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Ashton, P (2003) A system designed to improve site investigation procedures and for the reduction of risk associated with uncertain site conditions, Unpublished PhD Thesis, School of the Built Environment, University of Brighton.

  • Type: Thesis
  • Keywords: site investigation; risk management
  • URL: https://ethos.bl.uk/ProcessOrderDetailsDirect.do?documentId=1&thesisTitle=A+system+designed+to+improve+site+investigation+procedures+and+for+the+reduction+of+risk+associated+with+uncertain+site+conditions&eprintId=271975
  • Abstract:
    Research has identified that many projects suffer significant difficulties when carrying out sub-structure work. A questionnaire survey identified that from a randomly chosen group of 312 contractors, over 57% had experienced difficulties solely as a result of inadequate site investigation procedures. A subsequent questionnaire survey and structured interviews with construction experts established that inadequate and subjective methods are used to determine the extent and appropriateness of an investigation. The aim of this research, therefore, has been to develop a system that can be used by construction practitioners to objectively establish the extent and appropriateness of an investigation and subsequently determine the level of risk associated with site investigation information. The level of risk afforded by the system would enable effective decision making on whether or not to procure further investigative work, in order to reduce risk associated uncertain site conditions. This thesis describes the study from a robust examination of current site investigation management procedures. A comprehensive literature search provided a wider understanding of key issues and established the background knowledge. The work discussed in this thesis used a combination of research methods and techniques: a postal questionnaire, semi-structured and structured interviews, case studies, and the review and analysis of archive documentation. Data collected from 1,000 questionnaires and supported by a selection of projects in the South East of England were used to develop the Site Investigation Procedural Framework Model (SIPFM). This model has been designed to benchmark the site investigation process. It has also been used to identify those factors that brought about discrepancies during the investigative process. The research then developed a computer based Project and Site Investigation Information Evaluation Program (PSIIEP) to evaluate and measure the complexity of project data relative to site investigation information. These two elements (SIPFM and PSIIEP) have been brought together to form the system that can be used to objectively establish the extent and appropriateness of a given site investigation report. This system is called Site Investigation Risk Evaluation System (SIRES). It can also be used to determine the level of risk associated with site investigation information. Case study data has been used to test SIRES in practice, especially in its ability to identify areas of uncertainty within existing data. One interesting finding from the analysis of over thirty-six case studies is the suggestion that there is an alarming and substantial lack of funding and resources allocated to carrying out an effective site appraisal and the time when it is most needed. This research has confirmed that inadequate site investigation often leads to a significant increase in an organisation’s exposure to risk. The output from SIRES provides the opportunity for objective management decision making on whether to instigate further investigation work in order to negate the potential risk. SIRES also provides the means to evaluate the consequence of project complexity upon the adequacy of site investigation data. This makes the system unique in its ability to foresee the viability of site conditions as a function of project complexity, uncertainty and risk, which had not been considered by other researchers. Although the research has used a combination of complex statistical analysis, hands-on practical methods and techniques have been applied as an interface in order to make the system user friendly.