The cost to build underground construction projects can reach into the billions of dollars, and the trend toward larger and larger projects in more challenging geologic environments continues worldwide. However, the cost can be even higher if careful risk management practices are not adopted and implemented in the project planning, design and construction phases.
With this is mind, Risk Management in Underground Construction was organized to bring together leading stakeholders involved in large-scale underground construction projects. The event explored all aspects of risk management, with presentations and panel discussions featuring international experts in this field. It was held Nov. 14-16 at the Florida International University’s Kovens Conference Center in Miami, Florida.
More than 60 participants representing contractors, owners, consultants, insurance companies, vendors, and law firms were on hand. The event featured an open discussion that covered topics including contracting practices, geotechnical baseline reports, funding and insurance, risk registers, and guidelines and best practices.
“Risk management is such an important issue when it comes to successfully completing modern tunnel projects,” said course director Levent Ozdemir, Ozdemir Engineering. “Without an understanding of the risks up front, and frank discussion of the risk between the parties involves, projects can become involved in disputes that benefit no one.”
In recent years, organizations involved in the tunnel projects have begun to develop guidance documents in this area. Most recently, the Underground Construction Association published its “Guidelines for Improved Risk Management.” Aldea Services’ Bob Goodfellow, a co-author of the Guidelines, was on hand to give a summary of the report.
Among other topics that generated discussion were whether risk registers should be included among the contract documents, and insurance issues. The format of the program included panel discussions and ample time for interaction among speakers and attendees.
Highlighted speakers from the program included Carlton Ray, DC Water, who spoke on the design-build tunnel projects for CSO control; David Hecker and Matt Swinton, Kiewit, who spoke on the early contractor involvement (ECI) approach used in Portland, Oregon; Randy Essex, Mott MacDonald, geotechnical baseline reports; John Pohle, Skanska, Elizabeth River Tunnel P3; and Erica Moonin, Southern Nevada Water Authority, risk registers.
Risk Management in Underground Construction was presented by Ozdemir Engineering, Microtunneling Inc. and Benjamin Media Inc., publisher of TBM: Tunnel Business Magazine. Planning is underway for a follow up event in fall 2017.