Minimising Geotechnical Cost Over Runs using due diligence and MASW Seismic

Added: 2 July 2016

Abstract— MASW Seismic is an innovative geotechnical test method that is innovative, fast, economical and geotechnically accurate to define site characterization. With many clients insisting on fixed price contracts, it is essential that geotechnical cost over runs need to be minimalized. Geotechnics have been described over the years as a black art. Unfortunately, this notion resonates through the construction industry and it is because it is unknown what is sub-surface, and short of excavating the whole site, existing physical test methods and interpretation often do not adequately define the geotechnical model of the sites. Better and cost effective investigation methods are necessary. Geophysical test methods are available and proven accurate, so their use should be encouraged. MASW seismic (multi-channel analysis of surface waves) is the most recent of these, and has been commercially available for about 15 years now. MASW now a mature test method, and is proposed to be included in the new AS1726, Site Investigation standard.  


It is well known that six soil testers can test a site, with six different results, so ‘due diligence’ would suggest that what is needed is a different approach, a different test type to obtain a separate opinion about the site. MASW seismic can provide that independent site characterisation. Out of all the geophysical methods MASW seismic is most suitable because the seismic wave velocity result can be matched up with material properties, the method is suitable for urban use because of low noise and ease of use with low accessibility requirements and MASW is also fast, economical and geotechnically accurate.


 This paper will present case histories, where cost over runs have be avoided or could be avoided, through use of MASW seismic.

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