To promote, coordinate, and support activities relating to geotechnical safety


Terms of reference

  1. Expand the base of participation in industry and government agencies

  2. Raise awareness in practice/education and to expedite transfer of knowledge between research and practice/education

  3. Promote sharing of information on development of geotechnical design codes between countries

  4. Promote liaison with related committees within and without the geotechnical engineering community

  5. Promote research and practice on assurance of geotechnical safety to keep pace with advancements in numerical methods, risk management methods, materials/equipment, and construction methods

  6. Stimulate more discussions on safety issues in complex projects at design, construction, maintenance, and other stages

  7. Encourage engineers to embrace uncertainties and risks more explicitly and more systematically in practice and education


There is a need for geotechnical design codes and standards to keep pace with the globalization pressure to harmonize across national boundaries, the regulatory pressure to harmonize with structural design, rising public expectations in health & environment, and increasing complexities of big projects with their associated financial/insurance risks.


There are significant practical and research challenges.  Examples include the complexities of geotechnical variabilities, the role of numerical methods in design, the roles of full-scale testing, observational approach, etc. versus design calculations in the overall assurance of safety.  These challenges are unique to geotechnical engineering, particularly for large complicated projects.


There is a groundswell of related activities taking place in national code committees and international professional societies, within and without geotechnical engineering.


A series of thematic symposiums/workshops related to limit state design has been organized since the early nineties (the first session on codes and standards was organized in 1989).  These events were organized by motivated groups of individuals for different purposes.  There is neither regularity nor continuity to these events.


The time is ripe to form a network to promote coordination between related groups, to broaden participation beyond geotechnical engineering, to garner support from stakeholders from the industry and government agencies, and to support a more regular series of activities.


The idea for a geotechnical safety network grew out of a series of discussions held before and during Taipei2006.  A call for the establishment of a network was made by KK Phoon on behalf of all concerned parties during the discussion forum (chaired by CT Chin) at the close of the symposium.  The first meeting was held in the evening of 3 Nov 2006.