Geotechnical engineering is an important branch of civil engineering and focuses on the engineering behaviour of earth materials (soil, rock, minerals and water). Geotechnical investigations rely on the principles of soil and rock mechanics to investigate the underlying ground conditions of a site, and to determine the physical properties of the underlying soil or rockand it’s interaction with built structures.
The purpose of a site investigation is to gain an understanding of the area in which the engineering will take place and any risks posed by the site conditions.
Investigations can include the assessment of the risk to humans, property and the environment resulting from natural hazards such as, earthquakes, liquefaction, landslides, debris flows and rockfalls.
The information obtained from a geotechnical investigation will be used to assist with the design of, for example; building foundations, retaining walls, earthworks design, pavement design, slope debris protection works etc.
People who typically require geotechnical advice include; architects, builders, earthworks contractors, individual home owners, property developers and structural engineers.
Geotechnical investigations are a critical factor in the success of a civil engineering project. The early detection of any potentially problematic ground conditions can eliminate future design issues, construction issues and unwanted additional expense.