Site Investigations: A Guide (available in Geoenvironmental Special Issue only)

by William W. Edgerton, P.E., (M.ASCE), Principal; Jacobs Associates, 500 Sansome St. Suite 700, San Francisco, CA 94111-3275,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1998, Vol. 68, Issue 6, Pg. 13A-16A

Document Type: Feature article


A geotechnical engineer looks at the evolution of reports on subsurface conditions, the most uncertain portion of construction. Most of the cost and risk of construction occurs beneath the ground, and various reports have developed in the hopes of reducing those risks. The latest geotechnical report is the geotechnical baseline report, sometimes called the geotechnical design summary report. The author describes the reports, and discusses whether the summary design report should be part of the contract documents. After discussing the pros and cons, he concludes that the baseline reports should always be part of the contract document. He also explores the issue of whether baseline reports are appropriate with design/build contracts, and concludes that at this point, they are not because the design work is incomplete when construction on a design/build project begins.

Subject Headings: Site investigation | Risk management | Contracts | Design/Build | Subsurface environment | Construction costs | Underground construction

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