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Risk report calls for greater integration

Lack of data on the return on investments is restricting the integration of geotechnical risk management within overall project risk management and the construction industry is missing out on opportunities to minimise ground related failures.

The claim is the lead finding of a new report called The International State of the Art Report on Integration of Geotechnical Risk Management and Project Risk Management.

The report, which was published at the the International Symposium of Geotechnical Safety and Risk in Hong Kong in early December, has been developed from 10 country reports commissioned by the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Ground Engineering’s (ISSMGE)TC304 task force 3 technical committee.

Reporters from Austria, China, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK all reported on how geotechnical risk is managed and the impacts this has in each construction market. The findings of the 10 reports were drawn together into the document presented in Hong Kong by Netherlands-based VSRM risk consultant Martin van Staveren.

“Despiteresearch limitations, the report may provide valuable first steps for identifying the status of applying project risk management (ProjectRM) and Geotechnical Risk Management (GeoRM);  highlighting their potential benefits for contributing to project successes; and presenting ways how to stimulate and improve ProjectRM, GeoRM, and in particular their integrated application, for achieving effective and cost-efficient risk management results in civil engineering and construction projects,” said van Staveren.

The report compares and contrasts how GeoRM and ProjectRM are applied and looks at the hurdles faced to applying ProjectRM and GeoRM in a bid to find common issues and identify best practice.

The UK report was prepared by Mott MacDonald business development director Paul Maliphant, who told GE that publication of the report was just the start and the UK industry needs to look at the findings and work to communicate these both within the geotechnical sector and to other professions working in the construction market. “We need to be able to clearly demonstrate a return on investment for managing geotechnical risk and inspire our project partners to act before problems arise,” he said.

The top six recommendations for more application and integrating GeoRM and ProjectRM

1. Provide education and training on GeoRM and ProjectRM and make it part of the curriculum.

2. Identify and communicate success stories of integrating GeoRM and ProjectRM for achieving project objectives within time and budget.

3. Provide short courses and tools for non-geotechnical risk managers about the need and benefits of integrating GeoRM in ProjectRM.

4. Teach geotechnical professionals how to communicate the effects of geotechnical risks in the language of non-geotechnical engineers, managers, and the public.

5. Improve the know-how of GeoRM and ProjectRM by evidence-based learning from finished projects, in particular by systematic evaluation of the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of applied risk remediation actions.

6. Provide standards for RM processes in public investments projects that would be broadly accepted by the community.

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