The Need For Soil Testing In Construction

We are all familiar with soil and how important it is to any kind of construction project. The houses we live in, the offices we work from, the roads we use to move from one point to another, etc, just to name a few. All this depends highly on the soil we see and walk on every day. Often, by just using our eyes one can quickly tell whether the soil is sand, clay, gravel, silt, peat, rock, or loam. However, we can never tell whether the type of soil we just identified with our eyes can sustain and bring to life a proposed structure from building architects and infrastructure design engineers. And this is where soil testing comes in, the most important procedure to conduct before any construction project commences at a particular site with a particular type of soil identified. For quite a number of reasons, soil testing is important before any construction 

The quality of the soil on-site plays a key role in construction projects. To determine the soil’s ability to support the structure, it is necessary to identify the characteristics of the soil. Soil testing assesses the suitability of the soil as it is primarily done to test the bearing capacity on the soil on that ground. The chemical and physical composition of the soil is checked during this process. The soil must have the ability to withstand the weight of the superstructure. All construction projects are made on the soil. Also, the soil has to take the weight of the structures. Consequently, soil testing provides important clues about the soil’s bearing capacity, density, compaction, presence of organic matter, sand, and contaminants. 

The quality of soil not only determines the bearing capacity but also determines the structure stabilization. Quality of Soil depends on various factors such as weather, climate change, the number of years the land was deployed and for what purpose, etc. For example, the length and depth of the column are determined during the foundation depending upon the quality of the soil. The water level of the soil only can be determined from soil testing. Based on the soil testing reports quality of material can be decided. For example, if due to moisture the area is prone to corrosion then it is important to choose only corrosion-resistant reinforcement bars for the construction or alternatively use necessary additives to inhibit corrosion. Some of the different types of Soil Testing for Construction include Gravity Test, Moisture Test, Atterberg’s Limits Test, Dry Density Test, Proctor’s Compaction Test, etc.

Soil testing examines your soil’s chemical and geotechnical properties, enabling you to:

  • determine the suitability of the soil and assess whether it can accommodate your construction project; 
  • identify the different types of soil on your site and their location;
  • test your soil for strength, density, compaction, contamination, organics, and sand content, and assess their impact on your construction project;
  • gain the data you need to compile technical and safety data reports to support planning permissions and license applications; and
  • get precise results and observe the development of the soil throughout your construction project for maximum quality and safety.

Soil testing gives the engineering properties of the formation upon which the construction will be based. On the ground where you are planning to make your project it is important to check the soil quality before your construction work begins. It is important to check the quality of the soil before you build your construction project (road, pavement, house, etc.). The soil test result will be very helpful in deciding the type and depth of foundation, the type of materials to be used during the construction, the height, size, and weight of the construction. Failure to test site soils adequately and correctly can cause critical levels of financial and safety risks. If the soil testing is not done, then the project will be exposed to failures/unknown dangers and the end result could be fatal. It is, therefore, necessary to understand the soil properties and make use of the acquired information in the planning and designing of the project phases.