The Geotechnical Engineering Office
The Geotechnical Engineering Office (GEO) is responsible for a wide range of geotechnical engineering activities related to the safe and economic utilization and development of land. It is one of seven constituent offices of the Civil Engineering and Development Department of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
The GEO is under the direction of the Head of the GEO and is divided into the Island Branch, Mainland Branch, Planning and Standards Branch and Landslip Preventive Measures Branch, each under the direction of a Deputy Head. The operational unit is the Division, of which there are eleven, each headed by a Chief Geotechnical Engineer. A Division typically comprises four Sections composed of one Senior Geotechnical Engineer and three or more Geotechnical Engineers together with supporting technical and clerical staff. The functions of the Divisions are described below:
Geotechnical Support for Government Projects
With a dedicated team of professional and technical staff, Geotechnical Projects Division provides geotechnical advisory services to works departments on feasibility studies, investigations, design and construction for a wide range of Government projects. Clients include Drainage Services Department, Highways Department, Water Supplies Department, Architectural Services Department, Home Affairs Department, Lands Department and other offices of Civil Engineering and Development Department. Typical geotechnical works include:
- slopes & retaining walls
- ground anchors
- deep excavations
- ground improvement works
- natural terrain landslide risk assessment and design of mitigation works
- reinforced fill & use of geosynthetics
- geotechnical aspects of landfills
- assessment and mitigation of the effects of blasting
We provide geotechnical assistance on ground investigation, laboratory testing, design memorandum, option assessment, detailed design and associated contract specifications and qualified geotechnical supervision, as well as land development scheme. The Geotechnical Projects Division is also responsible for carrying out technical and personnel assessments of contractors who apply for inclusion onto the List of Approved Suppliers of Materials and Specialist Contractors for Public Works in the category of Ground Investigation Field Work. The list is available at the Development Bureau website.
During the construction stage, we provide qualified site supervision on geotechnical works to ensure safe and satisfactory execution of the proposed design.
In addition, we provide "clinic" advice to departments at any stage of their projects to deal with geotechnical problems which arise in the course of their projects.
As part of the ongoing technical responsibilities of the Geotechnical Engineering Office, the Division also manages the list of accepted reinforced fill products used in Hong Kong and the list of approved off-site rebar prefabrication yards for public works contracts.
Implementation of Tunnel / Cavern Related Projects
The Division is responsible for the implementation of tunnel / cavern related projects for government departments. These tunnel / cavern related projects develop the underground space for different uses and free up land to allow better urban developments.
In addition, the Division is also responsible for review and update of the Cavern Master Plan as well as providing associated advice on issues and specific tasks related to cavern development.
The Island Division is responsible for geotechnical control of all building developments and civil engineering works on Hong Kong Island. One of the recent projects that requires high professional and technical inputs of the Division is the construction of Central-Wan Chai Bypass (CWB) mined tunnel underneath ex-Wan Chai Public Cargo Working Areas, the Cross Harbour Tunnel (CHT) approach section and Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter. The CWB mined tunnel consists of three closely spaced road tunnels: the 3-lane Westbound (WB) and Eastbound (EB) tunnels and the 2-lane Slip Road 8 (SR8) tunnel. The mined tunnel is about 11 m high, 153 m long and has a combined span of approximately 50 m. The geotechnical works of the project comprise construction of a "two-pass lining" for the mined tunnel. The first pass temporary tunnel supports are installed concurrently with the multiple headings for the large span tunnel excavation, and the second pass permanent undrained tunnel linings of cast-in-place reinforcement concrete are installed subsequent to the completion of excavation.
Protection measures for tunneling beneath the CHT structure are provided prior to excavation. Other major geotechnical works of the project include temporary reclamation and construction of cut and cover tunnels to depths over 40 m at the east and west of the mined tunnel.
Other major projects with substantial geotechnical input from Island Division include:
- Public Housing Development at Pok Fu Lam South
- Public Housing Development at Ka Wai Man Road and Ex-Mount Davis Cottage Area, Kennedy Town
- Airport Railway Extended Overrun Tunnel
- Ocean Park Redevelopment Project
- Shatin-to-Central Link of MTR
- South Island Line of MTR
In addition to the above, this division is responsible for carrying out slope maintenance audit to assist maintenance departments to improve their performance in discharging their slope maintenance responsibility. It also manages the system for certification of permanent prestressed ground anchors used in Hong Kong.
If you wish to obtain more information about the work of Island Division or have comments relating to our services, please contact Chief Geotechnical Engineer/Island :
Tel.: (852) 2762 5266
Fax.: (852) 2714 0214
The Slope Safety Division consists of four sections, namely, Existing Slopes Section, Community Advice and Education Section, Public Information Unit and Safety Screening Section.
The Existing Slopes Section is responsible for updating and maintenance of the Catalogue of Slopes. The slope information in the Catalogue is stored in a computerized Slope Information System (SIS). The SIS permits fast on-line examination and analysis of the spatial relation between slopes and surrounding topography. Members of the public can access slope and related information from the SIS through the Hong Kong Slope Safety Website, https://hkss.cedd.gov.hk. The Existing Slopes Section also oversees the development of a number of Geographic Information System (GIS) and Information Technology (IT) projects to enhance GEO's services.
The Community Advice and Education (CAE) Section has two major functions. The community advisory function is undertaken by the Community Advisory Unit (CAU). The CAU provides information and advisory services to the community through seminars and talks, roving "Meet-the-Public" sessions and discussions with private slope owners particularly on issues related to Dangerous Hillside Orders and slope maintenance works. The public can contact CAU at 2760 5800 or (email@example.com) for assistance and advice.
The educational function of CAE primarily involves the running of a public education and publicity campaign on slope safety, targeting the general public, in particular students and private slope owners. The purpose is to promulgate the importance of slope maintenance and educate the public on personal precautionary measures to be taken during heavy rainstorms. Messages are conveyed through various means such as TV-APIs, radio, press and promotional materials including leaflets and posters, etc. The campaign also includes activities such as School Ambassador Programme, guided tours to Po Shan Drainage Tunnel – Landslide Sci-tech Chamber, exhibitions, seminars and competitions.
The Public Information Unit (PIU) deals with enquiries from the media and the general public related to the policy and work on slope safety and other activities of the GEO. The PIU also works with the Secretariat Press Office of the Development Bureau to disseminate timely information to the media. From time to time, the PIU coordinates visits to the GEO by LegCo members, academics, and overseas and local visitors to brief them on slope safety issues.
The Safety Screening Section (SS) manages a number of consultants to carry out geotechnical studies on private man-made slopes to identify potential substandard features for follow-up actions, such as the issue of Advisory Letters or Dangerous Hillside Orders (by Buildings Department upon GEO's recommendation) to the private owners. The studies proceed generally according to the ranked priority order but features are also grouped and studied on an area basis.
For further information of the work of the Slope Safety Division, please contact Chief Geotechnical Engineer/Slope Safety:
Tel.: (852) 2762 5691
Fax.: (852) 2762 2389
Planning and Standards Branch
The Planning Division provides geological and other earth science services to Government and the public. It also carries out research and development aimed at improving our knowledge and understanding of the geological framework for Hong Kong on its implication and applications for engineering activities. The Division is divided into five Sections, which specialise in geological mapping, engineering geology, terrain evaluation, marine geotechnology, as well as cavern and underground space developments. The five Sections are closely inter-linked with many tasks and multidisciplinary studies involving teams of expertise.
The major research and development tasks of the Planning Division are primarily focused at improving slope safety, as well as cavern and underground space developments. These include studies of landslides in natural terrain and detailed engineering geological mapping of development areas. Routine tasks of the Division include the assessment of natural terrain hazards, input to land use planning, continuous updating of geological maps and associated databases, and contributions to consolidated comments on engineering feasibility studies.
The Standards and Testing Division undertakes applied research and development work for the production of geotechnical standards and provides testing services. The research and development work is carried out in-house as well as in partnership with universities, consultants and contractors. The Division comprises six Sections, three of which are responsible for the production of geotechnical standards and the other three operate the Public Works Laboratories (PWL).
The Division has been providing essential technical support to the Landslip Preventive Measures Programme and the post-2010 Landslip Prevention and Mitigation Programme. This includes development of prescriptive measures to improve existing soil cut slopes, rock slopes and retaining walls, technical guidelines on landscape treatment of slopes and retaining walls, techniques for automatic acquisition of groundwater data, improved methods of obtaining undisturbed soil samples, design approaches for landslide debris-resisting barriers, non-destructive testing methods for determining the length of installed soil nails and the integrity of grout sleeves. It has also been undertaking research on development of quantitative risk assessment techniques for landslide risk management, assessment of natural terrain landslide risk, slope greening techniques, behaviour of soil-nailed slopes, properties of saprolite and loose fill, relationship between rainfall and landslides, and properties of construction materials.
The Public Works Laboratories (PWL), which consist of the Public Works Central Laboratory and five Public Works Regional Laboratories, carry out a wide range of tests on construction materials, principally for Government projects. These include tests on aggregates, bituminous materials, cement, pulverized fuel ash (PFA), concrete cubes and cores, steel reinforcing bars, timber, rubber, soil and rock, in-situ CBR and soil density, building blocks and bricks, concrete kerbs, geotextile, manhole covers and pipes, etc.
The Division promulgates technical guidance in GEO publications and GEO Reports. Up to June 2023, it has released 450 GEO publications and Reports. While many of the published documents can be downloaded from the Publications, some are only available in printed copies and can be purchased from the Publications Sales Section of the Information Services Department.
Mainland East Division is responsible for geotechnical control of all building developments and civil engineering works in Kowloon and the eastern parts of the New Territories. The Division is currently undertaking geotechnical control on the following major projects:
- Development at Anderson Road
- Shatin to Central Link
- Liantang / Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point
- Tseung Kwan O - Lam Tin Tunnel
- Kai Tak Development - Trunk Road T2
- Central Kowloon Route
- Relocation of Sha Tin Sewage Treatment Works to Caverns
The Division exercises special geotechnical control over foundation design and construction for developments in Ma On Shan, an area which is underlain by marble. Large cavities are present within the marble in some locations.
We also manage the GEO's landslide emergency service. As part of this service, GEO provides 24-hour, year-round emergency advice to Government departments, on action to be taken to safeguard the public following landslide or rockfall incidents. When a Landslip Warning or a Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal No.8 or higher is issued by the Hong Kong Observatory, the GEO Emergency Control Centre will be mobilised.
If you wish to obtain more information about the work of Mainland East Division or have comments relating to our services, please contact Chief Geotechnical Engineer/Mainland East.
Telephone: (852) 2762 5230
Facsimile: (852) 2714 0245
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Mainland West Division is responsible for geotechnical control of all building development and civil engineering works in the western part of Kowloon and the New Territories, including the outlying islands. This includes auditing foundation proposals for developments in Yuen Long (where marble with cavities exists beneath the superficial deposits) and Northshore Lantau (where complex geological conditionsexist). This Division has currently taken up two studies, namely "Technical Study on Reclamation Design and Construction Practices in Hong Kong", and "Regional Geological Study of Northern New Territories". This Division also carries out inspection of landslip incidents, coordinates matters relating to the non-development clearance of squatter structures on slope safety grounds, and provides geotechnical advice to other Government Departments.
You are welcome to send comments and suggestions to Chief Geotechnical Engineer/Mainland West.
Telephone: (852) 2762 5205 Facsimile: (852) 2194 0165 E-mail address: email@example.com
The Director of Civil Engineering and Development is also the Commissioner of Mines (CoM). The CoM is a specified Authority under the Dangerous Goods Ordinance Cap 295 (DGO) and the Mining Ordinance (Cap 285), and related subsidiary legislation. Mines Division exercises powers vested in the CoM and performs duties imposed on the CoM under the legislation.
The main responsibilities of Mines Division include the regulatory control of the manufacture, storage, conveyance and use of Schedule 1 Dangerous Goods under the Dangerous Goods Ordinance (Cap 295) and mining operations under the Mining Ordinance (Cap 285), and the safe operation of quarries under the Quarries (Safety) Regulations (Cap 59F). It is also responsible for the planning and management of quarrying contracts, and related quarry studies.
Under the Mines (Safety) Regulations (Cap 285B), the Superintendent of Mines, who is also the Chief Geotechnical Engineer/Mines, is responsible for issuing Mine Blasting Certificates which permit shot firers to use explosives for blasting.
In relation to explosives, Mines Division:
- audits blasting assessment reports and method statements for blasting projects, and is responsible for issuing Blasting and Storage Permits and inspecting blast sites and temporary explosives stores
- manages the Government Explosives Depots, which provide storage facilities for imported explosives
- regulates the control of storage and conveyance of non blasting explosives, such as those used for fireworks displays, life saving, scientific research, fire fighting, sporting arms, and industrial fastening tools
- regulates the control of the conveyance of blasting explosives, including delivery from Government Explosives Depots to blasting sites, and supervises the security of explosives during delivery to the place of storage or use
- manages two purpose-built vessels and a fleet of trucks for the delivery of explosives
- provides technical support on matters relating to the discharge of fireworks on land and at sea to the Secretary for Home Affairs and Director of Marine, respectively, who are the authorities for these matters under the Dangerous Goods Ordinance.
In relation to quarries, Mines Division is responsible for the management and rehabilitation of rock quarries in Hong Kong. Currently, it manages a quarry at Lam Tei (Tuen Mun). Lam Tei Quarry supplies aggregates and rock products to the local construction industry. It also processes surplus rock generated from local construction projects to produce aggregates. As an on-going exercise, the division carries out feasibility studies for Hong Kong's future aggregates and rock products supplies, including searching for potential quarry sites.
The year 2021 marks the 70th anniversary of the Mines Division under the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD).
Click here to read the "70th Anniversary Commemorative Booklet of the Mines Division" (Flipbook version)
Click here to read the "70th Anniversary Commemorative Booklet of the Mines Division" (PDF version)
If you wish to obtain more information on the work of Mines Division or have comments relating to our services, please contact Chief Geotechnical Engineer/Mines.
Telephone: (852) 3842 7220
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Landslip Preventive Measures Branch
This Division is responsible for the following areas of work:
- Management of the programme on landslip prevention and mitigation studies and works (implemented under Landslip Preventive Measures Programme until 2010 and under Landslip Prevention and Mitigation Programme since 2010). The Division is responsible for exercising overall coordination and control of projects on landslip prevention and mitigation studies and works, formulating the strategy and master programme, together with monitoring the progress and expenditure of the various projects. The Division manages the selection and packaging of slopes and natural hillside catchments for landslip prevention and mitigation action. It also maintains and updates the Landslip Preventive Measures Information System (LPMIS), which contains key data on slopes and natural hillside catchments included in the projects. Updated statistics on the progress of landslip prevention and mitigation studies and works are published on a regular basis.
- Coordination with other government slope maintenance departments with regard to the interfacing of the GEO's projects on landslip prevention and mitigation and the Preventive Maintenance Programmes. The Division provides secretariat support to the LPM Committee which is responsible for the endorsing man-made slope features and natural hillside catchments selected for landslip prevention and mitigation action and the Preventive Maintenance Programmes.
- Selection and management of consultancies. The Division is responsible for the selection and engagement of consultants for landslip prevention and mitigation studies and works, overseeing detailed studies and works contracts, providing project management input to the related activities and managing the Consultancy Agreements.
The Landslip Preventive Measures Division 2 consists of two Design Sections, the Landslip Investigation Section and the Consultant Management Section.
- Under the Landslip Prevention and Mitigation (LPMit) Programme, the Division and its consultants carry out studies of government man-made slopes and natural hillside catchments to identify potential danger and the need for prevention and mitigation works. A risk-based priority ranking system will be used to select the most deserving man-made slopes and natural hillside catchments with known hazards for action under the LPMit Programme. The Division and its consultants will carry out the detailed design and implement the necessary landslip prevention and mitigation works for substandard man-made slopes and vulnerable natural hillside catchments.
- The landslip prevention and mitigation works designed in-house by the Design Sections are implemented through works contracts managed by the Works Section of the Landslip Preventive Measures Division 3. The activities of the Design Sections include desk study, aerial photograph interpretation, field mapping and ground investigation, stability analysis, debris mobility modeling, design of landslip prevention and mitigation works and provision of design advices during construction. Some of the man-made slopes and natural hillside catchments dealt with by the Division are implemented through consultants. The tasks carried out by these consultants, who are managed by the Consultant Management Sections, include studies of man-made slopes and natural hillside catchments, design of landslip prevention and mitigation works, preparation of contract documents and supervision of construction. The duties of the Consultant Management Sections include reviewing and monitoring of the progress of the landslip prevention and mitigation measures and related tasks under the consultancy agreement, expenditure control and coordination with other government departments. The progress of the geotechnical studies and landslip prevention and mitigation works carried out under the LPMit Programme are shown on the Quarterly Report prepared by the Landslip Preventive Measures Division 1.
- The Landslip Investigation Section supported by its consultants, undertakes systematic investigation of landslides. Since 2000, the systematic landslide investigation (LI) programme has been an integral part of the LPM programme which was successfully completed in 2010. The LI programme will continue to be a core component of the LPMit Programme launched in 2010. The scope of the LI work includes examination of all reported landslides and in-depth studies of selected significant landslides to establish the history of the failed slopes, identify the causes of failure, lessons learnt and the necessary follow-up actions. The key findings of landslide studies and lessons learnt are given in the Hong Kong Slope Safety Website. The principal objectives of the systematic LI programme are to identify and follow up on slopes in need of early attention to safeguard public safety, provide forensic evidence for landslides that involve subsequent coroner inquest, legal action or financial dispute, review the performance of the Government's slope safety system, identify areas for improvement in the slope safety system and slope engineering practice, and advance the understanding of the causes and mechanisms of landslides in Hong Kong so as to improve the reliability of landslide preventive or remedial works.
- The Landslip Preventive Measures Division 2 is keen to improve quality and cost effectiveness in the design of landslip prevention and mitigation works. Therefore, innovative design approaches and new techniques are adopted where found suitable.
- Apart from slope safety, we are concerned about the appearance of man-made slopes and natural hillside catchments. It is GEO's policy to make the man-made slopes upgraded under the LPMit Programme look as natural as possible through the use of soft and/or hard landscape treatment. For natural hillside catchments, the existing vegetation including trees and shrubs is preserved as far as practical during the construction of landslide risk mitigation measures. Soft and/or hard landscape treatments similar to those for man-made slopes would be provided for the risk mitigation measures as appropriate to minimize their visual impact and blend them with their surrounding environment.
- All consultants involved in LPMit projects are required under their terms of the consultancy agreements to provide necessary landscape input during the design and construction stages. GEO has been appointing landscape consultants to provide landscape input to the in-house projects. In addition, technical support on landscaping is available from the Landscape Unit of CEDD Headquarter.
- To improve the technology in slope greening, we have been pursuing researches into the use of vegetation in landslip prevention and mitigation works and experimenting with new techniques of providing erosion control measures and vegetation covers to steep slopes. Results of the research provide useful knowledge for establishing robust, cost-effective and eco-friendly vegetation covers for man-made slopes and natural hillside mitigation measures.
- The GEO issued GEO Publication No. 1/2011 "Technical Guidelines on Landscape Treatment for Slopes" in September 2011, to promulgate the latest best practice of landscape treatment for slopes, which include landscape treatment for natural terrain mitigation works and landslide repairs. In 2012, the Hong Kong Institute of Landscape Architects granted a Merit Award under the Landscape Planning/Research Category for this new Publication in recognition of GEO's continuous improvement and contributions to the enhancement of the slope environment.
|Mr C K Siu, Chief Geotechnical Engineer
|LG1 Floor, Civil Engineering and Development Building, 101 Princess Margaret Road, Homantin, Kowloon.
The Landslip Preventive Measures Division 3 consists of a Works (W) Section and three Consultant Management (CM) Sections.
The Works Section prepares tender documents, calls tenders, analyses tenders and supervises in-house landslip prevention and mitigation works that are mainly designed by GEO's Landslip Preventive Measures Division 2. This Section is also responsible for maintaining and updating a library of sample tender documents for landslip prevention and mitigation works contracts which serves as reference material for both in-house and consultants' project staff.
The Works Section also carries out ongoing second-party audits on works in consultants-administered contracts. Experienced inspectorate staff carry out regular audits on soil nail installation and grouting works. This ensures that our soil nailing works are carried out to a uniform and consistent standard amongst all consultant and in-house administered contracts.
As part of the measures used to accelerate the LPM programme, we have since 1995, employed consultants to carry out geotechnical studies, design of preventive works, preparation of contract documents and supervision of construction. These consultants are managed by the CM Sections. The duties of CM Sections include reviewing and monitoring of works progress and programming for all associated assignments to their consultants in relation to upgrading slopes/retaining walls, expenditure control and coordination with other Government Departments.
The Landslip Preventive Measures Division 3 is also responsible for carrying out technical assessments of contractors who apply for inclusion onto the List of Approved Suppliers of Materials and Specialist Contractors for Public Works in the category of Landslip Preventive/Remedial Works to Slopes/Retaining Walls. The list is available at the Development Bureau website.
Link to "Sample Particular Specification for Soil Nailing Works and Guidance Notes on Current Procedures on Supervision of Soil Nailing Works" developed by the Landslip Preventive Measures Division 3.