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Surface Rock Engineering – For much of human history, it was generally accepted that building on rock was naturally the safest type of construction. Traditionally, this made perfect sense as structures that would have been unstable if built on sand, clay or other surfaces were generally much more stable and less risky if built on rock. However, in recent times the situation has become more complex.
Although the nature and status of most rock masses has changed very little over the last few centuries, the scope, type and size of construction projects has changed significantly. For example:
- Arch Dams go higher, wider and carry more volume of water than ever before. In most cases, the walls of these dams are anchored into the surrounding bedrock and other rock masses.
- Surface (Open Pit) Mines continue to get bigger and bigger, and are often constructed in new areas in which there is little previous experience and data to give an indication of how the local rock mass will react to the stresses of mining.
- Heavy Civil Engineering Projects are increasingly ambitious. Bridges are wider and longer, roads are wider and pass through more inhospitable terrain, and major buildings are bigger and taller.
As a result, these structures and excavations place more stress on the surrounding and underlying rock and are more affected by stresses and movements within these rock masses.
Surface rock engineering plays an increasingly vital role in the planning, execution and ongoing monitoring of mining and large civil engineering projects. As this is a highly specialized and safety-critical field, it is essential that engineers involved with surface rock engineering have the requisite knowledge, training, skills, expertise, and experience.
The surface rock engineering services provided by our team at RockEng include:
- Design and stability assessment of surface excavations, with particular emphasis on high slopes
- Numerical modelling for slope stability, pushback sequencing, support design
- Routine evaluation of rock mass conditions over project life