Abstract

Abstract

There has been considerable discussion on the role of engineering geologists in reducing geotechnical risk both internationally and in Hong Kong. This paper discusses the problems facing the engineering geological profession by examining the current approach to natural landslide assessments in Hong Kong. Although the problems discussed are based on a Hong Kong perspective many are applicable elsewhere in the world. The assessment and mitigation of landslide risk from natural slopes is a rapidly expanding area of geotechnical work in Hong Kong. Under relatively new legislation, the Hong Kong Government now requires a natural terrain hazard study to be undertaken for all new developments close to steep natural terrain. In addition to the assessment of new developments Hong Kong has recently started a programme to assess the risk from natural terrain landslides to existing developments. However, with respect to engineering geology, the profession faces a number of challenges including skills shortages and insufficient training opportunities, and, more broadly, challenges related to certain contract conditions and prevailing market forces. The combination of these factors in Hong Kong has resulted in the reduction of engineering geological input within the geotechnical industry. This may result in the adoption of over-conservative mitigation works with resulting impacts on cost, safety and the environment. In the worst case, the lack of engineering geological input may result in the failure to recognize the potential for low-frequency, high-magnitude landslides, with potentially severe future consequences.

You do not currently have access to this article.