Why Soil Testing is Important for Construction? Sigmatest



Why Soil Testing is Important for Construction?

Soil Testing Laboratory


Nobody wants a construction project to turn out to be like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, right? Well, to prevent your construction project from being so and from worse fatal dangers, you need to get soil testing done after buying the piece of land and before beginning construction.

Soil testing is one of the most important things to keep in mind during any construction project, however, it is the most overlooked step during the planning.

Though soil testing was initiated in the country at the beginning of the planning era by setting up 16 soil testing laboratories during 1955, numbers reveal that it is not a common practice in India.

The reason being the most people aren’t aware of such scientific lab testing of soil and for small residential projects, it is not required.

What is Soil Testing?

To put it in simple words, soil testing is a scientific tool to assess and analyze the inherent physical and engineering properties of the soil and its bearing capacity.

Soil testing for construction helps in determining the type of foundation to be laid. Getting your soil tested before construction analyzes how stable the construction project would turn out to be.

How Soil Testing is Important for Construction?

  • Testing of the soil, as mentioned before, helps in laying the foundation of the building. And if the soil is untested, the foundation laid can get defects and damages which consequently change the strength and stability of the building.
  • Soil testing also determines the depth and length of the pillars that will be inserted into the soil to lay the building’s foundation.
  • The results of soil testing are used to determine the likelihood of foundation problems and the best construction methods to use.
  • The water table level of the soil can be determined through soil testing.
  • The level of the water table, measured by soil testing, indicates potential issues with the level of humidity inside the foundation and the foundation of the building.
  • The mineral and chemical composition of the soil can influence the construction material chosen.
  • If soil analysis shows that the soil contains Sulphur, Sulphur-resistant cement is used to protect the building’s foundation.
  • The importance of soil testing in determining the reactivity of the soil cannot be overstated.
  • Soil reactivity refers to how the soil reacts to certain conditions on-site, such as whether it expands, contracts, or moves.
  • Soil testing is extremely crucial when multi-story apartments or buildings are being constructed.
  • This ensures that fatal accidents or collapse doesn’t happen.

3 Considerations Before Soil Testing

  1. Soil testing labs– Always go for accredited and authorized labs. Remember the cost of testing increases as the distance between the construction site and lab increases.
  2. Best time to get soil tests– Well, there are no best times than now! You can get your soil tested at any time during the year, the weather doesn’t affect the results.
  3. License and Permits– Sites that require extensive work must have licenses and permits from the local zoning authorities.

Now that we’ve looked at why soil testing is important for construction, we shall look at common soil tests in India:

  • Atterberg Limits Test: Atterberg Limits Tests help in determining and measuring the critical water contents of the soil.  It is performed at three different levels namely,  shrinkage limit, plastic limit, and liquid limit.
  • Moisture testing: This test helps in determining the moisture content of the soil. During construction it is important to test the moisture content because the variations of it from the normal range can cause problems in later stages, for example, excess moisture can cause corrosion. Moisture test samples are collected and weighed at the construction site; samples are then placed in the oven to dry at 110℃ + 5℃. The moisture content can be determined by noting the difference in weight between the two weights before and after drying.
  • Gravity Test: Gravity tests are important in knowing the soil properties like void ratio and degree of saturation. There are two main and common tests that give accurate results in determining the specific gravity. These are the Pycnometer Method and Density Bottle Method. In these gravity tests, the ratio of unit weight of soil solids to that of the water of the soil is determined.
  • Proctor’s Compaction Test: The Proctor compaction test is a laboratory method for determining the optimum moisture content at which a soil type will become most dense and reach its maximum dry density. Through this test, the compaction of soil is determined.

The above-mentioned tests can help you save a lot in the cost of laying the foundation and ensure a safe, stable, and strong base for your construction project. Soil testing has a few benefits like identifying the type of foundation needed, helps avoid resting foundations on poor soil or inadequate depth, helps identify corrosive soil, identify soil liquefaction possibilities during an earthquake, etc.

Thus, before beginning any construction work, investing in soil testing can help you save money and lives!

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