How Important is a Geotechnical Site Investigation?

by | Jun 27, 2023

When it comes to geotechnical investigations, it’s essential that you choose the right tool for the job. Some projects require a different drilling technique, whereas others vary in the size of the rigs they use. Nevertheless, before you commence any drilling, a geotechnical site investigation is a must. These investigations are carried out throughout the planning phase of any project. Yet, despite their importance, they are often paid little attention. But why? Just how important are these investigations if they are overlooked by so many? The team at Borehole Solutions have prepared this guide to show you just how crucial they really are.

What Is a Site Investigation?

A site investigation is the process of collecting and assessing data based on the ground conditions of a specific area. The objective of this is to gather the necessary information needed to assess the presence and significance of any contamination. They reveal the properties of the ground, including its weight bearing capacity, how porous it is and its malleability.

The process of a geotechnical site investigation involves borehole drilling and trial pits in multiple locations. The exact number varies on a case-by-case basis, depending on the scale of the development in question. As you’d expect, you can’t just drill one borehole and expect it to be representative of the entire site. The more samples you collect, the greater the likelihood that unforeseen ground hazards are identified.

The Cost of Overlooking a Geotechnical Site Investigation

According to the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), the greatest risk to development occurs within the ground beneath the development. Geotechnical testing is essential to avoid project delays, subsidence, and the discovery of other ground hazards after construction begins. In fact, around 37% of all industrial builds, and 50% of commercial builds have suffered delays from unforeseen ground conditions. That’s without mentioning the £400,000,000 in insurance claims that subsidence alone has cost UK insurance companies! These unexpected costs are easily avoidable with a site investigation.

How Important is Geotechnical Expertise?

It’s clear that a geotechnical site investigation is important. So, surely developers would always seek the help of geotechnical experts when carrying out an investigation? Surely, there won’t be more than a few that opt for a DIY approach? Well, surprisingly, this isn’t the case. According to ICE, as many as 80% of geotechnical investigations don’t utilise a geotechnical testing expert. It’s not even the prospective cost of site investigations that deter many from carrying them out either. In fact, most site investigations take up less than 0.3% of a project’s overall budget. It’s a small price to pay compared to what it would otherwise cost to fix any problems which do arise.

Contact Us

A preliminary geotechnical site investigation is vital to ensure the long-term structural durability and stability of a project. If you’d like to find out more about our investigative services at Borehole Solutions, get in touch! Call us today on 01733 200501 or email to speak to our team.