The Importance of Geotechnical Engineering

Before any kind of residential, commercial or industrial construction can begin, site investigation conducted by a geotechnical engineer must occur in order to comprehensively understand the physical conditions of the site your structure will be built upon. Project managers and builders who chose to skip this crucial step risk critical damage to their project and the environment around it. In this article we explore the importance of geotechnical testing and engineering and why it is an important part of planning and construction.

What is Geotechnical Engineering?

Geotechnical engineering (Geotech for short) is a branch of civil engineering focused on determining the composition, strength and properties of soil. Incorporating a range of specialist fields including geophysics, hydrogeology and geology, Geotechnical engineering uses the scientific methods and principles of engineering to collect and interpret the physical properties of the ground to be used in building and construction. 

What does a Geotechnical Engineer do?

A geotechnical engineer is responsible for planning, directing and conducting survey analysis on the behaviour and mechanics of soil and rock when placed under pressure by proposed structures. They can be involved in the design of above and below ground foundations (from bridges, houses and high-rise buildings), to offshore structures (like jetties and oil platforms). Importantly, a Geotechnical engineer is there to provide sign off on a project’s feasibility after having conducted the necessary evaluation of factors that can impact both short and long-term project success.

What does a Geotechnical Engineering investigation involve?

AS 1726:2017 is the Australian standard governing the execution of geotechnical site investigations. The standard dictates that geotechnical site investigations follow an iterative process (illustrated below) in which the outcomes of the investigation are reviewed against the purpose for which the investigation is being carried out with further investigations planned as required.

Why is a Geotechnical Engineer so important?

Simply put, ground composition and condition can vary greatly even within a small site. The presence, ratio and combination of various soil elements, the presence and flow of groundwater, the fact that the earth is constantly shifting and the challenges presented by climate change all combine to influence whether the earth around your site can support the load and scope of your development plans. Projects that ignore this vital service risk their development cracking, leaning, sinking, slipping and potentially collapsing as the earth below it shifts.

When should a Geotechnical Engineer become involved?

Experience dictates that a Geotechnical Engineer should be brought in during the initial planning stages of any construction project. Only then can their skills, expertise and recommendations be used to prevent construction complications before they occur. Whilst the advanced calculations and interpretive analysis that inform their final recommendations take time to formulate, early involvement is crucial to the planning, risk mitigation, completion and long-term viability of the project. 

What Geotechnical services are provided by SCAADA?

SCAADA provides a range of geotechnical engineering and geotechnical consultant services across Melbourne and throughout Western Victoria. They work across a range of industry sectors including construction, industrial, commercial, residential, energy, mining, roads and transport and many more. SCAADA establishes the geological and geotechnical feasibility of your construction site through:

  • Soil testing
  • Domestic and commercial soil rating analysis
  • California Bearing Ratio (CBR) analysis and general profiling
  • Site classifications
  • Geotechnical site investigations
  • Land capability assessments
  • Landslip risk assessments
  • Environmental site assessments
  • Bushfire attack levels
  • Building distress reports
  • Road subgrade reports
  • Forensic geotechnical reports

Needing Geotechnical & Environmental Services? Contact SCAADA Today.

Before any construction begins on your site be it residential, commercial or industrial, you need to have your site soil tested by a geotechnical engineer. Site investigations minimise the risk of construction complications arising from incorrect assumptions relating to the physical composition of the soil on site. Scaada’s comprehensive environmental and geotechnical testing services are delivered by qualified professional engineers with years of experience. Their geotechnical analysis, testing and remediation solutions are tailored to each client’s needs and serve both the environmental interests and that of the project to ensure plans progress to completion.

No construction project should commence without consulting a geotechnical engineer. Contact SCAADA today to find out how we can help.

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