In Australia, the recent infrastructure boom has reflected the need for extensive ground improvement as large construction projects must encompass soft and weak ground in all States including compressible soft clays, highly erodible silts, weak landslide debris, weakly cemented sands, and highly fractured and weathered rock mass. In this context, the launching of the International Conference on Ground Improvement and Ground Control: Transport Infrastructure Development and Natural Hazards Mitigation (ICGI 2012) in Wollongong, Australia from 30 October to 2 November 2012 was most appropriate and timely. The idea of hosting this follow up event ICGI-2012 in the scenic City of Wollongong was born because of the successful International Symposium on Ground Improvement Technologies and Case Histories held earlier in Singapore in 2009 and the contributions to ground improvement that University of Wollongong had made over a long period of time.

Ground improvement has been both a science and art, with significant advancements observed since ancient history, with lessons learnt from trial and error applications apart from the knowhow gained through cutting-edge research and development. From the use of straw as blended infill with soils for additional strength during the ancient Roman civilizations, and the use of elephants for compaction of earth dams during the early Asian civilizations, the concepts of reinforced earth with geosynthetics, the use of electrokinetics and thermal modifications of soils have come a long way. The use of large and stiff stone columns and subsequent sand drains in the past has now been replaced by quicker to install and more effective prefabricated vertical drains, which have also eliminated the need for more expensive soil improvement methods. Extensive masonry supports used in the past in underground tunnels and mines have been replaced by modern steel and synthetic bolts and polymeric mesh applications.

These Proceedings highlighted by numerous Keynote papers, Heritage lectures, State-of-the-Art reports, invited special guest lectures and theme papers together with a wide array of other written contributions from all continents elucidate a comprehensive coverage of the current State-of-the-Art in Ground Improvement from theory to practice. Over 200 articles have been included in the Proceedings from more than 30 countries bringing together in two volumes the knowledge and experience of world-renowned international researchers, consultants and practitioners and the evolving talents of early career professionals and research students.

According to the topics, the proceedings have been divided in to numerous Themes:

Indeed, we are most grateful to all authors and delegates who have made this Ground Improvement Conference a memorable and significant event in the history of Australian Geomechanics. All abstracts and full papers have been peer-reviewed prior to their acceptance and inclusion in the Proceedings that have now been indexed via Thomson Reuters (ISI) as a scholarly compilation. We wish to acknowledge the assistance of national and international experts in reviewing and maintaining high standards of the Proceedings.

ICGI-2012 received unreserved support from the Australian Geomechanics Society, International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering through TC 211: Ground Improvement, TC 214: Foundation Engineering for Difficult Soft Soil Conditions, TC 202: Transportation Geotechnics and TC 303: Coastal and River Disaster Mitigation and Rehabilitation, International Geosynthetics Society, Geo-Institute of American Society of Civil Engineering and the Southeast Asian Geotechnical Society.

We wish to thank all members of the Local Organising Committee and the International Advisory Committee, especially the tireless efforts of Dr. Jayan Vinod (Conference Secretary) and the Technical Co-Chairs, Associate Prof. Hadi Khabbaz and Dr. Cholachat Rujikiatkamjorn. We acknowledge the Conference Sponsors, Coffey Geotechnics, Douglas Partners, Keller, Menard Bachy, Maccaferri, GHD, Infratech, Geo-Con and Cofra for their financial support. The efforts of staff and student volunteers of University of Wollongong through the Centre for Geomechanics and Railway Engineering (GRE), SMART Infrastructure Facility and Faculty of Engineering at University of Wollongong are gratefully appreciated, with special mentioning of Dr. Laura Banasiak, Dr. Guanghui Meng, A/Professor Wei Dong Guo, Dr. Rohan Walker, Dr. Sanjay Nimbalkar, Dr. Xueyu Geng, Dr. Gabriele Chiaro, Dr. Phil Flentje, Dr. Martin Liu, Dr. Pongpipat Anantanasakul and Dr. Chalermpol Taechakumthorn.

Buddhima Indraratna
Chair, ICGI 2012


Patrick Wong
Co-Chair, ICGI 2012