Discussion “Landslide Risk Management Concepts And Guidelines”

Garth Powell

Coffey Geosciences Pty Ltd has many years of experience of landslide risk assessment and management and continue to do a great deal of work in this area. The paper entitled “Landslide risk management concepts and guidelines” (Landslide Paper) published in the last edition of Australian Geomechanics will have implications for us, other practitioners, clients, owners and regulators and those affected by landslide risk. The Landslide Paper defines landslides as “the movement of a mass of rock, debris or earth down a slope”. This broad definition, which includes falls, topples, slides, flows and spreads from both natural and artificial slopes, means that many geotechnical professionals get involved in slope risk management at some time.

We are currently in the process of preparing notes for internal distribution on landslide risk management and the Landslide Paper and, in these notes, we intend including examples of how they can be applied. During this process it has become clear that some of our experienced practitioners have concerns about some aspects of the Landslide Paper and how it might be interpreted in practice.

The purpose of this letter is to contribute to a constructive debate by highlighting and discussing the strengths of the Landslide Paper, raising and discussing areas of concern and summarising what we think are important issues. We have also included four example case histories which show how short simple reports can be consistent with risk management principles and the concepts and guidelines in the Landslide Paper.