This paper summarizes development of a process that provides a link between a qualitative assessment and a quantitative probability analysis that can be used to help evaluate the reliability of offshore structures during the design phase. The qualitative analysis is used to define performance shaping factors that are used to modify standard or normal rates of occurrence of design engineering errors in different tasks. When used by qualified and experienced assessors, the qualitative analysis is able to help evaluate complex, organic, human, and organizational factors that are not easily evaluated using quantitative analyses. Detailed studies of case histories involving successful and unsuccessful design of offshore structures have been used to develop a calibrated scale to relate the results from a qualitative assessment with input information used in a quantitative probabilistic risk analysis. [S0892-7219(00)01103-1]

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