Interest and use of probabilistic methods and risk assessment tools in geotechnical engineering has grown rapidly in recent years. The natural variability of soil and rock properties, combined with a frequent lack of high quality site data, makes a probabilistic approach to geotechnical design a logical and scientific way of managing both technical and economic risk. The burgeoning field of geotechnical risk assessment is evidenced by numerous publications, textbooks, dedicated journals and sessions at general geotechnical conferences. 

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Risk assessments are increasingly becoming a requirement in many large engineering construction projects. Probabilistic methods are also recognized in some design codes as a way of delivering reasonable load and resistance factors (LRFD) to target allowable risk levels in geotechnical design.