Considerations For Site Investigations On Soft Ground

by | Oct 12, 2020

Borehole Solutions drilling company discuss site investigations on soft ground and the different considerations to take on board. Soft ground is a term used to describe weaker ground, which has often already been developed upon, in previous years. This land-type is known as a brownfield site, and these areas make up an increasing number of property developments, across the UK. The reason? It’s easier to get planning permissions; if it’s been built on before, the chances are that permissions will be granted to build on it again.

Softer ground can put a pin in developers’ plans, if the site isn’t investigated properly, beforehand. A thorough site investigation will help clearly determine any underlying issues, and whether development is correct for that area. The team here at Borehole Solutions, wanted to examine the particulars of working on softer ground conditions.


Building Up A Picture

For prospective developments on softer ground, an in-depth picture of the ground beneath your feet is more crucial than ever. Soft ground conditions can bring with them a wealth of potential geological issues, and cause developers a huge headache further down the line. By ‘building’ this picture, you begin to work with knowns, rather than unknowns.

For instance, what may, on the surface at least, seem like soft (and thereby weak) soil, might actually have the characteristics necessary for development to go ahead. The old phrase ‘never judge a book by its cover’ springs to mind. On the other hand, some ground may just appear slightly on the soft side, but upon further examination, it turns out it’s very weak indeed, and that development is in no way an option. The only way you’re going to be able to tell? Have a site investigationcarried out.


What Site Investigations Testing Is Typically Carried Out To Determine Soft Ground Characteristics?

For brownfield site developments, CPT (Cone Penetration Testing) is the most commonly used testing. CPT testing is a staple of every geotechnical company because of the accurate results it provides. What happens when you’ve got the results? Well, there are several possibilities. The first possibility is that the ground might be deemed to be completely unsuitable for any development. Another option is that further testing might be required. The results might also lead to alterations in your development plans; the foundations/piles that you install may need to be deeper, for instance.


Extras Worth Considering For Soft Ground Site Investigations

Softer ground conditions are particularly vulnerable to two things – heavy machinery and rain. Carrying out an investigation in these areas, you’ve got to be particular with the equipment you choose to use. Using track mats is very useful in muddy or waterlogged conditions, where your rig or vehicle might get bogged down without them. Similarly, flotation tyres ensure your site investigation is carried out with the minimum impact on the site, whilst still returning the kinds of results you’re looking for, as a developer.

Contact Us

We provide a comprehensive geotechnical testing service, here at Borehole Solutions, including CPT, SPT, WAC, Vane Shear testing and Phase 1 Desk Studies. Not only that, but we also offer a broad range of borehole drilling, including sonic, rotary and cable percussion options; you can hire out our rigs or use us directly. So, if you’d like to find out more about our site investigation services, then get in touch! Contact Borehole Solutions today on 01733 200 501. Or visit our Instagram to have a look at some of our previous work.