The course goal is learning how to manage the various facets of geotechnical risks. This risk management is an integral part of the professional life of the geotechnical engineer. It implies to be able to identify the risks, to quantify them and to mitigate their impact. The proposed learning is acquired by illustrating the "risk" aspects of different geotechnical problems already solved within the mandatory geotechnical curriculum, as well as by introducing new problems where the risk pertains to the project demands and to particular behaviors of soils.

The course is divided into two parts:

  • The first part starts with the definition of risk and the concept of acceptable risk. Then, it moves on to the methods used to represent the risks and guide the decision-making process. The risks relating to the different phases of a geotechnical engineering project are discussed. These are intrinsically linked to the uncertainties belonging to soil mechanics, namely the uncertainty of characterization resulting from the natural variability of the soil and of the limits of the means of investigation, the uncertainty of calculation resulting from the limitations of the calculation available models, the uncertainty of loading, particularly important in the case of natural loading (for example, earthquakes) and finally the uncertainty of achievement due to the difficulty of underground construction processes.
  • The second part deals with a series of practical cases that will help implement the concepts acquired in the first part. For example, the risks related to the slope stability, seismic risks, the risks relating to offshore constructions and environmental risks will be treated according to the preferences of the students.