I have probable made this point before, but I make it again, as last week I came across a good example of what happens when the following advice is ignored. All reports issues by a consultant should be peer reviewed before issue. It is as simple as that.
Peer review is time consuming, an annoyance to those who prepare the report, and an additional expense to the client. But the hastle precludes bad reports being issued.
In last week’s case history, the report concluded that if the tailings were removed, the hillside would fall down. It took a few of my minutes to conclude that superficially this conclusion was correct. BUT!
The conclusion was based on pseudo-static analyses that showed that in a big earthquake, a thin sliver of the strong colluvium would fail. The report lead to a conclusions not to move the tailings.
I pointed out that the pseudo-static coefficient they used was incredibly conservative, and that it would be easy to remove the tailings and the oversteepened colluvium in the same operation. And at the worst a few anchors would stabilize the slope. In short the conclusion to act in a certain way was based on faulty analyses and shortsighted thinking.
When I met with the author of the original report and a senior engineer from the company that issued the report, the author was defensive—can’t blame him. The senior engineer who had nothing to do with the report but who was in the meeting to limit damage by what I might say, quickly agreed with me. That embarrassed the report author–and so it should have.
Now a completely new analysis has to be undertaken; the original report recalled; and a new round of executive decision making undertaken. This will be order of magnitude more expensive than an initial peer review of a biased document.