Newcastle Chapter

Designing for Rockfall: According to the guidelines for the approval of Rockfall Protection Kits

Roland Bucher

There is a trend in Australia of infrastructure projects occurring in higher developed areas which result in more road and railway cuttings with steeper slopes. The weathering processes on these slopes can cause rockfall which has the potential to harm road or rail users, and cause disruption to these essential services. Therefore, the protection of people and infrastructure from potential rockfall has become more common in Australia. The right selection of a mitigation solution is part of the design process, when considering the use of such systems. Additionally, the evaluation of the best location for the system is very important during the design stage.

Geobrugg have been involved in the design and manufacturing of rockfall protection systems for more than 60 years. It is their experience implementing mitigation systems on projects around the world, and the continuation of R&D in conjunction with governments and government-supported research projects, which make Geobrugg the technology leader for mitigation systems globally.

The presentation will include information about the design, testing methods and approval requirements according to the Swiss and European Rockfall kit Guidelines. Furthermore, the differences in barrier (Catch fence) design will be discussed, as well as a step by step approach on how to determine the suitability, size and location for barriers on projects, considering the installation time and effect on road or rail closures.

Speaker biography

After an apprenticeship as a builder in construction and 4 years work as a Foreman/Supervisor, Roland Bucher went back to the University of Applied Sciences in Lucerne (Switzerland) and graduated as Bachelor of Science in Civil and Structural Engineering. He then started working for Rothpletz, Lienhard Consultants in Switzerland as Design/Project Engineer and Project Manager in various projects in tunnel construction, tunnel renovations, general construction and road and railway construction. He then moved to Perth Australia, where he worked for Highway Construction as a Site Engineer in road works on Main Roads WA projects. At present Roland is the General Manager for Geobrugg Australia Pty Ltd where he is responsible for all the Geobrugg activities in Australia including the local factory. Furthermore, Roland has finished his Masters postgraduate in Mining Geomechanics at the Western Australian School of Mines (WASM) in Kalgoorlie, with the Thesis pending.

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