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under Construction

Zhihong Li1; Hongwei Huang2; Farrokh Nadim3; and Yadong Xue4

Abstract: In some cut-slope projects landslide is a common problem during construction due to unfavorable geomorphological and

geomechanical conditions. It is necessary to do a quantitative assessment of the risk posed by landslide before determining the budget or

tender price. This paper outlines a general procedure for doing this, followed by an example to demonstrate the approach in comparison

to a known failure. Finite-element analyses identify the most dangerous landslide scenario among all construction steps. The slope failure

probability is then estimated using reliability theory based on the most dangerous construction step. After identifying the potential failure

surface and estimating the volume of the sliding mass, the runnout behavior of sliding mass is simulated to delimit the extent of likely

impacted area. Then, the exposed elements at risk and their vulnerabilities are identified and analyzed. The landslide risk is assessed

quantitatively for three types of consequences: casualties, economic loss, and time overrun. Compared with actual consequences, the

estimation results were in acceptable agreement with the case study. The paper demonstrates that it is feasible to analyze the risk

associated with landslides during construction of cut-slopes.

DOI: 10.1061/ASCEGT.1943-5606.0000381

CE Database subject headings: Quantitative analysis; Assessment; Risk management; Landslides; Construction management.

Author keywords: Quantitative analysis; Assessment; Risk management; Landslides; Construction.

Introduction

Under the conditions of unfavorable topography and geology, the

construction of cut-slopes may pose a significant risk to the

project. Unfortunately, failure of engineered slopes during construction, leading to huge economic loss, time overrun, and even

loss of human life are common occurrences. For example, along

the section from Shaoguan to Wengcheng of the Beijing-Zhuhai

Highway, there were so many landslides and collapses that the

owner had to perform a reinvestigation and reconstruct with a

new design. This resulted in about 1 year delay and 0.3 billion

Chinese Yuan about $42 million economic loss in the project.

Another example is the cost of slope stabilization in the BaojiGuangyuan section of the Baoji-Chengdu Railway, which totaled

over 0.47 billion CNY about $67 million, 60% more than the

planned cost. It is therefore necessary to do a quantitative assessment of the risk posed by landslide before determining the budget

or tender price for cut-slope projects.

1

1239 Siping Rd., Shanghai, China; formerly, Research Guest at International Centre for Geohazard/Norwegian Geotechnical Institute, Sognsveien 72, Oslo, Norway.

2

Professor, Dept. of Geotechnical Engineering, Tongji Univ., 1239

Siping Rd., Shanghai, China corresponding author. E-mail: huanghw@

tongji.edu.cn

3

Director, International Centre of Geohazards, Norwegian Geotechnical Institute, Sognsveien 72, Oslo, Norway.

4

Associate Professor, Dept. of Geotechnical Engineering, Tongji

Univ., 1239 Siping Rd., Shanghai, China.

Note. This manuscript was submitted on March 19, 2009; approved

on April 26, 2010; published online on May 6, 2010. Discussion period

open until May 1, 2011; separate discussions must be submitted for individual papers. This paper is part of the Journal of Geotechnical and

Geoenvironmental Engineering, Vol. 136, No. 12, December 1, 2010.

ASCE, ISSN 1090-0241/2010/12-16441654/$25.00.

the degree of risk through a systematic examination of the factors

contributing to slope stability and affecting the severity of consequences. For probabilistic analysis, some advance has been made,

including classical reliability methods and Monte Carlo simulation e.g., El-Ramly et al. 2002, together with the modeling of

spatial variation of groundmass properties e.g., Nadim et al.

2005. For consequences quantification, Wong et al. 1997 have

developed a generalized, quantitative landslide consequence

model for use in QRA of man-made slopes. With the improved

capability of numerical modeling of debris runout, it is possible to

carry out more refined assessment of consequence Ko and Kwan

2006. Since the mid-1990s, some notable application cases have

been performed in assessing and managing landslide risk, notably

in Hong Kong Wong et al. 1997; Ho and Ko 2009 and Australia

Australian Geomechanics Society AGS 2000.

This paper outlines a general procedure for quantitative risk

assessment of cut-slope projects under construction in aspects of

casualties, economic loss, and time overrun. Then the methodology is demonstrated for a landslide along the Shuifu-Maliuwan

Highway in Yunnan Province of China.

General Procedure

This present study proposes a general procedure of quantitative

risk assessment for cut-slope projects under construction. The

process mainly comprises four components: hazard identification,

probabilistic analysis, consequences analysis, and risk calculation.

Fig. 1 shows the process in a flowchart form. In simple form, the

process involves answering the following questions:

Which construction step is the most dangerous?

What is the failure probability of the cut-slope at this construction step?

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Consequences analysis

Probabilistic analysis

Hazard Identification

Identifying the critical scenario

among the construction steps

Using the code PLAXIS to find

out the most dangerous

construction step

at the most dangerous

construction step

Based on reliability theory

Using the code FLAC 3D to get

the factor of safety, and using

small program made by the

authors to count the number of

failure samples

Estimating the potential impacted area

Identifying the exposed elements in the

impacted area

Estimating the extra time due to landslide

Using FLAC 3D to estimate the landslide

volume and the probable position of

sliding surface

Using PFC 3D to estimate the runout

behavior of sliding mass

Identifying the exposed elements (e.g the

number of workers and corresponding

temporal and spatial probability) in the

impacted area

Risk calculation

Risk= failure probability

spatial probability

temporal probability

elements at risk

Fig. 1. Flowchart of QRA for cut-slope projects under construction the sentences in italics indicate the methods adopted in demonstration

example

Hazard Identification

The stability of a cut-slope varies significantly during the construction time because of the excavation and protection schemes

implemented. Furthermore, the probable sliding volume and impacted areas are different for different steps of cutting and slope

protection. Therefore, the elements at landslide risk are not static

as the slope failure probability and corresponding consequences

change in various stages of construction. Fig. 2 shows an example

of risk variation as a function of construction time or construction

steps. Generally, the purpose of construction activity is to make

the slope much safer and more reliable. Meanwhile, the engineers

must ensure the constructed slope will have a good reliability

during a long operation period. Therefore, the reliability is usually

greater near the project completion than during initial phases of

the project, and the most dangerous scenario is often one of the

intermediate construction steps.

In the risk assessment process, the critical landslide scenarios

should be identified for different construction steps to identify the

scenario that poses the highest risk to the project. At every construction step the landslide occurrence probability and corresponding consequences should be analyzed. For simplicity, only

the factor of safety based on average strength parameters was

landslide. The estimated volume of sliding sediments was then

used to assess the consequences.

There are a variety of methods of estimating probability from the

disparate sets of information that may be assembled. Soeters and

van Westen 1996 and van Westen et al. 1997 divided these

methods into inventory, heuristic, statistical, and deterministic approaches. The Australian Geomechanics Society AGS 2000

outlined the methods as five types: observation and experience,

inventories, triggering, cause and effect, and deterministic/

probabilistic. Fell et al. 2008 summarized the methods as: historical records, sequences of aerial photographs and/or satellite

images, silent witnesses, correlation with landslide triggering

events, proxy data, proxy data, and subjective assessment. In

practice, assessing the frequency or probability of the landslides

will usually require using different and complementary methods.

Without historic data, the probability is often very subjective and

approximate because of the complex interaction between the mechanical behavior of geomaterials and triggering factors Fell et

al. 2008.

It can be seen that most of the frequency or probability analysis methods are based on experience, subjective judgment and/or

historical records. However, for many slopes such as those encountered in highway construction in mountainous regions, historical data may be lacking, incomplete or inaccurate.

Furthermore, empirical methods typically work for specific areas

from which the original data were taken, but may be misleading

for other areas.

risk

What kinds of and how many elements can be shocked?

How long time the construction resumption will take and what

is the economic loss and casualties?

As the cutting of the slope will create a new free face, redistribute the stresses at the toe of the slope, and disturb the equilibrium of the primary geological environment, engineered slopes

are mainly influenced by the construction activity. Therefore, the

critical landslide scenario should be identified first among the

construction steps. Based on the critical scenario, which represents the landslide risk of the cut-slope project, the failure probability is analyzed. Meanwhile, the most important considerations

in a construction project may be the safety of construction workers, money, and time. Therefore, in this study, the landslide consequences were analyzed for these three aspects, i.e., casualties,

economic loss, and time overrun. In order to quantifying these

consequences, the landslide magnitude and its runout behavior

should be simulated and estimated. Once the impacted area is

identified, the elements shocked by landslide can be listed. Together with the vulnerability coefficients of exposed elements, the

consequence can be calculated and the risk can be obtained.

CS 1 CS 2

CS n

construction time

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In order to progress from a qualitative to a quantitative approach, the use of reliability theory is appropriate when the historical records are scarce. For individual slopes, the probability of

failure can usually be considered as simply the probability corresponding to a safety factor less than unity. In conventional methods, the performance function of a slope is usually formulated

using the simplified limit equilibrium method, such as the ordinary method of slices, simplified Bishops method, or simplified

Janbus method Dai et al. 2002. The shortcoming of this approach is that the critical slip surface is generally determined or

assumed based on deterministic analysis and then probabilistic

analysis is performed on this predetermined critical slip surface.

In fact, the resulting value of failure probability from the method

above is not necessarily the maximum value. The critical probabilistic failure surface is a function of both the value of the parameters at the critical condition and the critical shear surface.

The maximum instability probability occurs on some critical

probabilistic surface that does not, in general, coincide with the

critical deterministic surface Hassan and Wolff 1999. Some researchers e.g., Bergado and Anderson 1985; Chowdhury and Xu

1994 have performed parametric studies considering different

specified surfaces not necessarily associated with the minimum

factor of safety or minimum reliability index.

In this study the uncertainties of soil and rock strength parameters were accounted for by the Monte Carlo simulation method.

The factor of safety was then calculated using the strength reduction method. For every group of strength parameters, the slip

surface can be searched and identified automatically and the factor of safety can be calculated. Also, in the calculation process,

installation of anchors and cables can also be modeled according

to the real construction situation. The researched slope referred is

a cut-slope project, therefore, the cutting and protecting activities

may influence the stability strongly. So the human constructed

activities were analyzed in detail and the rainfall infiltration was

not considered in this study. The landslide hazard, or occurrence

probability, corresponds to failure probabilities obtained for different construction steps.

Consequences Analysis

When assessing the landslide consequences, it is important to

estimate the area that the slide mass will impact. The probable

impacted area depends on the slope geometry, natural characteristic of slope forming materials, failure mechanisms, modes of

movement, characteristics of downhill path, etc. Australian Geomechanics Society AGS 2000. Once the most hazardous scenario has been identified, the impacted area can be assessed.

Therefore the necessary steps to allow the definition of consequences are as follows Amatruda et al. 2004a:

Identification of elements at risk in the impacted area;

Evaluation of the value of elements at risks;

Vulnerability evaluation; and

Consequences analysis.

The assessment of landslide debris mobility is fundamental in

the evaluation of the consequences of slope failure and quantification of landslide risk Ho and Ko 2009. Runout prediction

methods of a landslide can be grouped into three broad categories: empirical methods, analytical methods, and numerical methods Dai et al. 2002. Empirical methods, which should only be

used for preliminary estimates, are based on simple correlations

between the volume of the mass involved in the movement and

the geometrical parameters of slope. Analytical methods describe

no occurrence

1-p

landslide

occurrence

p

no loss of life

p1

time interval 1

p2

time interval 2

p3

time interval 3

slight injury

severe injury

No.

death or missing

methods in which the debris mass is lumped at a single point.

Therefore, analytical methods cannot account for lateral confinement and spreading of the flow and the resulting changes in flow

depth. Numerical methods, which mainly comprise computational

fluid dynamics models and discrete element methods, can simulate the runout distance, damage corridor width, debris depth, etc.,

more accurately. Their limitation is that the required calculation

parameters are difficult to obtain. Amatruda et al. 2004b used

two methodologies, PFC3D in cooperation with FLAC3D and the

dynamic analysis model DAN Hungr 1995 integrated with ROTOMAP Geo and Soft International 1999,2003, to analyze the

landslide debris mobility for the Oselitzenbach landslide in Austria. FLAC3D, which is a three-dimensional 3D finite-difference

program, was used to estimate the approximate volume of sliding

mass. PFC3D, which can model the movement and interaction of

spherical particles by the distinct element method, was applied to

estimate the runout behavior of sliding debris. The comparison

showed that the PFC-Ball Wall model had the similar results as

the DAN Code model in travel distance, runout width and affected area. The combined use of FLAC3D and PFC3D-Ball Wall

model presented an effective approach for runout analysis when

the pore pressure is not a main triggering factor to landslides.

In this paper, numerical simulation method was used for

runout estimation. The methodology of consequence analysis is

shown in Fig. 1 in italics. First, FLAC3D was used for modeling

the three-dimensional failure surface and estimating the sliding

volume. Then the code PFC3D was used to simulate the runout

behavior of landslide and determine the probable impacted area.

Once the affected area is established, the elements exposed to the

landslide threat can be identified, their vulnerabilities analyzed,

and the consequences estimated. The consequences analyzes focused on the scenario that gives the highest risk.

Casualties

The probability of casualties can be analyzed using event tree

analysis, as shown in Fig. 3, where p is the occurrence probability

of landslide. The probabilities p1, p2, and p3 are the temporal

probabilities of each shift interval in one day. Estimation of the

human impact of landslide should also account for the spatial

distribution of constructor workers at any given time interval.

According to terminology recommended by the Technical

Committee on Risk Assessment and Management under International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering,

vulnerability, expressed on a scale of 0 to1, is defined as the level

of potential damage or degree of loss for a given element affected

by a hazard Wong et al. 1997; Australian Geomechanics Society

AGS 2000; Nadim and Kvalstad 2007. Finlay et al. 1999

provided some data on vulnerability derived from Hong Kongs

statistical information, with a subset of the data presented in Table

1.

The casualties are obviously related to the number of construction workers on-site when the landslide occurs. For one construc-

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Table 1. Summary of Hong Kong Vulnerability Ranges and Recommended Values for Impact of Landslides on Humans in Open Space

Vulnerability of person

Case

Range in data

If struck by a rockfall

If buried by debris

If not buried

0.10.7

0.81.0

0.10.5

Recommended value

Persons in open space

0.5

1.0

0.1

assumed to change on one-day cycles. The vulnerabilities of persons can be estimated based on the landslide magnitude and the

distance between the individual and the center of sliding mass.

According to the impacted area and the relative position of construction workers to the sliding mass, the vulnerability can be

estimated.

Economic Loss

Construction Equipment

On construction-sites, excavation equipment, such as scrapers and

trucks, are always used. The equipment is vulnerable to damage

by landslides. The degree of damage can be divided into three

levels for simplified risk calculation. The economic loss can be

estimated as the product of the net present value of the equipment

and the recommended vulnerability coefficients listed in Table 2.

The data in Table 2 are based on the experiences from construction sites in China and subjective judgment.

The probability of damage to construction equipment in the

area affected by the landslide is also a temporal and spatial probability problem. Like the risk of casualties, it can be calculated

using event tree analysis.

Existing Structures

The slope protecting structures, such as bolts, cables, framed

beams, and antislide piles, are vulnerable to landslides. Once a

landslide occurs, the economic loss for the slope protecting structures affected by landslide will be almost the total cost for these

structures. Most of these structures cannot be repaired or reused

even though the damage degree might be far less than 100%.

Therefore the loss calculations are based on the total cost for

rebuilding these structures.

Comments

May be injured but unlikely to cause death

Death by asphyxia almost certain

High chance of survival

The economic loss because of landslide not only includes the loss

of exposed elements at risk but also the construction resumption

cost. The cost for clearing debris and the loss due to time overrun

are the most important factors in this cost. If the magnitude of the

landslide is large, the cost for clearing the debris could be very

high. In the risk analysis, once the approximate sliding volume is

evaluated, the cost for clearing the debris can be estimated based

on the local unit price of cutting and transportation expense. In

practice, the volume of debris cannot be predicted accurately. In

the analyses, the slide volume obtained from 3D numerical simulation was considered as the most likely value. The probable cost

range can be expressed in a probabilistic format.

Meanwhile, the loss due to construction time overrun should

not be neglected in the cost estimation. The economic loss because of time overrun includes direct and indirect losses. The

indirect loss mainly includes the economic loss resulting from

social or environmental problems because of time extension. The

direct loss is mainly time-dependent costs, such as wages, equipment cost, management fee, etc., because of extra time. Meanwhile, for a long delay in construction activities, the loss due to

inflation and loan interests should be considered. Therefore, the

economic loss because of extra time can be expressed as the sum

of the loss due to increased time-dependent cost, loss because of

postponed operation and loss because of inflation and loan interests Yang and Cao 2003. In this study, only the direct loss due to

time-dependent costs, including wages, equipment rental, and

management fee was considered; indirect losses were not included due to lack of data.

Time Overrun

The construction time for a project is often modeled as a random

variable. The or triangle distributions are often used because

Level

Descriptor

Description

Case

If the equipment is buried for a long time,

and is struck or crushed by a big rockfall with

large deformation.

If the equipment is buried for a long time,

and some components are destroyed.

If the equipment is just struck by a

small rockfall.

Major damage

cannot be used or requires major overhaul for use.

II

Medium damage

III

Minor damage

can be used after some components are repaired.

The damage to the equipment is limited.

Recommended

vulnerability

0.7

0.3

0.05

complex parameters Nasir et al. 2003. The characteristic values

for these distributions are usually based on expert opinions taking

into consideration the scale of the probable landslide.

In the analyses presented here, the extra time because of landslide was assumed to consist mainly of the extra time for clearing

the debris and reconstruction. The time overrun because of clearing debris is closely related to the landslide magnitude. However,

it is also strongly influenced by management factors and technical

skill of the construction team. If the team has emergency plans

beforehand, decisions can be taken swiftly and the accident can

be dealt with rapidly and efficiently. Thus, the extra time for

clearing the debris can be minimized. Otherwise the time overrun

may sharply increase. The extra time for reconstruction, such as

redesign and rebuilding of the protective structures can be estimated based on the conventional schedule estimation methods.

Risk Calculation

Quantitative risk assessment involves integration of the probability and consequences analysis. For human impact, the risk can be

calculated from

RHI = PL PTL

PSL VSL

PL = occurrence probability of the landslide event; PT L

= temporal probability that landslide occurs in different time intervals; PS L = probability of spatial impact; and VS L

= individual vulnerability given the spatial impact. For nonstationary property e.g., trucks, backhoe loaders, the risk calculation

formula can be

RNSD = PL PTL

PSL VSL E

= total net value of damaged elements. For stationary property

e.g., buildings or exist structures, it can be

RSD = PL

PSL VSL E

most of protecting structures cannot be repaired or reused even

though the damage degree might be far less than 100%.

For collective risk, casualty estimation is taken as an example.

In this study, the impact area shocked by landslide is divided into

three zones including fatality or missing zone, severe injury zone,

and slight injury zone. The probable number of fatalities, severe

injury, and slight injury can be expressed as binomial distribution

Ronald and Raymond 1993. And the probability that k workers

are impacted can be expressed as

n k

n

pk

p 1 pink

i =p

k i

n

i = 1,2,3

where p = probability that there are n construction workers onsite; p1, p2, and p3 = probabilities of one construction worker locating in fatality or missing zone, severe injury zone, and slight

injury zone respectively; and k = number of impacted workers. If

the spatial probabilities of locating in these three zones are estimated according the construction activity at the critical landslide

scenario, the number and corresponding probability can be calculated according to Eq. 4 easily. For some nonstationary properties, the process is similar to casualties estimation.

(a)

(b)

Demonstration Example

General Situation of the Project and the Landslide

The Shuifu-Maliuwan Highway is located in the area adjacent to

the Yungui Plateau and Liangshan Mountain, in northeast of Yunnan Province in China. The area is characterized by high mountains, steep gorges with heavy erosion, rapid rivers, and saw-cuts,

and there are many cut-slopes along this highway. The studied

slope is located in canyon terrain cut by the Guanhe River. On the

construction site, the bedrock partially outcrops. The stratum

layer mainly consists of loose accumulation, which is distributed

over a width of more than 200 m. The main component is

medium-weakly weathered hard limestone. The detritus content is

from 30 to 50%. The diameter of detritus ranges widely, and the

greatest value is about 1.5 m. The content of mudstone and siltstone is quite low, which is less than 5%. The particle size is only

from 1 to 2 cm. The maximum thickness is about 10m. There is

no seepage found in this slope and it is not likely that the undergroundwater had any inference with slope excavation.

The landslide occurred in the section from K121+ 490 to

K121+ 670 at about 5:00 a.m. on June 27, 2006. Fig. 4 shows the

situation of landslide. The biggest thickness of the debris was

estimated to be 10 m. The sliding surface was approximately a

straight line. According to the sliding geometry, the maximum

width along the highway embankment is more than 200 m. The

horizontal area is about 10, 400 m2. The total volume is assessed

roughly at some 230, 000 m3. The furthest travel distance was

about 150 m. The landslide dam, which was formed with 200-m

width, raised the water level by over 10 m.

Fortunately, the landslide occurred at a time when there were

not many construction workers at the site. Still, the landslide resulted in two deaths, four missing, and two severe injuries, as

well as several slightly injured. The protecting structures were

completely destroyed. Two trucks were buried or hit by debris or

rockfall. One of the piles for bridge near the slope was broken.

Hazard Identification

In order to identify the most dangerous construction step, the

construction process of cutting and protecting the slope was simulated using the finite-element code PLAXIS 2007. In the simplified analysis, the factor of safety which was calculated based

on strength reduction method under the condition of average

strength parameters, was used to evaluate the stability state of the

slope. The section area of the sliding mass, which can be representative of the debris volume, was used to assess the consequences. The calculations comprised total 10 steps or cases as

Case

Case

Case

Case

Case

Probabilistic Analysis

Description

1

2

3

4

Case 5

Case 6

Case 7

Case 8

Case 9

Case 10

Calculating the safety factor at natural state

Excavating the first layer

Safety factor calculation under the condition of

Case 3

Excavating the second layer and installing the

anchors for first layer

Safety factor calculation under the condition of

Case 5

Excavating the third layer and installing the anchors

for second layer

Safety factor calculation under the condition of

Case 7

Installing the anchors for third layer

Safety factor calculation under the condition of

Case 9

and its average internal friction angle were estimated to be 45 kPa

and 30, respectively, according to the geological investigation

report.

According to the simulation results as shown in Fig. 5, the

factor of safety at the natural state is 1.16, which implies the slope

is safe under the condition with average strength parameters. The

factor of safety increases under Case 4, because the cutting unloads the slope. However, the critical slip surface under Case 4 is

basically identical to that at the natural state. From Case 6 to Case

10, the critical slip surface changes markedly; this causes the

volume of the probable sliding mass to vary. Considering the

probable volume of landslide, the quantity of vulnerable elements, and the factor of safety, the state at Case 8 is considered as

the most critical scenario. The landslide scenario corresponding to

this case was analyzed in detail.

changes with time or construction steps. So the probability and

consequence analysis should be performed for every construction

step. It will be a time and effort consuming and but maybe low

efficiency work. Based on the research above hazard identification, Case 8 is considered as the most hazardous construction

step. Therefore, the failure probability of Case 8 is analyzed in

detail. The uncertainty and variability of soil and rock parameters

were simulated by the Monte-Carlo method. The factor of safety

was obtained using strength reduction method. The calculation

process allows anchors to be installed according to the real construction situation. The failure probability can be estimated by

counting the portion of simulations where the computed factor of

safety is less than 1.0.

According to the test data from the geological investigation

report, a probability density function can be fitted over the frequency diagram of strength parameter, which is a modified histogram whose ordinate has been scaled, so that the area under the

histogram is unity. In practice, normal distribution is very popular

and often selected to express the uncertainty of soil and rock

Matsuo and Kuroda 1974; Tobutt 1982. The mean value represents the best estimate of the random variable, and the standard

deviation, or coefficient of variation, represents the uncertainty.

According to the geological investigation report, the mean value

of cohesion, c, is 45 kPa, and its coefficient of variation COV,

ratio of standard deviation to mean value is estimated to be 6.7%.

The average interval friction angle, , is 30, and its CoV is 10%.

The average density is 1 , 800 kg/ m3, and its corresponding COV

is estimated to be 11%. The analysis was done for the case where

c parameters are correlated. The value of c correlation coefficient was assumed to be 0.5. Using the code Riscue Huseby

and Terramar 2008, 1,000 groups of strength parameters were

generated for the Monte-Carlo simulations.

The FLAC3D code was used to calculate the factor of safety at

Case 8. In order to decrease the calculation effort, a typical calculation profile was selected and a simple three dimensional

bedrock

(a)

(b)

(c)

(e)

(f)

(d)

Fig. 5. Factors of safety and shear strain contours at critical states under different cases FoS: factor of safety: a the numerical model; b

FoS= 1.16 at natural state; c FoS= 1.21 under Case 4; d FoS= 1.28 under Case 6; e FoS= 1.10 under Case 8; and f FoS= 1.28 under Case

10

JOURNAL OF GEOTECHNICAL AND GEOENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING ASCE / DECEMBER 2010 / 1649

0.16

0.14

0.12

Probability

0.10

0.08

0.06

0.04

0.02

1.78

1.66

1.55

1.44

1.34

1.24

1.15

1.09

1.06

1.03

1.00

0.96

0.93

0.88

0.00

Factors of safety

Fig. 8. Final state of runout calculation

Consequences Analysis

To assess the consequences, the volume of the landslide mass that

will impact the elements at risk should be estimated. Here, the

landslide volume was estimated on the basis of the threedimensional failure surface obtained with FLAC3D ITASCA

2002. The simulation was performed based on average parameters. This is shown in Fig. 7. The 3D model was set up according

to the most hazardous construction step in Case 8. The surface of

largest shear strain ratio from the result based on the average

strength parameters can be considered as the approximate critical

slip surface. The volume which is involved in this landslide mass

is estimated to be about 180, 000 m3.

The runout behavior of the landslide mass was then analyzed

using particle flow code PFC3D ITASCA 2005 and it was done

in deterministic method. The input parameters included density,

contact stiffness, friction coefficient, contact-bond strength, and

parallel-bond strength, etc. In this example, the parameters were

estimated based on the geological investigation report and experience judgment. Because the parameters for runout analysis are

often hard to determine accurately, the parameters are somewhat

subjective. According to the approximate position of the slip surface, a ball wall model was set up. The protecting structures were

not modeled in the calculation. Fig. 8 shows the final state of the

runout calculation. In order to visualize the travel distance of the

debris, balls with different colors represent different displacement

ranges. The longest travel distance is about 135 m. According to

the results, the impacted length along highway route is over 250

m. A landslide dam is formed on the river. Its greatest width is

over 250 m and the average depth is more than 10 m. The landslide dam is a serious secondary hazard, which needs more attention. The direct impacted area is about 250 m 100 m near the

slope. The elements at risk include mainly construction workers,

equipment, existing structures, and the secondary threat of the

landslide dam blocking the Guanhe River.

In order to estimate the casualties, the horizontal distance, h, from

an individual construction worker to the center of sliding mass is

used. According to the mechanism and intensity of the landslide

event, the vulnerability values specifying the damage degree of

persons at risk can be assessed as a function of h, based on the

reference values given in the literature Finlay et al. 1999. The

human impact here is classified into three levels including fatalities or missing with h from 0 to 80 m, severe injury with h from

80 to 110m, and slightly injury with h from 110 to 150m. The

persons beyond 150m are considered safe. The vulnerability

ranges are, respectively, 1.00.8, 0.80.2, and 0.20.0 for the

three groups. The number of construction workers on-site with

different time intervals is assumed to be as shown in Fig. 9. There

could be 2025, 1418, and 812 construction workers, respectively, during 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m., and

12:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. at Case 8. As listed in Table 4, the recommended values of vulnerability coefficients are 1.0, 0.5, and

0.1, respectively. According to the construction activities at criti-

anchors, was set up. The histogram of the simulated safety factors

is shown in Fig. 6. Out of 1,000 simulations, 51 cases had a factor

of safety less than 1.0. This implies a failure probability of 0.051

at the most dangerous construction step Case 8 is 5.1%.

25

20

15

10

5

00:00

06:00

18:00

00:00

time

Fig. 9. Example of the distribution of number of construction workers on-site as function of time of day

Number of workers on-site

Time interval

Range

Temporal probability

PT L

Distance, h

m

Spatial probability,

PS L

Vulnerability,

VS L

Individual risk,

PL PT L VS L

RHI

06:0018:00

2025

1418

6 / 24= 0.25

00:0006:00

812

6 / 24= 0.25

0.7

0.2

0.1

0.7

0.2

0.1

0.7

0.2

0.1

1.0

0.5

0.1

1.0

0.5

0.1

1.0

0.5

0.1

0.0255

0.01275

0.00255

0.01275

0.006375

0.001275

0.01275

0.006375

0.001275

0.020655

18:0000:00

080

80110

110150

080

80110

110150

080

80110

110150

worker locating in fatalities or missing zone, severe injury zone

and slightly injury zone are respectively estimated to be 0.7, 0.2,

and 0.1 based on subjective judgment and experiences. Since the

slope failure probability is known, the individual risk can be obtained. The construction workers working from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00

p.m., whose horizontal distance to the center of sliding mass is in

range of 0 to 80 m, are most vulnerable to landslide hazard. Their

individual risk is 0.0255 failure probability of 0.051

temporal probability of 0.5 vulnerability of 1.0. The average individual risk of time interval from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. is

0.020 655 according to Eq. 1.

With the information provided in Table 4 and Eq. 4, the

casualties can be estimated as shown in Fig. 10. Here, the number

of construction workers on-site is assumed to have uniform distribution. For example, the number of workers during 12:00 a.m.

to 6:00 a.m. is from 8 to 12, so the probabilities of 8, 9, 10, 11,

and 12 are all 1/5. It shows the probable number of fatalities or

missing, severe injury, and slight injury, and their corresponding

probabilities and cumulative probabilities if the landslide occurs,

For example, the probability of 15 fatalities is 0.085 and the probability of fatalities less than and equal to 10 is 0.345.

Economic Loss

For potentially affected construction equipment, the damaged degree can be divided into three levels, as shown in Table 2. The

loss can be estimated as the product of the average net present

0.20

0.15

0.10

0.05

0.00

0

4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26

Number of impacted construction workers

(a)

Cumulative probability

Probability

fatalities or missing

severe injury

slightly injury

0.0103275

construction equipment being in the area affected by the landslide

event is also a temporal and spatial probability problem. The estimation method is similar to casualty estimation. For this project,

the construction equipment on-site includes mainly backhoe loaders and trucks. If the landslide occurs, the possible loss for construction equipment is shown in Table 5.

Taking account of the number of damaged equipment according to Eq. 4, the probable loss range of backhoe loaders is from

0.3 to 1.4 million CNY. The average loss is about 1.1 million

CNY as shown in Fig. 11a. The probable loss range of trucks is

from 15 to 840 thousand CNY as shown in Fig. 11b. The average loss is around 275 thousand CNY. The probability of loss less

than 240 thousand CNY is 0.66. As a whole, the average economic loss of construction equipment is 1.4 million CNY, corresponding to an average risk of 71,000 1.4 million 0.051 CNY.

The economic loss for the existing structures in the impacted

area was calculated on the basis of the cost for building these

structures. The structures built previous to this construction step

include bolts, cables, framed beams, and catchwater ditch. The

main built structures and construction cost in or near the affected

area are listed in Table 6. The total economic loss for previously

built structures is estimated to about 10.85 million CNY.

According to the three dimensional simulation, the total volume of landslide mass is approximately 180, 000 m3. From the

results of PFC3D simulation, some of the debris traveled a long

distance or rushed into the Guanhe River. At last the debris which

is needed to be removed is estimated from 110, 000 m3 to

130, 000 m3. The local average unit price of cutting and trans-

0.30

0.25

0.0103275

1.0

0.9

0.8

0.7

0.6

0.5

0.4

0.3

0.2

0.1

0.0

fatalities or missing

severe injury

slightly injury

4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26

Number of impacted construction workers

(b)

JOURNAL OF GEOTECHNICAL AND GEOENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING ASCE / DECEMBER 2010 / 1651

Number

probability

Horizontal distance

m

Spatial probability,

PS L

Damage level

Recommended

vulnerability,

VS L

Backhoe loaders

10.3

20.7

Trucks

10.6

20.3

30.05

40.05

080

80110

110150

080

0.9

0.1

0

0.8

I

II

III

I

0.7

0.3

0.05

0.7

80110

110150

0.1

0.1

II

III

0.3

0.05

1.0

0.9

0.8

0.7

0.6

0.5

0.4

0.3

0.2

0.1

0.0

Cumulative probability

Cumulative probability

Equipment

200

400

600

800

1000

1200

1400

Economic loss,

VS L E 103 CNY

1,000

700

300

50

210

300

90

15

1.0

0.9

0.8

0.7

0.6

0.5

0.4

0.3

0.2

0.1

0.0

0

1600

Average value

E 103 CNY

100

200

300

400

500

600

700

800

900

1000

(a)

(b)

Fig. 11. Probable economic loss for equipment: a probable economic loss for backhoe loaders; b probable economic loss for trucks

the debris volume was assumed to have a triangular distribution

with the most likely value of 120, 000 m3. Using the code

RISCUE Huseby and Terramar 2008, one group of data of debris volume with triangular distribution can be obtained. Timing

the unit price, the loss of clearing debris can be estimated. The

average economic loss for clearing the debris is around 1.2 million CNY, corresponding to an average risk of 61.4 thousand

1.2 million 0.051 CNY.

The economic loss due to time delay can be expressed as a

probability curve. Here, the time-dependent cost including wages,

management fee, and rent for equipment is calculated. The loss

resulting from postponed operation and inflation or loan interest

rise was not considered due to lack of data. The extra time can be

estimated from the analysis presented in the next section, and

ranges from 136 to 157 days. The number of construction workers

ranges from 42 to 55. The average wage for one person per day

varies from 70 to 80 CNY. These latter two parameters are assumed to have uniform distributions. The average management

fee is 2,000 CNY per day, and the rent cost for one backhoe

loaders is 2,000 CNY per day. Finally, the economic loss because

of time overrun is estimated to be between 3 and 4 million CNY

as shown in Fig. 12. The average economic loss because of time

overrun is about 3.5 million CNY, corresponding to an average

risk of 0.18 million 3.5 0.051 CNY.

Four groups of data including loss of affected construction

equipment, damaged structures, removing debris, and time delay

were obtained. The total economic loss can be expressed as the

sum of all these losses. Fig. 13 shows the cumulative probability

of the probable economic loss if the landslide occurs. It can be

seen that the probable loss ranges from 15.5 million CNY to 18.2

million CNY. The probability of the loss less than 17.0 million

CNY is 0.5, and the probability of the total loss being less than

17.4 million CNY is 0.9. The total average economic loss may be

Number

1

Unit Quantity

32 steel bar

Vertical beam

Transverse beam

Concrete

C25

Anchor cable frame beams

Anchor cable

315.24

Vertical beam 0.5 0.6 m

Steel

Vertical beam

Transverse beam 0.4 0.5 m

Transverse beam

Concrete

C25

Watercatch ditch

Mortar flag stone M7.5

Anchor frame beams

Anchor

Beam 0.4 0.5 m

Steel

3

Total

Note: Most of the data are from the design and budget documents; part is estimated based on experience.

m

ton

ton

m3

m

ton

ton

m3

m3

4,480

30

30

300

22,000

170

80

1,600

1,850

Unit price

CNY

Subtotal

CNY

120

5,400

5,400

350

350

5,400

5,400

350

150

537,600

162,000

162,000

105,000

7,700,000

918,000

432,000

560,000

277,500

10,854,100

1.0

0.9

Cumulative probability

Cumulative probability

1.0

0.9

0.8

0.7

0.6

0.5

0.4

0.3

0.2

0.1

0.0

0.8

0.7

0.6

0.5

0.4

0.3

0.2

0.1

2900

3050

3200

3350

3500

3650

3800

3950

0.0

4100

15.4

average risk of 0.86 million 16.9 0.051 CNY.

Time Overrun

15.8

16.2

16.6

17.0

17.4

17.8

18.2

accidents like this, the actual loss was higher than the estimated

range in this study.

Conclusions

Consequences

The results from the numerical simulations were very close to the

actual situation. Table 7 shows the comparison of model predictions and actual consequences. The probabilities of fatalities less

than and equal to 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 are, respectively, 0.05, 0.34,

0.73, 0.99, and 1.00. The probability of 15 fatalities is greatest,

which is 0.085. The estimated range of economic loss is between

15.52 and 18.21 million CNY, and the probability of loss less than

17.2 million CNY is 0.72. Loss equal to 17.1 million CNY is

greatest possible, and its probability is about 0.11. Similarly, the

probability of time overrun less than and equal to 155 days is

0.99. The average time overrun is about 146 days. According to

official data after this accident, the economic loss for this landslide was over 20 million CNY and the time extension was about

The risk associated with landslide in cut slopes is very high during the construction time, especially for sites with unfavorable

topographical and geological conditions. Therefore, it is necessary to do a quantitative assessment of the risk posed by landslide

before determining the budget or tender price for cut-slope

projects.

In this study, a methodology for doing this was outlined. The

most hazardous scenario was identified among all construction

steps based on numerical simulation of the construction process.

The failure probability was then estimated using the reliability

theory. According to the probable sliding mass and the impacted

area obtained from 3D numerical models, the elements at risk

were identified for the most hazardous construction step. The temporal probability and spatial distribution of movable exposed elements at risk were estimated according to the actual project

situation. Through analyzing the vulnerabilities, casualties, and

economic loss were estimated probabilistically. In addition, the

probable extra time for clearing the debris and the extra time for

construction resumption were estimated based on experience and

construction plan. The method was tested on a large cut-slope

project in which a landslide did occur.

In comparison with the actual situation, this method proved to

be effective and reasonably accurate. However, the predicted time

extension and the economic loss for time-dependent cost were

significantly less than the actual values. In general, the time overrun is difficult to estimate, because it is influenced by both the

Probability

time for clearing debris and reconstruction. As mentioned earlier,

the volume of debris which needs to be cleared is estimated to be

110, 000 m3 to 130, 000 m3. The average practical productivity

to clear waste cut ranges from 1600 m3 to 2000 m3 / day for one

backhoe loader. Because of the limitation of site conditions, only

1 or 2 backhoe loaders can be used to remove the debris. It is

assumed that the temporal probability of one or two backhoe

loaders is 0.8 and 0.2, respectively. Based on these assumptions,

the number of days needed for clearing the debris was simulated

using the Monte Carlo method. If the construction team made

emergency preplans, they can handle this task efficiently. Fig. 14

shows the estimated time extension for the project. The extra time

for clearing debris ranges from 46 to 67 days.

The extra time for reconstruction, such as redesign and rebuilding the protecting structure, can be estimated based on the

conventional schedule estimation method. In this study, according

to construction plan without landslide, the construction time is

estimated to be 90 days from start to this construction step. This

number is applied as the reconstruction time. Therefore, the total

time extension ranges from 136 to 157 days. The average extra

time for clearing the debris and completing redesign is around

146 days. The average risk for extra time is 7.4 146

0.051 days.

0.20

0.18

0.16

0.14

0.12

0.10

0.08

0.06

0.04

0.02

0.00

40

43

46

49

52

55

58

61

64

67

70

73

For injury or loss of life

Probability n = number of construction workers

Range

Fatalities or missing

Severe injury

Slightly injury

0.05n 5

0.33n 2

0.73n 2

025

0.34n 10

0.70n 4

0.96n 4

0.73n 15

0.92n 6

0.99n 6

0.99n 20

0.99n 8

1.00n 8

Actual consequences

1.00n 25

1.00n 10

1.00n 10

62 + 4

2

Several

CNY in millions

Range

15.5218.21

0.01c 16.0

0.24c 16.6

0.72c 17.2

0.99c 17.8

1.00c 18.2

Actual consequences

Over 20

Range

136157

0.03t 139

0.29t 143

0.62t 147

0.88t 151

0.99t 155

Actual consequences

About 6 months

Days

that because of scarcity of data, experience, and subjective judgments are required in this type of study.

Acknowledgments

This research was sponsored by National Natural-Science Foundation of China Grant No. 40772179 and Western Science and

Technology Project of Ministry of Communications Grant No.

2006318799107. Grateful appreciation is expressed for these

supports. This paper was written while the first writer was a guest

researcher at the International Centre for Geohazards ICG in

Oslo, Norway. The support provided by ICG during this period is

gratefully acknowledged.

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