Geotechnical & Geo-Environmental Investigations | What Is “Made Ground”?

by | Apr 9, 2021

You might be familiar with the terms green belt and brownfield land when talking about whether land’s previously been developed upon or not, but have you heard of made ground? It falls under a similar sort of field as those first two terms, though it’s not quite the same. Made ground refers to locations where the original soil has been replaced or altered by the introduction of manmade materials such as concrete or crushed brick. But why does it matter? The team here at Borehole Solutions, providers of comprehensive geotechnical investigation services all over the UK, wanted to explain exactly that in this blog post.


What Is It?

As just touched upon, made ground is ground composed primarily of (or at least significantly added to by) manmade materials. These materials might include the more conventional by-products of construction and development like concrete or metal; it generally refers to anything anthropogenic (or man-made) in origin, though, so it might be land originating from landfill, as well. It can pose structural problems if built upon and, more commonly, it can cause contamination problems.


Monitoring The Effects Of Made Ground

If you think about that definition of made ground we just described, then the possibilities are practically endless in terms of what it might contain. That means a made ground site might contain asbestos, unexploded ordnance or be formed of man-made materials more at risk from the effects of the natural environment (the process of heave, for instance).

To give you an example of the kind of work that made ground necessitates, we recently installed a series of ten 5m holes through made ground into the natural clays beneath, in order to install gas and water monitoring pipes. The reason? The risk of toxic chemicals and contaminants from the overlying made ground leaching into the water supply or mixing with the gas supply in a potentially dangerous manner.


How Is Made Ground Typically Dealt With?

Because it can encompass so much ‘stuff’ in terms of what it is, there’s no one-size-fits all model when it comes to made ground. The best way to deal with it, therefore, is through very specific site investigations, entirely suited and designed around the particular site in question. From this site investigation, potential issues (such as the threat of water contamination) can be established and a remediation plan formulated accordingly.

It’s also worth noting that, just as made ground can be potentially harmful, a lot of the time it’s completely inert and harmless. That’s why it requires professional contractors such as ourselves to come in, assess the situation and make tailored decisions, accordingly.


Contact Us

So, if you’d like to find out more about our geotechnical investigation services or about the geo-environmental branch of our company, then get in touch! Contact Borehole Solutions today on 01733 200 501 or by emailing us at Alternatively, you can fill out one of our online enquiry forms on our website. We look forward to hearing from you.