When you look out across a prospective building site, there are many things that you can tell simply by looking around the area. You can see whether the site is a suitable size for your building project. You can examine the local area and see whether what you are building will fit with neighbouring properties. You can assess the area for any natural hazards that could create an obstacle to obtaining planning permission or that might make the building work difficult. However, what you can see on the surface of the ground is only part of the picture. Any building work relies on a foundation to ensure that the finished structure will be strong and long-lasting. Creating that foundation will depend on a geotechnical engineer.
What type of foundation is required?
Many factors can affect the type of foundation that your building needs. The weight and design of the structure are important, but so is the type of soil on the site, and the condition of the ground below the surface. A geotechnical engineer can examine the soil and determine whether it is capable of providing sufficient support for your building and whether there are any other issues of concern, such as contamination.
How will a geotechnical engineer work?
The geotechnical engineer must spend time examining the soil in different places across your land. They will take samples away for analysis and see what physical, chemical, and mechanical properties the soil possesses. They will be looking at the percolation efficiency and the strength and stability of the soil before deciding on the type of foundation needed for a building of the proposed size and weight. In addition to the soil, the geotechnical engineer will also look below ground level to see if any dangers are buried in the ground. Their investigation might expose remains of past building projects, or perhaps, an underground cave system that could pose subsidence risks for your building.
Knowing what is hidden out of sight can be invaluable in planning your new structure.
What might their investigation show?
Once the geotechnical engineer has produced their report, you will know how to proceed with your project safely and produce a stable, long-lasting building. In addition to identifying poor soil conditions and relics of past work on the site, you can expect a geotechnical engineer to identify any areas of contamination or potential contamination hazards on the site. They will make recommendations and indicate the best way for you to proceed with your plans.