Why are geotechnical investigations important?

When we think of construction work, we often picture the construction site or even the completed project. People tend to forget the planning, investigations and groundwork that take place onsite before even a brick is laid down.

Without a desktop study, site investigation and potential remedial work taking place, many projects can’t go ahead.  If a project was to go ahead without the benefit of these preliminary assessments, it could create a problem later down the line.

The conditions of the ground on a site are very variable. In fact, the composition of the land can even vary across a short distance. This means there could be a few environmental issues, such as drainage, on one site which could impact how the land will react to new development.  In addition, site history also has a considerable impact on how the land will react to added pressures or changes.

Why are geotechnical investigations important?

Geotechnical investigations are important when it comes to these considerations: 

Composition of the ground

Land made up of soft soils or that has been previously filled can create issues with development as it settles over time.

A detailed investigation allows you to highlight issues that are not immediately obvious. Without an investigation, you could end up with ground movement which will create problems for any structures built on the land.

Stability of the land

In addition to the climate in general, unusually high rainfall can have an impact on the stability of the land significantly over time. 

Geotechnical investigations assess surface and groundwater drainage conditions. The reports produced also outline the impact that development would have.

Site history

The history of a site gives valuable insight into how it will potentially behave with additional development. 

For example, in areas where coal mining was prevalent, there is a high risk that the ground may collapse. This is in addition to issues arising from waste. Sticking with the coal mining example, other issues could be hazardous gases, contaminated water and risk of fire. Geotechnical investigations allow you to fully assess the risks and get foresight on the outcome of your project.

Ground movement

Clay shrinkage, basement excavation, tunnelling and swelling can all cause ground movement. Geotechnical investigations give insight into the potential ground movement which may occur on site.

They also assess the impact of development on buildings and structures close by. This ensures that you can put measures in place to prevent any damage.

Other than looking at price, how should you choose a company to conduct geotechnical investigations?

Although looking at price is a good start, buying on price alone is not a good choice for your project. Instead, you should be looking at the value you get for the money you’ll spend. 

Without doing this you could end up with:

  • A poorly conducted site survey
  • Under-sampling or the inability to complete the correct sampling 
  • Failure to respond to the needs of the site
  • Poor analysis from site samples resulting in inaccurate or unreliable results
  • Difficult to read or inadequate reports
  • Slow turnaround time
  • Wasted money and time as you’ll need to complete the process again

Cutting corners may well come back to bite you later on. The entire purpose of geotechnical investigations is to provide accurate analysis. The right firm will save you money while offering high-quality solutions to mitigate risk and tackle concerns in a swift manner. 

So, how do you find the right company to conduct Geotechnical Investigations?

Create a checklist of what your expectations are of a company you’re willing to work with. Include questions like:

  • Will the company take their time to understand your project clearly?
  • Will their reporting be tailored to support your project accurately?
  • Can they work to meet your project deadline?
  • Are they able to find the issues and offer solutions?
  • Do they have a good reputation?
  • What previous work have they done and who for?
  • Do they have testimonials you can easily find?    

At Your Environment, you’ll always find yourself in safe hands. We are there to make sure you can manage your project in a timely fashion and within budget.   

You can be confident in the outcome of your project knowing that we never compromise on quality. Instead, we focus on giving value to our customers and prioritising their deadlines. For information or advice, get in touch.