Probably looking at slope stability

Stephen Buttling


Most geotechnical engineers will have some knowledge of slope stability analysis using deterministic methods, and some will have a lot. But how do deterministic methods and factors of safety fit in with probability of failure?

The AGS has done fantastic work since about 2002 in: pushing the Landslide Risk Management (LRM) procedure, championing the position that absolute stability and safety cannot be guaranteed for ever, and seeking to reliably and consistently classify slopes into very high to very low risk categories. RMS (RTA) has embodied this approach in their Guide to Slope Risk Analysis, which sets the standard used throughout New South Wales and Queensland for the visual assessment of existing slopes.

But what about numerical analysis, and what about new or remediated slopes? There are tools which are very readily available to do this, to achieve compatibility with the field work, but experience shows that they are not well understood and are sometimes incorrectly applied. Hopefully this will all become clearer by the end of the talk.

About Stephen Buttling

Stephen Buttling graduated from Imperial College and studied for a PhD at Bristol University. On his way from the UK to Australia he stopped off in Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand, building underground railways, elevated highways, ports and harbours, airports, and a hydro-electric plant, before eventually arriving here in 2006. He is now a Principal at National Geotechnical Consulting. Having spent time with Hyder as Regional Functional Head of Geotechnics, Piling Contractors as National Technical Manager, and GHD as a Senior Principal Geotechnical Engineer, he launched out on his own in July 2015. This is a new consultancy which offers specialist advice in relation to piling, deep excavations and ground improvement.

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