RSK Geophysics | News


Read our latest news stories below...

13 April 2017, University of Leeds TOP

Geophysics as a ground investigation tool

RSK’s award-winning ground investigation experts invite you to a free seminar on the latest developments in geophysical technologies and techniques, and their use in state-of-the-art ground investigations. The seminar will provide a detailed overview of the most commonly used geophysical techniques, and explain how to acquire and process the data effectively in a commercial environment. Networking sessions will enable delegates to share their experiences.

Two sessions will run on the day:
Morning: Commonly used and useful geophysical techniques
Afternoon: Managing the risks of unforeseen ground conditions

The seminar starts at 09:30 and includes lunch. We will be sending out more information in the coming weeks. However, numbers for this event are limited, so please register your interest now. For further details, please contact Jane Rigby on 01829 772294 or  email with your details. We will confirm that you have registered your interest and will send out the invitation closer to the date.

November 2016 TOP

GPR Heritage Seminar a Hit!

RSK’s recent heritage seminar, co-hosted by timber specialist Exova BM TRADA, has been labelled a big success after 154 external delegates gathered at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, UK.

Entitled ‘Conserving and regenerating our heritage buildings – Overcoming the challenges’, the seminar considered the unique nature of the historic built environment. Introducing the event, RSK and Exova BM TRADA explained the rationale behind it: “Some of our buildings are irreplaceable monuments to our history, yet many of them lie dormant waiting for a new lease of life in the 21st century. A series of technical presentations explores some of these challenges with speakers included RSK's Chied Exective Alan Ryder, Jennifer Murgatroyd of the Structures and Materials Team and Matt Stringfellow from the Geophysics team, and representatives from Exova BM TRADA, Historic England, Thomasons and Heritage Building and Conservation (York) Ltd. Topics included the application of ground-penetrating radar in assessing historic buildings and sites.

Speaker Matt Stringfellow comments, “It was a good day all round. The venue was perfect, as it is a historic structure itself. We have had some fantastic feedback with many attendees not realising the wide application and number of buried features that GPR can image". If you are interested to find out more please Contact Us.

A packed room at MOSI

July 2015 TOP

PAS 128 - The new standard in Utility Mapping

In 2014, the British Standards Institution (BSI) issued a new Publically Available Specification (PAS) 128, which specifies the minimum that should be done in respect to underground utility detection, verification and location, and also provides guidance and pointers to best practice.

RSK are proud to have been part of the team that helped develop the new standard. RSK's George Tuckwell was on the steering committee developing the standard, and was seconded onto the drafting panel to help write the section on detection (To view George's presentation of the standard click here).

PAS 128 gives the client much control over the specification of the survey and the tools to hold the practitioner accountable for their data acquisition and deliverables. Utility surveyors can no longer operate to unknown levels of quality that produce varying levels of detail and then hide behind the  “black box “ of GPR as an excuse.

The new PAS 128 standard sets out 4 category types (levels of accuracy) of survey:

  • Level D - Desktop utility records search
  • Level C - Site reconnaissance
  • Level B - Utility detection using EML and GPR
  • Level A - Verification via intrusive inspection
RSK offer all the above surveys, and is fully PAS 128 compliant.

For further advice on PAS 128 and how to learn to use it effectively as a client specifying works please Contact Us

April 2015 TOP

A day in the life of a nuclear inspector

RSK's Geophysics director George Tuckwell was recently interviewed by The Guardian because of his participation in the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBTO) Integrated Field Exercise 2014 (IFE14) last November. The How to find a nuclear bomb podcast, part of the Science Weekly series, is now available on The Guardian's website.

George participated in the first training cycle of the CTBTO organised by the Provisional Technical Secretariat in 2007-2008, and led the geophysics team in IFE08, the first on-site inspection integrated field exercise hosted by Kazakhstan in September 2008. Since then, he has regularly participated in CTBTO training events, exercises, meetings and workshops. He wrote early drafts of the standard operating procedures for the deployment of geophysical techniques during on-site inspections and worked closely with the Provisional Technical Secretariat to develop the inspection team functionality and functional field team concepts and procedures.

You can listen to the full podcast here.

For more information contact George Tuckwell

George (right) undertaking a ground-penetrating radar survey
with Gordon MacLeod (chief of policy and planning, CTBTO)

December 2014 TOP

RSK wins government research grant for SIGMA

RSK has won a major government research grant for a study on the use of quantum gravity sensors. SIGMA – Study of industrial gravity measurement applications is a collaborative project between RSK (as lead) and Birmingham University, UK.

The proposal included details of how quantum gravity sensors could revolutionise geophysical surveys and explained the research that needs to be done first -
 “The potential of the step change in sensitivity promised by Quantum Technology (QT) sensors, in particular gravity instruments, is enormous and would revolutionise geophysical surveys for environmental and engineering applications.
 “However, this promise is subject to a number of factors that are currently unknown and must be determined to evaluate the feasibility of this new technology to provide a practical improvement on existing survey technology and practice.
 “To obtain any benefit from the step change in sensitivity of gravity measurements, there needs to be an equivalent step change in survey strategies and data reduction methods. This feasibility study will develop tools to quantify these requirements and apply them to real-world survey problems. Quantifying the technical advances required will allow us to understand the time and expertise required to deliver enhanced surveys and, therefore, evaluate the cost-benefit of quantum technology over existing gravity sensors.

Geophysics director, George Tuckwell, commented,  “Winning this grant plants us firmly at the forefront of geophysical research and ahead of the competition in our ability to commercialise the next generation of quantum-technology based geophysical instruments.

For more information visit the SIGMA website or contact George Tuckwell

SIGMA - Study of industrial gravity measurement applications

Free seminar, Wednesday 16th October 2013 TOP

Geophysics as a ground investigation tool

Liverpool University is delighted to invite RSK's award-winning ground investigation experts to give a free seminar on the latest developments in geophysical technologies and techniques, and their use in state-of-the-art ground investigations.

Encountering unforeseen ground conditions mid-project can be an expensive problem. Buried obstructions, waste, contamination, mineshafts, solution features, soft ground, landfills, storage tanks, unexploded ordnance, archaeological features and difficult geology may variously lie in wait.

Buried services are often early concerns. Managing the health and safety risks means getting the right information at the right time. A well-designed investigation can pick up much more than just services at the same cost. Each project is different. This session will demonstrate how the latest developments in surveying and geophysics can be tailored to understand and reduce the specific risks encountered at any particular stage in a project.

A graphical approach to visualising information and risk will be used to discuss the value and usefulness of different types of intrusive and geophysical site investigation data. Interactive sessions will illustrate when and when not to use geophysics, and, if it is used, how best to integrate it into a site investigation approach. Detailed case studies will illustrate the lessons and objectives.

For more information contact George Tuckwell

Liverpool ground investigation flier

Event details

Understanding and Managing the Risks of Unforeseen Ground Conditions

February 12th 2013 TOP

Ground Investigation Seminar

Keele University is delighted to invite RSK’s award-winning ground investigation experts to give a seminar on the latest developments in geophysical technologies and techniques, and their use in state-of-the-art ground investigations. The course will provide a detailed overview of the most commonly used geophysical techniques, and how the data should be acquired and processed effectively in a commercial environment. Networking sessions will allow delegates to share experiences, and students and potential employers to connect. All delegates are invited to tour the Keele Sustainability Hub and learn more about Keele’s research in this area.

For more information contact George Tuckwell

Download Ground Investigation Event Flier (all day)

Download Ground Investigation Event Flier (afternoon session)

RSK Geophysics work in close collaboration with Keele University

February 2013 TOP

Web Site Update

We’ve redesigned our site and we want to know what you think! Please take 5 minutes to browse and let us know what you think about the new site design, ease of use, and a little about you. Is there anything you would like to see us include? Your feedback helps us to serve you better.

August 27th 2012 TOP

Geophysics expands into the North West

RSK’s geophysics service now has a new team in Helsby in Cheshire.

Previously, geophysics services were based in RSK Hemel Hempstead office.  From August a team of three geophysicists led by Stephen Owen togther with specialist Topographic surveyor Paul Birtles will be located in the Cheshire office. The new team will offer the complete range of geophysics services, including SafeGround, the service and utility detection and mapping arm.

Steve says, “This move is prompted by the success of the SafeGround service led by Gerwyn Leigh, which we launched in 2009, and the continuing growth of the geophysics team. These services will be more accessible for RSK’s northern offices and more cost-effective because mobilisation costs will be reduced.  “As well as cities such as Manchester and Liverpool, it’ll also be easier to run projects in locations such as Newcastle, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.”

Geophysics will continue to have a strong presence in the south of the country, where Tim Grossey will manage the six-strong team in Hemel Hempstead.  For more information about the geophysics teams and the services they offer, please contact Steve Owen or George Tuckwell.

May 10th 2012 TOP

RSK wins Ground Engineering awards

RSK has won Ground Investigation Specialist of the Year at the 2012 Ground Engineering Awards.

The judges for the Ground Investigation Specialist of the Year award said, “Our winner is a firm capable of working for global clients on a wide range of environmentally challenging projects with onerous health and safety issues. This is a firm that enjoys solving the complete problem.” The award recognises the innovative use of existing techniques and pioneering new technology to give clients confidence in findings and minimise the potential for unforeseen ground conditions.

George Tuckwell, director, RSK Geophysics, says, “This is a significant win and a major recognition of RSK’s philosophy of using the right techniques at the right time in the right context for an integrated ground investigation. The projects used as exemplars showed off the full RSK offering: Wylfa and Carrington combined-cycle gas turbine in the UK, and consultancy we did for the UN.” Each project showed how RSK can get the best value from existing data and intrusive and geophysical investigations to provide clients with the most accurate, cost-effective and safe ground investigations. George, with John Lawrence, Stephen Mackereth and Adrian Barby-Moule from Structural Soils, attended the awards ceremony, which was held at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Friday, 4 May, and hosted by actor and presenter Robert Llewellyn.

RSK included positive client comments in its submission, which helped to secure the win. On the Wylfa project, Graham Garrard of Halcrow said, “RSK played a key role in developing the survey programme and optimising field techniques that not only delivered the very high quality results that were required but also added value. RSK also conducted the work under a challenging timescale for acquisition and interpretation.”

On the Carrington project, Louise Lynch from ESB International said, “A cooperative working environment and good joint objective focus and ownership, which was established between ESBI and RSK, resulted in the identification of naturally occurring and manmade features that were not known from any available desk study information and that would have meant significant rerouting at the construction stage of the gas pipeline for the project.”

For more information, please contact George Tuckwell.

Click here to download the Carrington Case Study sheet.

From left to right: one of the judges, Derek Butcher, route asset manager, civil engineering, with Network Rail; George Tuckwell; Adrian Barby-Moule; John Lawrence; Steve Mackereth; and host Robert Llewellyn.

Easter 2012 TOP

RSK boosts its topographic survey offering

RSK is extending its surveying services to include topographic surveys, appraisal surveys, GPS surveys, control networks, boundary surveys and movement monitoring including data acquisition.

Paul Birtles, survey manager based in RSK’s Helsby office, recently joined the company to develop these services.” Paul explains that the services can be tailored to meet individual client requirements: “Within the topographic survey service we will be able to provide accurate plans for detailed design work, planning applications, flood risk assessment, ground modelling and visualisation.
“For clients that do not require the level of detail provided by a topographic survey, appraisal and boundary surveys identify the main features of the site such as buildings and boundaries. GPS and control networks services are other options for clients that may not need the full survey, for example, if they require survey markers to be placed around there site to aid the setting out process for construction.

“RSK can provide these services for all types of sites and locations around the UK, whether a new or existing development,” says Paul. The capability compliments and extends the existing SafeGround service stream offered by RSK’s widely respected geophysics team.
For more information, contact Paul Birtles or George Tuckwell.

Pic of example topo plan.

Download Topographic Service Sheet.

January 2012 TOP

Geosciences wins utilities mapping contract with the Environment Agency

The Environment Agency has awarded a contract for specialist site investigation services to RSK as part of a ‘National Site Investigation’ Framework (NSIF).

The focus of work will be mapping utilities such as pipes and cables, and underground hazards such as unexploded ordnance in support of all the agency’s site investigation projects.

“The agency has suggested that the main framework of site investigation work could be worth about £20 million over the next four years.  RSK’s share of that should be fairly substantial because every site investigation will require a utilities mapping survey,” says George Tuckwell, director, RSK Geophysics. The SafeGround team will undertake the work, which will be mainly in the South East and the Midlands. There should also be opportunities for surveys elsewhere in England and Wales. The framework also opens up RSK to other potential appointments or site investigation works by other government bodies including local authorities.

George continues “The Environment Agency was impressed that we have the wider capabilities to follow up our work with targeted intrusive investigations. What will be particularly interesting is when the agency has difficult or unusual site conditions for which we can generate innovative solutions. Our ability to tackle more complex investigations distinguishes us from other outfits,” he says.