Soil is considered one of the best natural resources used in various industries. From agriculture to building constructions, soil plays a significant role in many sectors. Therefore, soil testing should be the top priority when planning to build your dream home or develop a commercial property.
What is soil testing?
Simply put, soil testing or soil investigation is usually completed before the commencement of a building project to determine the properties of the soil. Pre-construction specialists perform this exercise to establish the conditions of the soil and whether the soil is suitable enough to proceed with the construction.
Why is soil testing necessary for construction?
The soil plays a crucial role in construction as it is responsible for tolerating the stress that comes from the structure; therefore, it should be well tested to perform excellently.
Also, soil testing results help determine the grade and other relevant data required to uncover any problems with the soil that can affect the construction process.
Soil Testing Services for Construction Projects
It is highly recommended to hire a consultancy with the necessary expertise to gather accurate geotechnical data to design the proposed structure’s foundation and footings. Here are some services rendered by these experts.
- Collection of data; this process is carried out by certified geotechnical engineers and soil experts using mechanical and manual boring tools. Next, these engineers drill a specified number of boreholes at pre-determined depths to collect soil samples for further analysis. The analytical process is as per the accepted industry and international standards. Finally, based on the analysis, a site investigation report is prepared to contain the actual geotechnical data and the necessary recommendations.
- Ascertaining Soil Suitability
Soil testing services are essential for determining the suitability and the overall soil quality of a building project. Conducting the necessary tests will throw up important geotechnical data that will help determine whether the soil characteristics and quality are suitable for the structure. Therefore, it is imperative to have this data beforehand as it helps make informed decisions and enables you to plan strategically. Further, the data produced by these tests will tell whether the soil’s suitability complies with the industry and national standards.
Types of soil testing for construction
There are various soil testing techniques available. The most appropriate one to use will depend on the project requirement and soil characteristics.
- Moisture Content Test
This test is often used to determine the amount and type of water in soils. Moreover, it can determine whether the soil type is appropriate for construction and suggest remedial measures to eliminate contamination. Soil moisture content can be evaluated using several methods, including oven drying, boiling, wet combing, and filtration.
- Specific Gravity Test
You can determine a material’s particular gravity by dividing its density by the density of water. A variety of techniques can be used to calculate the particular gravity of a substance. These methods include gas, the measurement flask, and the density bottle.
- Atterberg Limits Test
The Atterberg Limits Test determines the amount of water in fine-grained soil.
This test determines the amount of water in fine-grained soil. It can calculate three characteristics of fine-grained soil:
- Limit of Shrinkage: This refers to the water content of the soil when the water is just enough to fill all the pores of the soil, and the soil is just saturated.
- Limit of Plastic: This is the moisture percentage at which the soil changes from a plastic to a semi-solid state or from a semi-solid to a plastic state with decreasing moisture.
- Limiting Liquids: This mainly distinguishes soils concerning the amount of moisture necessary to make them slide.
- Dry Density Test
The soil density is determined by weighing the soil particles present in a sample. Dry density is typically determined by the specific gravity and the void ratio of the soil. The soil is classified into loose, medium dense, or highly dense densities. This test may use three other techniques – water removal from the core, core cutter, and sand replacement.
- Proctor’s Compaction Test
The test is used to measure soil compaction characteristics. A soil’s dry density is used to determine the degree of compaction. This density is highest when the soil has optimum water content.
The component of the land you build on is undoubtedly the most significant variable of a construction project, and it is crucial to get it right before kicking off the construction phase. Therefore, selecting a competent and reputable environmental firm specializing in soil testing, groundwater investigation, remediation, and assessment is crucial for a successful construction project.