The Importance of Soil Testing Before Construction in Australia

The first step to take before constructing any house or building is to do the soil test. It measures soil’s capacity to withstand the pressure applied over it. The soil tests help architects and building engineers determine soil composition to design the foundation before starting foundation work.

Soil testing is carried out to find the bearing capacity of the soil. Besides, it shows the chemical/physical composition of the soil. Different soil types have different structure and soil composition consisting of multiple layers. Soil properties vary due to weather, temperature, water level and what it was used for. 

Why Are Soil Tests Important Before Construction?

The building construction starts with the foundation, and the focus should be on laying a solid foundation. Otherwise, it would not sustain the building’s pressure and result in the structure’s collapse. The soil test determines what type of construction would be required on a particular soil. This test also reveals how much depth is needed to pay the foundation for the building. The soil report contains useful information related to the soil like density, moisture, minerals, permeability, and soil bearing capacity. The architect or engineer makes decisions about the depth and length of pillars for the foundation. 

For large buildings and multi-storey buildings, soil testing report is carried before the construction. Engineers use soil reports to choose the quality of material to use in the structure. If the soil report shows moisture in the soil, then rust-free material is recommended for construction. If you’re searching for Australian based soil testers, you may want to consider checking out Australian Soil Investigations at

Types of Soil Testing For Construction

The soil testing reveals the potential damages to your property so that all safety measures can be taken to ensure safe construction. Several tests are conducted to get soil analysis and readings to make the construction successful. The following are the most common types of soil tests:

  1. Moisture Test

These tests are carried to find the soil’s moisture levels, a small quantity of soil is taken from the proposed construction site and weighted in the raw form. Once the soil is weighted, it is dried in the oven at a temperature of 110-degree. Again the soil is weighed after drying. The entire process measures the presence of water and moisture content in the soil. It helps the construction engineers to plan the construction of the building. 

  1. Gravity Test

This test determines the ratio between the weight of solid soil equal to that of water. The gravity test uses different methods like Pycnometer method and Density Bottle Method to get the results. The former procedure is done using the vertex specific gravity bottle with the following:

  • Empty weight (M1)
  • Empty + dry soil (M2)
  • Empty + water + dry soil (M3)
  • Pycnometer filled with water (M4)
  1. Atterberg Limit Test

This test measures the soil’s water content using three different limits, including liquid, plastic, and shrinkage limits, showing various soil grains’ properties. These three levels of tests show the condition of fine-grained soil when placed in different circumstances to check if it can sustain pressure in the given requirements or otherwise, which allows engineers to make their design plan on the soil. 

  1. Dry Density Test

This test is determined by dividing the wet soil figures with the water content, that is converted into a percentage. There are two methods involved in the Dry Density Tests, including Core Cutter method and Sand Replacement Method. 

  1. Proctor’s Compaction Test

Before starting any construction, the compaction test is carried to know about the features of the soil. This testing method takes a sample portion of soil for testing and then further smaller chunks of soil are made from the site location. Water contents are added in small percentages of the soil, and their density and water contents are calculated with the help of Proctor’s Compaction method. 

No construction, whether related to the building or road, can be done without doing soil analysis. These tests focus on the sustainability of soil for construction. Some of these tests can be done on the spot, whereas some are tested in laboratories using various methods. 

Where Can I Go For More Information?

The soil testing reports are generally used by the architectures, and design engineers and a common man has nothing to do with the readings of soil test reports. If you’re looking for more information; the following video from Beowulf Builders Pty Ltd outlines why soil tests are essential before construction commences.