VOLUME Construction Advisor Today   ISSUE 74   SEPTEMBER 24, 2010


A Discussion of differing site conditions usually focuses on the degree of difference. To what extent did the actual conditions in the field differ from the representations in the contract documents? Or, to what extent did the conditions in the field differ from what an experienced contractor could reasonably anticipate? Rarely is there any discussion of what constitutes a site “condition.”


The Virginia Supreme Court recently addressed this question. The Court said the duration of high water could not be a “Type I” differing site condition regardless of deviation from representations in the contract documents. The duration of the high water was not a latent physical condition which existed at the time of contract formation. Fortunately for the contractor, the Court ruled that the duration of the high water was so unprecedented it could not have been anticipated and constituted a “Type II” differing site condition.


California's Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and state business leaders have launched a 2010-2012 Zero Net Energy (ZNE) Action Plan for the state. The effort is designed to help commercial building owners in the state take advantage of the latest technologies and financial incentives to help reduce building energy use to "net-zero" through greater efficiency and on-site "clean energy" production.


ZNE buildings have a net energy consumption of zero over a typical year. On-site solar, wind, and other renewable energy resources generate the amount of energy used by the building. To date, California is estimated to have more ZNE buildings than any other state. Technologies needed to achieve ZNE, including high-performance lighting and distributed generation such as rooftop solar, are considered widely available and incentivized.


Several developments involving construction productivity have emerged in the United Kingdom, Singapore, and Australia.


Among the developments, the U.K.'s Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) recently released information indicating that the construction industry average productivity per employee increased by 15 percent in 2009, the sharpest increase in the last five years.





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