BDA Webinar – June 2021 – “How we use the data you gather” – Reviewed

June 17, 2021

June’s British Drilling Association (BDA) Webinar took place on 16th June 2021 and discussed the interesting topic of “How we use the data you gather”.

Presented by Michael H de Freitas, Emeritus Reader in Engineering Geology at Imperial College London, co-Director of First Steps Ltd., and Ground Engineering Advisor (RoGEP), the webinar was based on the belief that design and construction in ground engineering relies entirely on a correct understanding of the ground, the materials on site, their distribution over the site and their properties, to which must be added the physical environment in which the ground exists including the pore pressures on site, and the site’s chemical environment.

Michael began the presentation by asking how drillers should view their position in the Ground Engineering industry, and used his personal opinion by analogy that they were our Brigade of the Guards as an analogy; “our ground engineering is only as good as our drillers”. He suggested that being ‘Guard’ requires drillers to:

  • THINK like a professional
  • ACT like a professional
  • DELIVER like a professional

But also asked ‘who guards the guards?’

He then proceeded to explain what consultants want from drillers and the crucial information we need in order to interpret the results from sampling and testing that follow from drilling. In particular, the geologists can log the cores but only YOU were there when material was not recovered. We cannot log what is not there and need to know what was going on! This is where your input is crucial.

Michael explored both these ‘parts’ in greater detail such as issues surrounding the measurement of water tables and how the information about them depend on how you were drilling. He also covered other characteristics consultants need to know such as strength, stiffness, water pressure, permeability, and durability, and illustrated the driller’s input with some examples based on strength.

How can drillers deliver what we need, was discussed next, with all steps emphasising the need for a Driller’s Log – something yet to be devised by the BDA but a log in its own right like the geologist’s log.

Michael then explained further the use of such a Driller’s Log with reference to resolving the differences between prediction of ground response and its reality as revealed by modern monitoring in Smart Construction and the growing need for drillers trained to deliver according to technical standards.

He concluded with BDA certification (the BDA Audit) and how this really is the ‘Guard who guards the Guard’, especially when it comes to personal safety, technical competence, and compliance. Mike reinforced how important THE DRILLER is and that they are the key-holder to producing good data and it is incumbent to ensure that personnel in the field receive the credit they deserve.

A questions and answers session closed the presentation.

A link to the webinar recording is available here – BDA Webinar – June 2021 – How we use the data you gather – British Drilling Association

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