Do I Need a Geotechnical Report?

If you’re planning a new construction project, you’ll probably need a geotechnical report — or, at minimum, getting a proper geotechnical report has the potential to reduce risk and save you money and time.

Geotechnical reports are used to obtain information and data when proposing a plan for a new structure, or attempting to repair one that has fallen into disrepair due to subsurface conditions. Geotechnical reports coincide with site investigations and also delve into the construction capacity of soil or fill materials. Learn more about geotechnical reports and when they are necessary below.

What is a Geotechnical Report?

A geotechnical report is conducted in the preliminary stages of many construction projects. In order to effectively plan for the unique conditions and potential hazards present at a site, a number of tests must be done and elements investigated. Conditions above and below the ground surface will be inspected to varying degrees depending on the type of project. Surface-level tests can range from geological mapping, to drilling, to photogrammetry. In other cases, a geotechnical engineer may simply be required to explore the grounds of the site to note the conditions and offer engineering recommendations to the owner, developer, or others on the design team.

Geotechnical engineer with paperwork


Subsurface tests can be a bit more involved, but are vastly important. The ground must be inspected to ensure that it has the capacity to bear and support the intended structure.  (Yes, the ground can fail under the pressure of a new building!)  Additionally, different types of borings may need to be drilled at various locations across the site to gather samples of disturbed and undisturbed soil. Along with having these samples tested and analyzed, field tests will need to be conducted to determine the strength of the soil. Aggregating as much soil information as possible is critical in planning a safe, economical, and sound structure—and critical to the overall structural design.

Do I Need a Geotechnical Report for Building Construction?

Geotechnical reports for building construction are required for nearly all projects when permit applications are submitted. Additionally, projects that involve steep slopes, elevated seismic code, roadways, underground transmission, oil, and gas lines rely on geotechnical reports. The responsibility lies with the geotechnical engineer to determine the scope of the investigation, analysis, and subsequent reporting so standards of practice and codes are met.

The nature of the intended project (what is being built) will dictate which elements of a standard geotechnical report must be explored. A single-family home project may not need to include portions that a high-rise build would necessitate. Construction on a large scale or with complex site conditions will require more in-depth analysis. The geotechnical report for building construction should be approved, signed, and sealed by the lead geotechnical engineer on the project.

Consult With Central Geotechnical Services, LLC

Looking for expert consultation on geotechnical reports for building construction? Our team has an amazing amount of experience working on projects across the country, and even overseas. We can help you get a firm grasp on the necessity of a geotechnical report and the best methods of approach. Start a conversation with us to discuss your upcoming project!

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