How to Prepare an Engineering Report for Foundation Investigations

Without a solid foundation, your property is in danger of collapsing or moving in place. No one likes losing an investment, which is why it’s important to use foundation investigations to determine the overall health of your property. In most cases, foundation engineering reports come along with soil engineering reports, and most geotechnical engineers can include foundation reports in their project proposals.


What is a foundation engineering report?

While we think of the soil underneath our homes as being solid, it’s anything but. The movement of water, tectonic shifts, and a variety of other geological factors can change the structural integrity of the soil under your property.

Depending on the type of soil that’s underneath a home or business, different types of foundations may need to be built. If the soil under your property has shifted, you may need to either repair or reinforce your foundation to reflect these changed geological conditions.

Geotechnical engineers are professionals who investigate the geological factors affecting the integrity of an existing or proposed building. In addition to assessing the condition of your soil, these professionals can also make sure that your foundation is up to snuff and provide detailed foundation engineering reports.


Steps of a foundation investigation

Generally, foundation investigations and soil investigations are included as part of the same service package. After all, these investigations cover most of the same ground, which means that the more you learn about your soil, the more you learn about your foundation and visa versa.

First, a geotechnical engineer will visit your site. In some cases, a visual examination of the property can provide a lot of crucial data, but soil samples and lab tests are also usually needed. In conjunction with these hands-on tests, a good geotechnical engineer will also flex his or her knowledge of the region’s geology to provide expert consultation on the best moves that property owners should make.


What does a geotechnical engineering report cover?

Geotechnical engineering reports are generally split into several different parts:


1. Site Description

The geotechnical engineer will provide a basic description of the site. For instance, it will be noted if the site is in mountainous terrain, in a fertile valley, or in an arid region. A brief description will also be provided of the current use of the site, plans for development, and any other pertinent details related to the site under investigation.

2. Geology of The Region

The overall geology of the region subtly but profoundly affects the foundation requirements for a particular building site. Therefore, a good foundation engineering report will also provide a general analysis of the geological characteristics of the larger area within which the property is located.

3. Lab Results

On-site analysis is a vital component of preparing a good foundation report, but lab tests are just as necessary if you want to know everything there is to know about a particular foundation site. These lab results will provide concrete data on the soil stability under the property and other pertinent geological factors.

4. Foundation-specific Consultation

Next, the geotechnical engineering firm will provide its professional analysis of the viability of the project in question. Whether there are concerns about tectonic shifts or the viability of a new building site is being analyzed, this expert consultation can only be provided by a trained geotechnical engineer with full access to the latest equipment and lab testing technology.

5. Recommendations

In conclusion, the firm will provide its recommendations for the project in question. It’s up to you whether you take the recommendations or not, but if you want to stay compliant with local codes and ordnances, you might find yourself in hot water if you ignore the helpful advice provided by your geotechnical engineering firm.


How much does a foundation engineering report cost?

Costs for site assessments vary widely depending on the size of the property, the geology of the area, the data requested, and other factors. In general, expect to pay between $4,000 and $8,000 for basic projects, but keep in mind that some foundation assessments may cost far more than that.

If you’re planning on building a huge factory, for instance, determining the safety of the proposed foundation costs considerably more than shoring up the foundation of a home in an area with significant tectonic activity. Complex projects may cost as much as $50,000 or more.


How long is a soil and foundation engineering report good for?

Generally, soil and foundation engineering reports remain valid for around 180 days. This duration may vary depending on your local building regulations.


Why foundation engineering reports are important

Starting a new building project or continuing operations on a dangerous site can put you and your associates at risk. At worst, failing to get a proper foundation engineering report could cause your entire investment to go up in smoke. Trust the professionals to give your property a thorough look-over⁠—call AES Soil at 818-552-6000 or submit a proposal request today!

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