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Geotechnics

We drive forward expertise in the structure and behaviour of all ground conditions, to become better managers of our built and natural world.


As an acknowledged leader in geotechnics, Arup is often asked to push the essential skill and science of designing and building structures in the ground. Wherever difficult ground conditions, sensitive environments or ambitious projects present geotechnical challenges, Arup provides robust and advanced solutions.

Our geotechnical expertise underpins Arup’s work on projects from building design to infrastructure for water, energy, mining, rail, highways and aviation. To the full range of geotechnical needs, we bring interconnected skills in foundation and landfill engineering, environmental geotechnics, hydrogeology, tunnel and seismic design, geographic information systems, engineering geology and many specialised services.

Meeting complex challenges

Arup supports its geotechnical experts to innovate by investing in research and rigorous ongoing training and development. We continuously take on ambitious projects to stay at the forefront of our field.

For the design of the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory, a major science facility 7,400ft below ground in South Dakota, USA, we tackled the demands of extreme rock depths and pressures.

There can also be considerable complexity in aligning clients’ sustainability and business objectives. On the A650 Bingley Relief Road, our geotechnical engineers and environmental consultants worked closely with the contractor to ensure sympathetic construction techniques protected ecologically delicate sites, while still ensuring the highway was delivered three months ahead of schedule.

Preventing construction pitfalls

By providing a sound basis of geotechnical analysis, Arup saves clients wasted time and money by identifying the best planning, design, construction and maintenance choices from the outset.

Our geotechnical investigations at Blaydin Point, Australia, are guiding major investment decisions about the siting of onshore facilities for oil and gas operations. Our expertise reduces risk where consequences are high – such as in large cavern spaces beneath New York on Second Avenue Subway. On building developments worldwide our sophisticated modelling techniques help define the best approach to foundations – cutting out costly changes and mistakes – such as in the tight basement envelope beneath Central St Giles in London.

Clients, contractors and insurers also turn to Arup for expert geotechnical expert advice when things do not go according to plan.

Reshaping our cities

Urban populations are mushrooming around the globe, putting increasing pressures on our environment and on space for housing, commerce and leisure. Our understanding of ground conditions is helping clients reconsider the way they use space.

Our Enhanced Use of Underground Space Study is a key element in the Hong Kong government’s drive to promote cavern development to release precious above-ground space for the overall benefit of the community.

Elsewhere, we are putting high-level thinking into practice with projects such as Xiamen Xiang’an Tunnel, the first subsea tunnel in mainland China. Our work, including a ground improvement design and studies of tunnel stability and deformation, helped ensure the success of the dual three-land road tunnel, which cuts road travel time between Xiamen Island and Xiang'an District from 90 to nine minutes.

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  • Nick O'Riordan

Explore our work


High Speed 1. Credit Daniel Clements.

Project: High Speed 1

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Artist's impression of proposed Forth crossing. Credit Transport Scotland (Crown copyright).

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The largest infrastructure project in Scotland for a generation.

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Interior view of the building. Credit: Donal Murphy.

Project: Kerry Global Technology and Innovation Centre, Kildare

The project comprises 25,000m2 over four storeys with both open and enclosed plant areas at roof level in four interconnected blocks.

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