Congratulations to Emeritus Professor David Carmichael on the publication of his latest book Risk & Systems: with Applications in Infrastructure Project Management. Published by CRC Press (Taylor & Francis Group).

The book, which will suit students and practitioners alike, develops a risk framework through a systems approach and offers a challenging and fresh approach for infrastructure engineering, construction and project management in general.

Em Prof Carmichael says he wrote the book to correct existing practice and the current literature.  ‘In existing practice,’ he says, ‘almost no one understands risk or risk management. People draw conclusions regarding risk but don't have a rational basis for their conclusions.’

Risk is related to the magnitude and uncertainty of an output (consequence or outcome); outputs take on different identities in different disciplines and situations. Risk is peculiar to each stakeholder and the measurement scale for risk depends on the stakeholder’s value system. Risk management provides a way of addressing the issues associated with the magnitude and uncertainty of outputs.

Em Prof Carmichael’s book provides a distinctively rational treatment of risk and risk management, based on a systems approach. The book’s treatment applies to all disciplines and sets out the principles of risk and risk management as well as looking at a range of applications and more specialist tools and approaches.

‘In the existing literature,’ Em Prof Carmichael asserts, ‘a rational meaning for risk and a rational structure for risk management is lacking.  Risk in the literature is used in multiple ways; dictionary definitions don't help; the term 'risk' is used more to impress rather than inform, and is used to mean anything that the writer wants it to mean.

About the author

David G Carmichael is Emeritus Professor of Civil Engineering at UNSW Sydney, Distinguished Adjunct Professor with the Asian Institute of Technology, Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales, Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia and Life Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He is a graduate of the University of Sydney (BE, MEngSc) and the University of Canterbury (PhD).

Professor Carmichael is highly respected internationally as a conceptual thinker.

Over his career, he has contributed significantly to fundamental systems thinking on engineering practices, particularly the many aspects of engineering management. Professor Carmichael has published in all the premier international journals in his discipline areas, and his work is well-received internationally.  His breadth of technical knowledge is matched by few.

Professor Carmichael has an extensive publication record with over 200 publications throughout his career, most peer reviewed internationally, and this includes 17 authored books across multiple disciplines. His sole authored research monographs not only span multiple disciplines but they are particularly leading edge, innovative and beyond existing knowledge.

Specific significant seminal contributions of Professor Carmichael to knowledge span multiple disciplines: adaptability, flexibility and convertibility; future proofing; risk and risk management; investment; options; problem solving; planning; management and project management; management fads; construction, quarrying and surface mining emissions; contractor payments; project delivery; contracts; construction, quarrying and surface mining operations – production and cost; optimum structural design; material and structure characterisation; systems modelling; systems fundamental configurations; organisations; bias and decision making; design, constructability, work study; and civil engineering systems body of knowledge.

Significant sole-authored books by Professor Carmichael include:

  • Future-proofing – Valuing Adaptability, Flexibility, Convertibility and Options, Springer Nature, Berlin, Singapore, 2020.
  • Infrastructure Investment: An Engineering Perspective, CRC Press, Taylor and Francis, London, UK, 2014.
  • Problem Solving for Engineers, CRC Press, Taylor and Francis, London, UK, 2013.
  • Project Planning, and Control, Taylor and Francis, London, UK, 2006.
  • Project Management Framework, A. A. Balkema, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 2004.
  • Disputes and International Projects, A. A. Balkema, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 2002.
  • Contracts and International Project Management, A. A. Balkema, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 2000.
  • Engineering Queues in Construction and Mining, Ellis Horwood Ltd. (John Wiley and Sons Ltd), Chichester, UK, 1987.
  • Structural Modelling and Optimization, Ellis Horwood Ltd. (John Wiley and Sons), Chichester, UK, 1981.

Much of what Professor Carmichael writes is considered to be left-field, and some might be considered controversial, maverick and uncompromising. Commonly, he shows that the status quo is flawed in an attempt to promote healthy discussion for the advancement of the state of the art of the professions. The challenge for Professor Carmichael has always been to get people to acknowledge that the state-of-the-art needs improving and not dogmatically defend current situations.