Apart from URS Geotechnical Report October 2004 being flawed by attributing faults on Barrowfield to Westthorn, not enough detailed analysis has been done to properly calculate Abnormals, deductions prior to sale. Also a lot of the deductions are not deductions given to a client they are costs which should be borne by the buyer. We will discuss this below.
If the covering report, called the URS Geotechnical Report is compared to the detailed URS Report Appendix October 2004 in normal engineering convention it would be expected that the details to back up the Abnormals figures listed in the report summary. There is none. The author of the detailed report has not written the summary report. This has been done by a superior without reference to any detailed calculations within the detailed report apart from misusing the Barrowfield claypit, well and brick works against Westthorn. The Abnormals are conjured up from the air it seems.
A URS Graduate Engineer was allowed to do his quick flawed ‘Desk Study’ then one of superiors added the Abnormal figures into the covering letter Geotechical Report. These Abnormals are discredited because there were no proper basis to calculate them – they were unprofessionally added without proper engineering justification.
URS Desk Study
Let’s have a look at the flawed URS Report Appendix October 2004 which has the detailed analyses in it.
Firstly it’s plainly a desk study which gathers available resources, hardcopy and online, it says so on the front page and page headers:
Says Westthorn But URS Geotechnical Report October 2004 includes Barrowfield
Secondly it says only Westthorn when the URS Geotechnical Report October 2004 says it covers Celtic Sports Ground, Barrowfield, as well:
Author, Reviewed By and Revisions
Who did the report and how many times was it revised and amended?
It was completed by a Graduate Geotechnical Engineer and reviewed by two persons the same day and there was only 1 version written. This is incredibly fast.
The job did not even have a Job Number for doing the work and administration/costing is yet to catch up:
Site Visit – Oops
Desk study only. So how hard is it to visit the site to do a Ground study? Well the guy went there and couldn’t get in:
“all observations were made from the perimeter of the site”.
This whole report was made by professionals who would make an assessment of the “Ground Conditions” and who could not arrange access to the site.
This report was so quick that they could not telephone someone either at Celtic or Glasgow City Council to put their feet on the Ground. Amazingly amateurish.
Half the URS Appendix is taken up with photographs through a fence.
Data Sources Used
In the previous post, Hydracrat boreholes done in Dec 1986 and Jan 1987 were easily available from British Geological Survey. They were publicly available yet were not used. Why? To cover-up that very little was wrong with Westthorn.
Coal Workings and Mines
URS says it used the Glasgow City Council – Report E108 and part of that is a National Coal Board assessment of Westthorn . What does the National Coal Board, now called The Coal Authority, assessment of Westthorn say:
The depth of the coals layers “is considered that this would greatly minimise the risk of serious subsidence occurring”. And is overlaid by “25 to 29 metres” of deposits.
“In the circumstances, if it was necessary to have an overall development within this site, then the Board would not advise against this”. And to use “reinforced slab foundations” in specific areas.
The Coal Board says definitively that Westthorn was fine for residential development.
Again, all it takes a short phone call or online to get a new assessment. They had the Internet in 2004. The Coal Authority have all the maps and source material for assessing where coalfields were and it was not used by URS. You have to ask why?
Made Ground “may be a source of contamination and potentially landfill gas”. That would be the made ground that isn’t there on Westthorn from the previous post.
From the URS Geotechnical Report which is really a covering letter, it says –
URS say they have not done enough to estimated but what then they go ahead and calculate them.
Also that Site Investigations have to be done before relying on their abnormal and associated costs.
So let’s get this right URS report was done in October 2004 and they used Glasgow City Council resources?
BUT the Nicholson – Ground Investigation – May 2000 docs, as listed on the GCC website, were available but not used?
And it’s true. There is no mention of those reports in the Data Sources used.
But you cannot have a Geotechnical Report (done for the client) which says I’ve done Abnormals but you need site investigations to verify those figures which are guesses, Then bolt the Nicholson report on the side. The Abnormals have to be revised.
URS say in October 2004 they were given “various reports held by Glasgow City Council archive”:
Why were the Nicholson Ground Investigation – May 2000 documents not used to refine the Abnormals by URS?
There has to be a basis given for the calculation of Abnormals. The figures are just pulled out of the air and put in the covering summary URS Geotechnical Report – October 2004. There is nothing to back up those figures with details in the URS Report Appendix – October 2004. The covering letter with Abnormal figures was added after the detailed report was written. There is no breakdown of the figures anywhere.
URS Includes Contamination when URS acknowledged there was Minimal
From the District Valuer letter January 2005:
Almost a million pounds has been deducted but as the District Valuer says URS says “relatively low levels of likely contamination” existed.
URS Includes Buyer Development Costs in their Abnormals
District Valuer says the council cannot accept Abnormals based on a “desk study”. Also several costs the District Valuer refers to when he says that “In any case I do not necessarily consider that all of the costs are abnormal costs” are costs which should be borne by the buyer:
A seller is not responsible for subsidising a buyer for these costs.
The URS Abnormal figures are a professional shambles with no back-up calculations. And remember these are cascaded through the Savills report and the Scottish Government EU State Aid case reply.
A major question needs to be asked of Glasgow City Council, where is their Geotechnical Report independent of the Celtic URS one? It looks like the council’s own Geotechncial department did not want to be associated with this land sale.