Comparison of Risk Assessments for Underground Construction Projects A study about distinctions and common features and suggestions for improvements

University essay from KTH/Jord- och bergmekanik

Author: Lisa Avestedt; [2012]

Keywords: risk; assessment; underground; construction; Sweden; US;


This master thesis 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 thesis 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 thesis 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


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


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


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.

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