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Re: Earthwork specifications and the Geotechnical Engineer

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Mr. Gilligan,
I thought your comments quite succinct and to the point. In my area,
Southern California the soils reports are considered part of the job
specifications and the contract documents can be reviewed by the
Geotechnical....as suggested......if any one asks.  The savings can be
substantial.

The extent of soil remediation can only be estimated, and that- only if site
specific and sufficient exploration and testing, has been performed. It has
been my experience that the geotechnical and geologist are actively involved
from the initial conceptual phase, the earlier the better. We can only
suggest to the owner his course of action. This is one area that is not
taught in Schools or any books. The fancy degrees do not beat actual
experience and local knowledge.
Just my humble opinion.
Respectively,
Chris Lillback PE

----- Original Message -----
From: "Mark Gilligan" <MarkKGilligan(--nospam--at)compuserve.com>
To: <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
Sent: Wednesday, September 18, 2002 10:06 PM
Subject: Earthwork specifications and the Geotechnical Engineer


I have been reviewing a Geotechnical report with respect to the impact of
the recommendations on my project and have been wondering how Geotechnical
engineers understand their scope of services.

Many Geotechnical engineers prepare their report listing their
recommendations, but leave it to others to write the earthwork and related
specifications, while some write the earthwork specification.  In even one
instance the Geotechnical engineer actually produced a drawing for the
construction documents that defined the extent of a soil remediation
scheme.

What I find baffling is the attitude on the part of a significant number
who strongly resist involvement in the preparation of the earthwork
specifications yet they are actively involved during construction,
monitoring the work and defining the extent of the earthwork.

A common attitude seems to be that everything has been said in their
Geotechnical report and the contractor should follow their report.  This is
at odds with the fact that Geotechnical reports are typically provided only
for reference but are not made a part of the contract documents.  Thus the
contractor is only legally responsible to do the work defined in the
specifications and the drawings. Thus if the earthwork specification is not
well written, the owner could be responsible for an unnecessary extra if
the geotech tries to enforce the recommendations in his report.

It is my belief that most Geotechnical reports are not written clear and
unambiguous enough to serve as contract documents.

While the Geotechnical engineer typically reviews the contract documents I
believe that this process will likely not produce as good of a product as
if the Geotech wrote the specification himself. In addition I would expect
he would spend less time overall if he based the project earthwork
specification on his in-house master specification.

I would be interested in comments from Geotechnical Engineers on the above
thoughts.  In addition I would be interested in different practices in
different parts of the country.

Mark Gilligan

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