The Importance of Soil Testing During a Building Inspection

In the majority of cases, individuals responsible for any new major building project should request for the completion of a foundation inspection report by a suitably qualified professional. Since this step is typically taken for granted, the result can be quite severe, especially in the costs and budgeting of a particular project. Occurrence of such matters may be avoided if the building inspector requests for a foundation soil inspection of the site, to be carried out during the preliminary stages of the project design.

Soil testing is a procedure usually conducted by a geotechnical engineer in order to determine the workability of the soil that is to be located beneath a structure. By drilling a series of boreholes, the sites soil may be examined, with the obtained samples sent over to the laboratory for further assessment. The results of the examination would then be compiled into a report and sent over to the structural engineer responsible for the building design in order to determine the best foundation solution for the site.

By carrying out the above soil tests on site, clients can rest assured that future foundation movement and settlement issues have been minimised. Judgement towards the relevance and extent of testing required should be made during the design stages of a particular project or upon completion of a building inspection report.
Although it may appear that soil testing will only provide partial information applicable to a certain part of the building, it is definitely the most critical part, with results capable of significantly improving the confidence of the structural engineer responsible for the structural design of the project. Considering the liability involved with designing and certifying a residential building project, it is understandable as to why your structural engineer will in most cases encourage for the completion of the above measures. Such steps are crucial for completion prior to finalization of the documents required for construction of the project. Such procedures can also significantly reduce the risks involved with project building practice.

When comparing the costs associated with carrying out a building inspection report or soil testing of a particular site, as opposed to the high costs of paying liabilities, insurances, settlement of legal disputes and major repairs works, it makes sense to do your homework correctly beforehand. Understandably, you would go with the first option as the future costs associated with the second option could significantly damage the value of your investment.

Never underestimate the importance of a detailed building inspection or site soil test report as the unnecessary costs that could arise somewhere down the line may easily be avoided if these preliminary steps are carried out at the right time.

Are you about to start building your project? Make sure you have inspected the soil to prevent future foundations defects. Contact ML Civil to speak to one of our expert structural engineers today on (02) 9875 5714.