It seems a simple question, but geotechnical drilling actually covers an immensely wide range of different processes and operations. In short, however, it refers to the process of boreholes (or other similar holes/excavations) being drilled prior to subsequent construction works, in order to determine certain characteristics and conditions of the underlying soil/ground. If said testing reveals soil parameters outside of those stated within a project’s planning, then the chances are that the planned construction won’t be able to go ahead. Such testing is crucial, therefore, in ensuring the safety and, equally, the viability of any planned construction project. Without it, you’d be essentially going in blind, regarding the foundations of your building!
Fortunately, as we’ll see in this blog, industry protocols help prevent these geotechnical processes ever being skimped upon. The team here at Borehole Solutions, who provide geotechnical drilling services across the UK, wanted to look at the discipline in more detail.
When Is A Site Investigation Needed?
So, do all construction works require some form of geotechnical drilling? Well, pretty much, yes. The reason being that they’re just that important. In the standardised world in which we live, there are a huge number of industry standards and regulations to abide by, for whenever you’re considering a construction project. Some people may deem them surplus to requirement, however the stress caused down the line by a lack of/an inadequate site investigation, would prove much, much worse. Beyond construction projects, geotechnical drilling can also be used to help determine the feasibility of pipelines, waste disposal facilities and underground cabling.
What Do Geotechnical Site Investigations Help Display?
The investigations themselves will help display several things. These include:
● Soil compaction
● Water content
● Soil permeability
● Soil grain size
● Potential contaminants
Oftentimes, this testing will be enough to satisfy the requirements and criteria of the planned project, however in certain circumstances, further testing may be needed either in the laboratory or by geotechnical engineers/geologists.
How Is Geotechnical Drilling Done?
There are several ways in which to carry out site investigations and geotechnical testing. We’ve gone through these separate sampling methodologies in greater detail in one of our previous blogs, which you can find here! In brief, though, sampling methods include (but are not limited to) standard and cone penetration testing, shear vane testing, trial pits and more.
It’s also important that you choose a trusted contractor to carry out this investigative work. Highly accurate sample testing enables a construction project to get going nice and quickly, with confidence that the results you’ve been given are entirely accurate. Shoddy testing, by comparison, will lead to problems further down the line, from a financial perspective, but also potentially from a legal perspective in that it may be deemed that satisfactory testing and due diligence was not carried out. You can see, then, the importance of using an experienced drilling firm such as ourselves.