Geotechnical Baseline Report

1391 words - 6 pages

It seems that in the past few years, the Geotechnical Baseline Report (GBR) has perhaps turned into the key document for construction. The GBR not only assigns much of the risk involved with the work, it serves as the basis for bid prep and is used widely in resolving disputes during construction. The use of GBR’s for contractually defining anticipated ground conditions has become a widely accepted practice in the construction business. The importance and the significant nature of these reports have increased the inquiry they receive to unparalleled levels. The basic premise of a contractual GBR has been well developed and corresponded to the industry. Despite the acceptance of GBRs, there is always opportunity for improvement. Engineers and geologists struggle to develop specific numerical baselines from a many of geotechnical properties. This especially where the geologic environments are highly inconsistent. Contractors are frustrated because they feel they are not constantly provided with the baselines they need. Owners feel taken advantage of when baselines are used to validate their claims in a manner not intended or the baselines are not valued in the dispute resolution process. It seems that there are four areas or categories the GBR’s. These could result in for a better, more useful product. These are (1) Establishing baselines (2) Ground behavior/performance assessments (3) Construction considerations (4) Use of the GBR during construction for establishing the baselines there are two considerable challenges. These would be to determine the condition of the ground that are needed to be baselined and how to quantify them. The goal of a GBR is to convert what the geotechnical engineers found into an easy to read product for the bidder. Baselines were intended to provide contractors a mechanism whereby they were not held responsible for unlimited risks involved with unforeseen ground conditions. Contractors have the right to expect that the baselined ground conditions presented in the GBR are reasonable. It is essential to be familiar with that each baseline presented in the GBR establishes a potential target for a claim. Many GBRs distinguish an extensive range of geotechnical parameters (such as Atterberg Limits, unit weight, and blow counts), including parameters not applicable to the project. Although this added level of detail generates the illusion of a comprehensive GBR, and apparently serves to protect the owner from differing site condition (DSC) claims, in some cases it has come back to create issues for owners during construction. In order to substantiate a DSC claim, some contractors look for a difference in one of the baselined variables, in spite of its importance in construction, and devise a creative justification for how this variable influenced their means and methods and/or development rate. Therefore, as a general rule it wise to only baseline the soil/rock properties that are essential for a contractor to assess...

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