Beneath the Surface: Geotechnical Investigation and Lab Testing

 · 
January 26, 2024
 · 
2 min read
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A geotechnical investigation is one of the first steps of a project that takes place long before construction begins. The subsurface investigation is typically done with test pits and soil borings to evaluate the site and raise awareness of any challenges that may be encountered during construction, such as soft soils, expansive clays, and sinkholes. During test pit excavation and boring drilling, Howell Environmental has a trained on-site engineer to visually classify the encountered soils and collect samples for lab testing in accordance with ASTM standards.

Based on the project, Geotechnical engineers at Howell will select samples and conduct testing as necessary to verify the on-site engineer’s visual classification. Typical lab testing includes a sieved grain size analysis for coarse-grained materials, like gravel and sand, as well as a hydrometer analysis for fine-grained particles, like silt and clay. Atterberg limits are used primarily for fine-grained soils to determine the transition from solid to semi-solid, plastic, and liquid states. Results from sieve and hydrometer grain size analyses are then plotted, giving a full particle size distribution. In combination with Atterberg limits, the engineering properties of the soil, including permeability, settlement, and foundation stability, are used for geotechnical recommendations.

So, why should you get a geotechnical investigation? It is a proactive and cost-effective way to ensure the success, safety, and sustainability of a project by providing valuable insight for decision-making through the planning, design, and construction phases. With the subsurface investigation, Howell Environmental can provide informed recommendations that reduce risk and contribute to the overall success of the project. From a single-family home to a large-scale warehouse, it is always a good idea to know what you will be building on.

Howell Environmental is currently set up for lab testing, including moisture content, sieved grain size analysis, hydrometer analysis, standard and modified proctor tests, and Atterberg limits, with more to come!

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Howell 
West Chester

1250 Wrights Lane
West Chester, PA 19380

Phone: 610-918-9002
Fax: 610-918-9003

Howell 
Mechanicsburg

5020 Ritter Road #203 Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

Terrain
A Howell Company

53 Old Solomons Island Rd. Suite I
Annapolis, MD 21401

Phone: 410-266-1160

ePhase
A Howell Company

1250 Wrights Lane
West Chester, PA 19380

Phone: 610-692-7007

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