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Fw: GEOTECH: Need Advice in re So. Central PA

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The area you are dealing with may be on the border of limestone or no
limestone.  Since South Central PA is not exactly a precise location, I
thought it would be best for you to speak with a local geotech who could
tell you what the issues might be in your particular site location - not
much sense drilling 10 feet into rock looking for voids when the rock is not limestone. Since I happen to have a very good relationship with the geotech
I mentioned and their main office is in South Central PA - and I have had
what I feel is exceptional service from them - I recommended them to you.
Sorry that this was not the kind of help you were looking for.  Good luck
with your project.

Best regards,


-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Polhemus [mailto:bill(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Friday, August 12, 2005 4:33 PM
To: Ken Peoples
Cc: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: GEOTECH: Need Advice in re So. Central PA

An open-letter to Ken:

Thanks very much for trying to help me out. I acknowledge that the firm you recommend may well be able to TELL me what they need to investigate in order
for us to have the geotechnical criteria for design.

However, my original question stems from the fact that I have had problems
in the past with Geotechs.

Unfortunately they have an "umbrella organization" out there has sort of
"forced" most of the geotech companies to adhere to a "give as little
information as you possibly can" policy. Supposedly this is to "limit
liability," but in actuality it has been (IMO and that of many others) a
ploy to nickel-and-dime their clients on the part of the "larger" firms
(whom I won't name).

In my work with the Foundation Performance Association in Houston
( I saw the effects of this "up close
and personal" as they fought our (structural engineers designing
foundations) efforts every step of the way to establish consensus standards
for what should be included in a Geotech report.

They wanted to continue to just spew out the same boiler-plate on each and
every report, telling you as little as possible and filling it full of so
many Terms and Conditions that they weren't responsible for anything.

Didn't mean to get on the soapbox, but that's the reason that I'm careful
about making sure I "ask" for precisely what I want in a report, instead of
just taking what the Geotech gives me.

I don't mean to ruffle any feathers, and I'm not talking about anyone in
particular. I've just noticed over years of reading geotech reports that so
many of them sound like they came from the same word-processor. They'll do
the drilling, they'll even do the lab testing, but they won't necessarily
tell you all the results, or how they got to point "B" from point "A".

We could get into the implications of our lawsuit-crazed society as the
prime culprit in this, but it's beside the point when I'm just trying to get some reliable geotechnical expertise and good foundation design values, and I find I've got to make ten phone calls to the geotech before either getting
at least most of what I want or giving up in frustration.

If we have to pay a little extra for good numbers, I'd rather do that.
We're not developers building a subdivision on the cheap, after all.

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