Geo-technical Engineering study

Before you get a house that looks like this…

And if your lot looks like this…

Then you need to first get started with this…

A Geotechnical Engineering study.

As soon as the architect has a floor plan, elevations and civil plan for where the house will be located on the lot, it’s time to hire a geotechnical engineer to do a field study on the lot’s soil conditions. The geotechnical engineer drives borings into the ground, roughly 40-60 feet down on this lot, and pulls up a core soil sample. You can see in the following pictures that the drilling rig uses water in combination with the drill to get that far down in the ground. Soil samples are collected and labeled in three locations on the lot, usually in key areas where the largest weight of the home will be born.

Although the lot looks to be mostly sand, you never know when you will discover peat soil or soil that will collapse under the weight of the home. Since we are planning on a solid concrete house, considerable weight will be resting on this lot.

After the soil is collected, geotechnical engineers issue a field report analyzing the soil conditions and telling the structural engineer and architect how deep to run the pilings. It’s a part of building a home that not everyone needs to do – geotechnical engineering is something we only recommend when we have suspect soil conditions and/or are planning a large, heavy home on the gulf front. Yes, it can be an added expense and requires extra time in the design process, but is well worth it in the end to know that the home’s structure and foundation is designed right.