Publication Abstract




Proceedings of the 45th Annual Conference on Deep Foundations, 2020 - ONLINE , (DFI)

Risk Management for Dam Rehabilitation Projects
David Paul

Dam rehabilitation involves a range of design, construction, and operation risks, some of which are not encountered in new dam construction. These risks can have significant impact on project schedule and project budget. Owners, engineers, and contractors need to understand these risks. Existing dams typically were designed in an era of design and construction standards that have been upgraded and changed. Modern standards will impact the construction approach taken and involve understanding the earlier standards. Knowledge of historical standards/practices as well as current design standards and construction methods is valuable for developing and designing rehabilitation components. Construction records and as-built drawings are valuable when they are available. Rehabilitation projects often consist of older projects where as-built documents or construction records are not available. Where these records exist, many (most) times, they do not fully reflect the current conditions within the dam and appurtenant works. leading experienced practitioners to "expect surprises" both during investigation of the existing facility, as well as during construction. "Surprises" should be expected even when historical records of investigations, design and construction are available. Unknowns, be they known unknowns or unknown unknowns, can be planned for by developing an approach for the design and construction process to identify potential issues/problems, or at least alert the designer and contractor of potential issues. A Risk-Based approach applied for the entire life of the rehabilitation project can be used to alert the parties of potential "surprises" and provide direction for mitigating issues as they arise. This type of approach is particularly effective when the process includes senior practitioners with decades of design and construction experience in all aspects of dams. Minimizing impacts created by “surprises”, particularly during construction, can result in an improved project meeting budget and schedule goals and design standards. This paper identifies and categorizes risk types salient to dam construction, reviews the process of risk identification and analysis, discusses guidelines for risk allocation, reviews strategies to mitigate risks, presents several case studies where risk mitigation strategies were employed successfully (or unsuccessfully), and presents lessons learned. The paper concludes with a summary and recommendations for best practices for Project Risk Management and mitigation that can be used by: Owners; Design Engineers; and Construction Managers, in planning, design, pre-construction and construction phases of dam related projects.


 article #3714; publication #1073 (AM-2020)