Ground Modelling for Eurocode 7 (2nd Generation): Level 3

Ground Modelling for Eurocode 7 (2nd Generation): Level 3
Eurocode 7 (EC7) now mandates that all ground engineering requires a model of the ground to be made - the “Ground Model”. Level 3 illustrates how the Ground Model interfaces with data that would be part of the EC7 Geotechnical Design Model, by using calculations of hydraulic head and the vertical effective stress that can be generated from models of the ground.

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These models include faulted, mined, and cavernous ground where the reliability of values so generated must be constrained by the reliability of the model. Such models also provide the means for hand-checking the predictions made by software.

This Level uses and builds upon the knowledge gained and used in Ground Modelling for EC7 (2nd Generation): Level 1 and Ground Modelling for EC7 (2nd Generation): Level 2.

Level 3 provides four practical exercises in using a ground model to answer commonly asked questions of site geology that would be relevant to establishing an EC7 Geotechnical Design Model. The exercises use real data of the sort usually available at the early stages of a ground engineering project. Basic guidance on crucial stages in the construction and use of such models is provided in Level 1 and Level 2, and this knowledge will be required to solve the problems in Level 3.

A unique feature of these exercises is that they allow a tutee to interactive with ground data for each site and thus develop understanding and judgement in the subject. Visual displays of the ground models generated in answer to the questions enable a tutee 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.


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.

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Skills in interfacing a ground model with an EC7 Geotechnical Design Model are developed through four modules of increasing complexity, each for a different site in a different geological setting. The 4 exercises together provide experience in establishing and using a 3D model of site geology to calculate vertical effective stress within the site being modelled, to assess the hydraulic recharge to be expected across a site being modelled and to predict hydraulic pathways through mined and faulted ground of a site being modelled.

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 an exercise. Boreholes can be virtually drilled across a site to achieve depth to strata boundaries and a record of such intrusive investigations can be 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.

Level 3 assumes all skills attained in Level 1 and Level 2 courses and uses them to start providing an interface for the EC7 Geotechnical Design Module. Level 3 illustrates how to:

  • Calculate vertical effective stress at different locations within the model.
  • Calculate changes in pore water pressure at different locations within the model.
  • Assess risks to underground works from groundwater.
  • Assess recharge to groundwater from rainfall over the area of the site modelled.
  • Reveal pathways for groundwater flow to and from underground works within the ground modelled.
  • Consider how faulted ground affects hydraulic heads and groundwater flows.
  • Hand-check the reasonableness of such calculations 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.

The knowledge and techniques used in Level 1 and 2 will be required to complete the exercises in Level 3; these are listed in the Programme and Learning objectives for Level 1 and 2. The exercises in Level 3 are suitable for:

  • Civil Engineers with experience in ground engineering (including geo-environmental engineers and hydrogeologists) who now seek a clear understanding of how such models are made, how they can be used in practice, the sensible limits to their use, their ability to provide a hand-check on predictions made by software from digital models of a site and the nature of the interface of the Ground Model with the Geotechnical Design Module now required by EC7
  • Engineering geologists and other geoscientists who need to justify a ground model for the purposes of design, ground investigation, analyses, assessment of ground-based risk, and construction, and quantify their model in terms that are useable for geotechnical, geo-environmental and hydrological practice, and provide a hand-check on the software predictions from digitally generated models.

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