An Introduction to Geotechnical Engineering
There are many different kinds of engineers on a building site. And it can be easy to confuse the different types of engineers with each other.
One of the more important engineers on a construction site is the Geotechnical engineer. But, what type of engineering are they doing, and why are these engineers so important to the success of a construction site. With all this information, you will understand a geotechnical engineer a lot better.
What is geotechnical engineering?
Geotechnical consultants normally work on large construction sites. They work with soil, rocks, and concrete. They also work with slope stability and structural stability and strength.
Without this type of engineer, we will never know if the area around a construction site is safe to the public and we will not know if the structure that was build is strong enough and safe enough for the public. A construction site without a geotechnical engineer is an illegal construction site. It is a requirement that every site needs to have at least one geotechnical engineer to monitor the soil conditions and the strength of the structure. An primary task that must be undertaken by geotechnical engineers is site investigation and mapping.
Defining soil strength
One of the first things that they are doing on a construction site, is to define the soil strength on the construction site. They can’t start building if these engineers don’t approve the soil as strong enough for large buildings. They are testing the soil strength by using equipment that is taking soil out, deep under the ground. Making sure that the soil isn’t too moist, and that it is strong enough to hold the weight of a building. Soil with too much moist needs to be drained before the construction can continue.
These engineers are also making sure that they determine the type of soil deep under the ground. To make sure that the structure will remain stable after construction. Geotechnical testing analysis is performed before the building project starts, and during the project as well.
By carrying out construction inspections, the thing that a geotechnical engineer is doing, is to make sure that the large structure that is getting build is strong enough and according to the regulations. These tests are getting done during the construction and after the construction, just before the structure is declared open. There is a special protocol that they are doing to ensure that the structure is safe to use.
If the structure isn’t according to the regulations, the engineers don’t declare the structure safe, and they need to correct the problems before they can continue. This can delay the construction process, but without it, the structures will never be safe enough for people to use in the long term. Making this an essential part of the construction.
Conduct research and development in mentioned fields
Besides soil testing and doing structure strength tests during construction, there is one thing that they are doing as well.
They conduct research and development in the two mentioned fields. Making sure that they are using the technology and knowledge to improve the way they are testing the soil and structures. Making sure that they are always putting the safety of the public first.
Geotechnical engineering professionals. What are these engineers, and what are they doing? They are really important to construction sites, to ensure that the structure is strong enough and that it is built according to the rules and regulations. It is also testing the soil of the site to ensure that it is strong enough to get to build on. With the approval of these engineers, you will know for sure that the structure is declared safe and that the soil it is built on, is strong enough to withhold the weight.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nancy Whitman is a contributor to leading Australian geotechnical engineering consultancy firm, Soil Surveys.