Article Loss Prevention

Loss Prevention Alert 69: The need for well-defined objectives and scope agreed by the Client and Ground Engineering Specialist

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Over the last couple of years several AGS members have encountered contractual difficulties arising from the absence, or poor definition, of the objectives or scope of their work.  In some cases, this has led to substantial claims in legal disputes, in others a breakdown in the relationship with the client.

A common cause of disagreement (and in some cases legal dispute) between a client and the ground engineering specialist is a gap between the client’s expectations of the final product from a site investigation (most commonly a report) and that actually published by the specialist.  Sometimes that gap results from a shortcoming in the execution of the sitework or in the drafting of the report.  However, more often it results from a lack of clarity or agreement between the parties regarding the objectives or scope of the work / report.

LPA 69 has brought together some of these experiences, provided some examples of common issues and proposed some simple good practice measures to avoid such disputes, namely;

  1. Before you commence work, put in writing your understanding of the agreed objective(s) and the scope of work necessary to meet those objectives.
  2. Ensure the title of your work is appropriate by referring to the relevant standards and reflects the scope and methodology of the work.
  3. In your report, include a statement of the agreed objective(s) and scope of the work.

All practitioners are recommended to read the full text of LPA 69 (it is only 1500 words), to publicise or otherwise transmit this out to their teams, and (hopefully) to avoid these potential pitfalls in their future work. LPA 69 can be downloaded for free on the AGS website.

This topic of scope and objectives is one of the areas being covered at the half-day AGS Commercial Risks and How to Manage Them Conference which is taking place on Wednesday 22nd January 2020 at the Manchester Conference Centre in Manchester. For further information on the conference and to book your place to attend, please visit the AGS website or email

Article provided by Hugh Mallett, Technical Director at BuroHappold Engineering.