Reliability assessment of excavation systems considering both stability and serviceability performance

Jun Kyung Park, J. Tanner Blackburn, Paolo Gardoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Excavation projects related to urban redevelopment and infrastructure improvement are often governed by serviceability-based design, rather than failure prevention criteria. Deformation tolerance specifications are often prescribed based on minimizing potential damage to adjacent structures. A risk-based approach to serviceability performance that systematically incorporates design parameter uncertainty will allow engineers to address soil uncertainty in performance-based design. This paper demonstrates the use of various kinds of reliability methods, such as response surface method (RSM), first-order reliability method (FORM), second-order reliability method (SORM), adaptive importance sampling (AIS), Monte Carlo simulation (MCS) and system reliability, to assess the risk of stability and/or serviceability failure of an entire excavation support system throughout the entire construction process. By considering multiple failure modes (including serviceability criteria) of an excavation, the component and system reliability indices for each excavation step are assessed during the entire excavation process. Sensitivity analyses are conducted for the system reliability calculations, which demonstrate that the adjacent structure damage potential limit state function is the dominant factor for determining excavation system reliability. An example is presented to show how the serviceability performance for braced excavation problems can be assessed based on the system reliability index.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-141
Number of pages19
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Excavation
  • Reliability
  • Response surface
  • Sensitivity analysis
  • Serviceability limit state
  • System reliability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geology


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