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Re: Earthwork specifications and the Geotechnical Engineer

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Depends on how the soils report is incorporated by reference, but typically
I agree that the geotechnical report provides recommendations and are not
automatically part of the contract documents..  We work extensively in So.
Cal. and the legality of the soils report can be more than a little
ambiguous at times.  Most of the recent projects we have completed (last few
years of memory), it is typical of the plan check authorities to require
compliance with the soils report recommendations as part of structural
review as if the soils report was a legal binding part of the construction
documents.  This can lead to the impression that the soils report is a
binding part of the contract documents.

Technically, as soon as the foundation is designed based upon report
recommendations other than minimum code allowable bearing pressures (or
whatever equivalent parameter you consider), the report recommendations that
validate the proposed value must become a part of the contract documents.
The soils requirements from the report should be re-stated on the structural
drawings under the Foundation Notes as a basis for the provided design (i.e
over-ex and recompact to a depth of 3 feet below the proposed footings
within the building envelope ...).

Many reports ( particularly the better ones) will provide multiple options.
It is the responsibility of the Engineer to mandate the applicable
recommendations as part of the contract documents on the structural
drawings.


Paul Feather PE, SE
pfeather(--nospam--at)SE-Solutions.net
www.SE-Solutions.net
----- Original Message -----
From: "Mark Gilligan" <MarkKGilligan(--nospam--at)compuserve.com>
To: <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
Sent: Thursday, September 19, 2002 11:30 PM
Subject: Re: Earthwork specifications and the Geotechnical Engineer


> Chris
>
> 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
> documents.
>
> Mark
>
>
>
> **************************************************
> 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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