Geotechnical Data Management Awards highlight the industry is embracing BIM

Level 2 BIM is now required by the UK government and this year’s Geotechnical Data Management Awards showcased just how far some companies had come in the embracing of the future of data management, the speed of data delivery and new ways of collaboration.

The awards dinner took place in the Jury’s Inn Oxford the night before the Keynetix User Conference and comprised 4 categories. Each of the categories celebrated successful investment in people and processes at each stage of the geotechnical data journey; from collection and reporting through to analysis, visualisation and BIM collaboration and workflows.

“It is inspirational to read the award entries and learn how people are using the tools and processes available to them.” said Roger Chandler, Managing Director of Keynetix. “Several of the entries highlighted that the new processes have enabled them to win further work and the return on investment for all the entries was clear and measurable to both the staff and management from the companies.”

Entries were received from companies in the UK and USA and whittled down to two finalists in each category. Each entry was judged on its return on investment, uniqueness and technical implementation.

Below are brief descriptions of the winning entries. If you are inspired by the winners’ stories and would like help to improve your geotechnical data management or processes in 2017 please get in touch.

Maybe next year your company will be a winner…..

Congratulations to all 4 companies.

Contact us for Information on the 2017 Awards

Data Collection and Reporting – Winner

Soil Engineering Geoservices are one of the UK’s leading ground investigation contractors and carry out hundreds of investigations annually, from those of modest size up to £ multi-million value and often with a high public profile.

The approach taken by Soil Engineering Geoservices has subsequently become enshrined in BS8574:2014 and can be summarised as ‘Wherever possible data should be collected digitally at source or, if this is not possible, data should be entered only once through a keyboard and then retained electronically. The collection of data by electronic capture in the field can significantly reduce errors, especially if automated validation checks are included at the point of entry and having only a single data data-set accessible via computer systems helps ensure data consistency’.

In practice this has meant the adoption and use of a suite of products developed by Keynetix to provide the software underpinning the entire system. These comprise KeyLogbook (developed in partnership with Equipe), upgrading the original KeyLAB to v2, upgrading HoleBASE 3.1 to HoleBASE SI Professional with the Extensions for Excel and AutoCAD Civil 3D, Template Studio and KeyAGS.

The result of the improvement in their processes is clear to see. Data is available quicker, it is more complete and contains far fewer errors than ever before. Sample data can be sent for scheduling purposes on the day of collection and test schedules be returned and in the lab before the samples have physically arrived.

A major incidental benefit of the improvements is the ability for both their estimating and engineering teams to rapidly access and interrogate the huge archive of data collected from their many thousands of investigations and to readily integrate this with external maps and data sets available via the HoleBASE SI interface.

Data Analysis – Winner


Van Elle is one of the leading geotechnical, piling and foundation engineering contractors in the UK.

Van Elle’s client, Network Rail, required bespoke reporting formats for the reporting of dynamic sampling and dynamic probe logs, including: bespoke legends, sections and templates. In the past contractors have double or triple handled data in HoleBASE, Excel, PDF files and used a lot of manual work to produce the desired long sections. Van Elle set out to implement a way to handle the data less in future and to avoid the highly time consuming input into excel and/or pdf to produce a meaningful section output.


The investment in their processes and staff has paid off with onsite logging methods, a new set of bespoke templates, hatching patterns and procedures that have streamlined reporting significantly. As a result, in future Network Rail sections will be almost instantaneous, compared with potentially many hours of data handling before the new process.

The process of transformation has also increased their confidence in what is possible and, using tools within HoleBASE SI, they can easily offer section views as standard with an increased amount of data that can be presented in these new formats or bespoke formats if required by the client.

The biggest return on investment for both Van Elle and the client can be shown by analysing the time saving that the process allows Van Elle to achieve and the reduction in turned around time for the client.

Data Visualisation


Southern Testing was formed in 1967 and will celebrate its 50th Anniversary in 2017. The company provides both Consultancy and Contractor Site Investigation Services to a broad client base throughout the UK.

The winning project involved a complex site for housing that had cambering of the underlying Hythe Beds. The fast building program necessitated quick response Site Investigation processes to identified features and further assess the extent of each feature.
Southern Testing implemented a new process as part of this investigation that involves entry of data on site using Excel, the importing of Data into HoleBASE SI and the analysis and display of the results on a themed site plan.


The process has significantly reduced the number of man hours spent analysing the raw data. It is estimated that the new process has saved 7 man days’ work of work with the 1500 probes already completed on this one project, paying for the investment several times over. These significant savings have led to increased profitability whilst offering the client a saving on overall costs.

The new process has, importantly, enabled quicker reactions to identified features on site, enabling further assessment to be undertaken quickly to facilitate the design of the foundations on a plot by plot basis, saving the clients engineer’s time in foundation designs and enabling groundworks to be undertaken quickly and correctly.

Geotechnical BIM – Collaboration and Workflows


Wardell Armstrong were commissioned by a strategic developer to devise landform options that supported the development of a 250-unit residential scheme on a former quarry site. The site included areas of steep and unstable slopes, ground contamination, ground gas risk, archaeology and great crested newts. Our designed landform needed to satisfy several constructability issues (adoptable gradients, variable soil quality) and recognise difficult site development constraints.

The data obtained during the site investigation was input into HoleBASE SI for analysis. This dataset was augmented with dozens of historic borehole logs for the site, obtained during previous investigations and the strata were coded to allow for easier interpretation. The borehole data was then linked to the AutoCAD Civils 3D model to allow the different geological horizons to be modelled quickly. This process identified pockets of buried topsoil, which, when plotted against ground gas concentrations over the site, were determined to be responsible for the elevated levels of ground gas.


Using HoleBASE SI together with AutoCAD Civil3D greatly improved Wardell Armstrong’s efficiency in analysing data quickly and thoroughly. The ability to import real world data straight into AutoCAD Civils 3D was invaluable.

The model was able to be used to predict the volumes of various material types that would form the earthworks, and the landform was optimised to ensure a volumetric balance whilst ensuring that key materials, such as topsoil, were available in sufficient volume to cover the site and eliminate the need for expensive import for residential gardens and soft landscape areas.

This process allowed Wardell Armstrong to produce a ‘BIM compliant’ output with their geological data stored within HoleBASE SI and combined with models of other designers within one Civils 3D model. By combining design models, they could produce a more resilient final landform that they, the client and wider design team could have confidence in being deliverable. The workflows also reduced their consultancy risk, as they could ensure that the designed output would work.

Contact us for Information on the 2017 Awards



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