Some clients may not see the benefit of including Engineer Site Inspections in their budgets for Civil Engineering Services. Shoot, you're already having to figure out how to cover the basic engineering fees for the survey and design. Where are you going to find the money for that too? I know it may be tough for some to pay an engineer to observe the entire project, just to watch people work. You're think, "Heck, anyone can do that. If I do it myself that it is one less thing to add to the budget" But, that could possibly be the worst mistake ever made on a project. A mistake resulting in one of the worst cost overruns.
Most underground utility projects have the same process when they are installed by excavation. Dig a trench for utility along the proposed corridor to whatever depth is shown on the plans, backfill and compact, smooth a few of the rough edges, throw some seed and mulch down and walk away. What actually happened in the ground while they put that in? Did any of the utilities receive the proper bedding? Is it deep enough in the ground to last? Did anything get put together correctly? That seems to be a common question several years down the road when things start falling apart.
So equipment is brought out to the location of the problem area and they start digging, slowly. Once the existing utility is uncovered, it is amazing what could be found down there. Materials may vary, depth may be half of what is required, components that were paid for were never installed, or nothing appears to be installed properly.
Anyone is perfectly capable of sitting around for an eight to twelve hour day and watch people work. It does take someone experienced and with some knowledge to be out there with the Contractor and ensure the project goes according to plan and the client is left with a project that will last. So think twice before dismissing Engineering Inspection Services on your next civil engineering project. It could save you thousands of dollars when you have to call the engineer back to determine what has gone wrong and everything is being dug up.