Changed Soil and Rock Conditions in Construction

by George F. Sowers, (F.ASCE), Sr. Consultant and Chmn. of the Board; Law Engrg. Testing Co.; Regents Prof. of Civ. Engrg., Georgia Inst. of Technol., Atlanata, GA,

Serial Information: Journal of the Construction Division, 1971, Vol. 97, Issue 2, Pg. 257-269

Document Type: Journal Paper


The object the changed conditions clause in construction contracts is to minimize the gamble in bidding on soil and rock work by paying the contractor for unexpected soil and rock conditions. Four categories of claims appear: (1) Real differences, which could not have been anticipated; (2) foreseeable changes caused by the specified construction; (3) pseudo or preventable changes caused by faulty construction methods and; (4) mistaken changes, which are costs blamed on the soil but which are the result of other job conditions. Only the first category deserves compensation. The diagnosis of changed conditions require immediate expert evaluation to determine the true conditions as well as to prevent the change from generating a catastrophe. Quick action not only provides the basis for a valid claim but also minimizes the ultimate cost to both the contractor and the owner.

Subject Headings: Construction methods | Soil properties | Rocks | Construction management | Contractors and subcontractors | Claims | Construction costs | Contracts

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