Simmons, JV 2013, 'Excavation control, management of blast damage, and quality control', in PM Dight (ed.), Slope Stability 2013: Proceedings of the 2013 International Symposium on Slope Stability in Open Pit Mining and Civil Engineering
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 91-112, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_rep/1308_0.6_Simmons
Implementation of slope design transfers well-intentioned concepts, technical expertise, and cost commitments to a reality that cannot be fully or reliably predicted. With the uncovering of real geological and operational conditions come observations, actions, and experiences which may mandate changes to design for a multitude of reasons. Within the hierarchy of risk management actions, design is near the highest level of control, and approved design will include acceptance of geological and geotechnical uncertainties. Excavation, blasting, and quality control are aspects of design implementation where intention becomes confronted by reality; choices of action take place within a risk management framework in real time against a background that may be dominated by uncertainties.
Excavation control starts with consideration of survey methods and accuracy limits. Under some conditions, uncertainty in geometry may have a significant influence on outcomes of stability assessment, and this review offers a perspective based on risk management and quality control principles. When inspections are carried out it is necessary not just to identify materials, structure, and groundwater parameters but also to interpret and describe geotechnical behaviour type with respect to an accepted scheme that can guide risk management responses. An example is provided to illustrate the range of rock mass damage associated with different blast designs, with the view that blast damage can be more readily recognised and treated as a special case of excavation control. Quality control is discussed in terms of the gathering of evidence for updating estimates of likelihoods, and may range from simple visual inspection to complex, problem-driven measurements. Some examples are discussed and the overriding requirement to gather, check, and test evidence is emphasised. In conclusion, careful thought is required to resist the distorting aspects of modern communication tools on the timely communication of risk management information.
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