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RE: Earthwork specifications and the Geotechnical Engineer

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Referencing the soils report could make it part of the contract documents
depending on how it was referenced.   If the note pointed to the soils
report as a source of information on known ground conditions and made it
clear that it was not a part of the contract documents there would be no

You always want to make the soils report availible to the bidders so that
they cannot claim an extra based on the fact that you hid information from

The problem with making the soils report a part of the contract documents
is that it is not typically written in a manner compatible with the other
provisions in the contract documents.  In addition the soils report is not
written in mandatory language thus leaving the contractor with more wiggle
room.  From my experience most soils reports do an adaquite job of giving
guidance to the structural engineer but they do not  always clearly define
what is expected of the contractor.   Too often soils reportsin effect 
simply state the geotech will   tell the contractor what to do when the
ground is opened up.  This may be adequate to insure safety but it often
results in higher bids to account for the unknown or unnecessary extras.

Because of the above concerns somebody has to edit/write the earthwork
specification section.  Because many geotechnical engineers resist any
involvement with the specifications the structural engineer sometimes gets
draged into writing this specification.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mark Gilligan [mailto:MarkKGilligan(--nospam--at)]
> Sent: Thursday, September 19, 2002 12:06 AM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)
> Subject: Earthwork specifications and the Geotechnical Engineer
> 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.

FWIW, and I can't say how this shakes out legally, but I typically include
note on my foundation plan, specifically referencing the soil report by
Geotechnical Firm Name, Report Number, and Date. Would this not make it a
part of the "contract documents"?

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