Hiring a Geotechnical Engineer: Services and Benefits

By AIA Contract Documents

March 8, 2024

In the article Avoid Future Headaches by Retaining a Land Survey Consultant , we explored the services and benefits of hiring a land survey consultant during the Pre-Design phase of a construction project. In this article, we will explore another potential consultant: the Geotechnical Engineer.

C202-2015 Standard Form of Consultant’s Services: Geotechnical Engineering gives both the Owner and the Geotechnical Engineer a flexible framework as to the agreement’s scope of work and other essential information.

Article 1 of the agreement includes preliminary information, such as right of entry to the site, a description of the property to be surveyed and incorporates C103-2015 . Article 1 also requires the Owner to provide documents in its possession to the Geotechnical Engineer, including any land surveys performed.

Article 2 sets forth the Geotechnical Engineer’s services. These include field exploration, including soil sampling and field testing. Further, the Geotechnical Engineer agrees to perform laboratory testing as necessary and prepare a Geotechnical Report. The Report shall set forth the dates and results of field testing and field exploration, as well as include soil classification charts, and a narrative description of the history, existing features, and geology of the Property.

While previous uses of land may be discernible through title searches and other public records, danger may lurk beneath the surface of an otherwise unremarkable parcel of land. Potential soil contaminants can stem from prior human use, or simply occur naturally in the soil. These include arsenic, petroleum and petroleum byproducts, asbestos, radon, and pesticides. Further, a qualified Geotechnical Engineer may catch issues with soil composition that could create later issues with concrete slab and foundation work.

While sometimes referred to as “earth’s kidney” ground soil conditions can be unsuitable for certain uses. By retaining a Geotechnical Engineer, parties can gain critical information about the status of the soil and subsurface conditions of their project site.

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AIA Contract Documents has provided this article for general informational purposes only. The information provided is not legal opinion or legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship of any kind. This article is also not intended to provide guidance as to how project parties should interpret their specific contracts or resolve contract disputes, as those decisions will need to be made in consultation with legal counsel, insurance counsel, and other professionals, and based upon a multitude of factors.