Why is Pre-testing so important?

by | Feb 22, 2023

Working atop shaky ground is never a good idea. Every project should have sturdy foundations, whether you’re designing new residential housing, highways, operating heavy equipment, or anything else! To ensure this is the case, pre-testing is essential to ensure both structural soundness and safety for all involved. These investigations reveal key considerations. For example, the ground’s weight capacity, malleability, how porous it is, and more. In reality, there is no reason why preliminary testing shouldn’t be a key component of any project’s design phase.

What is Pre-testing?

Preliminary testing is the practice of conducting various investigations on the ground to get an indication of its sub-surface conditions. Geotechnical testing as part of a site investigation is incredibly important to navigate any delays, subsidence, or unstable ground. In fact, the Institution of Civil Engineers found the greatest risks to projects lie within the ground itself. Statistics show that approximately 80% of issues encountered in construction projects come down to unforeseen ground conditions. With a little extra planning and preparation, however, this is easily avoidable.

When might preliminary investigations be necessary?

If you’re planning any form of construction project, remediation, or structural alteration, then chances are that pre-testing will play an important role. After all, the condition of the land is crucial to the success of any development. Unstable ground can easily give way, break, collapse, or allow equipment and vehicles to sink and become stuck.

This was evident in September 2018, where a 20-tonne cherry picker collapsed through a busy pavement in  Manchester. No preliminary tests were carried out upon the site to identify its maximum weight capacity. Clearly, this had significant repercussions. When looking back on this incident, however, what preliminary investigations could have been carried out in the first place?

Plate Bearing Tests

This pre-testing method determines the ground’s bearing capacity by applying incremental weights (steel plates) to induce settlement. When working with heavy machinery (drilling rigs or cherry pickers for example), stability is paramount. Aside from project interruptions, failure to do so puts the safety of all those involved at great risk! For more information about plate bearing tests, click here.

Trial Pits

Trial pits are intrusive ground investigation techniques. They can be used to develop an understanding of soil profiles within an area. These cost-effective 1-4 metre deep holes help determine many factors which may impact the site’s stability, and of that built upon it. It can even establish the optimal depth and strength of your development’s foundations, and the ground’s geological and water content. Despite its simplicity, this geotechnical service certainly shouldn’t be overlooked.

Contact Borehole Solutions

There’s a lot of work that goes into successful pre-testing. Combining expertise with graft and research with skill; these are traits which the team at Borehole Solutions have in troves. For more information about preliminary testing, get in touch! Call us today on 01733 200501 or email our team at info@boreholesolutions.com.