Specialist ,Get expert guidance, Plan, implement, Ensure, methodologies, tools, and optimize with the experts for more value—faster.
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 witness is an individual who possesses specialized knowledge, skills, or experience in a specific field or discipline, surpassing that of an average person or layman. They are recognized by the legal system and called upon to provide their expertise in legal proceedings, typically in court but also in other judicial or quasi-judicial settings such as tribunals, arbitrations, or official inquiries.
The role of an expert witness is to assist the court or decision-making body in understanding complex or technical matters related to the case at hand. Their primary objective is to present unbiased and objective opinions based on their expertise, aiding the judge, jury, or other legal authorities in reaching a fair and informed judgment.
Expert witnesses can come from various fields, including but not limited to medicine, engineering, forensics, psychology, finance, computer science, and more. Their specialized knowledge and experience allow them to provide insights, analysis, and interpretations that are crucial in comprehending complex issues or evidence presented in court.
When called upon to testify, an expert witness may be asked to offer opinions, explain technical concepts, interpret data, or provide professional judgments based on their field of expertise. They may also be required to prepare reports, conduct experiments or analyses, and engage in cross-examination to support their conclusions and assist the court in understanding the relevant facts and issues.
The selection and acceptance of an expert witness are subject to certain criteria and rules. The court typically considers the witness’s qualifications, professional experience, reputation, and the relevance of their expertise to the case at hand. Expert witnesses are expected to adhere to strict ethical standards, maintain objectivity, and provide opinions that are unbiased and supported by sound reasoning and evidence.
In summary, an expert witness is an individual who possesses specialized knowledge and skills in a particular field and is called upon to provide their expertise to assist the court or other legal bodies in understanding complex issues, analyzing evidence, and reaching informed decisions. Their role is essential in ensuring a fair and just legal process by providing authoritative insights from their respective areas of expertise.
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 referred to as changed conditions or concealed conditions, refer to situations where the conditions at a construction site significantly differ from what was originally anticipated at the time of contract formation or as described in the contract documents. These variations can give rise to various types of claims, with subsurface conditions being among the most common.
Subsurface conditions typically involve unforeseen obstacles below the ground, such as underground obstructions, rock formations, or water-related issues. When encountering such unexpected conditions, contractors or project owners may face disputes over liability or contested damages, leading to potential litigation or arbitration proceedings.
In the construction industry, differing site conditions can have significant implications for project timelines, costs, and overall feasibility. The presence of unanticipated subsurface challenges can lead to delays in construction activities, additional expenses for remediation or mitigation, and potential conflicts between project stakeholders.
When faced with differing site conditions, parties involved in a construction project often need to assess the impact of these changes on the contractual obligations, costs, and schedules. This evaluation may involve conducting site investigations, engaging relevant experts or consultants, and negotiating with other project participants to reach an agreement on how to address the unforeseen conditions.
In some cases, parties may need to resort to legal mechanisms, such as litigation or arbitration, to resolve disputes arising from differing site conditions. These legal processes aim to determine the liability for the condition variances and potentially award damages or other remedies to the affected party.
Efficiently managing and addressing differing site conditions is crucial for successful construction projects. It requires proactive planning, clear communication, and thorough contract documentation to minimize the potential impact of unexpected site conditions and mitigate the risk of disputes.
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
At E-Basel, we have a team of construction experts who specialize in providing support for differing site conditions-related litigation and arbitration. We understand that these types of disputes can be complex and challenging, and we are equipped to provide the following services to help our clients navigate them:
- Site investigation and analysis: Our experts can conduct a thorough investigation of the construction site to identify any differing site conditions that may have caused or contributed to the dispute.
- Contract analysis: We can review and analyze the contract documents to determine the rights and obligations of the parties regarding differing site conditions.
- Risk assessment: Our experts can assess the risks associated with the differing site conditions and their impact on the project schedule and budget.
- Expert witness testimony: We can provide expert witness testimony in support of our clients’ positions in litigation or arbitration.
- Claims preparation and defense: Our experts can assist clients in preparing and defending claims related to differing site conditions.
- Cost analysis: We can perform cost analyses to determine the actual costs incurred as a result of the differing site conditions and apportion responsibility between the parties.
- Negotiation and settlement: Our experts can assist clients in negotiating settlements of differing site condition disputes.
At E-Basel, we are committed to providing our clients with high-quality services and support throughout the litigation and arbitration process. Contact us today to learn more about how our construction experts can assist you with differing site conditions-related disputes.