Soil Testing for Building a House

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Are you building a house? Getting a soil test could be the difference between a smooth construction process and costly problems down the road. Here's everything you need to know about soil testing when building a house. Contact our friendly team to enquire about our comprehensive soil testing services.

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Why Test the Soil?

Besides the fact that soil testing is usually a legal requirement before construction, there are plenty of good reasons to get a soil test.

The soil on your property will play a big role in the construction of your house. By testing it, a structural engineer, geotechnical engineer or property inspector can discover any soil problems that might affect the build, such as chemicals in the soil, soil reactivity, abnormal soil moisture changes, and more. Anything that could affect the structural stability of your home or cause health and environmental issues down the line.

If changes in moisture are causing the soil to shrink or swell it can cause ground movement. This can move the footing of your home and damage the building. Cracks might appear in the walls or the foundation could be damaged, resulting in needing expensive repairs. A soil test will reduce the chances of this happening.

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How Is Soil Tested?

A soil test usually involves taking soil samples from your property and sending it to a laboratory for analysis. The soil sample will be tested for a variety of things, including chemical composition, pH levels, and more. This information will be used to create a report that will be sent back to you. The report will detail any soil problems that were found and what, if any, corrective measures need to be taken.

Our soil tests come with a comprehensive soil report that contains all the information you'll need, clearly explained so it's easy to understand. Our team can also answer any questions you have so you can get the most out of our services.

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What are the different types of soil classifications?

There are several types of soil classifications for reactiveness. Depending on how your soil gets classified, you may need to take action.
  • Class A – Stable and non reactive. Class A soil won't move much, or at all.
  • Class S – There may be slight ground movement depending on the content of sand and rock in the soil.
  • Class M – Indicates moderate ground movement, usually associated with clay or silt sites.
  • Class H – High ground movement, usually as a result of high clay content
  • Class E – the possibility of extreme ground movement
  • Class P – Problem sites with very severe ground movement.
Depending on the class of soil, you may need to consult a structural engineer before building.
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Other Information a Soil Test Will Give You

A soil test will give you a range of other information, including:

Bearing Capacity

The bearing capacity of the ground will tell you the weight the soil can support, per unit area. This will dictate the type of foundation your house will need, as well as whether you'll run into any other issues related to the weight of your home.

Fill / Scrape Recommendations

Sometimes, a developer will need to fill the site in order to create a level building surface. A soil test will tell you if this has been done to your property and whether or not it will cause issues for you in the future.
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What's the difference between a geotechnical report and a soil test?

Where a soil test will usually only tell you the reactivity of the soil and the likelihood of soil contraction and expansion, a geotechnical report covers a range of other factors. These can include the chemical composition of the soil, its physical properties, the stability of natural soil slopes, and any other possible faults and risks.

Generally, you'll want to make sure you're getting as much information as you can from a soil test so that the builders, engineers and designers can avoid issues in design and construction.

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Choose Altez Engineering for Soil Tests

If you need a soil test, call the team at Altez Engineering today. We're soil testing experts with years of experience in the field. We use the latest testing equipment to get accurate results, and we can provide a full geotechnical report if required. We provide expert soil testing services in Melbounre, Bendigo, Geelong and across Vcitoria. Contact us now to find out more and get a quote.
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