What Is Failure And Why Do Failures Occur?

John Atkinson

Ground engineering is a risky business; there is much that can, and does, go wrong. Failures of construction in the ground can be more than just slips, excessive settlement or flooding. Sometimes failure of the ground is a requirement of the design.

The talk will consider the nature of geotechnical failures in a wide sense. Examples will be used to illustrate some of the main causes of problems in the ground including unforeseen ground conditions (or inadequate ground investigations), mis-understanding of basic soil mechanics, inappropriate analyses and workmanship.

Many failures can ultimately be attributed to mistakes by an engineer so the talk will consider education and training of construction professionals and, particularly, ground engineers.

Engineers Australia members participating in AGS technical sessions can record attendance on their personal CPD logs. Members should refer to Engineers Australia CPD policy for details on CPD types, requirements and auditing guidelines.