Kurt Sanborn on the Risks Of Underground Construction and How To Manage Them

Every construction project comes with its risks, and it is for this reason that industry experts like Kurt Sanborn are called upon for large scale projects. Kurt is a risk assessment manager who works with construction companies to help them ensure that their project is carried out in a way that is aware of the risks, and works in a particular way that negates them and ensures that due diligence is carried out.

One type of construction project which is wrought with risk is an underground project, something which Kurt has become a specialist in over the years. Underground construction projects such as extensions, metro links and work within the energy sector have a high volume of risk that needs to be assessed and managed, and here are just some of the risks which construction companies will run into for underground projects.


Whenever you bore into the ground below, you run the risk of weakening the overall structure of whatever is above ground. Naturally this is even more important when you consider the fact that there could be buildings above or even a road network. It is therefore the job of the risk assessment manager to work out how the structure will be affected by the construction work which is going on underground and in many cases they may need to add additional support structures to maintain the stability which it currently has. This is a highly important aspect of the job because any planning permission will only be given out based on a complete analysis of stability. For considering stability, you must also have a good knowledge of the building materials and harmul chemicals they may contain. You must read all the related literature available like this homeowners guide to asbestos removal to better understand the risks involved.


The large majority of our plumbing and our gas supply will come from below the ground, where there is a vast and expansive network of pipes and tubes, carrying gas and water around cities and towns. It is vital therefore to locate and map underground utilities before any construction work is carried out underground. This involves a full assessment on where the pipes and tubes are beneath the ground, plus any electrical cables which may be there, or even in some cases, internet cables. All of this information is stored on a huge database which risk managers will have to review in conjunction with the planned construction work, to ensure that none of these cables, tubes or pipes will be affected by any drilling or construction operations.


There are many protected species which may be living below the ground, and construction firms must also be vigilant of this prior to starting any kind of project. For example in many parts of New York, underground excavation is not allowed because of the infestation of rats below certain areas. The concern here is that when the construction company digs below the ground,  the rats need to find somewhere else to live, causing a problem in other areas of the city. Risk managers must also carry out checks on wildlife ahead of the project.