Category Archives: Sustainable development


We are pleased to confirm that our April 2019 newsletter has just been issued.  For those who are not registered on our mailing list, you can download it from here .  You can also opt to join our newsletter mailing list by following this link – it takes only a few seconds.  Rest assured we never pass your information to third parties, as stated in our privacy statement.


We have recently been commissioned by a new client to support them on a large residential development in Yorkshire.  The site lies in a floodplain and the associated drainage attenuation scheme presents significant geotechnical issues.  Problems to be addressed include slope stability in rapid drawdown conditions and potentially de-stabilising groundwater flows.  It promises to be an interesting challenge and we are looking forward to working on it.

If you think we could assist you with similar issues you may be having on a site then please contact Dr Andy Goodwin on 01246 807808.


IS 70:20:10 RIGHT?

During a recent mentoring session, a mentee asked: “what is the most effective way to learn and develop?”  The stock answer is the 70:20:10 model, which suggests that 70% of knowledge and understanding is gained from on-the-job experience, 20% from self-study, mentoring and learning from others, and 10% from training courses and the like.  This model originated in the 1980’s based on research into what helped successful managers develop.  So is it valid for the construction industry?  We have been thinking about this further as part of our mentoring work and we have prepared a short article on it, mainly aimed at graduates but others may find it useful too.  If you are interested to read it then just click here.


As announced previously, we are very pleased and honoured to announce that on 6 October 2017 our Dr Andy Goodwin, Simon Ellis (Mott Macdonald), Prof Liz Laycock (Sheffield Hallam University) and Dr Chris Hurst (Mott MacDonald) were all awarded the Howard Medal by ICE Publishing for a paper jointly published in 2016.  The awards dinner was held at the ICE headquarters near Westminster. The happy recipients are shown below on stage, and both before and after perhaps a little too much champagne!

Entitled “Use of crushed brick in reinforced earth railway structures”, the paper was published in ICE’s Construction Materials Journal.  Targeted at improving the sustainability of the development, the work reported on a short practically-focused research project undertaken in association with Sheffield Hallam University with a clear focus on assessing the suitability of crushed bricks to be sourced from a viaduct for re-use as engineered fill.  It shows the benefits that can be gained from integrating focused research into a large project.  

More details of the project can be seen in the paper, which can be downloaded for free from  


Over the last month or so our Dr Andy Goodwin has been posting ideas for CPD on LinkedIn.  The suggestions largely come from his experience as a lead reviewer with the ICE and are targeted in particular at graduates.  However, everyone benefits from CPD so don’t be put off the ideas if you are not a graduate.

Ideas suggested so far include:

  • The Brundtland report, “Our Common Future”:  this includes the oft-quoted definition of sustainable development “meeting the needs of today without compromising the needs of tomorrow” (see page 16 para 27 of the pdf for the full definition “Humanity has the ability to make development sustainable to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”).  Graduates pursuing professional qualification with the ICE should know this, and ought to read the report (or at least look over its 300 pages to get a sense of what it is all about).
  • Research and assessment of the issues that can arise when using pyrite-rich fills below buildings and in earthworks. Two references are provided as starters in this field. The first link takes you to a pdf copy of an expert report on issues found affecting buildings in Ireland – it is 200 pages long so if pushed for time just read the Executive Summary! The second is a paper from 2011 on the implications of the phenomenon for earthworks that explains the science aspects as well as being practical.
  • The subject of ethics and ethical behaviour regularly comes up both at ICE professional reviews and when Andy is mentoring graduates. It is an important topic that merits thought and deserves a perspective from outside the ICE, nut just from within.  It is suggested that it is worth looking at the Royal Academy of Engineering work on this topic.

Happy reading!

By the way, if you want to LinkIn with Andy yourself and catch up with his new posts as they are issued then feel free to invite him to join your network!