotechnical engineering applications
  • Reviewing some of the laboratory testing of rocks, their fundamentals and limitations
  • Identification of intact rock strength parameters and rock mass classification systems
  • The usefulness of testing, scheduling testing and problems with testing

The course is set-up with theoretical component as well as practical examples and a tour/explanation of laboratory testing equipment. Over the course of the day, the presenters will provide six separate sessions on the theory of laboratory testing methods with applied examples. The workshop will be closed with a tour of Coffey’s laboratory equipment where the participants can get a feel for an operating laboratory. The course will allow for recording of CPD and lecture notes will be provide for your future reference. The course will include morning tea, standing lunch and afternoon drinks.

Workshop Program

8.00 – 8.30 Registration, Sign on & Welcome

8.30 – 9.15 David Williams

The Wonders of Geotechnical Parameters – Part 1 Soil Classification

9.15 – 10.00 Mehdi Serati

Geotechnical Parameters for Rocks

10.00 – 10.30 MORNING TEA BREAK

10.30 – 11.15 David Williams

The Wonders of Geotechnical Parameters – Part 2 Shear Strength Testing

11.15 – 12.00 Stephen Buttling

Some thoughts on laboratory testing

12.00 – 12.30 LUNCH

12.30 – 13.15 David Williams

The Wonders of Geotechnical Parameters – Part 3 Compressibility and Permeability Testing

13.15 – 14.00 James Russell and David Barker

CBR Laboratory Testing



15.00 – 16.30 Tour of Trilab Laboratory

16.30 – 17.00 Discussion of results followed by afternoon drinks and networking event

About the Speakers

Stephen Buttling is a Senior Principal Consultant at GHD and has become a well-known geotechnical engineer since his arrival in Queensland 5 years ago. He has nearly 40 years of experience, starting in UK, followed by 25 years in South East Asia, and has been specifying and interpreting CPT data for most of that time, including then mechanical cone, and electrical CPT testing in Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and Australia, providing technical input in the interpretation and theory and case studies.

David J. Williams is the Golder Professor of Geomechanics and the Director of the Geotechnical Engineering Centre within the School of Civil Engineering at The University of Queensland (UQ), where he has spent the majority of his career. David has an international reputation for his research on the application of Geotechnical Engineering to mine waste management and mined landform design, including the wetting up and seepage from stored mining wastes, the encapsulation of potentially contaminating mining wastes, lining and cover systems, dewatering, and risk management. David is the author of several book chapters and more than 200 refereed papers. He is a consultant to numerous mining companies, an expert witness, and an international peer reviewer of mine waste projects. He has provided advice to numerous mining companies and consultants worldwide, in relation to many major mining projects.

James Russell joined the Coffey Group in 1977, and has worked as a geotechnician and Sydney Laboratory Manager till December 2004. From January 2005 James joined Trilab Pty Ltd formally Australian Geomechanical Laboratories Pty Ltd (AGLabs) as a partner.  James has a broad experience in a wide range of testing in soil and rock mechanics for projects including roads, subdivisions, bridges, dams, buildings, tunnels, mines, railways, quarries, products, pipelines, golf courses, racecourses and playing fields.  James has worked throughout Australia and overseas and has been a NATA assessor for 25 years and a member of the Australian Standards Committee for AS 3798.  James has experience in managing laboratories on major projects as well in Sydney and is presently the Executive Director of Trilab’s Brisbane and Perth laboratories.

David Barker is a Principal Geotechnical Engineer with over 15 years of experience, working on a wide range of projects in Australia and overseas.  His work has been in numerous roles, including approximately eight years as a laboratory Geotechnician, Geotechnical Engineer and manager of a regional office and laboratory in NSW.  Since late 2006 I have been based in Brisbane, with a primary focus on infrastructure design on larger scale projects including the Gateway Upgrade Project in 2006 to 2009, the Northern Access Road Project in 2008 and 2009, the Million Ounce Plant Upgrade Project (PNG) in 2009 to 2011 and the Cardwell Range Realignment Project in 2009 to 2012.  Between larger projects I have been involved with numerous tenders, including the Pacific Motorway Upgrade Project and Surat Basin Rail, and have managed the technical and delivery aspects of numerous smaller scale projects.

Dr. Mehdi Serati has completed his PhD in Civil Engineering within the Geotechnical Engineering Centre (GEC) with the School of Civil Engineering at The University of Queensland (UQ) in early 2014. He has an MSc in Mining Engineering from Tehran University, Iran, and a BSc in Mining Engineering from Shahroud University, Iran. As part of his PhD studies at the CSIRO (QCAT), he has developed a new method to measure the strength property of Thermally Stable Diamond Composite (TSDC) cutting and drilling patented super hard elements of CSIRO. He is currently appointed as a Postdoctoral Researcher in the GEC at the UQ, and has been coordinating and lecturing Advanced Rock Mechanics and Mining Geomechanics, part of the BE (Mining &Geotechnical Engineering) and BE (Civil & Geotechnical Engineering) Dual Major Programs at the UQ. He is also actively pursuing supervision of a number of PhD and master applicants in rock mechanics related topics. His research interests are Rock Mechanics Testing, Analytical and Numerical Methods in Geomechanics, Rock Fracture Mechanics, Computational Modelling and Dynamic of Structures.

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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.