This is to enlighten nairaland members on the importance of soil investigation in building construction Contributions, observations and questions are entertained The soil is the most important yet most neglected in a construction project. All structures, buildings, roads, bridges, dams and even life itself is based on the soil. The soil is the natural foundation that supports all structures and investment. Most clients see soil investigation as a waste of fund despite being the cheapest in the construction process, hardly is the cost of soil test up to one percent of the cost of construction. Some contractors too ignore the importance of proper soil investigation and analysis and base their design on assumed bearing capacity and rate of settlement. At Fame Pyramids Limited we take soil investigation as a crucial part of foundation design and we conduct soil test and analysis for our clients.Soil test helps to determine varying physical and chemical characteristic of soil, which can vary from place to place and from layer to layer even within the limits of the proposed structure. Soil characteristics can change considerably within a small area. Weather, climatic changes, and site management can in the future affect the bearing qualities of the soil, if the foundation is not designed properly to the bearing capacity of the soil, then they will fail and so will the building. This is as important as the entire project itself that may cause long term complications and may result to loss of life and property, endanger residents, tenants and damage other neighbouring properties. The extent of exploration depends on whether the area is built up or not and size of the structure.The soil investigation help to determine the following: bearing capacity of the soil which determine the load sustenance capability of the soil, rate of settlement of the soil which affect the rate at which any structure placed on it settles, to select a type and depth of foundation, to select suitable construction technique , to predict and resolve probable foundation problems, to determine if the land can be subjected to subsidence and cause sinking of the building, to determine water table which affects humidity within the foundation and greatly affects the character of a soil which varies considerably with water content, mineral or chemical component of the soil that might affect the choice of construction materials.
For example if the soil found to contain sulphur it can attack our foundation, therefore sulphur resisting cement must be used in the foundation in such soil. Whether you’re working in peat, gravel, clay, silt, sand, or loam soil, understanding the soil properties of your site help you make good construction decisions leading to success of the project. The structural engineers can efficiently and accurately design the structural elements required based on the results of the soil test analysis so that for long term viability and soundness of the project. The result also helps to determine whether there is need for soil stabilization and the foundation depth to attain the required bearing capacity.All intending property owners or real estate investors should note that for a small sum you can protect, possibly the largest investment of your life. Without soil investigation buildings can collapse or rendered non functional for intended purpose. Why risk the expense for the cost of a soil test? Being aware of any problems will enable you to determine future costs and help you to make vital decisions about the suitability of the land for building.The design will match the site conditions, give you peace of mind yet will reduce the risk of over design thus saving you money. It is high time we made soil investigation report part of the requirement for building plan approval in Nigeria