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e-basel Consulting provides expert services and dispute resolution involving construction claims, arbitration, and litigation. For more than twenty years, clients have relied on us to prepare, analyze, and resolve their construction claims and disputes. In addition, clients and their attorneys have called on e-basel experts to perform forensic analysis of construction projects to determine liability for increased cost, reduced labor productivity, defects, and schedule delays. Clients benefit from the comprehensive evaluation and professional presentation.
Our construction experts assist clients in the following areas:
- Construction Defects
- Construction Management
- CPM Schedule Analysis
- Litigation & Arbitration
- Management Consulting
What is an Expert Witness?
Let us start by defining the terms ‘expert’ and ‘expert witness’.
An expert can be anyone with knowledge of or experience in a particular field or discipline beyond that to be expected of a layman. An expert witness is an expert who makes this knowledge and experience available to a court (or other judicial or quasi-judicial bodies, e.g. tribunals, arbitration, official inquiries, etc.) to help it understand the issues in a case and thereby reach a sound and just decision
Moreover, an expert witness is paid for the time it takes to:
- form an opinion and, where necessary,
- support that opinion during the course of litigation.
“An expert witness is not paid for the opinion given, and still less for the assistance that opinion affords the client’s case”
Differing Site Conditions Experts
Differing site conditions, also commonly known as changed conditions or concealed conditions, occur when conditions at a construction site differ materially from those that existed at the time of contracting or as represented in the contract documents. Some of the more common types of claims involve subsurface conditions, such as unforeseen underground obstructions, rock formation, or water conditions. Claims for differing site conditions can often result in litigation or arbitration if liability is in dispute or damages are contested.
Common Issues Encountered Relative to Differing Site Conditions Litigation and Arbitration
A variety of issues on a construction project can lead to a claim for differing site conditions. Therefore, it is important to first review the contract to ascertain if certain parties assumed the risk of differing site conditions. In addition, construction contracts may provide entitlement to an equitable adjustment for certain unforeseeable site conditions. Claims for differing site conditions typically consider the following issues:
- The condition existed prior to executing the contract.
- The condition is physical and is at the construction site.
- The condition differed materially from the conditions in the contract documents.
- The contractor’s interpretation of the contract documents was reasonable.
- The contractor relied upon the contract documents and the conditions encountered at the site.
- The contractor suffered damages due to the differing site conditions.
Typically, construction contract documents require contractors to inspect the project site prior to bidding to ensure an understanding of the existing site conditions. However, the site visit often occurs while the facility is operating, and access for detailed measurements or inspections may not be permitted or possible for safety and security reasons. In such cases, the site visit is general in nature. Additionally, there are often conditions that cannot be determined by an initial site inspection, such as when the owner provides a geological/soil survey that turns out to be incorrect, or a situation where there was no reasonable way for either party to know what hidden conditions existed.
Assisting with Differing Site Conditions Litigation and Arbitration
e-basel Consulting assists with differing site conditions-related litigation and arbitration cases by providing independent expert analysis and opinions of the issues and damages on behalf of owners, contractors, architects, designers, or other parties. Analyzing a differing site conditions claim typically involves reviewing the conditions as represented in the bid and contract documents and comparing them to conditions actually encountered at the site. In addition, a successful claim should consider the contract language regarding differing site conditions .
e-basel Consulting can serve in either a consulting expert or testifying expert role with regard to litigation and arbitration involving differing site condition claims. As a consulting expert, Interface Consulting works with attorneys and project personnel to provide preliminary independent analysis prior to trial or arbitration. As a testifying expert, Interface Consulting can provide the necessary expert analysis, comprehensive written reports as required by the particular dispute forum, testify in court or arbitration, and provide additional support services as needed.
e-basel construction experts provide the following services relative to differing site conditions-related litigation and arbitration:
- Expert report and analysis
- Litigation support
- Expert testimony
- Site inspection and investigation
- Drawing and survey analysis
- Damage quantification
- Delay and disruption analysis
- Trial or arbitration graphics and demonstrative exhibits