Although a contractor encountered subsurface conditions in a dredging project that it may not have anticipated, it was unable to prove that the hard material was a differing site condition. The contractor’s claim was that it had encountered a Type I differing site condition. The Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals denied the claim, stating that the contractor had not proven that the actual conditions differed materially from those indicated in the solicitation. The ASBCA reiterated the four elements of proof that a contractor must meet in order to prevail on a Type I differing site conditions claim, as follows:
1) The conditions in the contract must have differed materially from those encountered.
2) The actual conditions must not have been reasonably foreseeable based upon all of the information available to the contractor at bid time.
3) The contractor must have reasonably relied upon its interpretation of the contract and the contract-related documents. (In this case, there were additional boring logs referenced in the solicitation that were available upon request).
4) The contractor must have been damaged by the actual, materially different, conditions.
In denying the contractor’s claim for a differing site condition, the ASBCA held that “a contractor has a duty to review information that is made available for inspection.” The Board of Contract Appeals determined that had the bidder reviewed the referenced boring logs in conjunction with those appended to the solicitation, the site conditions encountered would have been reasonably foreseeable. The ASBCA found that the actual conditions, including rock, cemented sand, and other hard materials were reasonably foreseeable based upon the borings in the solicitation and the additional borings referenced in the solicitation as being available upon request. See Appeal of Bean Stuyvesant L.L.C.