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Re: Earthwork specifications and the Geotechnical Engineer

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Mark,

        Your original posting dealing with how well the geotechnical people
understand their role on the project was very insightful as were the responses
by Chris and Bill.

        I would like to respond to this subject by dividing the geotechnical
work into three areas of geotechnical responsibility: original soil report;
specification and drawing preparation; and field quality control.

        I think those preparing the original soil report are often not
properly informed regarding the project requirements and their own role in the
project.  The reason is that the geotechnical people are often retained by the
owner or others on the project management team who themselves are not
completely informed regarding the project needs.  One solution to this problem
is to treat the soil report as a "work in progress" until the structural (or
civil) EOR and the geotechnical engineer are BOTH in agreement with the
report.  My own preference is to get a draft of the report so that we can
discuss any differences of opinion before the final report is issued.  I
wouldn't think of pressuring the geotechnical engineer regarding his opinion;
that's his area of expertise; but I do like to be sure that (s)he is aware of
my own wants and needs.

        Regarding specifications and drawings, for most of my own projects I
have followed the approach presented by Bill Polhemus in his posting.  For
larger projects with a significant earthwork component, however, I do like
your idea of having the geotechnical engineer review the specifications and
drawings for compliance with his understanding of the project.  I expect to do
this on future projects where it might be appropriate.  At the very least we
should send them a copy then they have had an OPPORTUNITY to review the
documents.  The only legitimate reason for their reluctance to do so would be
related to compensation and everyone should be properly compensated for what
they do.

        I hope you find my comments above to be of value to you, Mark.  Yours
have certainly been of value to me.

Best regards,

H. Daryl Richardson

Mark Gilligan wrote:

> 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
> problem.
>
> 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
> them.
>
> 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)compuserve.com]
> > Sent: Thursday, September 19, 2002 12:06 AM
> > To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> > 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
> a
> 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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