Report Loss Prevention

Loss Prevention Working Group Report

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Hugh Mallett, Chairman LPWG writes:

The group is drafting articles and guidance on a number of issues that are important to AGS members, see below for the list of our ongoing work programme and soon to be available guidance.


The LPWG met once since the November Committee meeting – 22nd Jan 2015. No calls have been made to the Legal or Chemical Helplines since the last LPWG meeting.

A Griffiths & Armour publication on claims “Professional Indemnity Insurance: Lessons to be learnt” is to be made available to AGS members via the new website

LPWG generally agrees with putting some documents behind a paywall on the new AGS website. There is also support for a knowledge hub (e-learning) that could be considered as a future initiative for students.

Loss Prevention Alerts (LPAs) are still in high demand for downloading [20 LPAs downloaded >100 times between Oct and Jan].

New member has joined the  group, Nora Fung – Arup legal.

Recently Published


  1. Elvanite Vs Amec- Limitations of Liability
  2. BGS – Deposition of Data


LPA 58 – Risks associated with as built drawings.
LPA 59 – The Consequences of Damage to Underground Services LPA 60 – What is meant by Supervision?

Work in Progress

  • LPAs
  • Summaries for the web site being reviewed and edited for accuracy.
  • Permission is being sought for publication of LPA 09 [Mott MacDonald case] online.
  • Contractors seeking contractual indemnities from their Sub Contractors. Ready for publication

Net Contribution Clauses: Newsletter article prepared. Authorisation to publish being sought from Griffiths & Armour.

Document on Ground Investigation Reporting (GIR/ GDR): Initial redraft prepared by J Strange – subject to further review/ comment. Now held to be consistent with revised BS5930.

Asbestos & deleterious materials: Newsletter article to be prepared [may also pick up discussion at Members Day]. Article on insurance cover re asbestos last published in 2011 to be re-published.

Collateral Warranties: Griffiths & Armour being approached to allow their Collateral Warranties – Basic Guide to be made available to AGS members. If permission is granted a short article highlighting its availability to be prepared for the Newsletter.

Expert Advisor and Expert Witness: Newsletter article being prepared. 1 of 2

Copyright Paper on copyright issues: drafted [advice to Members on copyright and on issues arising from use of reports and drawings in planning process].

PI Insurance for Contaminated Land: NEC3 contract requires insurance terms to be on an each and every claim basis. Aggregate cover only available for contaminated land (and asbestos and radioactivity). A newsletter article is being drafted.

Guide to report writing: Newsletter article drafted to advertise the guidance to AGS Members. The Guide itself was up-dated, but never published. Up-dated version to be retrieved, put on the web site and publicised in Newsletter.

Limitation period and defects liability: Article being drafted

Confidentiality and Intellectual Property Rights: issues for Staff on Secondment Loss Prevention Guidance drafted to address some of the issues arising from secondment of staff.

Signing contracts under duress: Newsletter article being prepared.

Client Guide: What Institutions, Trade Associations or other organisations might a Client expect a Geotechnical/Geoenvironmental Company and their employees to belong to? Paper in preparation.

Piling Damage to Live Railway Tunnel. Paper in preparation.


Article Safety

AGS Insurance Questions

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1. What is the insurance position if there is third party damage when acting as a consultant?

Basically the answer depends on two aspects:-

1. Who is responsible for the damage – i.e. who was negligent. 2. Was there any specific reference to liabilities within the contract?

Every person has a duty of care under the Common Law of the country towards every other person and their possessions. If you cause loss, damage, injury or death by your own negligence then you are responsible, irrespective of the capacity that you were acting in at the time of the occurrence.

A standard Public Liability Insurance covers you against your actions in the course of your business and will indemnify you against payments incurred (excluding fines), providing that you are proven to be negligent.

In a private capacity similar cover is provided by a Personal Liability policy.

It is possible that any contract you enter into may make some stipulation regarding responsibility – especially in relation to third party property. This may place or allocate responsibility but there must still be a negligent act to trigger the event.

There is a possibility that in some circumstances negligence – and therefore liability – could be apportioned between two parties involved in a single incident. A typical example could be where a Consultant is instructed specifically where to drill for soil samples – being assured by the Contractor that the area is totally clear of underground pipework. If work starts and there is something underground that becomes ruptured or severed (water or electric) then there could be a share of negligence. The Contractor would point to the fact that the Consultant should have checked the situation for himself before proceeding, whereas the Consultant would say that he only bored where specifically instructed with confirmation that the area was clear. It is likely that in these circumstances the liability would be shared equally by the two parties.

2. Levels of care and skill.

This is not always very clear from an insurance point of view and it can become a legal issue.

English law is founded on the principle of “reasonableness”, which basically says that all matters are decided based on whether those involved had acted in a manner which was considered, in their particular circumstances, to be that expected by an ordinary person – once defined as “the man on the Clapham Omnibus”.

It is rare for an insurance policy to make any specific reference to levels of care and skill but there would be an assumption that both would be adequate for the task being undertaken. Insurance policies are written on the basis of “utmost good faith” which means that the Insured has told the Underwriter everything that is relevant to the cover being sought. Obviously the Underwriter is also free to ask any suitable questions on the matter as he thinks fit.

One area where skill levels do specifically come in for consideration is in respect of Health and Safety. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act there is a stipulation that all businesses should have access to a “competent person”. This term is not defined within the Act but the Health and Safety Executive have indicated that it means a person who has sufficient training and sufficient knowledge to be able to undertake the task.

A similar situation applies in respect of Statutory Inspections of plan and equipment where it is stipulated that such inspections must be undertaken by a “competent person”.