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This course will provide basic theories and their applications for confidently dealing with a variety of subsoil related problems that engineers may encounter.

Course Outline

After participating in this course you will be able to do the following:
€¢ identify challenges associated with the design of foundations and other geotechnical structures
€¢ appreciate the effects of water on the behaviour soils
€¢ differentiate between drained and un-drained behaviour
€¢ determine appropriate subsurface exploration and laboratory characterization programs
€¢ interpret geotechnical reports
€¢ evaluate construction practices and foundation types depending on subsurface conditions
€¢ relate seismic provisions in the National Building Code of Canada to geotechnical engineering projects
€¢ understand the concepts of slope stability, retaining walls, soil settlement, and frost action
€¢ increase effectiveness on earthworks and foundations projects
€¢ demonstrate your newly acquired skills in geotechnical engineering practice


Most engineers with responsibility for construction work, even non-geotechnical engineers, need a working understanding of different soils and how they behave.  This course will provide basic theories and their applications for confidently dealing with a variety of subsoil related problems that engineers may encounter. An expert in geotechnical engineering will teach participants about these subsoil problems and their solutions. The course will cover topics such as the interpretation of geotechnical reports, the identification of unsafe field conditions, and methods for avoiding extra costs during construction.


To provide a practical understanding of geotechnical engineering and its applications.

Who Should Attend

Civil, municipal, structural, and construction engineers; consulting engineers; plans review personnel in municipalities; public works professionals; plant engineers who are involved with structures, infrastructure, or equipment foundations; architects; geologists and earth scientists; and, environmental engineers who want to understand subsoil. The course will benefit those who are new to soils as well as those who have experience.

Special Feature

Participants will receive a binder full of useful course notes for future reference.

Program Outline

Day I  Soils Mechanics: Fundamentals

Welcome, Introduction, Workshop Preview, Learning Outcomes, and Assessment Method

Basic Soil Mechanics Concepts
€¢ Nature of soil
€¢ Grain size distributions
€¢ Soil classification
€¢ Stresses in soils
€¢ Total and effective stresses
€¢ Load distribution

Water in Soils: Permeability and Seepage
€¢ Groundwater flow in soils
€¢ Measuring soil permeability
€¢ Calculating seepage flow
€¢ Effective drainage and the use of filters

Refreshments and Networking

€¢ Consolidation: time dependency, odometer tests, settlement calculations, effects of over-consolidation


Shear Strength of Soils
€¢ Measurement of soil strength
€¢ Drained and un-drained deformation
€¢ Strength anisotropy
€¢ Mohr-coulomb failure criteria, €~clays€(TM) vs. €~sands€(TM)

Refreshments and Networking

Modification of soils in place
€¢ Compaction: optimum water content, maximum density, compaction techniques, specifications
  for construction
€¢ Soil improvement: need for improvement and possibilities, preloading, densification, vertical drains

Introduction to Slope Stability Issues
€¢ Slope failure types and causes
€¢ Determination of slope safety
€¢ Groundwater effects
€¢ Slope stabilization techniques

Effects of Lateral Earth Pressure on Walls and Underground Structures
€¢ Active
€¢ Passive and at-rest states
€¢ Earth pressure coefficients
€¢ Retaining walls
€¢ Excavation support


Day II  Geotechnical Engineering: Applications

Subsurface Investigations
€¢ Scope of work
€¢ Available information and objectives
€¢ Planning and methods of investigations: SPT, CPT, and VST; understanding and interpreting
  geotechnical reports; field identification of soil samples

Refreshments and Networking

€¢ Limit states
€¢ Shallow foundations: bearing capacity, settlement and design considerations, introduction to
  deep foundations


Seismic Provisions in NBCC and Geotechnical Engineering
€¢ Earthquakes in Canada
€¢ Earthquakes and geotechnical structures
€¢ Soil liquefaction
€¢ Design methods
€¢ Microzonation maps

Refreshments and Networking

Case Histories
€¢ Real-life examples of consolidation problems, slope failures, retaining structure failures, and bearing
  capacity failures
Questions and Answers, Feedback on Achievement of Learning Outcomes


8:00   Registration and coffee
8:30   Session begins
12:00 Lunch
4:30   Adjournment

There will be a one-hour lunch break each day in addition to a refreshments and networking break during each morning and afternoon session.


Dr. Siva Sivathayalan, PhD and P.Eng.
, is an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carleton University, teaching geotechnical engineering at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Dr. Sivathayalan€(TM)s research focuses on soil dynamics and earthquake engineering. An active member of the Canadian Geotechnical Society (CGS), he has been the director of the Northern and Eastern Ontario region and the Ottawa section of the CGS, as well as a member of the CGS executive committee. In 2001, Dr. Sivathayalan received the ASTM award for outstanding article in the practice of geotechnical testing, and, in 2010 he received the CGS€(TM)s Stermac Award.

Prerequisites & Certificates

Certificates offered

1.4 CEUs / 14 PDHs

Cancellation Policy
To withdraw from a course, you must send a request, in writing, with the official receipt to our office. Fifteen or more business days in advance: full refund less $50.00 administration charge. Five to fifteen business days in advance: non-refundable credit of equal value for any future EPIC seminar within one year. Credits are transferable within your organization. In case of an unexpected event occurring after this time, you may send someone else to take your place without any additional cost.
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Here are some reviews of the training vendor.
The course was very well presented and the course instructor was absolutely amazing.
Reviewed by 2013
Our instructor, Stephen Lamming, was outstanding and a true expert in his field. He was able to complement the technical air monitoring information with practical real life examples which was highly beneficial. He is an excellent communicator and was highly interactive with the course attendees. This course was recommended to me because Stephen Lamming does an outstanding job. I was very impressed with this course and have subsequently recommended it to my colleagues.
Reviewed by 2012
Would have liked more interactive problem solving.
Reviewed by 2011

This course currently does not have any dates scheduled. Please call 1-877-313-8881 to enquire about future dates or scheduling a private, in house course for your team.

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