Geohazard Risk Management
Helping to bring understanding of hazards & risks into all levels of the decision-making process
BGC helps clients reduce geohazard risk through approaches that can be readily integrated into planning, community and development services, and emergency management.
Geohazards are often unrecognized until disaster strikes. BGC recognizes, classifies, and quantifies geohazards before a catastrophic event occurs. We use 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 includes:
- Detailed field and aerial photograph mapping
- Test pitting and stratigraphic analysis
- Geotechnical drilling, testing, and sampling
- Ground motion monitoring
- Laboratory testing
- Installation of borehole instrumentation.
For individual sites, BGC selects and installs 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 local- to national-scale hazard maps for subject matter specialists and authorities such as regulators and the public. Hazard maps provide answers to questions such as:
- Where is the hazard area (extent)?
- What is the chance that the hazard will occur (likelihood, frequency)?
- How big and destructive will it be (magnitude, intensity)?
Risk assessments combine assessments of hazards and their consequences such as loss of life, economic losses, or environmental damage. With a clear understanding of risk, we can create site development plans, infrastructure design, and measures to reduce risk to tolerable levels.
On a regional scale, BGC develops maps 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.
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. 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.
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 risks, 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 hazards and risks at watercourse crossings. The RNT has proven to be invaluable for a variety of applications, including geohazard and flood hazard management programs.
The cycle of managing hazard & risk
BGC’s experts help clients manage landslide, flood, permafrost, seismic, snow avalanche, and ground deformation hazard and risks at scales ranging from single sites to thousands of hazards impacting global asset portfolios. We analyse, evaluate, and control risk through both structural and non-structural approaches to operations planning, policy, and regulation.
Client risk management
BGC looks at the full cycle of safety and economic risk management for residential and commercial buildings, transportation and utility infrastructure, and geotechnical assets for the management of water and earth-related risks. We help clients make sense of risk, implement controls where needed most, and understand the level of risk reduction that has been achieved.
Dr. Matthias Jakob, P.Geo, P.L.Eng, was an internationally recognized specialist on the subject of geohazard and risk assessments. At BGC, we were fortunate to have Matthias as a colleague, mentor, and expert for 19 years before his untimely passing in 2022. For more information and key contacts in the areas of practice Matthias worked in, please use the links below: