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  • By Ward McMasters, P.E.

Site Investigation Scope of Work Less Costs Less…or Does It?

With the current fast pace of development throughout our area, it is easy to gloss over one of the most critical initial elements to the financial success of any project. The proper evaluation of the subsurface conditions and the economic impact on the project can be the difference between success and failure. Often this site investigation occurs either before or early in the project financing and hence the pressures to spend less are enticing. The trap however is the cost of under investigating any site and the potential financial landmines that can surface such as urban fills, weak organic soils, clays, high groundwater, rock, etc. Not to worry, a responsibly prepared scope of work for a geotechnical investigation should reveal insight into most of these conditions. The trouble occurs when the aforementioned economic pressures create a situation in which the geotechnical firm with the smallest scope and subsequent lowest price is awarded the investigation (and often the quality control inspections which is why they were motivated to undercut the scope in the beginning.)

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