Importance of Soil Investigation For Construction Process

The primary aim of soil investigation in construction is to get detailed information about the physical features and characteristic topography of a selected site. This includes identifying the existence of oil, gas, coal, water, etc at an earlier stage in the construction process. 

The depth of any penetrated earthwork depends on the extent of the permeability of the underlying soil. It is also dependent on whether the soil is permeable or not. This is why soil remediation becomes very important in case of any problems related to soil.

According to Australian Soil Investigation, any good quality geotechnical investigation report must contain complete details about soil investigation. There are different techniques used for land evaluation and soil testing. These include subsidence testing, borehole drilling, and hydro-spatial technologies. All these techniques have their advantages and disadvantages.

Subsidence Testing 

Subsidence Testing is done to determine the changes in soil properties as a result of any structure or installation. A large number of these tests are carried out each year.

A good subsidence test report should contain complete site particulars along with a description of the equipment used and its working condition. It should also state what happened before the subsidence, the current location of the survey point, and whether or not a post outplacement protocol was adhered to in the original installation. A good subsidence investigation report should contain a well-defined description of the test findings and recommendations.

Many companies offer soil investigations from a remote site surveyor using a robotic vehicle. The remote site surveyor sends up-to-date soil samples to the geotechnical engineering firm. The geotechnical engineering firm then takes the samples to a laboratory. Samples are analyzed by computer software, using mathematical and structural models.

Onsite Testing

The primary means for performing soil investigations is onsite testing. This can either be done by the customers themselves, or by an independent third party. Onsite testing can be performed by the customers themselves by sending up-to-date samples to the company. However, for larger buildings and extensive installations, it is advisable to send in soil samples from the building site itself.


Groundwater quality can also be an issue during construction. If there is excessive pumping, for example, the polluted water will drain into nearby lakes. If the borehole observer records the content of the contaminated water during his observations, then he can estimate how much contamination is present. Sometimes, soil investigation cannot reveal sources of contamination that have already been implemented.

Site Investigation

In the field of geotechnical engineering investigation and soil investigation cannot be excluded as an important part of the overall integrated strategy of site exploration, design and construction. The combination of these two complementary techniques can help to improve the design of buildings, infrastructure and landscapes. 

Site reconnaissance for engineering geotechnical investigation includes both in-field and out-of-field exploratory engineering techniques. It should include both the detection of subsidence pressure and the investigation of the physical properties of the area being investigated. It also includes geotechnical model building and soil technical model development and optimization.

Instruments used during investigation can detect the presence of structural discontinuities. These discontinuities may be caused by earthquakes or other catastrophic events, or by natural wear and tear. They can also be caused by changes in the permeability of soil due to human activities. Strata investigation can determine if the construction of a building can be safe under certain conditions, based on the existing strata.

Soil Permeability 

During the site investigation, it is necessary to assess the permeability of the soil. Soil particles may contain different concentration levels of solutes and these may determine whether the soil is more permeable than other similar areas. Site investigation can also detect whether the site features a dynamic transition zone between adjacent geological strata. The presence of such zones can result in differences in soil physical properties and could negatively affect construction.

The results of soil investigations can impact the decision-making process of a construction project. An accurate analysis of the soil and other physical characteristics of the area can help the operator to determine whether to add additional natural or artificial resources to the construction area. Moreover, such information can help the operator to estimate the costs and efficiently manage the construction project. Soil investigations help to save time, money and energy by averting unnecessary mistakes in the construction process.