Get the hard facts on soft ground before you build

For any development project, getting out of the ground is the hardest part. RDCL's comprehensive ground testing and assessment allows you to build with confidence.

  • Understand the ground composition before you dig.
  • Identify potential and actual risks in your site conditions.
  • Get expert recommendations and advice for earthwork and foundation construction.
  • Gain insight for the best strategic use of land.
  • Provide stakeholders with construction surety.

Hydropower Dam Investigation - Seismic Refraction Survey

SN Aboitiz Power group

Our client was developing  a new hydropower dam in Northern Luzon. During the preliminary design phase, three project critical sites were identified which required further investigation of ground conditions.

RDCL planned and executed a Seismic Refraction Tomography (SRT) survey to assess subsurface variability at each of the sites.  22 survey lines over steep terrain were completed, processed and integrated with LiDAR data which allowed the client to advance their project with confidence.


Geotechnical Investigation – Hydropower Pumped Storage Project

SMEC Philippines

RDCL provided specialist geotechnical services during the feasibility study for a 500 MW hydropower pumped storage project.  The project location was challenging with steep terrain,  limited access and extremely high rainfall.

RDCL's project scope included:

  • Management of a technical drilling programme (over 4,000m of core)
  • Rock Dilatometer testing to 392m depth (suppliers world record)
  • Hydraulic Fracturing  to determine in-situ stress in rock (ASTM D4645 - 08 Standard Test Method)
  • Acoustic Televiewer (ATV) to assess geotechnical structure for critical structures such as the underground power house, shafts and dam centerline. Maximum depth - 550m
  • Seismic Refraction survey (5km of lines) to understand ground conditions along dam centerlines and impoundment area.
  • Oversight of downhole testing and compilation of results, including SPT, lugeon and slug testing
  • Lab testing programme management

Downhole Geophysicial Logging NZ Roading Projects

New Zealand

NZTA and its partners have developed large scale roading projects across the North Island of New Zealand since 2012. RDCL’s geophysics team have supported the downhole testing investigations with both Optical Televiewer (OTV),  Acoustic Televiewer (ATV), and other geophysical downhole tools: 

The scope of work included;

  • Management, planning and logistics that form part of working on large projects with various parties (consultants, drillers, land owners) and some helicopter access;
  • Mobilisation and demobilisation of tools / personnel to remote / hard to access sites;
  • Establishment of equipment at boreholes on multiple sites;
  • Logging multiple boreholes;  
  • Processing of data, provision of factual data reports.
  • Seismic CPT (SCPT) testing;
  • Seismic downhole borehole testing; 
  • Surface based seismic testing completed with MASW:
  • SCPT and seismic downhole testing;
  • Processed seismic data with picked P-wave and S-wave arrival times and associated interval velocities;  MASW,
  • Processing shear wave velocities over depth.

Biliran Geothermal Power Plant

Biliran Geothermal Inc - Orka Energy

Understanding the changes in the bedrock was a key requirement for this project, completing surface based geophysics helped understand this, and direct the following intrusive investigations.

The propose of the investigation was to help the client and contractor understand the depth of piles, and  geotechnical issues at the site to aid with the tender process in a timely manner. RDCL’s geophysical capabilities and speed of establishment were a winning combination to get an early understanding of varying ground conditions.

The geotechnical investigation was situated in a remote mountainous area, and was for proposed 50MW geothermal power plant. RDCL mobilised resources within 3 days of contract confirmation with our geophysics team to complete surface based survey.

Site investigations included;

  • Surface based geophysical survey comprising;

- Seismic refraction tomography (SRT) to measure compressional wave velocity;
- MASW to measure shear wave velocity;
- Vertical electrical sounding to measure apparent resistivity; Laboratory testing from test pits and boreholes.

  • Site walkover and geological mapping to confirm investigation locations and identify geo-hazards;
  • Supervision of 7 triple tubed boreholes; engineering geological logging of recovered materials on 24hr shifts;
  • Test pits investigations across site to understand near surface materials and suitability for shallow foundations, identify FILL material if required; 

Analysis and reporting included;

  • Factual reports as the site investigation progressed, and final factual report 2 weeks after completion, and
  • Geotechnical report confirming foundation options for the various plant, and recommendations to help mitigate geotechnical risks associated with the overall development.

Wawa Pump Storage Project


Large contract: Downhole, geophysical and engineering geological logging investigation for hydro pump storage electricity scheme close to Metro Manila, Philippines. The remote site was steep, with tricky terrain and a large number of drill rigs on site.

Scope of work included;

  • Project management of all testing for field investigation;
  • Supervision of surface seismic refraction and MASW survey (sub-contractor);
  • Supervision (sub-contractor) and processing of ATV downhole testing;
  • Deep (to 400m) 2 stage packer/hydro-frack testing at specified depths;
  • Deep dilatomoter/pressuremeter (to 400m) testing and specified depths; 
  • Drill rig supervision and engineering geological logging of core recovered.