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Basement Floatation – England

Client: Engineer

The property had a single storey basement over the entire footprint.  Construction of the basement, within an open excavation, was essentially complete when the site was closed down for a two week period.  On returning to the site it was discovered that the excavation had filled with water and the basement box was floating some 700mm above formation level.

WJM&P were engaged by solicitors acting for the Engineer to determine the cause of the flotation and whether there were any shortcomings in the Engineer’s work in this respect.  Our investigation revealed that water ingress had been an ongoing issue, which was dealt with by temporary pumping.  Over the two week site close down the pumps had been removed, resulting in the excavation filling with water and the basement box floating. 

The Employer claimed that the Engineer should have warned the Contractor of the risk of flotation associated with removing the pumps.  The dispute was resolved in an Adjudication.

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