Establishing the linkages between structural engineering and risk management
A structural engineering background provides an excellent platform for undertaking a wide range of risk management activities. One of the most valuable and unique skill elements is the ability to visualise damage impacts resulting from earthquake and other natural and man-made hazards.
This paper explores the linkages between structural engineering and risk management. The many activity strands of structural engineering are expressed in terms of the fundamental steps in the risk management process of risk context, risk identification, risk assessment, risk treatment and risk communication. It is concluded that the linkages between the disciplines are more direct than is often appreciated by many structural engineers.
The importance of professional engineers understanding the wider context of their activities is highlighted. This includes awareness of recent legislation beyond the customary building regulatory frameworks, with particular reference to the Civil Defence and Emergency Management Act 2002. One of the changes brought about by this Act is to place greater emphasis on the consequences of hazard events on infrastructure and communities. For engineers, this involves moving beyond identifying the impacts of an event into the area of addressing the community consequences.
Engineers play a key role in risk communication in a variety of different situations. The need for engineers to be proactive advocates to asset owners and operators for a more holistic approach to risk management is emphasised.
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Copyright (c) 2004 D.R. Brunsdon
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