Have you ever seen a building project abandoned before completion? Maybe you have heard of buildings collapsing only a few years after they opened? Often, the reason for these project failures has nothing to do with the quality of the building work or problems with the company running the project. Frequently when problems emerge before or soon after completion, it is the ground that is at fault. Perhaps, the required checks were not made before the project was started? Maybe someone changed the building specifications part-way through the project without considering the effect on the foundation? It is always best to work with a consulting geotechnical engineer to avoid any problems with your building project.
What could a consulting geotechnical engineer find?
A consulting geotechnical engineer will use their equipment to take soil samples from many locations across the proposed building site. They will be examining the properties of the soil in each location. The engineer will also be looking for any signs of contamination in or near the site. They will look below the ground to see if there is anything there that might be a cause for concern.
There are many things that soil samples could reveal about the condition of the site. The consulting geotechnical engineer will run tests to determine the strength of the soil. They will also look at the other physical, mechanical and chemical properties that could impact how the soil can be used.
Sometimes, contamination can be seen through a visual inspection of the site. Sometimes, testing the soil samples will tell you that remediation is needed. At other times, the contamination may be potential rather than actual. Perhaps, work on the site could affect the local ecosystem or cause harmful materials to access the site from elsewhere. A geotechnical engineer will be aware of these concerns and highlight any potential problems in their report.
Below the ground
Below ground level, there could be a natural cave system that will cause problems for the proposed foundation of the building. Alternatively, there could be relics from the prior occupation of the site. Maybe pipework or even water tanks buried deep in the soil. Unless these are removed or avoided, they could cause problems when you start to build.
Resolving the problems
A consulting geotechnical engineer does not just highlight problems. They work hard to find solutions so that your project can proceed safely. They can identify the best approach to remediation so all contamination can be removed. They can suggest an alternative type of foundation or piling to provide a stable foundation whatever the weight of the building.
Contact a local geotechnical engineer before you start your project.