Underground Contracts for the 21st Century

by Robert A. Pond, Executive Vice President; Frontier-Kemper Constructors, Inc., Evansville, IN,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1996, Vol. 66, Issue 12, Pg. 54-57

Document Type: Feature article


Noting that support for the guidelines for underground construction put forth by ASCE's Underground Technology Council has been eroding, the author addresses current issues and possible improvements in underground construction contracts and makes proposals for the future. Among the newer approaches are geotechnical baseline reports, which are supposed to give details of the geologic conditions and the way they are expected to behave during construction. Arguments for using these are offered, and some drawbacks reduced, even though their use has decreased the number of differing site condition claims. Dispute review boards are also scrutinized, and since the tunneling community is a small one, members are likely to see each other often. Some believe there is an inherent bias in these boards. Partnering is another approach, and sometimes a partnered compromise can be insufficient to forestall disaster. The author's proposals for the modern tunneling contract include recommendations on fees, equipment rental, field cost reimbursement, the cost of mistakes, and fee incentives, and advantages and disadvantages to owners and to contractors of each of these proposals.

Subject Headings: Underground construction | Contracts | Tunneling | Fees | Construction equipment | Underground structures | Erosion | Risk management

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