Event archive

Event Organiser: The British Geotechnical Association

The many faces of Q: Rock mass characterisation, London

  • Lecture
  • London
  • 05 February 2020
  • 18:00 - 19:30
The many faces of Q: Rock mass characterisation, London

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BGA joint evening meeting with the Engineering Group of the Geological Society (EGGS).

In civil engineering projects involving concrete, steel and foundations in soil, it is possible to fabricate, sample, or test representative elements of the media that will be involved in the foundation and construction. In the case of tunnel or cavern excavations, or foundations in jointed and perhaps faulted rock this ‘simplicity’ is absent. ‘Samples’ are too big. This is where a good rock mass classification comes into its own. Ratings for some principal components like relative block size, inter-block friction, stress/strength ratio and water, are combined to form quantitative guidance sometimes using simple equations.

The Q-system now addresses such widely ranging themes as core-logging, tunnel-logging, tunnel support, shotcrete thickness, bolt spacing, seismic velocity, deformation modulus, tunnel and cavern deformation, shear strength, over-break, permeability, TBM prognosis, tunnel delays in fault zones, construction cost and time, safe rock slope angles. The lecture will be liberally illustrated with the basics and with some good examples of application.


Please join us afterwards for drinks sponsored by

Please note that advance booking is not required, and the event is free of charge to attend.

Tea/coffee will be served from 17:30 in the Brasserie.


Nick Barton

nick barton

Nick has a PhD from Imperial College. He worked at the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI) in Oslo between 1971 and 2000, and also spent four years at TerraTek in Salt Lake City, from 1981-1984. Since 2000 he has run a rock engineering consultancy, Nick Barton & Associates, based in Oslo, Norway.

He has consulted on projects in 40 countries during a total of 48 years, has 260 publications as first or single author, and has written two books. He developed the Q-system for classifying rock masses, and was originator of the rock joint parameters JRC and JCS and of the Barton-Bandis laws for rock joint modelling. He has also developed the QTBM prognosis method, QSLOPE and QH2O.

Event venue

Institution of Civil Engineers
One Great George Street
London SW1P 3AA
United Kingdom

For more information please contact:

Shelly-Ann Russell

e: [email protected]