Rijkswaterstaat has recently stated that the use of GeoRM is obligatory for projects with major geotechnical risks. Underground construction of freeway's in high-profile areas, such as the business district Zuidas in Amsterdam or railway links in densely populated areas, always introduce major geotechnical risks. It is not uncommon for these locations to have all the facets that require strong geotechnical risk management: underground construction occurs adjacent to high-rise structures, locations have a very busy surface area, there are financially dependent stake-holders and concerns prevail after issues on earlier projects.
Rijkswaterstaat and their consultant firms are tackling this by forming a strong bridge between engineering and management using geotechnical risk management (GeoRM). In this article its main focus is translating the language of technical risks into managerial terms of cost, delay and reputation. Then actions are translated back again into countermeasures, which are often technical in nature. With a unique approach of subdividing and quantifying risks into sub-risks all the way down to a construction activity level, engineers have the ability to talk directly to the decision makers. To this end a visualization tool has been developed to assess and evaluate risk and counterfeit measures with management staff. The teams involved believe risk reduction is about real-life measures that require a level of detail and knowledge of the actual construction activities to be performed.
This approach has led to real risk-reduction activities, for example: additional investigations into underground obstacles (e.g. existing steel anchors) and actions for removing them beforehand, preventing stagnation later. But also: site investigation activities associated with specific construction methods like soil injection which may turn out to be unfeasible if soil parameters don't come out as expected.