In this paper, the free strain radial consolidation theory incorporating the changes of compressibility and permeability of the soil with the change in effective stress via time dependent surcharge preloading is presented. In contrast to the conventional analysis, the current study highlights the nonlinear characteristics of the soil during the consolidation process. A comparison of the nonlinear radial consolidation model, with the conventional theory and the equal strain theory i.e. constant volume compressibility, mv and constant coefficient of horizontal permeability, kh is presented. Finally, a case history at Muar coastal plain, Malaysia is analysed on the basis of the current solution. This case history indicates improved accuracy of the predictions in relation to the field measurements and observations.