Read Part I
When developing your RFP, it’s important to do your homework and describe the site from a geotechnical perspective. Describing the building program or type is more helpful to an Architect or Mechanical Engineer. However, it is not a huge help in developing a geotechnical response. Remember, we’re more focused on the ground and what’s in the ground.
Remember, we’re more focused on the ground and what’s in the ground.
Existing Site Conditions
When describing the conditions of your site, it’s important to consider items like the following:
- Is the site steep and/or hilly?
- Are there low-lying areas?
- Does a stream run through the site? If so, can you identify how deep the stream is?
- Is the site paved? If so, is it asphalt or concrete pavement?
- What is the vegetative state of the site? Farmland, Open Field, Dense Forest, Swamp, etc.
- What is the history of the site? Previous farm land, industrial use, graded, etc.
- Are there any structures or ponds on the site? If not, were there previously?
If you don’t have answers to these questions, a simple Google Earth – Aerial and Street View search can help you identify many of the topographic elements of your site and any unforeseen parameters that may affect the scope of the project. The county in which your project site resides may also have a GIS website to help you gain more intel. It’s important to note which season the aerial and/or street view images were taken, as each season can affect the geotechnical schedule, budget, and investigative findings in different ways. If possible, include a topographic survey and clearly marked images of your site in the RFP.
Yes, the bidder should be doing much of this research themselves, but it is not something that should be assumed or relied upon. Including as much detail as you can ensures each Bidder is aware of the site parameters, avoiding any oversights and/or overly conservative “contingencies” due to unknowns when developing a lump sum estimate.
Site Accessibility and Mobility
Moving beyond the conditions of the site, accessibility and mobility should also be considered. Getting a drill crew on an easily accessible site with few restrictive parameters is a win-win for all, but it does not happen as often as we’d like. It’s important that the items listed below are answered in the RFP, as they can affect the schedule, and therefore the Bidder’s proposed cost.
- Is there easy access to the site, or should the Bidder expect restrictions such as a dense forest or access-controlled fences or gates?
- Is it an active site? Will traffic control be needed?
- Are there constraints due to on-site operations?
- Are there traversable access roads or trails on site?
- Is the site an active roadway or pedestrian walkway?
- Will clearing be needed to navigate through and do our work in a highly wooded area?
By far, the most important (and safety-sensitive) factor to be taken into consideration is the possibility of privately-owned utilities on the site. If on-site utilities are not shown in the plans, private utility location services can be contracted for a small additional fee. This should be considered in the proposed cost and is something Bidders should not overlook given the severity and potential hazards associated with negligent utility coordination.
In addition to site specific costs, also consider your expectations on how the site should be managed.
- Does each boring site need to be thoroughly cleaned up after our work is complete? If so, take note that site restoration efforts may be an added cost.
- If applicable, what should we know about coordinating with facilities and/or grounds management? Do they have a particular schedule we should work around? Is it advised to meet with specific individuals prior to beginning field work? All of these factors affect the schedule and budget.
These questions may seem like insignificant details this early in the process, but remember more details in the RFP will result in a level playing field among all the Bidders, leading to a higher rate of success in the long-run.
In our next edition of this series, we’ll go further into accurately defining the scope of the project, even if you don’t have all the details that we discussed today.
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Download a PDF copy of The Geotechnical RFP in it’s entirety.