Mining; more than just coal!

Intégrale are frequently asked to complete pre-development Coal Mining Risk Assessments and Coal Authority compliant Ground Investigations. Whilst the history of British coal mining is well known, Britain also has a rich heritage in mining many different minerals and ores.

One recent example involved the collapse of an old and long forgotten shaft within a garden in a village in the Mendips, Somerset. Here, old mining resulted in discrete shafts being sunk to access the calamine/zinc/lead ore below. Just look at the pock-marked surface from a 1946 RAF aerial image; each ‘crater’ is an individual shaft, sometimes taken as deep as 20m!

Here at Intégrale we pride ourselves on understanding the ground conditions. This allows our clients to develop the most appropriate technical and cost-effective solution.
Image courtesy of

Power station to be redeveloped by Oxford University

The University of Oxford have been granted planning permission to redevelop a former coal and oil fuelled power station on the banks of the River Thames. The new development will create a Global Leadership Centre to include teaching, services and residential accommodation for the world renowned Saïd Business School.

Intégrale were asked to complete several stages of investigation due to the site’s complex internal layout and the requirement of an Environment Agency Licence to investigate within 8m of the River Thames. Intégrale utilised Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) together with historical maps and records to carry out geotechnical and contaminated land investigations to assist the developer with foundation design and potential site remediation. The development is ongoing and Intégrale will continue to be involved in further phases of investigation.

Don’t Take all Geology Maps at Face Value

Intégrale were invited to visit the houses of a group of neighbours in the countryside near Calne, Wiltshire. The beautifully located study area, underlain by sandy Jurassic Calcareous Grit, sits at the crest of an escarpment with enviable views. The hillside downslope is mapped as (apparently undisturbed) Oxford Clay.

Unfortunately, the Oxford Clay displays the hummocky topography, with extensive boggy ground and reeds, of landslip (c. 10-12,000 years old); thus probably dating to the late Devensian Glaciation. It is surprising that such an extensive area of ancient landslip is not recorded on the geology map.

Recently reactivation of slippage along the old backscar, due to the high groundwater, has disrupted timber viewing  platforms. However, the ground movements are adequately remote from the houses to currently pose a risk of imminent structural distress.

LIDAR – The Future!

LIDAR (Light Detection & Ranging) enables a new perspective in assessing ground surface topography.  Integrale have become involved in a number of projects recently where the skill of interpreting both vertical and oblique LIDAR imagery, with illumination from different directions is proving to be extremely useful.  We brought in a remote sensing expert to advise on the appropriate techniques.

LIDAR Fault troughMany of our geotechnical projects are based on unstable hillslopes and LIDAR is able to detect small changes which reflect ongoing ground movement.  Other techniques such as INFRARED are able to highlight particularly wet marshy areas that require drainage as part of the slope remediation works.  For further information please contact Gareth Thomas on 07860 628022.

The photo shows a topographic trough, developed over a major fault line;  the trough became a major routeway over many centuries.

Intégrale Wishes All a Lovely Christmas!

Many thanks to all of our clients, colleagues, sub-contractors and myriad other professionals with whom we have worked in 2017.

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It has been a busy year, with so many interesting and challenging projects, at the core of which is always that nugget of truth…understanding ground conditions! From all of us at Intégrale, we hope you have a wonderful – work free – break over this Festive period, and wish you all the very best for 2018!


Intégrale have been verified as a Supplier on Construction Line (the first benefit of which is that we are working on a fantastically interesting historic building conversion project in Oxford). We are currently validated under Ground Investigations and Geotechnical Works (Site Investigations), but will be looking to expand this over time. Please do call Andy or Chris on 01275 333 036 if there is anything we can help you with.

Understanding Ground Conditions on Bath hillsides

We always love working in and around Bath – not only a beautiful historic city, but it holds a plethora of ground related challenges that we’re frequently asked to investigate and overcome.

Recently, Intégrale investigated conditions beneath a proposed private residence in Kingsdown, in a fantastic hillside setting.  Having identified the site as underlain by ancient landslip soils, we designed phased investigation, culminating in deep cored boreholes and computer analyses to ensure stability of the new house.  A robust contiguous piled wall will maintain sufficient lateral support and ensure long term stability.

Such stability assessments don’t always require expensive deep boreholes.  We also complete preliminary stability analyses, using our wealth of experience in landslip ground conditions gained over 30 years.  We’ve recently helped a number of private and commercial clients develop their projects from garden rooms to cider barns!  If you or your client are considering construction on a sloping site, get in touch to chat through possible ground conditions and the range of investigation and foundation solutions.

Welcoming Jane

To help with the ongoing increase in workload, we welcome Jane Haley to Intégrale as Admin Assistant.

Jane’s previous experience working with the Environment Agency, keen eye for detail, and high level of professionalism will be hugely beneficial to ensure we maintain our high reporting standards!


August and September have been exceptionally busy for Intégrale, and we are delighted to welcome back Chris Whale as Geotechnical Principal and Director Designate. Chris has almost 25 years of experience, previously working for Clarke Bond in Bristol, and 12 years before that, he worked here at Intégrale!
Chris’ apparently unlimited energy, vast experience, and no-nonsense attitude will ensure Intégrale maintain and improve technical output.
Chris will partner Andy in managing our Bishop Sutton office, and provide high level geotechnical and contaminated land support to clients and junior staff alike. To contact Chris, please call the office on 01275 333 036, or email him on

Welcoming Phil

We are delighted to welcome Phil Cresswell to the Intégrale fold. Phil previously worked at Aspire Defence, as Environmental Advisor, managing a broad range of environmental projects during the construction of new accommodation for military personnel.
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Phil’s love of geology and passion to learn more has led him to Intégrale where he will act as Project Co-Ordinator for a wide range of geotechnical and contaminated land projects.