Advancement in Geotechnical Practice for Smarter and Greener Projects Delivery
The disastrous landslides in 1972 proved to be the turning point in the evolution of geotechnical engineering in Hong Kong, as the Government decided to establish the Geotechnical Engineering Office (GEO) to manage the geotechnical hazards. Geotechnical profession in Hong Kong has prospered ever since and over the years, local geotechnical practice has been subtly put together with the collaborating efforts from the Government, academia and practitioners. Geotechnical engineering is a challenging discipline, as it deals with natural material that are highly variable in their compositions, characteristics and engineering properties. Many methodologies and analyses in geotechnical engineering are not exact sciences and have been developed based on experience, simplifications and assumptions. Inevitably, geotechnical practice is embedded with some degree of conservatism to allow for the uncertainties. On the other hand, developments in Hong Kong have always been squeezed into a tight construction programme and are subject to a highly regulatory framework. These constraints may have impeded the advancement of geotechnical practice from innovative perspective. In recent years, the Government has made significant investments on infrastructural developments to compete with other international financial centres. There are increasing demands for the industry to boost the productivity whilst enhancing safety, quality and sustainability in the delivery of construction projects. Maintaining normalcy in geotechnical practice cannot meet the infrastructural investments and demands of society. Innovation in practice has always been a priority in the GEO and this always calls for a paradigm shift to our understanding of the geotechnical practice. The GEO has been working with practitioners, academia and other Government authorities in materialising advancements that would enable a smarter, leaner and greener project delivery portfolio. This paper discusses the rationale and considerations behind some of the advancements that have important benefits in realising leaner and greener construction when executing geotechnical works in site formation, excavation and foundation.
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