ENGINEERING APPROACH TO RESPONSIBILITY FOR UNEXPECTED PROBLEMS IN FOUNDATIONS

This paper examines the reasons for the unexpected in foundation construction and suggests how the unknowns and the costs resulting from them can be minimized and how those costs can be paid most equitably. A table is presented which lists the many causes of and responsibilities for the unexpected. Among the causes are: (1) insufficient data on soil or rock due to lack of time or lack of money; (2) withholding of data due to lack of records from previous construction or investigations or to willful attempt to mislead in order to obtain a cheaper job; (3) errors in data due to location (survey) errors or poor investigative work; (4) improper interpretation of data due to lack of geologic background, lack of local experience, or failure to consider alternatives; (5) bad design of structure due to failure to fit site conditions or impossible to build situations; and (6) poor construction due to ignorance, over optimism, inadequate design, poor workmanship or failure to follow plans, failure to react to conditions, inadequate records, or faulty materials. Those responsible (i.e., the owner, architect/engineer, contractor, or occupant) are rated as to whether they have the major, secondary or little responsibility for each of these causes. Several examples of unexpected conditions are given to illustrate the complexities of the problems involved in determining who is responsible and what would be an equitable solution. Three specific measures are suggested for preventing the unexpected and promoting equity: (1) an adequate program of investigation for disclosure of data; (2) evaluation of the qualifications of the individuals in charge of the key functions in design and construction; and (3) the provision of contract documents which give a clear definition of a contractor's design responsibilities and which are honest by not providing data and at the same time disclaiming any responsibility for the data. It is concluded that, "With good will and a realization that no one gets something for nothing, the unexpected can be evaluated, or even foreseen, before it becomes a disaster."

  • Corporate Authors:

    Boston Society of Civil Engineers

    230 Boyston Street
    Boston, MA  United States  02116
  • Authors:
    • Sowers, G F
  • Publication Date: 1974-10

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00096471
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 2 1975 12:00AM