Location

New York, New York

Session Start Date

4-13-2004

Session End Date

4-17-2004

Abstract

Simplicity is at the heart of the observational method.1,2 Its basis is straightforward and it is an inherently natural approach to address uncertainty. The focus on prediction, monitoring, feedback, and teamwork also creates a strong opportunity for learning. Applications typically involve underground construction and temporary works. The objectives are to save cost or time while maintaining an acceptable level of safety. Application of the method was pioneered by Terzaghi and the principles were formally set down by Peck3 in his 1969 Rankine lecture. Possible modes of failure must be carefully assessed and controlled – particularly those of a sudden or brittle nature, or those that could lead to progressive collapse. Safety is essential and a high degree of certainty in project performance and schedule is generally required. The observational method overcomes the limitations of conventional design by evaluating feedback from actual conditions. This paper describes how simple measurements were central to resolving complexity and controlling risk. It presents three recent case histories featuring the ‘progressive modification’ approach which removed barriers that may have prevented the opportunity to apply the observational method.

Department(s)

Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Appears In

International Conference on Case Histories in Geotechnical Engineering

Meeting Name

Fifth Conference

Publisher

University of Missouri--Rolla

Publication Date

4-13-2004

Document Version

Final Version

Rights

© 2004 University of Missouri--Rolla, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

File Type

text

Language

English

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Apr 13th, 12:00 AM Apr 17th, 12:00 AM

The Observational Method – Learning from Projects

New York, New York

Simplicity is at the heart of the observational method.1,2 Its basis is straightforward and it is an inherently natural approach to address uncertainty. The focus on prediction, monitoring, feedback, and teamwork also creates a strong opportunity for learning. Applications typically involve underground construction and temporary works. The objectives are to save cost or time while maintaining an acceptable level of safety. Application of the method was pioneered by Terzaghi and the principles were formally set down by Peck3 in his 1969 Rankine lecture. Possible modes of failure must be carefully assessed and controlled – particularly those of a sudden or brittle nature, or those that could lead to progressive collapse. Safety is essential and a high degree of certainty in project performance and schedule is generally required. The observational method overcomes the limitations of conventional design by evaluating feedback from actual conditions. This paper describes how simple measurements were central to resolving complexity and controlling risk. It presents three recent case histories featuring the ‘progressive modification’ approach which removed barriers that may have prevented the opportunity to apply the observational method.