Geotechnical Services

Geotechnical soil test reports are required by council to support any building and resource consent applications. The report is used to tell you the conditions of the soil to ensure that any building on that ground is built without the risk of foundation problems or stability concerns.

Early investigation of your site is key

The more you know upfront, the better equipped you will be to manage your project and avoid any unforeseen costs. Because Geotechnical Reports provide valuable information about the integrity of the ground stability, the findings provide valuable information to the structural engineer to help in the consultation and design process.

Do I need to get a Geotechnical Report?

Your local council dictates whether a Geotechnical Report is required. If you are looking at a new building or additions to an existing building, in most cases a Geotechnical Report will be a necessary component of your resource consent application. If you are unsure, talk to us and we can help you to understand if a Geotechnical Report is required.

When should I obtain a Geotechnical Report?

The more you know upfront, the better. A Geotechnical Report is required prior to construction commencing. Ideally the testing should take place before your plans have been determined as the testing will provide valuable information for your foundation design requirements. If you are buying bare land to build on, part of your due diligence would be to include a Geotechnical Report in your Agreement for Sale and Purchase. LIM reports and council documentation may not indicate if uncertified fill is present or if there are other adverse conditions. A Geotechnical Report will provide you with a clear understanding of what you are buying and will help you to gain a better understanding as to whether you’ll incur additional costs to your overall budget to ensure the home has adequate foundations for the ground conditions.

What does a Geotechnical Report look at?

The report is made after an investigation into the ground conditions of your site so that we can determine how stable the land is and how appropriate it is for the proposed type of construction. We undertake a range of different tests to provide data on the physical characteristics of the ground and to obtain readings of soil strength at depth. The geotechnical report will include the findings of the site investigation, provide an outline of the assessment of the ground conditions and recommendations for the building foundations, earthworks or retaining walls.

What is good ground?

The way ground quality is determined is based on how well it can support the weight and pressure of a building or structure. Weak ground is unstable or loose whereas good ground is dense and compact, with very little movement of composite materials in the layers of soil.

What types of issues might come up in the report?

The types of things that might be identified are the presence of inappropriate fill, uncompacted soils such as loose gravel, organic matter like peat or sawdust or expansive soils such as clay. We may identify a high water table or other groundwater issues and there may be evidence of landslides or subsidence. There are a great deal of variables affecting these types of issues. This is the reason why a Geotechnical Report by a chartered engineer who has experience with local conditions is going to give you the advantage of expert knowledge and advice.

What if issues are detected?

If bad ground is detected, this will be identified in the report and our experienced engineers will advise the approach needed and discuss next steps with you. Discovery of bad ground is likely to signify additional cost to your project and we are mindful that this is a stressful time. Nobody likes bad news, but at the very least you are in the best hands with HIGHT in finding a workable solution.

Does a report of bad ground affect my resource consent application?

The report findings themselves do not determine whether or not Council will grant consent of your application. HIGHT are qualified to provide the relevant documentation to support your application that will demonstrate that provisions have been made to protect the land, building work, or other property that is the subject of your application.

How long does it take?

The typical timeframe from booking to providing the final report is approximately 2 weeks. This is subject to availability and weather conditions that may lead to unforeseen delays. However we will endeavour to get to your site in a timely manner so that ground testing can commence as soon as possible. The initial on-site testing can usually be completed in one half-day visit to your site.

What does it cost?

As cost is dependent on the size of your site and the scope of the project you’ll need to contact us to discuss costs. If any further work is required after the report has been generated, these costs will be additional and subject to your approval, prior to that work commencing.

Geotech Frequently Asked Questions


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