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ASFE Publishes New Model Contract Set
March 30, 2005

The all-new ASFE/Terra Model Contract Set has been published by ASFE/The Best People on Earth and Terra Insurance Company (A Risk Retention Group). The Model Contract Set comprises eight new model contracts and a comprehensive users’ guide. ASFE is a not-for-profit trade association whose members are geotechnical, civil, and environmental engineering firms that provide a diverse array of “earth engineering” services. Terra issues professional liability insurance (PLI) coverage to ASFE member firms only. It is one of the oldest and most successful U.S.-based PLI providers.

The new Model Contract Set is available to ASFE nonmembers only as a CD ROM, where the eight model agreements are presented in both .PDF and MSWord versions. The MSWord versions are protected to show all changes from the original, in part to facilitate discussion with attorneys. ASFE members have the option of downloading models from the ASFE website.

The eight models comprise two prime contracts and two versions of each of three subcontracts. The two prime contracts – one for environmental services and the other for geotechnical engineering services – are for use between the consultant and an owner or some other client entity (other than a higher-tier consultant).

The three subcontracts cover subconsulting, drilling, and laboratory services. Each is offered in a “symmetrical” and an “asymmetrical” version. The symmetrical models allocate risk in favor of neither party. As such, they can be used when the consulting firm involved is retaining a subconsultant, driller, or laboratory, or when the consultant is itself being retained by others to provide such services.

The three asymmetrical subcontract models allocate risk in favor of the consultant, and thus should not be used by a consultant that is offering to provide subconsultant, drilling, or laboratory services to others.

The new ASFE/Terra Model Contract Set is the result of in-depth collaboration between Terra’s legal staff and ASFE’s Legal Affairs Committee. The Committee comprises ASFE member firms’ in-house and retained counsel.

The new ASFE/Terra Model Contract Set can be purchased at ASFE’s on-line bookshop: The price to nonmembers is $750 ASFE member firms pay nothing.

Established in 1969, ASFE develops programs, services, and materials its members apply to enhance their business practices and “prosper through professionalism.” Members are professional firms that offer “earth engineering” and related applied science services, such as: geotechnical, environmental, and civil engineering; geology, biology, ecology, and archeology; brownfields revitalization; infrastructure security; construction and program management; and construction materials engineering and testing. A member firm’s technical activities must be under the full-time control of an individual who is legally and/or ethically bound to hold paramount public health, safety, and welfare. Individual memberships are available by invitation.

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