Practical methodology for the design and management of instability in hard rock tunnels

Slobodan B. Mickovski, Gordon Pirie

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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The stability of rock faces in underground facilities is critical when considering their lifespan as well as the health and safety of the operatives working within them. Recent years have seen an evolution of new techniques for inspecting tunnel faces and options available to remediate instability - the Lidar technology is becoming more readily available and necessary for assessment of the stability of rock faces. However, rockbolts and sprayed concrete remain the most commonly used solutions within underground facilities in Scotland. These have to be suitably specified to ensure their required design life can be achieved and, as such, detailed site investigation must be carried out prior to their installation. Factors such as groundwater flows and chemical aggression are variables that can potentially be considered when specifying levels of corrosion protection for rockbolts or the drainage requirements of a sprayed concrete system prior to application. In order to ascertain the exact position or pattern of rockbolts, a classification and analysis and of the geological conditions on site has to be carried out to inform the design of a stabilisation system. Critical analysis showed that the majority of the engineering works associated with remediating instability in hard rock tunnels is based on engineering judgement rather than governing standards which makes it difficult for stakeholders to suitably manage problems with instability, and rely heavily on consultants for advice. In an attempt to address this, this study aims to provide the stakeholder’s geotechnical engineers with a best practise methodology framework in dealing with instability in hard rock tunnels, critically reviewing the site investigation techniques used and following up the information flow and geotechnical data management through to the design stage.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the XVII ECSMGE-2019
PublisherThe Icelandic Geotechnical Society
ISBN (Electronic)9789935943613
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2019
EventXVII European Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering - Reykjavik, Iceland
Duration: 1 Sept 20196 Sept 2019 (Link to conference website)


ConferenceXVII European Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering
Abbreviated titleECSMGE 2019
Internet address


  • Anchorage
  • Hard rock
  • Inspection
  • Monitoring
  • Shortcreting
  • Stability
  • Tunneling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Decision Sciences
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Soil Science


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