A Framework for Risk-Based Cost-Benefit Analysis for Decision Support on Hydrogeological Risks in Underground Construction
Journal article, 2021

Construction below the ground surface and underneath the groundwater table is often associated with groundwater leakage and drawdowns in the surroundings which subsequently can result in a wide variety of risks. To avoid groundwater drawdown-associated damages, risk-reducing measures must often be implemented. Due to the hydrogeological system's inherent variability and our incomplete knowledge of its conditions, the effects of risk-reducing measures cannot be fully known in advance and decisions must inevitably be made under uncertainty. When implementing risk-reducing measures there is always a trade-off between the measures' benefits (reduced risk) and investment costs which needs to be balanced. In this paper, we present a framework for decision support on measures to mitigate hydrogeological risks in underground construction. The framework is developed in accordance with the guidelines from the International Standardization Organization (ISO) and comprises a full risk-management framework with focus on risk analysis and risk evaluation. Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) facilitates monetization of consequences and economic evaluation of risk mitigation. The framework includes probabilistic risk estimation of the entire cause-effect chain from groundwater leakage to the consequences of damage where expert elicitation is combined with data-driven and process-based methods, allowing for continuous updating when new knowledge is obtained.

the observational method


risk management

groundwater drawdown-induced damages

cost-benefit analysis

decision support


Johanna Merisalu

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Geology and Geotechnics

Jonas Sundell

Swedish Transport Administration

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Geology and Geotechnics

Lars Rosen

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Geology and Geotechnics

Geosciences (Switzerland)

2076-3263 (eISSN)

Vol. 11 2 1-19 82

Subject Categories

Transport Systems and Logistics

Construction Management

Other Civil Engineering



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4/6/2022 5