CGS-SOS Dinner Lecture: Working Smart with Ground Improvement in Ontario

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CGS-SOS Dinner Lecture: Working Smart with Ground Improvement in Ontario

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Evening Program

5:30 Cocktails and socializing
6:30 Dinner
7:00 Lecture


Everyone knows that high capacity spread footings are the most-cost effective foundation system, when they can be employed. High capacity footings can only really be designed for relatively high quality sub-foundation soils, and it is the approach of choice for the glacial till that blesses much of the province of Ontario. Owners and developers today are challenged by the low supply of high-quality sites. The leftover sites often have less-than-adequate soils for spread footings.

Traditional approaches in the province, and certainly across Canada, to deal with less-than-adequate subfoundation soils generally have been limited to a few options up until about 15 years ago:

  • Sub-excavate and replace poor soils with good soils (engineered fill or U-fill),
  • Drive deep foundations through the poor soils to better soils or end bearing soil/rock,
  • Place the structure on a raft to float and spread the loads over a poor sub-soil situation.

Today, ground improvement is widely used as cost-saving option for situations where regular spread footings are not possible. Ground improvement is a “work smart, not hard” approach for treating challenging soils throughout Ontario.

To truly appreciate the theory, methods and development behind ground improvement, it is essential to understand its origins. This talk aims to demystify the early beginnings of ground improvement and cover it’s short, but very rich history in Ontario including the introduction of mainstream ground improvement in 2006 to the province. This presentation will also engage attendees by citing various eye-opening case study’s featuring some of the most complex projects to date throughout Ontario with compelling data gathered on site. Attendees will also benefit from gaining an appreciation for the ongoing innovative technologies and methods that are continually emerging in the ever-growing field of ground improvement.

Distinguished Speaker:

Mr. Mark Tigchelaar, P.Eng.  President of GeoSolv Design/Build Inc.

Mark Tigchelaar is the President and Founder of GeoSolv Design-Build Inc in Toronto, a geotechnical contracting firm with focus on innovative foundation solutions in challenging soils. Mark is a licensed engineer in both Ontario and Alberta, is the chair of the industry Advisory Board of York University, and is the surviving past chair of the Canadian Geotechnical Society-Southern Ontario section. Mark’s passionate about the geo-science profession and has always had a strong desire to contribute to its excellence by promoting the concepts of sustainability, risk mitigation, and true value for stakeholders within the arena of geotechnical engineering. Mark has authored numerous papers and articles related to the geo-profession, and has an extensive list of speaking engagements, including frequent talks at local universities to encourage students to find a career in the exciting field of geotechnical engineering.



March 19
5:30 pm - 9:00 pm


St. Bernard Church
1795 Lawrence Avenue West
Toronto, ON M6L 1E3 Canada
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Matt Macintosh
(905) 564-0896 ext. 309

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