In this part of the world little emphasis is placed on soil test before a building is erected, hence, there is a need to bring this aspect of structural engineering under radar and this article attempts to do justice to that.
Building projects require careful and thorough planning because they can have a major impact on their surroundings. Whether you’re building a house or commercial building, it all starts with the foundation.
Since the foundation holds the entire structure, it’s of the utmost importance that it’s rock solid. This is where soil investigation plays a vital role that will enable you to plan your foundation work properly and precisely.
However, before undertaking your building project, you should learn more about soil investigation and its importance for construction projects.
What is soil investigation?
Soil investigation, also called geo-technical investigation, represents a method of determining physical properties of soil at a construction site. This procedure is done with the aim of establishing whether soil is safe and solid for construction. Not until the soil samples are analysed can a construction project start.
Soil investigation entails the application of several different methods and represents an essential part of the building and site preparation process.
The results of this below-ground investigation can affect the development of the construction project.
Why is soil investigation important?
Although many people fail to recognise the importance of soil investigation, this is a vital and necessary step of the construction process. Don’t be misled into thinking that if the neighbouring areas conducted a geotechnical investigation and finished their buildings, you don’t have to go through the same process because of the vicinity.
In fact, the characteristics of soil can vary significantly depending on location and can affect the stability of the foundation. Other factors, including weather, soil management and climate changes, can also affect soil properties and, thus, the building.
This step of the construction process bears such a great importance because it can cause foundation failures due to the insufficient bearing capacity of the soil. This can pose a serious threat to the safety of the nearby area. If the soil isn’t appropriate for a certain construction, it may even collapse, endangering homes and lives of other people.
As already mentioned, the results of soil investigation can affect the entire building project. Depending on the bearing capacity of soil, its properties, the rate of soil settlement and other relevant data, engineers need to adjust the depth and type of the foundation, decide on the necessary construction elements, choose appropriate building techniques and predict possible problems and solutions.
Finally, soil investigation provides you with a certain level of predictability and stability when it comes to possible construction expenses.
By conducting this type of investigation, you’ll be able to anticipate any possible problems and plan your finances accordingly.
Otherwise, you might start your building project and invest a lot of money only to realise that soil isn’t appropriate for it.
What are the methods of soil investigation?
The entire process of soil investigation entails different steps and methods that may vary depending on the agency that provides this service. However, there are several standard methods: inspection, test pits, probing and boring.
Inspection is the first step and entails the examination of the site, adjacent buildings and their foundations and possibly nearby areas. Afterwards, test pits are dug with the aim of collecting samples, while probing will provide you with a deeper insight into the underlying soil.
For a more detailed analysis, boreholes are made, which enables gathering the information on soil/rock strata, soil properties, and ground waters. If you’re undertaking an environmental project, you can hire professionals providing environmental drilling services, such as the installation of groundwater monitoring wells, discrete soil sampling, or continuous soil sampling.
All of these methods are essential for a detailed analysis of soil that will ensure the safety and stability of your project.
Soil investigation is a crucial step of the construction process that will affect your entire project. By conducting a geotechnical investigation, you’ll will be able to design a solid building plan, anticipate any possible problems and avoid any additional expenses.