Thinking of building a new home or structure? Before construction can even begin, it is important to find out about the quality of soil on your property. A Geotechnical report will be necessary to determine the various characteristics of the soil and if it is suitable for your building plans. A professional soil engineering service can help with either a residential or commercial project. The findings in a Geotechnical report will then be used by the contractor during the designing, construction, and completion of a project. Even when not required, this report can help reduce design and construction.
First, it is essential to hire a professional geotechnical engineer (also known as a soils engineer), in order to conduct a testing process of the soil. Their objective is to provide information on the physical properties of the soil and foundation, as well as make recommendations for the site and building design. In order to conduct the report, a drilling rig or hand operated augers will be used to extract soil samples that are sent to a geotechnical service testing lab to be analyzed. All testing should be handled by a licensed engineer and follow the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards.
The Geotech report then offers an analysis of the chemical and geotechnical qualities of your soil. The findings of a geotechnical report should include general information on:
Most importantly, within this report will be the findings of the type of soil present on site and if it is capable of supporting the proposed structure. Reports will provide a description of the site conditions and geological data, as well as provide appropriate recommendations for site preparation, drainage control, and any conditions that might affect the project. Once all geological elements of the site are identified, then the civil and structural engineer can use the Geotech report to move forward in designing the appropriate foundation and structure.
The soil report is used to assess the safety of the planned structure. But what happens if the Geotech report finds that the soil is not acceptable? The design engineer uses a geotechnical report to see if the conditions of the soil are capable of supporting the structure. Both the engineer for the project and the soil technician are looking to see if the soil allows bearing pressure and the possibility of settlement to the foundation. If the Geotechnical engineer finds that the soil conditions do not meet the necessary structural support, then they will make the appropriate suggestions on how to fix the problem. Some possible solutions may include draining groundwater, installing wider or deeper footings, alternate forms of cement to counter corrosive effects, fixing the slope of the land to prevent structure sliding or replacing the pockets of bad soil with an engineered fill. The geotechnical report will be specific in its recommendations for building a safe foundation. It is important to then share these recommendations with the structural engineer and building inspector working on the project.
The cost implications of soil testing will depend on the size and site of the proposed project. Usually, the soil is tested prior to the engineering design to provide necessary information for this phase, and the cost would range from $3000 to $5000. Although expensive, this is often a valuable investment to reduce construction costs and ensure the structure is properly supported. Seeking quotes from local geotechnical firms will help you to determine the expected cost for your project.
Soil testing is often required for projects in areas with poor soil, on hillsides, or with lots of excavation. Obtaining this report can also help your engineer ensure that your structure is designed properly while avoiding unecessary foundation costs during construction. Thus, it is always recommended to hire a professional geotechnical engineer prior to any design and construction plans. By not obtaining a geotechnical report, you run the risk of a defective structure due to unfavorable soil conditions. A geotechnical report is the best method for determining the soil properties of your building project.
Here at Design Everest we highly recommend obtaining a geotechnical report for your building project. Please contact us at 877-704-5687 to help you find a licensed, and well-established geotechnical firm.