The approach to ground modelling should be devised to suit the geological and geomorphological challenges that pertain and the context and manner in which the model is to be used. Several case studies are examined where problems experienced during works construction and operation are associated with complex ground conditions and geomorphological outcomes not fully anticipated from the site investigation and ground modelling. Other cases reflect situations where either important existing information was ignored or no apparent consideration was given to the potential for ground engineering problems. Insufficient attention to geomorphology, and especially geomorphological processes, has been the cause of several construction difficulties and continues to pose a significant source of risk in many terrains. The observational and analytical skills of a carefully chosen geo-team will be paramount if these challenges are to be overcome. However, such considerations become largely academic if institutional shortcomings serve to limit or exclude engineering geological assessment in the first place.

Thematic collection: This article is part of the Ground models in engineering geology and hydrogeology collection available at: https://www.lyellcollection.org/cc/Ground-models-in-engineering-geology-and-hydrogeology

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