Remote quality control for site investigation survey kept offshore wind development project on track

Our services included QC supervision of in-situ geotechnical testing and soil sampling. QC supervision was to be conducted "in-field", as per normal RPS activities but the COVID-19 pandemic and associated travel and health concerns made this impossible. Working quickly to keep to the project schedule, RPS in collaboration with our experienced offshore QC specialists designed and implemented a remote QC procedure to address the technical, HSE and communications limitations that were anticipated. Multiple technology and communication platforms were employed to keep the project moving forward.

On completion, RVO's scope of work was fully met, and the data needed to enable a detailed assessment of soil conditions for this wind farm development was acquired, on time.

On March 25th, 2020 at Eemshaven, Netherlands, RVO mobilised Fugro’s geotechnical drilling vessel MV Normand Flower for Lot 1 Phase 2 of the borehole campaign.


Normand Flower Drilling Rig


The objective of the site investigation was to enhance understanding of the wind farm zone geological features and ground conditions. This was achieved by acquiring appropriate geotechnical data which may be used to progress the design and installation requirements for the offshore wind farm, including, but not limited to foundations and cables.

The site investigation program comprised:

  • 48 boreholes with sampling and Piezocone Penetration (PCPT Testing)
  • 1 sampling borehole
  • 4 PCPT boreholes
  • 5 boreholes with sampling, PCPT Testing and Borehole Geophysical Logging (BGL)

On March 23rd 2020, just two days before planned mobilisation, COVID-19 UK travel restrictions were implemented where HSE became a concern and limited the number of personnel travelling to and joining the vessel. The on-vessel QC role, therefore, needed to be delivered remotely from a secure facility onshore.

With only a few days to modify the project planning, RPS developed a remote QC procedure to address the monitoring, technical, HSE and communications limitations that were anticipated. Our experience in managing similar projects highlighted some critical activities as:

  • Attendance at multiple daily meetings;
  • Review and approval of the daily progress report;
  • Observing & QC of PCPT Testing, Seismic Cone Penetrometer, (SCPT) Testing & borehole sampling;
  • QC of PCPT and SCPT plots and digital data;
  • QC of SVP, sample pictures, recovery lists, positioning reports;

During the project, RPS QC reps needed closer access to monitor the PCPT tests in real-time and using Remote View, which displays the data from the operator screen, were able to verify the tests and data.

By designing a novel and innovative solution to deliver geotechnical and HSE QC services remotely, RPS was able to meet RVO's technical requirements within the required timeframe.

The vessel arrived back in Eemshaven on June 17th, 2020 after delivering a total of 58 boreholes. Sufficient data was acquired to enable a detailed assessment of soil conditions for the progression of the Netherlands Government tendering process and conceptual foundation engineering.

Total Meters Drilled
pcs of Push Sampling (including any oversampling)
pcs of Downhole PCPT push (up to 3m stroke)
pcs SCPT push (up to 3m stroke excl seismic tests)
meters - Execution of Downhole density logging
meters of Execution of Spectral Gamma logging

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Karen Dalton

Technical Director Energy Transition T: +44 1483 746 500 M: +44 7884 236 265 Email
Chepstow | UK

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