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Differing site conditions may result in construction disputes

For individuals who have a home custom-built in California, it is an exciting time. The new homeowners have the opportunity to choose the materials, colors and furnishings used in every room. In the rush to begin creating the interior design, the home site may be overlooked. The ground conditions and underlying issues can be critical to the project's timeline.

According to Spire Consulting Group, unforeseen and unexpected conditions may occur during construction projects. Differing site conditions can affect the timeline for completion and the final cost of the home. Provisions in the contract typically identify how the parties involved should document and communicate the specific issues that impact the project. Anticipating the particular problems can be more complicated.

Trauner Consulting Services reports that the presences of rocks and other ground conditions may cause construction delays. There are generally two types of differing site conditions. Type 1 instances are those in which the subsurface or physical conditions of the land are different than those stated in the contract. Type 2 instances are when the materials encountered are unusual from those considered inherent to the area.

Debris may be buried in vacant urban and suburban lots that are near older developments. Removing timber, metal, concrete and other rubble takes time. Undisclosed utility lines can affect not only the active project but also the surrounding area.

If the contract indicates that the land in the site area consists of soft soil, but the contractor encounters rock, this may change the cost of construction. Depending on the type of soil, the builder may also find running ground conditions, which can affect the anticipated construction slope. Modification of excavation techniques and building materials may be necessary.

There are often unexpected conditions when breaking ground and excavating a new project. Although this risk is an accepted part of the construction industry, if the contractor cannot establish the construction delay is due to differing site conditions, or if there was no due diligence before starting to dig, there may grounds for a construction dispute.

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