Editor's Notes

The United States government is the largest consumer of construction services in the world. As such, federal construction contract documents have served as a prototype for public works contracts in states and municipalities throughout the country. Federal construction projects have also generated a comprehensive body of legal precedent, with decisions from the federal administrative boards, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Both cases in this issue are from the federal administrative boards.


Test boring logs are an indication of subsurface conditions at a project site. But how much information can a contractor reasonably deduce or extrapolate from those logs? A set of contract documents included 10 boring logs, but none of the tests were performed in the site’s southwest quadrant. The contractor encountered subsurface problems, not indicated in the logs, in the southwest quadrant of the site. Did it constitute a Type I differing site condition?


Proprietary or sole source equipment specifications are prohibited under federal procurement law. Specifications for a pneumatic tube system were arguably sole source, but the contractor did not protest the terms of the contract prior to bid submittal. Having signed the contract, was the contractor bound by its terms despite the seemingly improper specifications?




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