Ground Modelling for Eurocode 7 (2nd Generation): Level 1

Ground Modelling for Eurocode 7 (2nd Generation): Level 1
Eurocode 7 (EC7) now mandates that all ground engineering requires a model of the ground to be made - the “Ground Model” - because knowledge of the geological boundaries across a site and the materials between them form the basis of Design, Ground Investigation, Risk assessment, Analyses and Construction.

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Level 1 provides basic training for constructing a Ground Model and its usefulness in hand-checking and constraining its digital analogue generated by software. It is made up of four practical modules in creating a ground model to answer commonly asked questions of site geology. The exercises in each module use real data of the sort usually available at the early stages of a ground engineering project.

A unique feature is that the exercises allow a learner to interact with ground data for each site and thus develop understanding and judgement in the subject. Guidance on crucial stages in the construction of such models is provided and interactive visual displays of the ground models generated in answer to the questions enable a leaner to see their model in 3D. Illustrated worked solutions are provided for each question so that they become part of the learning process making this training suitable for geologists and engineers.

By completing the course, leaners with gain a practical competence in the subject and an ability to hand-check digital models of the ground generated by software.

Upon completing this course, leaders are recommended to enrol for Ground Modelling for Eurocode 7 (2nd Generation): Level 2, which naturally builds on the knowledge attained during this course.


To gain the best experience of this course, please use a mobile device such as a laptop, mobile or tablet to view the course contents. You will also need to use a pencil and paper to complete drawings required for the solutions.

This training module does not support screen readers. Please contact 020 7665 2458 for further advice.

Basic skills in creating a ground model are developed through 4 modules of increasing complexity, each for a different site in a different geological setting. The 4 modules together provide experience in establishing vertical profiles for a site and their use to create a 3D model of site geology, and the use of these data to answer basic questions on the boundaries, thickness and volume of strata on site.

For each site a map of the surrounding topography and geology is provided plus an air photo, together with photographs from an Agent’s walk-over survey and a borehole log from existing records; these form the basic Resources for each module. Boreholes can be virtually drilled across a site to achieve depth to strata boundaries and a record of such intrusive investigations made.

Levels 1 to 3 modules each provide the user with training in the logic, understanding and practice required to deliver validated geological components of a Ground Investigation Report and a Geotechnical Design Report as now required by:

  • BS5930:2015 Code of practice for ground investigations.
  • BS EN 1997-1:2004+A1:2013 Eurocode 7. Geotechnical design. Part 1. General rules.
  • UK National Annex to BS EN 1997-1:2004+A1:2013 Eurocode 7. Geotechnical design. Part 1 General rules.
  • BS EN 1997-2:2007 Eurocode 7. Geotechnical design. Part 2. Ground investigation and testing.
  • UK National Annex to BS EN 1997-2:2007 Eurocode 7. Ground investigation and testing.


Michael H de Freitas
PhD. DIC. C.Geol, C.WEM.

Emeritus Reader in Engineering Geology at Imperial College London and Distinguished Research Fellow with over 50years’ experience in the practice, consulting and teaching of geology for ground engineering, both in the UK and overseas, with numerous books and papers to his name.

Former Vice-President of the Geological Society of London, Chairman of its Engineering Group and Editor of the Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology & Hydrogeology, Glossop Lecturer and William Smith medallist of the Geological Society, and Chevalier des Palmes académiques.

Member of revision committees and working parties for NERC, BSI, CIRIA , IAEG and Geological Society.

Andrew W Thompson

A geographer and cartographer since 1980, Andrew Thompson has managed geographic and mapping projects for central government departments, urban redevelopment corporations, and numerous geographic information publishers.

In his work for Groundwork Maps he specialises in project planning, geospatial analysis and geovisualisation. Recent work includes street networks, analysis for infrastructure planning, cartography (his maps have won a British Cartographic Society's Design Award medal) and the production of atlases, and ground modelling training courses.

He is a long-time Fellow of The Royal Geographic Society, and The British Cartographic Society.


In total, the modules will require approximately 24 hours of study to complete.

Please note that the eLearning licence is valid for 6 months only from date of purchase.

Successful completion of the exercises in Level 1 will provide the following skills for establishing ground models at both site scale and at scales that go beyond site boundaries, as now required by EC7. By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Read, understand and interpret a geological map.
  • Integrate topographic and land-use information of different ages with geology.
  • Incorporate springs and rivers into the geological model.
  • Relate local borehole data and vertical profiles to the wider geology.
  • Interpret vertical profiles from borehole data.
  • Develop a working knowledge of the dip and strike of geological boundaries.
  • Use 3-point solutions for predicting geology at depth.
  • Detect the likely presence of faulting on site.
  • Develop an informed view of the water table across a site.
  • Produce a simple graphical 3D model of site geology.
  • Hand-check the reasonableness of boundaries generated by software from digital models of the ground.


Your Certificate for Completing the Course of Study will display the mark you achieved completing these self-assessment tests.

In order to do well it is advised that you check your ability with the following competences before starting a test. You can do that by reading the notes below.

If you are unsure of some competence then return to the CPD work if needed – there’s no hurry; this is personal study. The test questions are extensions of the exercises you have completed so the more you study the site in question and its geology the better prepared you will be to cope with the questions asked.

Ground models are inter-disciplinary tools for ground engineering. The exercises are suitable for:

  • Civil and geo-environmental engineers and hydrogeologists who need to clearly understand how such models are made and acquire practice in making them, and thus appreciate the sensible limits to their use.
  • Engineering geologists and other geoscientists who need to generate a ground model for the purposes of design, ground investigation, analyses, assessment of ground-based risk, and construction, and present their model in terms that are useable for geotechnical, geo-environmental and hydrological practice.

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