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92 O. Cls. Reporter's Statement of the Case As to "business and technical experience and organization" plaintiff stated in its bid:
J. P. Carlin, President, C. E. as president of the P. J. Carlin Construction Co., handled about $75,000,000.00 of work, a good deal of which was of this nature, with 34 years of experience, as engineer, Supt. of Const., and Executive.
H. V. Carlin, Vice President, has about 25 years of experience as Estimator, Supt. of Construction & Executive, and handled about $35,000,000.00 of work of similar character.
S. Kent, C. E., Chief Engineer, has about 25 years of experience as Engineer & Chief Engineer for this Company, was in charge of work totalling about $25,
000,000.00, including work of this nature. A "General Description of Proposed Method of Constructing Pier Bases and Other Work” was set forth by the bidder in writing as follows:
Materials will be received either by rail or barge. If by barge, as now seems likely, a slip will be dredged and a dock built near each of the four channel piers, sufficient in size and plant to properly execute the work.
The four channel piers of the two bridges will be built by the open cofferdam method. The site will be excavated as deep as is possible in the dry with the aid of wellpoints (we believe to Elevation 85.0), the banks taking a natural slope of about 1 on 1. From this point to a level about ten feet below the pier base steel sheathing will be driven. With the aid of wellpoints, the excavation will be carried down in the dry to the level of the top of the base. Steel rangers and steel and timber bracing will be employed. Thereafter the excavation will be done in the wet and pumping abandoned. The framing will be extended above the water line to provide a working platform and guides. The base con. crete will be placed under water, employing six one-yard bottom dump buckets. The subgrade for the concrete base will be prepared by divers with the aid of a small
clamshell bucket and pump and sounding lines. Eleven contractors other than the plaintiff submitted bids for the work, some of whom proposed to use the open cofferdam method and others the caisson method of construction.
5. Plaintiff's bid was accepted and the contract was awarded thereto. The formal contract was entered into
Reporter's Statement of the Case November 27, 1933, between P. J. Carlin Construction Co. by its Vice President, H. V. Carlin, and the United States by its contracting officer R. Park, Lt. Col., Corps of Engineers. The agreement provided that the contractor should “furnish all labor and materials and perform all work required for the construction of the substructures of two highway bridges over the Cape Cod Canal, Massachusetts, near the villages of Bourne and Sagamore, in the Town of Bourne, Massachusetts,” according to specifications, sched
” ules, and drawings. The specifications were those attached to the invitation for bids. The work was to commence within ten calendar days after the date of receipt by the contractor of notice to proceed, and be completed within eight months after such date.
6. Plaintiff, on December 13, 1933, requested of the contracting officer his approval of Blakeslee-Rollins Corporation as subcontractor to do all the excavating required, and to furnish and provide the cofferdams for the four main channel piers at Bourne and Sagamore, including the placing of the seal concrete, material for which was to be furnished by the plaintiff. This approval was forthcoming the next day, December 14, 1933.
The construction of these two highway bridges was part of a comprehensive program adopted by the Government early in 1932 which included also the deepening and widening of the Cape Cod Canal throughout its entire length and the construction of a railroad bridge over the canal approximately three-quarters of a mile north of the highway bridges. At the time when the consulting engineers were preparing plans and specifications for the construction of the highway bridges, another firm of consulting engineers, Parsons, Klapp, Brinckerhoff & Douglas, were preparing plans and specifications for the construction of the railroad bridge. Parsons, Klapp, Brinckerhoff & Douglas had supervised the designing and building of the original Cape Cod Canal between the years 1910 and 1915, and by reason thereof had become possessed of knowledge that boulders were distributed throughout the entire area of the canal and were liable to be encountered at any point. They recommended to the contracting officer on that job, who also was 92 C. Cls. Reporter's Statement of the Case the contracting officer on the present job, that the core-boring method be adopted for testing the subsurface conditions at the site of the railroad bridges and that the caisson method only be used in the construction of the piers. The fact that Parsons, Klapp, Brinckerhoff & Douglas had made these recommendations to the contracting officer was unknown to plaintiff at the time of the submission of its bid and was also unknown to its subcontractor at the time of making the contract with plaintiff.
Between March 1, 1933, and November 1, 1933, the Construction Materials Company, an independent dredging contractor, was engaged under contract, in widening and deepening the canal throughout practically its entire length. While performing the work the contractor encountered subsurface boulder and rock conditions that made it impossible for it to carry on the work and was compelled because of that fact to cease work under and to abandon the contract.
7. The Blakeslee-Rollins Corporation had been engaged in the kind of work required by the defendant for a number of years. All its officers were experienced construction engineers and some of them were familiar with soil conditions in the vicinity of the proposed bridges. Some of its officers and employees had been engaged in the construction of other bridges at the Cape Cod Canal and at the time it entered into the subcontract with the plaintiff, had itself filed a bid with the defendant for the performance of similar work on a new railroad bridge about three-quarters of a mile away from the sites of the bridges involved in this case. Officers and employees of the plaintiff's subcontractor had investigated both the site of the railroad bridge and the sites of the bridges involved in this case and had studied the wash-boring information concerning the area of the three bridges. As a result of the investigation and study by the Blakeslee-Rollins Corporation, the company was fully aware of the existence of boulders and that the same would present difficulties to the driving of steel sheet piling in the cofferdams.
8. The actual work of construction began on or about December 18, 1933.
Reporter's Statement of the Case
The four main channel piers with which this suit particularly has to do are designated Bourne North, Bourne South, Sagamore North, and Sagamore South.
Because of the difficulties encountered in driving the cofferdams none of the excavations was carried down to the originally prescribed elevations.
In the cofferdam method of construction the object is to drive the steel sheet piling around the perimeter down to the desired grade and thereafter excavate within the cofferdam down toward the toe of the steel sheet piling, or sheeting. Enough of the toe is left in the ground to effect a good hold and prevent outside pressure from forcing the sheeting inward. The sheeting consists of long steel pieces that interlock with each other as they are driven down. Under favorable circumstances the sheeting is hammered down uniformly. In the instant case much of the sheeting was obstructed by boulders, single boulders or nested.
When a piece of sheeting was thus held up on boulders the ground was excavated down below the boulders, the boulders thus exposed were removed, freeing the toe of the sheeting so that the sheeting could be driven on down.
The site of each of the four main channel piers was crowded with boulders and impacted gravel, so much so that whereas the supervising engineers for the Government had estimated the time for driving the sheeting for one pier would be about two weeks, the actual time consumed by the subcontractor for each pier was three and a half to four and a half months, the subcontractor working simultaneously, skillfully, and diligently on each excavation.
The extent of the obstructions varied. The least difficulty was met with at Sagamore North, where most of the sheeting was got down to grade; the greatest difficulty was at Bourne South, where most of the sheeting was hung up on boulders, standing in the air for a long time, until the excavation was sufficiently deep for their removal.
The excessive hammering of the sheeting and the drastic measures necessary to remove the boulders added to the dangerous condition of the ground by destroying its stability, and outside pressure forced into the cofferdams water and 92 C. Cls. Reporter's Statement of the Case sand to such an extent as to make the work hazardous and expensive.
All these conditions were observed by the Government engineers as the work progressed, and conferences between representatives of the parties regarding the situation were frequent.
9. The subsurface conditions as they became revealed by the subcontractor's operations gave concern to the Government engineers as to whether the foundations could rest on natural soil, as provided by Article 302 of the specifications. Article 302 provided : "The four Main Channel Piers shall be of concrete resting on undisturbed natural soil at or below the elevations shown on the contract plans." It was apparent to them also that were an attempt made to force the cofferdams down to the originally prescribed grade there would be grave danger of their collapse.
They accordingly decided that the elevations should be changed and that three of the four main channel piers should rest on piles.
The first Change Order, No. 4, issued by the contracting officer (successor), affecting the four main channel piers was dated June 21, 1934, and read in part as follows:
Under the provisions of Article 3 of the contract the drawings and specifications of the contract are changed to provide for a higher elevation of the base, it having been disclosed in the excavation that the character of the material is distinctly better than had been anticipated, having a higher
load-carrying capacity and more resistance to erosion. The channel pier at Bourne South shall be modified as follows:
Establish the bottom of the concrete seal or base of the Bourne South Channel Pier at elevation 55; reduce the thickness of this concrete base from 25 feet to 21 feet; reduce the height of the lower pedestals of the concrete shafts from 20 feet to 17 feet, leave the lower portion of the steel sheet piling of the existing cofferdam in place, and cut off and remove that part of the steel sheeting above elevation 80, all as shown on the
plan attached hereto. The contract price, by this order, was decreased by $3,500.
The next Change Order, No. 5, was issued June 29, 1934. This order, in part, read as follows: