Design-build mine remediation projects

A4   |   Letter

SRK News | Issue 58
Mine Closure: Can closure create opportunities?

Stuart McPhee, Civil and Geotechnical Engineer


Anyone who has been involved with project management or construction can attest to the inherent challenges that can be experienced on mine remediation projects. They are often remote, unpredictable, and the work can be greatly impacted by the weather and environmental conditions. Such challenges directly affect a project’s schedule, budget, final product, and even the safety of the workers. A project delivery approach that many members of SRK execute effectively is called design-build. The design-build approach encourages a high degree of collaboration and continuity between the engineering and construction teams. 

An SRK project example is the design-build remediation of the Emerald Glacier mill and tailings facility (completed in 2013) for the British Columbia Ministry of Forest Lands and Natural Resource Operations. Challenges faced during this project included: a shortened design schedule, developing a cost-effective budget and design, ensuring the safety of its workers, and working in a remote location with limited access. The design-build structure brought together designers, contractors, and consultants as a team. The design-build team was able to shorten the time required to produce a final design and mitigate problems prior to construction.  

The design-build project structure allows the contractor to provide input in order to optimise construction sequencing, timelines, and suggest alterations to suit the contractor’s equipment. Designs that often look good on paper do not always reflect the ability of common construction equipment or the specific conditions of the site. Design-build also minimises the project timeline by allowing efficient “real-time” design modifications when construction challenges were encountered.

Stuart McPhee:


SRK North America