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ConstructionPro Week, Volume: Construction Advisor Today - Issue: 82 - 11/17/2010

How Much Risk Is Shifted By Pre-Bid Site Inspection?

Bruce Jervis, Editor

Construction Claims Advisor

Contract documents usually call for a pre-bid inspection of the site. The successful bidder acknowledges that it is familiar with the conditions under which it will be performing the work and accepts the risks posed by those conditions. But what does this really mean?

 

In a recent case, an owner’s failure to accomplish timely demolition of existing buildings delayed the work. The argument was made that the site inspection alerted the utility contractor to the need for the demolition. A New York court said the site inspection put the contractor on notice of the need for the demolition, but did not assign the risk that the demolition would not be completed in a timely manner.

 

There are other limitations as well. A reasonable pre-bid site inspection does not include invasive or destructive testing. Bidders are not expected to perform independent subsurface investigation, despite bid instructions that sometimes imply otherwise. Bidders are expected to use their powers of observation and their experience as prudent contractors, but are not required to hire experts to perform independent analysis.

 

What is your opinion? What is the scope of a reasonable pre-bid site inspection and how much risk should that inspection shift to the contractor? I invite your comments.

 

Featured in next week's issue of Construction Claims Advisor:

  • Private Project Owner Did Not Exploit Bidder’s Mistake
  • Notice of Delay Not Required When Sub Working at Direction of Prime
  • Bid Responsive Despite Name Discrepancy with Bid Bond

 

Bruce Jervis, Editor
Construction Claims Advisor

 

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