If you work on-site in the energy, construction industry or civil engineering sectors you will probably have worked alongside a geotechnical engineer at some stage, but have you ever wondered why you might need to hire one? Many organisations need to call on geotechnical services to deal with a variety of land-based problems ranging from contamination to groundwater issues and geological hazards. If you are planning work on a new site or developing an existing location and there are geological factors that might affect engineering works. you will need to call on a geotechnical engineer. They will assess the situation and advise on the most appropriate way to proceed.
Do you need an environmental impact assessment?
One of the most common reasons for calling a geotechnical engineer is because you are planning construction work at a new site and have been asked to provide an assessment of the environmental impact of your work. In some cases, such an assessment is actually a legal requirement before permission can be granted for construction to begin. The engineer will need to assess the integrity of ground conditions, such as the rocks, soil and groundwater before advising on the procedures used for development and the appropriate construction materials for the site. Following the advice of the specialist engineer is essential to ensure that the building is constructed in a manner suitable for the ground conditions and that the buildings will remain secure in the long-term.
How does a geotechnical engineer work?
If you are hiring geotechnical services one of the questions that you must ask is 'how long will the assessment take to complete?' The answer to this question is likely to be highly site-specific. Each proposed work site will present a unique set of problems and the engineer will have to drill and to take samples from the site before assessing your suggested building materials for suitability. Potential problems that the geotechnical engineer is concerned about will include subsidence caused by the ground conditions and contamination which may, or may not be obvious.
Once the geotechnical engineer has thoroughly investigated your site they will be able to tell you about any problems which are present in the soil, rocks, or other physical features and explain how you can adapt your activities on the site to take these factors into account. Working with a qualified geotechnical engineer is the best way to ensure that your work is safe, and that your buildings will remain stable long into the future.