Abstract

In their discussion of ‘Land Surface Evaluation for engineering practice’ A Working Party Report (Q. J. eng. Geol.15, 265–316)., Messrs Styles, Brand and Burnett have suggested that the report ‘failed to deal adequately with the terrain interpretation methods used in modern engineering practice’; ‘did not represent the state of the art as claimed’; and was outdated as from 1979’. Further, ‘that the working party was unaware of whole areas of documented research’; ‘was parochial’; and ‘could not have achieved its stated objectives without casting a much wider net than it did’.

Such swingeing criticisms are difficult to answer constructively. As the report clearly indicates, the work of the committee was completed in 1978 after some four years of preparatory work. It is regretted that although submitted in late 1978 the report was not published until 1982 for reasons outside the control of the Working Party. The Working Party was aware that the techniques facilitating particular aspects of Land Surface Evaluation were developing at a tremendous pace at this time (as they still are today) and that this explosive growth had far outstripped the ability of any non-funded national organization to collectively evaluate their technical merits. The Working Party's acute awareness that the engineering profession as a whole was still in the process of accepting that these techniques were individually or collectively cost effective, and that Land Surface Evaluation should be regarded as a standard method for geotechnical appraisal, resulted in it being decided and agreed to restrict the Report

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