Do I Need a Geotechnical Report for My New Building? Read on to learn what architects, contractors and building owners need to know before planning their new building.
A question we frequently get at the beginning of a design project is, “Do I, or why do I need a geotech investigation?” The extent of the work scope for the geotechnical investigation has a direct impact on the cost of the foundation system. It also impacts the probability of change orders during construction. The geotech work is not the time to try to save money. The geotech work investment is directly proportional to the risk of structural and site costs.
Upon the recommendation of the structural engineer, boring locations are specified based on the configuration and magnitudes of structural loads. Reductions in the number of borings to save money at this stage is not recommended as it may result in more conservative foundation design and discovery of problems during excavation.
When Should I Hire a Geotech Engineer?
Early involvement of the geotech engineer with the design team is important. Insuring that the geotech conditions are relevant to the building configuration only results in a more efficient and economical building design.
As a structural engineer, I have seen many projects where a geotech study was denied only to result in surprises during construction. Without the study, the foundation design is based on the most conservative assumptions; therefore, higher foundation costs. This is not to mention the increased risk to the design team.
On a few occasions, projects have been abandoned only after land was purchased without knowing the geotech conditions. The ground improvement costs made the projects unaffordable.
The investment in the geotech report can reduce the foundation cost by a significant factor. Early involvement of all team members on this subject will only serve to increase the project’s chance of success.
To read more on the necessity of a geotechnical report, check out this post by Jason D. Robinson, P.E.