Why A Geotechnical Engineer/Lawyer?

The construction process is vulnerable to disputes because projects involve multiple parties, each with his own agenda and needs. Furthermore, each project is prototypical with a unique site and unique owner goals. Construction is the most litigious sector of our economy and geotechnical issues create more construction disputes than any other discipline.

The industry has long recognized the need for alternatives to litigation to resolve these disputes. Standard form agreements have specified binding arbitration for final adjudication for over a century. Over the last 30 years, the professions have worked diligently to minimize the number of disputes that require adjudication by implementing Loss Prevention, Partnering, Dispute Review Boards, Mediation, and other innovative ADR procedures.

As attempts to resolve disputes in the construction industry move away from the jobsite, the parties find less efficiency and less effectiveness. Of course, all of the parties strive to avoid disputes by anticipating them and taking measures to avoid them. However, despite best efforts, disputes emerge.

Fair resolution of construction disputes must be based on a clear understanding of the professional relationship between the parties, the technical issues central to the dispute, and the law. Most engineers and construction professionals can understand the technical issues and discern those central to a dispute. Further, most design and construction professionals understand the relational issues. However, most of them lack sufficient knowledge of the law and formal adjudication. Most lawyers on the other hand can provide the legal insights necessary to place the dispute into a valid context, but they usually do not understand the relevant technical issues and may have an inadequate understanding of relational contexts.

An engineer/lawyer brings expertise in all three critical areas to the negotiation and adjudication processes. A geotechnical engineer/lawyer is uniquely qualified to respond to the array of construction disputes arising so frequently from earth and foundation design and construction. Mr. Cheeks' vast experience as a forensic geotechnical engineer over the last 30 years further enhances his value to parties engaged in the design and construction of earth and earth supported structures.


Copyright 2004 Richard Cheeks