GEOHAZARD RISK MANAGEMENT
HELPING to BRING UNDERSTANDING OF HAZARDS & RISKS INTO ALL LEVELS OF THE DECISION PROCESS
Our goal is to help clients reduce geohazard risk through approaches that can be readily integrated into planning, community and development services and emergency management.
The cycle of managing hazard and risk
BGC’s engineers, geoscientists and software specialists help clients manage landslide, flood, permafrost, seismic, snow avalanche and ground deformation hazard and risk at scales ranging from single sites to thousands of hazards impacting global asset portfolios. Our expertise spans the full range of steps to analyse, evaluate and control risk through both structural and non-structural approaches to operations planning, policy and regulation.
The risks we help our clients manage
BGC helps clients with the full cycle of safety and economic risk management for assets that include residential and commercial buildings, transportation and utilities infrastructure and geotechnical assets for the management of water and earth-related risks. Through the translation of complex data into a clear basis for decision making, we help clients make sense of risk, implement controls where needed most, and understand the level of risk reduction that has been achieved.
Geohazards are often unrecognized until disaster strikes. BGC excels at recognizing, classifying and quantifying geohazards before a catastrophic event occurs using a multidisciplinary skillset that includes:
- Field-based reconnaissance and hazard mapping
- Analyses of aerial photographs, visible satellite imagery, Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (INSAR) and lidar (Light Detection and Ranging)
- Stratigraphy mapping in test trenches and natural exposures
BGC routinely carries out site investigation programs to characterize hazard sites. This work often includes detailed field and aerial photograph mapping; test pitting and stratigraphic analysis; geotechnical drilling, testing, and sampling; ground motion monitoring, laboratory testing and installation of borehole instrumentation.
Instrumentation & Monitoring
For individual sites, BGC is experienced with the selection and installation of a variety of instrumentation types including rain gauges, piezometers, slope inclinometers and extensometers (crackmeters). We leverage River Network Tools™ to monitor streamflow and precipitation and operate hazard monitoring and warning systems.
BGC develops hazard maps at local to national scales that communicate about hazards to a wide range of users including subject matter specialists, authorities including regulators and the public. Hazard maps provide a means to address questions such as:
- Where the hazard area is (extent)
- What the chance is that the hazard will occur (likelihood, frequency)
- How big and destructive it will be (magnitude, intensity)
Risk assessments combine assessments of hazards and their consequences such as loss of life, economic losses or environmental damage. Clear understanding of risk is critical for decision making, including creation of site development plans, infrastructure design and measures to reduce risk to tolerable levels.
At regional scale, BGC develops maps and consistent approaches to characterize geohazards and diverse assets and prioritize large areas based on relative risk. For specific sites, risk assessments address questions such as:
- What is the likelihood of losses to persons, buildings, or infrastructure?
- Is the risk intolerable (should we take steps to reduce risk)?
- How can we communicate risks with clarity to subject matter specialists, decision makers and the public?
BGC helps clients both reduce geohazard risk and understand the level of risk reduction that has been achieved. We develop conceptual risk reduction options, facilitate stakeholder engagement and option evaluation, prepare detailed designs, and provide engineering services during procurement and construction. Options typically available to reduce geohazard risk include:
- Land use or infrastructure planning to avoid the hazard
- Warning systems based on monitoring thresholds
- Stabilization to prevent hazard occurrence
- Surface water and groundwater management
- Flow diversion or conveyance away from elements at risk
- Barriers or basins to capture rocks, sediment, or debris
Cambio Geohazard Management System
BGC developed the Cambio Geohazard Management System to support risk-informed decision making by government and major industry. Cambio users include pipeline, railway and energy utility operators; transportation authorities; mining operators and governments tasked with community planning, regulation and emergency management. For major infrastructure, Cambio allows users to proactively plan inspections, monitor hazards in real-time and implement risk control measures according to a defensible and transparent decision-making process. For communities, Cambio can help identify the location and characteristics of geohazards, determine population and assets at risk, and establish transparent approaches to prioritize, plan and regulate land use and development.
River Network Tools
BGC’s River Network Tools (RNT) is a powerful and versatile web-based application for analyzing hydrotechnical geohazards associated with rivers and streams. Floods and channel-forming processes can pose risk to linear infrastructure such as pipelines, railways and highways. Quantifying the potential risks to both existing and proposed infrastructure is essential, yet the expansive geographic regions traversed can result in a prohibitive amount of data requiring extensive man-hours to effectively gather and analyze. In response, BGC developed RNT as a set of modules that integrate publicly available hydrometric data with GIS-based analytical tools to help manage hazard and risk at watercourse crossings. The RNT has proven to be invaluable for a variety of applications, including geohazard and flood hazard management programs.
‘Cambio’ and ‘Cambio Geohazard Management’ are trademarks of BGC Engineering Inc.