Numerical analysis is widely used method in geotechnical engineering when calculating and predicting soil and rock behaviour under different loading and excavation conditions. For instance, simulation of tunnelling using 2D or 3D finite element (FE) analyses can often calculate any deformations and stress redistributions due to tunnelling operations without constructing real trial tunnels. Modelling the excavation process in 2D plane strain analysis, however, requires an approach that can consider 3D tunnelling effect as a result of volume loss. In addition, modelling shotcrete or similar support measures, using either beam elements, solid continuum elements or other special elements are needed to be adopted. Therefore, convergence-confinement, stiffness reduction, disk calculation and hypothetical modulus of elasticity (HME) soft lining approaches have been employed in the numerical analysis. Moreover, compatibility of each method with beam and solid continuum element models in 2D FE analysis was investigated. Thus, eight plane strain, non-linear FE analyses of tunnel construction in London Clay were performed and the results are presented and discussed in this article. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.