I practice in an area where there a few native sites being developed. Most sites are covered with a decent thickness of non-engineered fill ranging from practically trash to soils that require an experienced eye to discern whether it is made ground or not. Since such materials are "undocumented" unless available records indicate otherwise, we require complete removal (over-excavation and replacement) within the influence zone under footings and slabs. This is of course when shallow foundations are specified and the cost to remove the fill is more economic than deep foundations or in-situ ground improvement. Regardless of the number of borings or tests pits that have been done during the site investigation phase (and logs included in the bid documents), the company I work for elects to bid such projects as lump sum unless the client requires otherwise. This requires the contractor to inherit more risk and interpret the subsurface data to estimate a volume of artificial fill to base his bid. I'm just curious to know what people's thoughts on this are and if there are better ways of doing it. I've had a few instances now where contractors don't seem to realize that the undocumented fill had to be removed, even though it states it in the bid drawings and specifications. Most of these projects are for public clients who are required by law to accept the lowest bid.
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