Embedding Sustainability into Geotechnics: Part A Methodology

DG Holt, Ian Jefferson, Peter Braithwaite, David Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)


Geotechnical engineering has a crucial role to play in enhancing sustainability due to its key position in the early stages of the construction process, where potentially adverse impacts are highest. Currently, there is a lack of methods with which to assess the sustainability of geotechnical projects that truly encompass the three core pillars (economic, environmental and social). What is required is a system that can offer a holistic approach that is flexible and easily understood while not having a bias towards rewards and not being prohibitively costly. In addition, 'tool fatigue', generating a system never to be used, must be avoided. After a detailed review of the systems available, the SPeAR methodology was selected as fulfilling these key criteria. After detailed discussion, the methodology was adapted to ensure it is rationalised into a system that geotechnical engineers can understand and use relatively easily. The adapted version allows greater communication between masterplanning and geotechnical engineering via their common base, thus avoiding a potential barrier to greater adoption of more sustainable practices through the construction cycle.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-135
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Institute of Civil Engineering Journal of Engineering Sustainability
Issue numberES3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


  • sustainability
  • geotechnical engineering


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