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Interactive Probabilistic Risk Analysis for Construction Engineering and Management

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Construction Safety and Risk Management

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

24.795.1 - 24.795.12



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Paper Authors


Jing Du University of Texas at San Antonio

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Aug 2013 - Present
Assistant Professor/Department of Construction Science/UTSA

Jun 2011 - Aug 2013
Sr. Cost Analyst/Zachry Holdings, Inc.

Aug 2008 - May 2012
PhD in Construction Management/Michigan State University

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Yilmaz Hatipkarasulu University of Texas at San Antonio Orcid 16x16

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Rui Liu The University of Texas at San Antonio

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Online Tool in Teaching Risk Analysis for Construction Engineering and ManagementRisk analysis is an important concept in construction engineering and management, as for mostconstruction projects many of the controlling parameters, processes and activities are oftenstochastic, uncertain and poorly understood. The main objective of risk analysis is to identify andquantify the risks associated with a particular project, and to predict the calculated impacts onschedule and cost. The Construction Industry Institute (CII) Research Project 280 recommends athree-level risk analysis framework, which includes: (1) Risk identification – to identify a list ofrisk items by the use of risk register or similar formats; (2) Deterministic risk analysis – to developa single-point estimate of the risks’ impacts and to calculate the expected value for contingencyallocation of schedule or cost; and (3) Probabilistic risk analysis - to analyze risk throughprobabilistic distribution estimates of potential impacts, and to calculate the probability of meetingproject target. Realizing the level-3 risk analysis requires Monte Carlo simulation that is oftensupported by third-party software such like @RISK or Oracle Crystal Ball. The set-up of thesesoftware packages is cumbersome, requiring expertise in statistics and simulation. As a result,although the level-3 risk analysis is considered more desirable, it is rarely being used in real-worldprojects.This paper introduces a Cloud based on-line risk analysis tool that can be used to teach constructionstudents how to perform the level-3 risk analysis, without any third-party software. To use thistool, a user defines risk items (i.e., names, likelihoods, impacts as three-point estimates ortriangular distributions) via a web based risk register. For each defined risk item a random numbertuple will be generated immediately according to the triangular distribution to represent possibleimpacts of the risk item. If two risk items are correlated, methods for preserving the correlationwill be used such as Cholsky decomposition. Then an additive operation will be performed on theCloud based computing server between the random number tuples of two risk items. Theprobability density function (PDF) curve of the aggregated random number tuples will bedisplayed instantaneously to represent cumulative impacts of two risk items. This process will berepeated for all risk items and outcomes will be recalculated every time when any part of the riskregister is updated. Once the user finishes the parameterization of the last risk item, the impact ofall risk items will be displayed instantaneously.This tool was tested in a Capstone class as a component of the risk management practice. Studentswere asked to develop an on-line risk register for their capstone project and to calculate theprobability of meeting the budget. With only the basic statistical knowledge, students were able toperform the level-3 risk analysis and to interpret the results independently. It was found theproposed tool to be an effective educational approach in teaching risk analysis for constructionengineering and management. It is also expected to improve the utilization of the level-3 riskanalysis in the industry by providing graduates with relevant skills.

Du, J., & Hatipkarasulu, Y., & Liu, R. (2014, June), Interactive Probabilistic Risk Analysis for Construction Engineering and Management Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20687

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