Geo-Impuls is a Dutch nationwide programme with the aim to reduce geotechnical related failures in projects. During the last 5 years, a large number of teams have been working within three themes (techniques, communications and contracts) on a procedure for coping with the natural uncertainties of the Dutch subsoil.
The large variation in the mainly soft subsoil in the Netherlands involves geotechnical risks. These risks need to be managed and controlled. The main focus of one of the themes of Geo-Impuls – theme ‘Geo-Engineering in Contracts’ – is how to deal with these risks during the different phases of a project and especially during the drawing up of the contract. Which party is able to manage geotechnical risks most effectively in which phase of the project? In addition, which party is responsible for which risks? Moreover, how can this responsibility be reduced, allocated and established?
These questions are of current interest due to a shift in the methods of contracting. Nowadays the traditional form of contracting changes towards a more integrated form. Several parties are responsible for the project design or realization instead of only one party. Furthermore, the way of selecting the contractors is also changing. All this makes it difficult to make clear-cut agreements on how to deal with the geotechnical risks. It is no longer the responsibility of only the geotechnical consultant, but of the whole project team.
Within ‘Geo-Engineering in Contracts’, research has been done on how to determine a method to deal with geotechnical risks in all phases of the project. Eventually, the following topics were identified and researched by different teams. 1. The determination of a risk controlled approach for the executing of soil investigation during all phases of the project. 2. The awareness of geotechnical risks and how to allocate these risks to the parties involved during all phases of the project. 3. The presentation of guidelines on how to successfully integrate geotechnical aspect in different contract forms. The article outlines the activities and results of these three topics of the Contracts-teams.