In this paper, the analytical solution for radial consolidation of soft soils is proposed considering the impacts of the variation of volume compressibility and permeability. The Cavity Expansion Theory is employed to predict the smear zone caused by the installation of mandrel driven vertical drains in soft clay. The smear zone prediction is then compared to the data obtained from the large-scale radial consolidation tests. Furthermore, the advantages and limitations of vacuum application through vertical drains in the absence of high surcharge embankments are discussed using the proposed solutions. The applied vacuum pressure generates negative pore water pressure, resulting in an increase in the effective stress, which leads to accelerated consolidation. Analytical and Numerical analysis incorporating the equivalent plane strain solution are conducted to predict the excess pore pressures, lateral and vertical displacements. The equivalent plane strain solution can be used as a predictive tool with acceptable accuracy due to the significant progress that has been made in the past few years through rigorous mathematical modelling and numerical analysis developed by the primary author and co-workers (Indraratna et al., 1992 – 2005). Several case histories are discussed and analysed, including the site of the 2nd Bangkok International Airport. The predictions are compared with the available field data, confirming that the equivalent plane strain model can be used confidently to predict the performance with acceptable accuracy. Difficulties in assuring good performance can also be analysed and interpreted through mathematical modelling, thereby enabling due caution in the design and construction stages. The research findings verify that the role of smear, drain unsaturation, and vacuum distribution can significantly affect soil consolidation, hence, these aspects need to be modelled appropriately in any numerical analysis to obtain reliable predictions.