#105 - Case History - Friends Don't Sue Friends….Most of the Time


September 21st, 2021

32 mins 44 secs

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About this Episode

GBA Case History Series – Case History #105 - Friends don't sue Friends….Most of the Time


A GBA member-Firm was hired to perform a geotechnical engineering study of the project site and provide a written report describing its subsurface conditions. This same fir provided construction materials engineering and testing (CoMET) during site development and construction of a mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) wall. Failed communication between the field representative, member firm's project manager and the design team during construction of a MSE wall led to cracks in the building slab and in the wall blocks and ultimately a claim.

Our Guest

Dan Schaefer – Vice President/Froehling & Robertson, Inc. (Link to Profile)

Dan has more than 30 years of experience specializing in geotechnical engineering, construction inspection and materials testing, and environmental consulting. In addition to his branch management duties, he continues to serve as a senior engineer on a wide variety of site development, building, and transportation projects with particular emphasis in foundation, retaining wall, pavement and slope design. Dan is actively involved with the Geoprofessional Business Association (GBA) and has been a member of the GBA CoMET Business Committee for more than 10 years, currently serving as that body’s Chair.

Topics for discussion include:

  • Case History 105 - Introductions - [1:20]
  • Case History 105 - Overview - [1:58]
  • Unfortunate events of Case History 105- [3:50]
  • Did the client excluding the MSE wall testing services from your scope and fee raise any red flags? – [7:48]
  • Several factors let to shrinkage cracks within the foundation slab– Why was the client & contractor initially unconcerned? - [12:16]
  • Field technician – What could have been done differently during construction? – [15:00]
  • If you were the project manager (PM) what would you have done differently? – [17:25]
  • What are the pitfalls of residential projects? – [19:35]
  • After litigation what did your firm do to prevent this from happening in the future? – [22:22]
  • Could there have been better documentation by your firm, PM, or field tech? – [25:15]
  • Discuss importance of PM and their tasks they should be performing- [26:20]
  • What are some of the things your firm could do to reduce risk? - [28:30]
  • After the lawsuit did your firm continue to work w/ client? – [29:45]



This episode was produced by the following GBA Members: