Structural Engineering: Why Ground Investigations Must be Carried Out

A construction site’s ground conditions can vary across distances. And various environmental stressors like drainage and site history can significantly affect the reaction of the ground to added pressures or changes from new construction and development. Thorough geotechnical assessment is key to preventing costly issues. A skilled geotechnique consultant has extensive knowledge and experience working across a range of construction projects. They know a detailed site evaluation is a worthwhile investment that can offer cost savings.

Investigating the Ground

To perform a detailed geotechnical assessment, professionals will review historical maps and aerial photos, consider the site’s geological and hydrogeological setting, get in touch with regulatory authorities, as well as retrieve information from database resources. These processes provide information on the possible liabilities a site has. Also, the investigation will highlight possible ground problems that require further consideration before the completion of the structural designs and plans.

Important Geotechnical Considerations

Ground that has been historically filled or composed of soft soils can settle over time, which creates development issues. Site development alters the ground’s loading, changing the stress state and possibly compounding the problems that only a detailed investigation can reveal. Therefore, the foundation design should account for the ground conditions and the additional loads and possible impacts of these loads on the ground.

Moreover, it is imperative to understand the surface and groundwater drainage conditions as well as the effect of development needs to reduce future incidents. By using geotechnical principles, developers can plan for the longer-term effect of various weather conditions.

Other Important ConsiderationsWhen Designing Land Structure

When planning the structural design of a piece of land, it is also important to pay attention to the following factors:

  • Ground history. By considering the land’s history, builders and engineers can get insights into the behavior of the land when subjected to additional pressure from development.
  • Voids. Some rock deposits can dissolve over time depending on the soil’s compositions and underlying bedrock and water conditions. This will leave behind a void and cause serious new development issues. Thus, the possibility of ground voids must be evaluated.
  • Presence of trees. Trees and shrubs can be a possible hazard to structures, so they should be considered during the design process. They take moisture from the ground, causing major volume changes that can lead to ground movement in cohesive soils like clay. This may impact foundations and damage the supported structure.

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