Comparison of Risk Assessments for Underground Construction Projects

This project is a study of risk assessment tools and other risk management documentation created by consultants and contractors in the US and Sweden for underground construction projects. Risk management as part of managing underground projects is common practice in both countries for underground construction projects.

Depending on location and other parameters other types of risks than the geological ones need to be considered, for example of the settings of the project is an urban environment or if it is situated in a less densely populated area. Normally underground project also involves large investments and therefore managing cost is important. Risk management is a way of managing cost and other areas that may be of concern.

The main goals of this project are to:

  • Identify a theoretical general approach to risk management and specifically risk assessments based on a literature study
  • Identify similarities between risk management practices in the two countries
  • Identify differences between risk management practices in the two countries
  • Identify how risk management practices differ in the two countries from the theoretical approach established from the literature study

Apart from the study of theoretical literature 12 projects in total were studied; 5 Swedish projects and 7 projects from the USA. The conclusions of this project are generally not statistically significant nor do they indicate trends; they are purely observation on the specific documentation studied. When comparing application in Sweden vs. application in the USA; main conclusions are:

It is recognized that practices within risk management are generally the same in the two countries as established when studying theoretical literature on the subject. However categorization of risk parameters is normally less detailed in both countries’ project specific documentation than found in theoretical literature.

The US risk management as a rule includes a numerical simulation to determine contingency levels for cost and schedule high ranked risks but the simulations were not done in the Swedish project specific documents. However it must be remembered that the US-projects studied were provided from one soul provider and is not in any way significant for this country but for the particular provider studied.

Evaluating the risk registers of the projects studied there seem to be more concern for damages to third party in the US as compared to in Sweden. Also right-of-way, insurance and financial issues are of higher concern in the US projects studied as compared to the Swedish projects studied. The projects in Sweden put a slightly higher emphasis on space availability for construction than in the US projects.
Source: KTH
Author: Avestedt, Lisa

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