Earthworks - An Introduction

This course forms part of a group of courses intended for a Contractor's employees to raise their awareness, knowledge and understanding of each of the areas covered.

The course will examine the various aspects which can affect the performance of the completed earthwork during the construction phase. This will include the basic principles of the design in so far as they can affect the construction and ultimate performance of the scheme.

Aims & Objectives:

This course is designed to provide an appreciation of issues which can arise during the construction process which can have an impact on both the short term and ultimate performance of the earthworks.

The course will enable delegates to develop a deeper understanding of a range of aspects relating to earthworks:

  • Identify types of soils
  • Be aware of the design requirements for a range of activities
  • Be able to assess a bore-hole log
  • Have an appreciation of good (and bad) site practices related to earthwork operations
  • Identify different types of earthworks activities
  • Have a raised awareness of health, safety and risk issues related to earthworks
  • Identify soil characteristics which are significant in determining an appropriate strategy for backfilling and compaction operations
  • Examine methods available for the location and identification of existing underground and above ground services
  • Identify the construction elements of pavement construction and factors determining the build up of layers subject to loadings and existing ground conditions
  • Identify quality control measures necessary to ensure successful completion of pavement construction
  • Describe methods available and their appropriate use for ground improvement

Course Outline:

Introduction to Earthworks

Soil Properties and Characteristics

  • Cohesive soils
  • None cohesive soils
  • Angle of repose
  • Water absorption
  • Water adsorption
  • Moisture content
  • Compaction - testing
  • Frost impact
  • Embankment slips
  • Compaction implications
  • Ground strengthening and improvement
  • Including geotextiles, stabilisation and stone columns

Typical Road Construction Materials

  • Capping
  • Sub-base
  • Macadam
  • Concrete

Design Specification for:

  • Car parks
  • HGV parks
  • Footpaths

Contaminated Ground

  • Geotechnical testing
  • Remediation
  • Disposal
  • Relevant Regulations

Construction Issues

  • Piling mats
  • Crane mats
  • Safe MUPES pathways
  • Equipment selection and use
  • Testing and certification
  • Weather conditions - implication on effective earthworks performance
  • Backfilling issues around structures
  • Common problems encountered on site - this is an opportunity for delegates to share issues they have experience of - and for group discussion


Health and Safety Issues:

  • Temporary works - including earthworks support
  • Location and work around services
  • Site segregation

Mode of Delivery:

  • General introduction followed by assessment of needs and capabilities of delegates
  • Presentation by tutor using PowerPoint, with illustrations, photographs and videos
  • Group and individual exercises
  • Discussion sessions - opportunity to share experiences
  • Course review and summary
  • End of course assessment

Intended For:

Anyone who is involved in the earthworks related to the construction process.

Pre-Course Requirements:

Delegates will be asked to bring examples of good - and not so good - site practices that they are aware of.

All our courses can be offered as in-house training

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