Sustainability in Geotechnics

2 October 2023

The next in our series of articles following our success at the #GEAwards takes a look at sustainability in geotechnics.

We all know that we need to take steps both personally and professionally to improve the health of the planet and those that inhabit it. That’s why last week our Associate, Emma Pike, attended the inaugural Ground Engineering Sustainability conference in London to find out more.

The event was attended by consultants, contractors and clients across the industry and was a very engaging, insightful and thought provoking day.

There were a variety of talks including:

  • The challenges of reusing existing foundations and celebrating success on projects where they’ve been successfully incorporated into the design.
  • An update on the recently published PAS2080: Carbon Management in Buildings and Infrastructure and EFFC Sustainability Guides for Foundation Contractors Guide No. 2 on the Circular Economy.
  • The sustainable repair of the Gumbasa Irrigation Canal following flow triggered liquefaction on flat land, something not thought to have occurred before.
  • The latest advances in machinery on site to reduce reliance on diesel, including electric powered, HVO fuels and battery operated piling rigs, cranes, plant etc…
  • Challenging specifications to overcome overconservative design and shifting to performance based design focusing on the serviceability limit state.
  • A recent case study in central London where embodied carbon targets were set and are being measured for piling operations.
  • Updates on High Speed 2 earthworks design efficiencies and materials reuse with large scale trials which have the potential to bring about more sustainable solutions across HS2 and the wider construction industry.

There are a number of challenges we face professionally as to how we can become more sustainable in our practice. Not only do we need to physically place less concrete in the ground, but what we design, the way we design and how we construct needs to be considered.

We all know that one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) relates to taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts, but we must not forget the other SDGs which relate to our industry, including good health and well-being, gender equality, clean water, affordable and clean energy, industry, innovation and infrastructure, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, and life on land.

Over the coming weeks our team will be digesting what’s been learnt from the conference and continuing to implement sustainable improvements to the way in which we undertake our geotechnical designs.

If you want to find out more about what CampbellReith is doing to deliver sustainable solutions, check out our website