FE Evaluation of Hillside Excavation for a Construction Contract Dispute
Keywords:Construction dispute, earthwork grading, hillside excavation, landslide, fault, forensic engineering
This paper presents a forensic evaluation of an earthwork grading dispute between a grading contractor (plaintiff) and property owner (defendant) associated with construction of an approach driveway and hill-side cut for a new residential property. The plaintiff’s allegations were that “changed conditions” had been encountered through the presence of a landslide and/or geologic fault. These conditions resulted in schedule delays and increased costs. Finally, the plaintiff alleged breach of contract after being terminated. The allega-tions were investigated through both on-site field reconnaissance and desktop studies. The forensic analyses found no basis for the changed conditions claims. The case was tried in Napa County California Superior Courts via bench trial. The judge’s decision mirrored the findings of the forensic analyses.
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