Professional tasks, responsibilities and co-operation in ground engineering

The Joint European Working Group of the IAEG, ISRM and ISSMGE


In July 2002, a Joint European Working Group on the professional competencies of engineering geologists and geotechnical engineers was formally established by the then Presidents of the ISRM (Panet) and ISSMGE (van Impe) and by the President designate of the IAEG (Rengers). IAEG, ISRM and ISSMGE are learned societies in the broader field of ground engineering.

The need for such a Working Group stemmed from the fact that in recent years and across several European countries there was a debate on the particular contribution and responsibilities of Engineering Geologists and Geotechnical Engineers in the solution of problems in ground engineering. This was emphasised by differing professional definitions and accreditation rules that existed for geologists and engineers within different European countries, and by the growing demand for geologically and technically sustainable, cost effective and safe geo-engineering solutions. Internally, the Joint Working Group was seen as a means of strengthening the co-operation across the three international societies and to identify common ground.

The members of the Joint Working Group were nominated by each of the three international societies involved. The European Federation of Geologists (EFG) is represented on the Working Group as observer at present.

The Working Group was established on the 20-21 March, 2003 in Brussels. The inaugural meeting agreed the Terms of Reference. It identified the need for two documents, namely:

  1. A document for the three international learned societies on the professional competencies of engineering geologists
    and geotechnical engineers, including a specification of the interfaces and areas of co-operation between them and
  2. A document with relevant recommendations for an input to EU Directives.

This Report represents the outcome of the Working Group’s deliberations on the professional competencies of Engineering Geologists and Geotechnical Engineers within civil or structural engineering. For the purposes of this Report, Geotechnical Engineers are Soil or Rock Mechanics practitioners. After approval by the three international societies involved, this Report will be the basis for the second document of the Working Group to be prepared for the appropriate EU Authorities. It is intended to have representatives of both EFG and FEANI involved as full members of the Working Group in the preparation of the second document.