Geotechnical Specialists

Efficient and thorough geotechnical investigations from us Quality results and Client satisfaction for you

We provide high quality specialist services for the geotechnical and associated industries focussing on high quality drilling, sampling and testing services.

No matter how big or small your project, we can help you. From our project management through to our sampling techniques – we can provide solutions to all of your Ground Investigation needs.

Who we are...

We are a geotechnical specialist established in 2016 to provide specialist services to the geotechnical and associated industries focussing on high quality drilling, sampling and testing services.

Our Directors have a wealth of experience in the ground investigation drilling sector; both in the UK and overseas. Our strength is problem solving based on a ‘can do’ attitude, where we look to grow our client trust in our ability to deliver complex projects with the minimal of fuss

What we do...

We deliver quality investigations across the UK and internationally. Through our leadership team and our network of contacts, we can deliver high quality on the most demanding and complex projects.

We do this by bringing together a project focused team, whilst linking together with strategic partners from different fields. Through these partnerships, we are able to mobilise skilled practitioners in contract management, drilling techniques, geophysics, in situ testing, soil and rock logging, laboratory testing and data management. Our focus is to reduce project risk by gathering robust site data.

Our Associate Companies...

S M Associates is an associate company of the Marriott Drilling Group which is the largest onshore deep drilling company based in the UK operating 20 drilling and workover rigs and a wide range of drilling and associated services.

The Marriott Drilling Group offer their services to the oil, gas, shale gas, gas storage, coal, CBM, mining, water and geothermal industries and for specialised geoscientific drilling projects in Europe and selected international markets. Through this association, we can offer the most comprehensive drilling capability and technical services provision in the UK.

Our fleet...

We run a fleet of multi-purpose Comacchio rotary drill rigs operated by experienced Lead Drillers and supported by a team of Drilling Supervisors and experienced Project Managers.

The rotary rigs are equipped with the latest down hole equipment and have engines which meet the emissions requirements for working in London and other major cities. The rigs are also equipped with the latest sensor based rig guarding system, SAFER G


Specification: Working Height 4.5 m, Working Length 3.7m, Width 1.4m, Weight 2600kg, Engine 33 kw (44 HP), Pull back 2500kg, Rotation Speed 60-350 rpm, Torque 320-50 daNm

Additional Features: Hydraulic Percussive Hammer (FX25), Hydraulic Automatic SPT Hammer, Wash down pump and jetwash, Casing/Rod Extractor, Chalwyn Valve and Spark Arrestor


Specification: Working Height 4.5m, Working Length 4.6m, Width 1.6m, Weight 3600kg, Engine 45 kw (62 HP) Tier 4, Pull back 5000kg, Rotation Speed 50-350 rpm, Torque 310-50 daNm

Additional Features: Hydraulic Percussive Hammer (FX25), Hydraulic Automatic SPT Hammer, Wireline Winch, SAFER G rig guarding system, Wash down pump and jetwash Casing/Rod Extractor, Chalwyn Valve and Spark Arrestor


Specification: Working Height 7.5 m, Working Length 4.8m, Width 1.7m, Weight 7300kg, Engine 85 kw (114 HP) Tier 4, Pull back 6500kg, Rotation Speed 0-500 rpm, Torque 1100-105daNm

Additional Features: Hydraulic Percussive Hammer (FX25), Hydraulic Automatic SPT Hammer, Wireline Winch, SAFER G rig guarding system, Wash down pump and jetwash, Casing/Rod Extractor, Chalwyn Valve and Spark Arrestor

Jean-Lutz ‘Monitor While Drilling’ system can be fitted upon request


Specification: Working Height 7.0m, Working Length 8.8m, Width 2.4m, Weight 12500kg, Engine 56 kw, Pull back 6500kg, Rotation Speed 0-425 rpm, Torque 746-36 daNm

Additional Features: Wireline Winch, Wash down pump and jetwash, Casing/Rod Extractor

Dynamic Sampling

We can also provide dynamic sampling capability either through the percussive hammer fitted to the rotary drill rigs or using small tracked rigs such as the Terrier.

These rigs are capable of driving open tube samplers typically up to 8m depth in appropriate materials. The samples produced from this method are disturbed and therefore only suitable for laboratory tests for classification purposes.

Senior Management

We believe that in order to offer the highest quality services, you need access to leading industry experts. We prides ourselves on being able to bring together some of the most respected figures within the geotechnical industry.

For us, this process starts with our Senior Management. The Board and Senior Management team have unrivalled experience within the drilling and ground investigation sector and have a hands on approach to ensure our Client’s projects receive the highest level of engagement from the earliest stage.

Colin Benjamin – Director

Director of SMA with 40+ years’ experience as a driller, drilling manager and project manager with considerable experience of the UK ground investigation industry. Colin has comprehensive experience of all types of drilling activity and has worked with leading suppliers and contractors to advance the art of high quality coring. He has been instrumental in raising the quality and safety standards of drilling and is considered to be one of the UK’s experts in rotary drilling, specialist testing and instrumentation.

+44 (0)7836 310225  –

Jonti Hobday – Director

Director of SMA and Managing Director and joint owner of PR Marriott Drilling Limited, with executive responsibility for operations, marketing, financial management and business development for European and international operations for the Marriott Drilling Group managed out of the United Kingdom including activities in the EU, Africa and the Middle East. Jonti is experienced with all types of drilling rigs and associated equipment and has previous experience of many coring projects for infrastructure projects and coal.

John Beswick – Director

SMA Associate and Director of PR Marriott Group and previously Director of Soil Mechanics Limited (Mowlem Group) the leading geotechnical specialist at that time in the UK responsible for offices in the UK, Ireland, Australia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Philippines and the UAE. John was also Project Manager for the UK national programme for the geological and hydrogeological investigations for deep mined resources and the associated access spiral railway tunnels for high-level radioactive waste at Sellafield and Dounreay. Advisor on tunnelling projects for the Mowlem Group. He has also been involved in deep large diameter blind shafts for mine access, ventilation and deep disposal of radioactive waste.


Our Management team is composed of ground investigation drilling and testing sectors professionals. The team all have professional qualifications within their fields of expertise. Key members hold IOSH Safe Supervision of Geotechnical Sites and CSCS cards appropriate to their work activity.

Dan Hill – Contracts Manager

As a drilling professional Dan has 15 years’ experience of geotechnical and mineral exploration projects at every level, from hands-on technical, through project management to senior management level. He has worked within, and managed, multicultural teams across the globe from West Africa to the Caribbean, from the Caucasus to the Middle East, relishing the challenge of bridging cultural differences to achieve project targets. Previously employed as the Operations Manager for Fugro in Qatar, and Drilling Manager for Fugro GeoServices in the UK, Dan has extensive experience of managing people and processes to efficiently deliver high quality Geotechnical projects for our clients.

+44 (0)7799 260228  –

Sean Leach

Contract and Project Manager with SMA and Marriott Group with over 30 years experience in contaminated land ground investigation and remediation in the regeneration sector. He is also a Chartered Geologist and Hydrogeologist who has extensive experience of managing multidisciplinary teams to deliver complex projects. He has worked on a wide variety of projects in the UK and Overseas such as the Channel Tunnel Project, Deep Hydrotesting at Sellafield, NEECA Regional Groundwater Monitoring Well Network, Remediation of Foot and Mouth Carcass Burial Facilities across the UK, Great Man Made River Project (Libya), Diesel Oil Based Mud disposal options assessments (Brazil and Libya), Environmental Auditing of Coca Cola Bottling and Canning Operations (across South Africa), Environmental Due Diligence Ground Investigations for JCB JV facility (China) and various manufacturing facilities across Europe.

Ian Kerr – Depot Manager & Lead Driller

NVQ Level 2 – Lead Driller

Ian has worked in the geotechnical industry for 10 years, both on-site as a Lead Driller and in office based roles. With experience that ranges from domestic geotechnical projects such as HS2 and the M4 extension to international work in Sierra Leone, Georgia and the Republic of Congo, Ian’s knowledge of geotechnical practices is extensive. Now overseeing SMA’s depot and managing our drilling fleet, Ian is also an NVQ Level 2 qualified Lead Driller for Rotary and Dynamic Sampling ground investigations.

+44 (0)7483 178439  –

Site Operatives

Our Lead Drillers all have NVQ Level 2 Lead Driller, and most have more than 10 years’ experience in the Land Drilling sector including ground investigation, geothermal, water well and sub-sea drilling. They also hold IOSH Safe Supervision of Geotechnical Sites certification and hold Emergency First Aid at Work and IOSH Avoiding Danger from Underground Services certification.

All Support Operatives either hold Level 2 NVQ Diploma Land Drilling – Drilling Support Operative or are registered and working towards their qualification. Our philosophy is to develop our own talent.

Contact us...

Contact info...

Four Winds Farm Buildings, Upper Swainswick, Bath, BA1 8AE




+44 (0)1225 852772