Geotechnical engineering is concerned with the engineering properties of earth materials. Geotechnical engineers investigate the soil and bedrock below a site to determine their engineering properties and how they will interact with the proposed construction. The geotechnical engineer determines and designs the type of foundations, earthworks, and pavements required for the intended structures to be built.
Geotechnical engineers design foundations for such structures as high-rise buildings, bridges, and medium to large commercial buildings, but also work on smaller structures where the soil conditions do not allow code-based design. The foundations built for above-ground structures include shallow foundations (footings), deep foundations (driven piles and drilled piers), and retaining walls. Geotechnical engineers also design structures built in or of soil or rock, including tunnels, embankments, levees, earth dams, channels, reservoirs, and hazardous waste and sanitary landfills.
Geotechnical engineers also assess the risk to humans, property and the environment from natural hazards such as earthquakes, landslides, sinkholes, soil liquefaction, debris flows, and rock falls (all involving natural materials).
Geotechnical engineers perform geotechnical investigations to obtain information on the physical properties of soil and rock underlying (and sometimes adjacent to) a site to design earthworks and foundations for proposed structures and for repair of distress to earthworks and structures caused by subsurface conditions. A geotechnical investigation will include surface exploration and subsurface exploration of a site. Subsurface exploration usually involves soil sampling and laboratory testing of the soil samples retrieved.
To obtain information about the soil conditions below the surface, some form of subsurface exploration is required. Methods of observing the soils below the surface, obtaining samples, and determining physical properties of the soils and rock include test pits, trenching (particularly for locating faults and slide planes), borings, and cone penetration tests.
Geotechnical Engineering Services:
- Geotechnical Investigation
- Surface Exploration
- Earth Structures
- Subsurface Exploration
- Cone Penetration Testing
- Soil Sampling
- Laboratory Testing
- Foundation Designs
- Lateral Earth Support Structures