At the core of GWP’s business is the experience and expertise of 20 technical and support staff; these include geologists, geotechnical and mining engineers, surface and groundwater specialists and land surveyors.
Experience and expertise
GWP has been based in the small Oxfordshire town of Charlbury for over 40 years, providing independent expert technical advice and support. The national and international client base includes the minerals industry, landowners, developers, architects, contractors, planning consultants, government and non-government organisations and the aid sector.
Mark Pritchard, a GWP Partner, believes that the interdisciplinary nature is at the heart of the success of the business. ‘We have a greater range of expertise in-house than most companies our size, which benefits our clients and means that we can identify and solve technical problems more efficiently than might otherwise be the case.’
Engage your expert early
Jeremy Baldock, a Geotechnical Engineer and GWP Partner believes that the best time to engage a geotechnical consultant is at the conception stage of a project, before incurring costs for design, or even for land purchase. ‘The first step in any project should be to assess the potential hazards on the site and what lies beneath the ground in a well-designed desk study’.
Off the shelf desk studies used to ‘tick a box’ in planning applications are no substitute for a carefully focused desk study on the site accompanied by an expert assessment and interpretation of the evidence. Jeremy describes a case involving a property undergoing a multi-million pound internal and external renovation.
At the time GWP became involved, the internal refurbishment had been meticulously designed and was almost complete. However, the landscaping of the grounds was underway without even a basic desk study to understand how the geological and recent history of the site would impact the proposed works. Before visiting the property a simple desk study carried out in the office identified major and potentially expensive problems with the planned landscaping work.
Whilst spring lines across the hillside were clear to see, the interaction between local geology and groundwater and the resulting effect on slope stability was not understood, appreciated or provided for within the design. Extensive historic landslides relating to the geology around the site were identified during the desk study.
If the proposed plans had been undertaken as designed, the risk to the garden and the house would significantly increase. GWP provided the owner with sufficient information to make informed decisions about how they wished to proceed and the risks associated with their choices.
Watch this space to hear more on the topic from the GWP team.