Site investigation and risk assessment of geotechnical hazards in Tauranga City requires considerable geotechnical skills, experience and judgement. The nature of many soils and landforms in Tauranga City is considered by experts as being very complex and difficult to assess e.g. how soils and landform profiles will perform in normal and extreme conditions.
To ensure the risks associated with complex geotechnical hazards are appropriately managed, Council maintains a register of Accredited Geo-Professionals. Council will only accept geotechnical opinion from an accredited Category 1 or 2 Geo-Professional. This is summarised further on DS-10 - Apx B.5 Table 1:Geo-Professional Requirements for Geohazard Risk Assessment and Mitigation.
The purpose of pre-qualification for Geo-Professionals is to ensure that sites, which contain difficult soils issues, are investigated and analysed by an appropriate professional. Council acknowledges that geotechnical engineering is a specialised engineering discipline that requires specific training, qualification and experience that may not be fully covered by a more generalised engineering training and qualification.
Professional opinion for geotechnical hazards is provided by a Geo-Professional. The Geo-Professional is accredited to compile the portion of the Development Evaluation Report and the Development Completion Report relating to geotechnical hazards and undertake the requirements outlined in DS-10 Natural Hazards and Earthworks on geotechnical issues within the City.
- A Geo-Professional shall have been accredited by Council under the requirements of DS-10 Appendix C – Geo-Professional Accreditation System. They will have demonstrated that they:
- Are a Geotechnical Engineer who is a Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng) as registered by IPENZ, and /or;
- Are an Engineering Geologist who is a Professional Engineering Geologist (PEngGeol) as registered by IPENZ.
- Have appropriate experience to operate in the accredited category for geotechnical and / or geological issues.
- The requirements of a Geo-Professional include:
- Undertake appropriate site investigation, research and evaluation to ensure an appropriate geological model for the subject property is determined, including assessing what effects the existing site geomorphology has on the proposed development.
- Formulate designs and opinion on the most appropriate solution(s) to ensure development of safe building platforms and landforms where complex geotechnical issues exist.
- Provide opinion, design, supervision and certification for bulk earthworks, slope stability, foundation design and to provide detailed evaluation of the suitability of the natural ground for the foundations of buildings, infrastructure or other development works both temporary and final.
- Provide certification that completed landform development works / earthworks comply with the conditions of all related consents and relevant performance criteria.
- Before and during construction of the development works, determine the extent of any further investigations, review test methods and frequency of construction control tests, assess the reliability of the testing, evaluate the test results and field inspection reports and undertake regular site inspections to satisfy themselves of the quality of the completed earthworks and development works.
- Compile the portion of the Development Evaluation Report and Development Completion Report relating to geotechnical hazards and associated As-Built Information and certification.
- Maintain a minimum level of Professional Indemnity insurance cover with a minimum limit of indemnity of two (2) million dollars or such limit as agreed by Council. Insurance cover shall be appropriate to the potential risk exposures. Cover under the recommended minimum two (2) million dollars limit of indemnity may be acceptable, at the discretion of Council, where the potential risk exposure is demonstrably low. All parties shall be fully aware that, in the case of Professional Indemnity insurance, insurance policies are commonly issued on the basis of limits of indemnity for any one claim and in the aggregate for the actual policy period. Council must fully consider the aggregate indemnity limit exposures prior to consenting to the acceptance of a lower Professional Indemnity limit of indemnity from the consultant.
- The Consent Holder's Representative may act as the Geo-Professional where they are an accredited Geo-Professional.
- The Consent Holder cannot act as the Geo-Professional.
- Geo-Professionals shall only work within the category that they are accredited for.
Geotechnical Engineers and Engineering Geologists are not the same. They have differences in training and competency. This means that allowing both to perform all roles required by a Category 1 or 2 Geo-Professional is inappropriate. However, both are important for the roles they perform.
It is important that qualifications, experience and competency in both of these areas is considered during the accreditation process.
DS-10.7.2 Suitably Qualified and Experienced Professional
Where a development is proposed for a site that is subject to other hazards, a SQE Professional shall be engaged to investigate, define the hazards/risk and formulate solutions to ensure the risks associated with the hazard are avoided, remedied or mitigated and the nominated building platform is certified as meeting the performance criteria above.
Council will only accept professional opinion on other hazards from a person meeting the requirements of a SQE Professional. Please refer to GEN-4 Definitions.
SQE Professionals shall only work within the category that they are accredited for.
Definitions in this section
Chartered professional engineer
Consent holder's representative
Development completion report
Development evaluation report