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organisations. However, it is too early to managing risk” (Government Office for comment on how useful they will be for Science, 2012). the construction sector. The main issues for the construction Other concepts and guides on related industry that seem to be emerging from risk topics such as strategic risks, operational practitioners and professional bodies are: risk, enterprise risk, environmental risks and the notion of how risks are connected managing uncertainty have been developed and their interdependency specifically for the civil engineering industry. risk versus uncertainty Slowly, these are beginning to influence clients, particularly the UK Government, risk culture and human behaviour and construction practice (see RAMP around risk. related guides from the ICE and actuaries, see Useful websites). The concept of risk and interconnectivity The Engineering Council (2011) re-wrote their guidance to professional engineers “incremental changes in social and technicians as a set of six principles practises and knowledge in a Figure 2 Cause and effect (see Useful websites): modern society, eventually 1 Apply professional and responsible exposes that society and its new thinking such as:The interconnected approach suggestsjudgement and take a leadership role.organisations to complex and 2 Adopt a systematic and holistic approach significant risks. Furthermore, of other risks occurring understandableare the risks that increase the likelihoodto risk identification, assessment andthese risks are created by the management. interconnectivity of those small, are the risks that increase the effect of 3 Comply with legislation and codes, often hidden changes.” other risks understandable but be prepared to seek further re-evaluating risks according to: improvements. likelihood x impact x connectivity 4 Ensure good communication with the focus efforts not just on the most serious others involved. Figure 1 Interconnectivity risks, but also the most connected. 5 Ensure that lasting systems for oversight and scrutiny are in place. Often, risk is expressed in terms of a In practice many experienced project combination of consequences from a series managers already carry out this connectivity 6 Contribute to public awareness of risk. of events and the associated likelihood of analysis “in their heads”. They know where occurrence. The introduction to formal pinch points are and what critical aspects Importantly, these principles are now risk assessment will inevitably include the of the project could trigger major delays, incorporated in the UK-SPEC for the construction of a table with the following loss of life or cost overruns. However, the training for all registered technicians headings with each risk being considered: human brain is limited when the number and engineers. of interactions increases, which happens Project Risk Potential Severity The need for a holistic view stage consequence as risk enterprise software are helpingon large or complex projects. Tools such epitomise the interconnected nature of the risk project or programme.to understand the most potent risks in aResidualOwnerMitigationLikelihood The three major disasters set out in Box 1 business world, which is the source of much Most readers will be familiar with this of the complexity and uncertainty that Risk versus uncertaintysort of risk register approach. However, managers have to deal with. many guidance documents now define Risk is present in all engineering projects risk as an uncertain set of circumstances because of uncertainty as well as known The Engineering Council’s guide further whose occurrence would have an effect hazards. Some elements of risk may be illustrates these points: on the achievement of one or more of a quantified, for example the databases that the factors that lead to risk are project’s objectives. Some go even further document component failures. However, interdependent and cannot be examined and include organisation or programme novel engineering projects often will involve in isolation outcomes such as reputation, survival, a degree of uncertainty where previous regulations and codes are generic. They growth, values or profits. This broadening experience offers an incomplete guide. can only deal with anticipated events, of a single event based view of risk to and cannot predict every possible include how they are interconnected, helps There is a recognition that a systematic situation keep in mind wider implications, both short- approach needs to be supplemented with shortcomings in communication are and long-term. This is vital for managing and a comprehensive view of risks including present in nearly all failures in the mitigating against events and risks that often uncertainty. This means reviewing situations management of risk get ignored or “swept under the carpet”. that create or increase risks, rather than just projecting known experiences of effective oversight and scrutiny As a result, the impact of risk is more events that have impacted construction processes are important safeguards correctly measured as how connected projects in the past. This needs to include in controlling risks. it is in a whole network of risks. This is less quantifiable concepts such as culture, Although the probability of these events illustrated in Figure 2 showing the links individual behaviour, leadership and the is low the effect can be high and it is between events A, B and C with the interrelationship between risks. Also, it is important to “use the best available unwanted consequences D, E and F. necessary to consider risks that arise from methodology for identifying, assessing and lack of knowledge. Although this idea was 25


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