The UK construction industry is in the midst of a boom. There is a huge demand for building works creating a lot of opportunities for developers. But before you can start work on any site, it’s important to understand what type of ground you have beneath your feet – just one wrong move could lead to disaster. That’s where geotechnical surveying comes in.

Geotechnical surveys are done by drilling boreholes into the ground and taking samples from different depths. This provides valuable information about the soil consistency, groundwater levels, and other soil properties. The samples are then taken, analysed in a lab and recommendations for construction created based on the results.

A geotechnical survey can be used when purchasing land or before beginning construction on existing property. This article will cover how you can benefit from having one done as well as what it entails to get your own completed quickly.

Geotechnical surveys are used to:

  • Determine soil conditions. If the structure is sitting on a weak foundation, it may need to be moved or fixed before construction can take place.
  • Create a design based on the location of natural events, such as earthquakes and floods, which could damage the land.
  • Find out how high water tables are in an area that’s prone to flooding. This will help determine whether the site is suitable for building, and what type of drainage system might be needed if it is approved.

How are geotechnical surveys carried out?

To conduct a geotechnical survey, the engineer drills holes in your land to see what’s below. Soil samples are taken from different depths to determine the soil properties.  This helps determine how stable the ground is for building purposes.

Reasons to have a geotechnical survey:

  • Purchasing a new property or land for development
  • Requirement from building inspector or local authority
  • You’re considering building a structure on your land, but want to make sure the soil is right first.
  • One of your old buildings was damaged by flooding or an earthquake and you can’t afford to have another one ruined.

Geotechnical surveys allow you to:

  • Discharge a planning condition or satisfy building warranty providers
  • Make 100% certain that the ground beneath your feet will be able to bear the weight of what you want to build before spending any money or time getting construction started.
  • Find information about how high water tables are in an area that’s prone to flooding so you can use this data when drawing up plans for building on the site.

A geotechnical survey is important for any type of land development – whether that’s building or purchasing new property. With one, you’ll find out what kind of soil conditions you’re dealing with and if they’re stable enough for building purposes before you go ahead with construction plans.

What is included in a geotechnical survey?

If you’re a building developer in the UK, then it’s important to include highly-specific information in your geotechnical survey. For the most accurate and complete survey, the report should include:

  • The footprint of the building
  • The area of land where the building will be located
  • How much the land slopes
  • How close it is to a body of water
  • If it will share common walls with existing buildings or not
  • The height of the building – including basement levels and number of floors
  • Its geographical location.

A geotechnical survey is required before planning permission can be granted for many new build/refurbishment/consolidation/modernisation projects. It’s worth noting that geotechnical surveys are especially important if the project site is located in an area that has been identified as having unknown ground conditions. If you’re undertaking any kind of new development work it’s worth getting into contact with our team today to find out how we can help you.

What situations might require a geotechnical survey?

There are many reasons and situations you might need a geotechnical survey.

Mainly, a geotechnical survey is required to satisfy yourself, a regulator, warranty provider or building control officer that the ground is safe to build on. 

Another scenario might be if you are undertaking groundworks at a site where the use will change from one involving foundations (e.g. agricultural) to one involving structures (e.g. commercial).

Although these are some of the common situations where a geotechnical investigation is necessary, there are more still. If you are not sure, get in touch with our experts. We’ll be able to give you advice and signpost you to the right services.

What does a Geotechnical Report include?

Simply put, if you want to build in the UK, then sooner or later you’ll need a geotechnical report. But what does it include?

The findings of a geotechnical report should include information about: 

  • Soil condition
  • Ground water conditions
  • Possible geological hazards
  • Soil bearing capacity
  • Foundation design recommendations

Expected cost of a Geotechnical Survey and Report

The cost implications of soil testing will depend on the size and site of the proposed project, but finding the right firm can save you money and be more affordable than you think. 

As the soil is tested prior to works starting, it is a valuable investment to reduce construction costs and ensure that your structure is properly supported.

Here at Your Environment, we highly recommend obtaining a geotechnical report for your building project. This way, you can ensure that the project stays on track from design to construction with minimal risk of cost overruns or defective structures due to unfavourable soil conditions.

Contact us for a free consultation and a no-obligation quote.