The effective management of failure risk of buried infrastructure assets requires knowledge of their current condition, their rate of deterioration, the expected consequences of their failure and the owner's (decision-maker) risk tolerance. Fuzzy-based techniques seem to be particularly suited to modeling the deterioration of buried infrastructure assets, for which data are scarce, cause-effect knowledge is imprecise and observations and criteria are often expressed in vague (linguistic) terms (e.g., ‘good’, ‘fair’ ‘poor’ condition, and so on). The use of fuzzy sets and fuzzy-based techniques helps to incorporate inherent imprecision, uncertainties and subjectivity of available data, as well as to propagate these attributes throughout the model, yielding more realistic results.
This paper is the second of two companion papers that describe an entire method of managing risk of large buried infrastructure assets. The first companion paper describes the deterioration modeling of buried infrastructure assets, using a fuzzy rule-based, non-homogeneous Markov process. This paper describes how the fuzzy condition rating of the asset is translated into a possibility of failure. This possibility of failure is combined with the fuzzy failure consequences to obtain fuzzy risk of failure throughout the life of the pipe. This life-risk curve can be used to make effective decisions on pipe renewal. These decisions include when to schedule the next inspection and condition assessment or alternatively, when to renew a deteriorated pipe, and what renewal alternative should be selected.