Need a book? Engineering books recommendations...

Return to index: [Subject] [Thread] [Date] [Author]

Re: Earthwork specifications and the Geotechnical Engineer

[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]

I find your statement that in "Southern California the soils reports are
considered part of the job specifications" interesting since it is at odds 
with my experiences.  I have been the engineer of record on several
buildings constructed in Southern California and in all cases the contract
documents were written such that the soils report was provided for
information but  that it was not a part of the contract documents.

I would suggest that you discuss this issue with the Architect to
understand their perception of the role of the soils report in the contract


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 suggested......if any one asks.  The savings can be

The extent of soil remediation can only be estimated, and that- only if
specific and sufficient exploration and testing, has been performed. It has
been my experience that the geotechnical and geologist are actively
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.
Chris Lillback PE

----- Original Message -----
From: "Mark Gilligan" <MarkKGilligan(--nospam--at)>
To: <seaint(--nospam--at)>
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

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

******* ****** ******* ******** ******* ******* ******* ***
*   Read list FAQ at:
*   This email was sent to you via Structural Engineers
*   Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) server. To
*   subscribe (no fee) or UnSubscribe, please go to:
*   Questions to seaint-ad(--nospam--at) Remember, any email you
*   send to the list is public domain and may be re-posted
*   without your permission. Make sure you visit our web
*   site at:
******* ****** ****** ****** ******* ****** ****** ********