The course starts with a general description of typical geotechnical works. The main issues and timescales for these works are discussed, and the roles and responsibilities of the geotechnical engineer working as part of an engineering team are discussed. The characterization of soil is introduced, in terms of particle sizes and shapes, plasticity, consistency, and strength. Some practical activities involved in the preparation of ground are described. The student is given an introduction to the design issues associated with all of the typical geotechnical works.