Unit of competency details

RIICFW301A - Construct underpinning (Release 1)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
1 1 (this release)Current 19/May/2011

Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to RIICFW301D - Construct underpinning 13/Nov/2013

Training packages that include this unit

CodeTitleSort Table listing Training packages that include this unit by the Title columnRelease
RII09 - Resources and Infrastructure Industry Training PackageResources and Infrastructure Industry Training Package 2.0-3.2 
CPC08 - Construction, Plumbing and Services Training PackageConstruction, Plumbing and Services Training Package 6.0-8.0 


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 030903 Structural Engineering  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 030903 Structural Engineering  02/Sep/2009 
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Modification History

Not applicable.

Unit Descriptor

This unit covers the construction of underpinnings in the civil construction industry. It includes planning and preparing, setting out and preparing sections, excavating sections, constructing underpinnings, and cleaning up. Licensing, legislative, regulatory and certification requirements that apply to this unit can vary between states, territories, and industry sectors. Relevant information must be sourced prior to application of the unit.

Application of the Unit

This unit is appropriate for those working in an operational role at worksites within:

  • Civil construction

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Refer to Unit Descriptor.


Not applicable.

Employability Skills Information

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Plan and prepare

1.1. Access, interpret and apply compliance documentation  relevant to the work activity

1.2. Obtain, confirm and apply work instructions, including plans, specifications, quality requirements and operational details to the allotted task

1.3. Obtain and confirm safety requirements  from the site safety plan and organisational policies and procedures, and apply to the allotted task

1.4. Identify, obtain and implement signage  requirements from the project traffic  management plan

1.5. Select tools and equipment  to carry out tasks consistent with the requirements of the job, check for serviceability and rectify or report any faults

1.6. Identify environmental protection requirements  from the project environmental management plan, and confirm and apply to the allotted task

2. Set out and prepare sections

2.1. Identify and record underpinning requirements  for adjoining properties and roadways from site drawings and surveys of the surrounding construction

2.2. Identify and implement sections and sequence of excavations from the planned schedule for underpinning

2.3. Check existing shoring system  for soundness and conformation to specifications and design requirements

2.4. Set out sections for excavation to underpinning specifications and schedule

2.5. Identify and protect areas for excavation and surrounding working space requirements to provide a safe working area

2.6. Erect barricades and signage, where required, in accordance with the site safety plan

2.7. Position plant and equipment for excavations

3. Excavate sections

3.1. Excavate designated sections to the designed depth of footings

3.2. Install trench and excavation support in accordance with soil  characteristics, safety considerations and the job safety analysis

4. Construct underpinning

4.1. Construct underpinning in accordance with job specifications

4.2. Backfill excavated sections

4.3. Underpin alternate sections in sequence according to underpinning schedule

5. Clean up

5.1. Clear work area and disposed of or recycled materials  in accordance with project environmental management plan

5.2. Clean, check, maintain and store plant, tools and equipment

Required Skills and Knowledge

This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

Specific skills are required to achieve the Performance Criteria of this unit, particularly for its application in the various circumstances in which this unit may be used. This includes the ability to carry out the following, as required to construct underpinnings:

  • apply legislative, organisation and site requirements and procedures for the construction of underpinnings
  • organise work activities
  • select and use relevant tools and equipment safely
  • identify and report on hazards related to the worksite and work activity
  • communicate effectively to receive and clarify work instructions

Required knowledge 

Specific knowledge is required to achieve the Performance Criteria of this unit, particularly for its application in the various circumstances in which this unit may be used. This includes knowledge of the following, as required to construct underpinnings:

  • site and equipment safety requirements
  • foundation work
  • civil construction terminology
  • underpinning techniques
  • construction principles
  • processes for interpreting engineering drawings
  • soil, sand, rock, clay, shale, gravel and silt types and characteristics
  • water erosion
  • equipment types, characteristics, technical capabilities and limitations
  • operational, maintenance and basic diagnostic procedures
  • site isolation and traffic control responsibilities and authorities
  • materials safety data sheets and materials handling methods
  • project quality requirements
  • JSAs/safe work method statement

Evidence Guide

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

The evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit must be relevant to worksite operations and satisfy all of the requirements of the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge and the range statement of this unit and include evidence of the following:

  • knowledge of the requirements, procedures and instructions for constructing underpinnings
  • implementation of requirements, procedures and techniques for the safe, effective and efficient completion of underpinning construction
  • working with others to undertake and complete the construction of underpinnings that meets all of the required outcomes
  • consistent timely completion of underpinning construction that safely, effectively and efficiently meets the required outcomes
  • construction of underpinning for a minimum of two projects, one using drilling techniques and one using excavation techniques to the required job specifications

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

  • This unit must be assessed in the context of the work environment. Where personal safety or environmental damage are limiting factors, assessment may occur in a simulated environment provided it is realistic and sufficiently rigorous to cover all aspects of workplace performance, including task skills, task management skills, contingency management skills and job role environment skills.
  • Assessment of this competency requires typical resources normally used in a resources and infrastructure sector environment. Selection and use of resources for particular worksites may differ due to the site circumstances.
  • The assessment environment should not disadvantage the participant. For example, language, literacy and numeracy demands of assessment should not be greater than those required on the job.
  • Customisation of assessment and delivery environment to sensitively accommodate cultural diversity.
  • Aboriginal people and other people from a non English speaking background may have second language issues.
  • Where applicable, physical resources should include equipment modified for people with disabilities. Access must be provided to appropriate learning and/or assessment support when required.

Method of assessment 

This unit may be assessed in a holistic way with other units of competency. The assessment strategy for this unit must verify required knowledge and skill and practical application using more than one of the following assessment methods:

  • written and/or oral assessment of the candidate's required knowledge
  • observed, documented and/or first hand testimonial evidence of the candidate's:
  • implementation of appropriate requirement, procedures and techniques for the safe, effective and efficient achievement of required outcomes
  • consistent achievement of required outcomes
  • first hand testimonial evidence of the candidate's:
  • working with others to undertake and complete the construction of underpinnings

Guidance information for assessment 

Consult the SkillsDMC User Guide for further information on assessment including access and equity issues.

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Relevant compliance documentation  may include:

  • legislative, organisational and site requirements and procedures
  • manufacturer's guidelines and specifications
  • Australian standards
  • Employment and workplace relations legislation
  • Equal Employment Opportunity and Disability Discrimination legislation

Safety  (OHS ) may include:

  • OHS requirements are to be in accordance with state or territory legislation and regulations, organisational safety policies and procedures, and project safety plan. This may include protective clothing and equipment, use of tools and equipment, workplace environment and safety, handling of materials, use of fire fighting equipment, use of First Aid equipment, hazard control and hazardous materials and substances
  • hazards and risks may include but not be limited to uneven/unstable terrain, trees, fires, overhead and underground services, bridges, buildings, excavations, traffic, embankments, cuttings, structures and hazardous materials
  • emergency procedures related to this unit are to include but may not be limited to emergency shutdown and stopping, extinguishing fires, organisational First Aid requirements and evacuation
  • safe operating procedures are to include but not be limited to recognising and preventing hazards associated with overhead and underground services, other machines, personnel, restricted access barriers, traffic control, working at heights, working in proximity to others, worksite visitors and the public

Signage  may include:

  • escort vehicle
  • highway traffic signs
  • site safety signage
  • temporary signage for the benefit of motorists and pedestrians
  • barricades
  • traffic conditions signage

Traffic  may include:

  • congested urban environments
  • low traffic rural areas
  • off-road un-trafficked areas
  • buildings
  • parking sites
  • pedestrian areas

Tools and equipment  may include:

  • compressors
  • fittings and hoses
  • pneumatic picks and jack hammers
  • pumps
  • winches

Environmental requirements  may include:

  • organisational/project environmental management plan
  • waste management
  • water quality protection noise vibration
  • dust and clean-up management

Environmental requirements  may include:

  • organisational/project environmental management plan
  • waste management
  • water quality protection noise vibration
  • dust and clean-up management

Underpinning requirements  may include:

  • land subsidence due to water ingress
  • increase structural stability
  • the preparation for additions to structures

Shoring system  may include:

  • sheet piling
  • trench shields
  • timber sets

Soil  may include:

  • sand
  • rock
  • clay
  • shale
  • gravel
  • silt

Materials  may include:

  • timber
  • reinforced concrete
  • concrete grout
  • select rock

Unit Sector(s)

Foundation Works

Competency field

Refer to Unit Sector(s).

Co-requisite units

Not applicable.

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