Our Process

4DG’s personnel, experience, methodologies and technology provide reliable and cost effective, fit-for-purpose geotechnical input wherever project infrastructure or facilities are constructed from or interact with earth materials or masses. 4DG’s input assists in safely and effectively understanding and managing Geo-risk throughout feasibility studies, design, construction and operation.

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It is within the 3Dimensional space that project sites are located, each characterised by a particular set of accompanying natural phenomena and physical processes. These processes take place in a fourth dimension: Time. Thus, in earth sciences, it is common to ask questions relating to changes in site conditions over time until current conditions have been reached, and then also questions demanding a prediction of subsequent changes at the location.

At 4DG, our 'fourth dimension' are our clients, each with their own particular requirements respecting time, quality, risk, reliability, safety and ultimately, cost. 4DG meets client-specific parameters through our understanding of project scope, design criteria and required engineering, whilst simultaneously applying successful innovative methodologies and technology to add value and reduce risk in the delivery of projects involving geo-issues.

4DG commences projects by understanding project design criteria and engineering requirements to produce work which is focussed and fit-for-purpose.

4DG forms early predictive 3D engineering geological models with identification of geo-hazards and consideration of site geological history, to form an initial basis for design, permitting targeted cost effective investigations. Engineering geological work is supplemented by engineering geomorphological studies to determine how the ground morphology has reached its current state and how it may change when it is modified during construction and over the engineering life of a project.

4DG aims to provide, as far as reasonably possible, given the geo-knowledge, a continual assessment of the feasible range of geo-variation that can occur, and thus develops an understanding of the budget/risk range a project is operating within.

For each project, 4DG employs simplified geo-terminology, which allows consistent communication throughout works between the owner, engineer, consultants and contractors (Reference Conditions).

4DG aims to provide continuing support throughout a project, including application of the observational method during its construction phase.

4DG places great emphasis on early engineering geological and engineering geomorphological mapping of sites. We utilise technology including ruggedised field computers such as Toughbooks with inbuilt GPS allowing for design data, current geo-models and known constraints (e.g. lease, heritage, environmental) to be made available on-screen and editable at specific field locations. These Toughbooks and ruggedised digital assistants are also used for data acquisition during ground-breaking investigations such that draft logs are immediately available for review. Data is logged, stored, manipulated, analysed and presented using a range of specialist software including gINT and various GIS and geo-stability software packages.

At each project phase or stage, 4DG’s team of geotechnical engineers is able to review site conditions by utilising a range of commercial (e.g. Geo Studio family, Plaxis, GeoTrack) and in-house developed software, in parallel with the extensive and varied experience of its personnel to analyse foundations, slopes and formations.

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