The value of geotechnics in construction seminar took place last month at the Institution of Civil Engineers in London, attracting a significant number of clients among its audience of 180. The case studies contained within the excellent proceedings provide a first class showcase on the geotechnical community. Key points from the seminar include:
Good geotechnics allows effective management of ground related risks and can bring value to the construction process.
Innovation in the planning, design and construction of geotechnical works brings economic, practical or time benefits to a project - with real benefits being achievable during construction, and on a whole life cost basis.
To achieve value, geotechnical expertise must be brought in at an early stage. Close collaboration between geotechnical specialists and the project team is essential - preferably geotechnical engineers should be incorporated within multidisciplinary project teams.
Partnering and risk sharing contract procurement approaches provide a good framework within which clients can achieve value from geotechnics in construction.
The event was co-sponsored by CIRIA and the Construction Clients' Forum, whose chairman Terry Rochester (coincidentally named as the new chairman of CIRIA shortly after the event), provided the opening address. Rochester explained that major client groups now recognise that to achieve value from their projects, they need to drive the changes and get more closely involved in the construction process. He also highlighted the benefits of early involvement of specialists, saying that successful projects are made in the early stages - sweet music to the ears of the ground engineers.