Ground conditions in construction projects
Produced in partnership with Tim James Seal
Ground conditions in construction projects

The following Construction practice note produced in partnership with Tim James Seal provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Ground conditions in construction projects
  • What are ‘ground conditions’?
  • What are the risks associated with ground conditions?
  • Site investigations and the foreseeability of ground conditions
  • Who investigates the site?
  • Were adverse ground conditions foreseeable?
  • Responsibility for ground conditions at common law
  • Contractual provision for ground conditions
  • No reliance/disclaimer provisions
  • Misrepresentation
  • More...

Ground conditions in construction projects

This Practice Note looks at ground conditions in construction and engineering projects. It considers responsibility for them at common law and looks at the contractual provisions that can be incorporated into building contracts to deal with the contractor encountering adverse ground conditions on the site and allocating responsibility for that risk between the contractor and the employer. It also looks at the position in the JCT, NEC and FIDIC standard form contracts in respect of allocation of ground condition risk.

What are ‘ground conditions’?

The term ‘ground conditions’ usually refers to the geology, hydrology, soil condition and any contamination of the ground on the site of a construction project. Ground conditions may be man-made or naturally occurring, or a combination of the two. Artificial or man-made conditions or obstructions might include antiquities, landfill, asbestos, old sewers or unexploded ordnances. The expression ‘ground conditions’ does not, however, usually include transitory surface features such as litter or leaves or climatic conditions.

The expression ‘ground conditions’ is commonly used in construction contracts but other similar terms are also often used, for example ‘site conditions’ and ‘physical conditions’. The term used depends largely on the preference of the contract drafter and on whether the contract is based on one of the standard forms which make reference to such conditions—the standard form building contracts do not all use

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