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Geotechnical risk message promoted to clients

CLIENTS OF geotechnical expertise are the target audience of a book published by the Institution of Civil Engineers at the end of February.

Managing geotechnical risk: improving productivity in UK building and construction, explains in laymen's terms what geotechnical risk is and details common ground-related risks such as soft ground, acid and sulphates in groundwater and slope stability.

There are chapters dedicated to the key processes involved in managing geotechnical risk, the essential principles of ground related risk and the roles played by the client, the designer and the constructor. It includes reviews of risk management software, several case studies and also a short information film on CD-rom.

The report was prepared by Professor Chris Clayton of the University of Southampton under the supervision of a steering group of some 20 senior engineers from clients, utilities, contractors and consultants.

'It is rarely possible, however much expertise, time and money is used, to obtain either a complete picture of the ground condi tions beneath a site or the precise properties of the ground from place to place, and therefore there will normally be some uncertainty during design and construction, ' the introduction states.

It emphasises the need for experienced geotechnical professionals to avoid often costly mistakes in the early stages of the project. 'Ground-structure interaction is an example of a technically difficult area which can easily be overlooked, ' it says.

'Ground-related problems may and often do have a disproportionate effect on the cost and progress of a project, since problems occurring at an early stage of construction will not only lead to the additional costs of putting things right but also irrecoverable delays, which themselves are costly.'

'Effective management of geotechnical risk can produce great benefits, ' it adds.

The report was supported by the DETR Partners in Technology programme and 15 industrial sponsors, including, Balfour Beatty, Mott MacDonald, Ove Arup & Partners and Amec Capital Projects.

Managing geotechnical risk: improving productivity in UK building and construction, is published by Thomas Telford Publishing, tel: 020 7665 2473, £30.

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