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Technical paper: The financial benefit from a site investigation strategy

IL Whyte, Department of civil and structural engineering, UMIST, UK. This paper was first published in GE’s October 1995 edition.


In general construction, including land reclamation, the site investigation component often suffers from an ill-defined management strategy and a lack of resources in terms of time and money. In a proper strategy adequate resources would be provided. In practice this is likely to require an increase in finance and time allowed beyond the amounts traditionally allocated. For such increases to be sanctioned, then it essential that the benefits be realised, particularly cost benefit.

The paper presents data from risk modelling of two sites where the ground hazards are ‘high’ and ‘low’, a reclamation development is included. The modelling produces information which is indicative of the range of financial effects rather than absolute and accurate data. This is due to a combination of the uncertainties inherent in the figures and elements of subjective judgement.

Historic data on the cost uncertainties associated with the ground is given. When these are combined with the results of the risk models, then the financial argument for a proper site investigation strategy is clear. Investment in good planning, management and communications produces sound economic benefit and return; this is particularly true for estimates and for the levels of financial risks to which a developer becomes exposed. 

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