Making a Differing Site Conditions Claim

Any time a piling contractor bids a job, steps foot on the site, and starts driving a pile, there is a real risk that the indications of subsurface conditions in the geotechnical report and soils borings don't match up to what's encountered. The blow counts go way up, or the pile sinks like in quicksand. where the presumed bedrock has disappeared. The differing site conditions (DSC) clause is mandatory of federally funded projects and in most state public contract codes. This should be easy, right? Yet there is often no fight harder fought when a DSC claim is made. Why is that?

Well, one may start by saying, "human nature." We like things going "according to plan:" There is resistance to acknowledging a claim condition before knowing its cost. It seems the practical intent of DSC clauses has become lost in the adversarial nature of today's contracting, which resemble the old saying in Alaska, "If it happens to you, it's your fault."