Figure 3.2. Example project involving different Geotechnical Categories

Eurocode 7 gives examples of structures in the three Geotechnical Categories, as shown in the table above. A structure's Geotechnical Category influences the level of supervision and monitoring called for in Section 4 of EN 1997-1 (discussed later in this chapter).

Structures in GC1 can safely be designed and built by habit, because they involve no unusual features or circumstances.

The examples in GC2 form the bread and butter work of many geotechnical design offices (what we term the 'usual suspects'), requiring thoughtful but not unusual design and construction.

The design of structures in GC3 requires careful thought because of their exceptional nature; the keywords are 'large or unusual', 'abnormal or exceptionally difficult', 'highly seismic', 'probable instability', etc.

The magnitude and scope of geotechnical investigations must reflect the structure's Geotechnical Category, as summarized in the table below. Since the ground conditions may influence the category chosen for the structure or parts of it, they should be established early on in the investigation (perhaps through a desk study or preliminary field work).

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