Soil Testing for Construction: Assessing Soil Properties for Building Success

Soil Testing for Construction

Are you trying to start a construction project but are worried about the health of the soil in the area where the project will be built? It doesn’t matter if you’re building a house or commercial building; understanding the health of the soil is important for ensuring your building will have a solid foundation and last well into the future.

The health of soil stretches far beyond just the construction industry. Healthy soil is important for farming, landscaping, and other types of businesses. Individuals in these industries need soil inspection to make informed decisions and lessen the chances of any issues occurring.

Commercial soil testing can be considered an investigation into the soil’s physical properties, chemical composition, and what’s living in it. In this article, we’ll examine why soil health is so important in many different industries. We’ll look at the different types of soil tests for construction, some factors impacting soil health, and the role of commercial soil testing.

The Significance of Soil Health for Businesses

Soil health is extremely important for businesses in several ways. Let’s explore why it matters so much.

Agricultural productivity: Businesses in the farming industry require premium soil health to grow productive crops. Good soil that holds water and allows roots to grow will become bountiful harvests of higher quality.

Landscaping aesthetics: Healthy soil is important for creating aesthetically appealing outdoor spaces, gardens, and parks. When soil is healthy, plants can grow to their full potential; without it, plants have a tough time growing.

Construction stability: Soil health is also important for the overall stability of safe structures. All structures require a sturdy and strong foundation, and if you build on soil that isn’t healthy, it can lead to foundation issues that can get costly.

Environmental sustainability: Healthy soil is a natural filter and cleans water as it percolates throughout the ground.

What Are the Consequences of Poor Soil Health?

Many businesses deal with negative consequences if soil health is neglected. In the agricultural industry, farmers will experience lower crop yields. Landscapers will experience struggling plants and unhappy customers. Business owners in the construction industry will deal with expensive repairs that could lead to regulatory concerns.

Types of Soil Tests for Construction

A couple of different types of soil tests can be conducted to assess the health of the soil. Let’s examine a couple of the most common ones.

Moisture Content Test

A moisture content test helps determine the amount of water in the soil. This is a simple test that weighs involves the following:

  • Weighing a sample of soil
  • Drying it in the oven
  • Measuring the weight loss to determine the moisture content

Specific Gravity Test

The specific gravity test is another soil inspection test that measures the density of soil particles by comparing their weight to an equal volume of water. This is a good test for industries that need more information about the strength of soil and its potential for instability.

Dry Density Test

The dry density test aims to figure out the density of compacted soil. With this test, soil is compacted into a mold to determine its dry weight, providing insights into its stability and load-bearing capacity.

Atterberg Limits Test

The Atterberg limits test is used to determine the moisture content when the soil changes between states. This test helps figure out the plasticity of the soil.

Proctor’s Compaction Test

Proctor’s compaction test is another test used to determine soil’s moisture content and maximum dry density for compaction purposes. Engineers like this test because it helps them figure out the perfect moisture content for their projects.

Factors Impacting Soil Health

There are a variety of factors that influence soil health. Let’s take a closer look at these factors and try to better understand them.

Nutrient Levels and pH Balance

Soil fertility and plant growth require a good balance of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Nitrogen helps improve leaf and stem development, while phosphorus helps to support root growth. Potassium is responsible for keeping the overall health of plants intact. To make sure nutrients are available to plants, there needs to be a good balance of pH in the soil.

PH is the acidity or alkalinity of the soil, and different plant varieties have different pH preferences.

Organic Matter Content

Some examples of organic matter are decomposed plant and animal material. Organic matter is important for overall soil because it improves soil structure, water filtration, and root penetration. Think of organic matter as a sponge that helps retain soil moisture through dry periods of the year.

Organic matter is also important in nutrient cycling and serves as a reservoir of nutrients released into plants.

Soil Contamination and Pollution

Some of the substances that contaminate soil are:

  • Heavy metals
  • Pesticides
  • Industrial pollutants

These contaminants are a risk to our health and the environment. Regular soil inspection is important to make sure soil isn’t contaminated and posing a threat to anyone’s health.

The Role of Commercial Soil Testing

Commercial soil testing gives businesses important information to make the best overall decisions for their projects. There are a few different aspects of this process.

Comprehensive Soil Analysis

When a company is getting a soil test for construction or other purposes, it gives them a detailed assessment of the properties of the soil. Some of the characteristics included in the analysis are:

  • Nutrient levels
  • pH balance
  • Organic matter content
  • Contamination risks

Tailored testing protocols are important for catering to the specific needs of different industries. From contaminated soil testing for the agricultural industry to foundation soil testing for the construction industry, these tests ensure results that will guide the decision-making processes for the project.

Customized Soil Management Recommendations

With commercial soil testing, you’re getting more than just test results. You also get customized soil management recommendations based on the analysis that’s conducted. Some recommendations may include the following:

  • Adjusting nutrient levels
  • Using targeted organic compounds
  • Changing up soil conservation practices

Long-Term Soil Monitoring

Soil inspection is something that needs to be done periodically to ensure the long-lasting health of the soil. With periodic testing, companies can ensure they’re on track of any changes in soil health while recognizing issues earlier rather than later. 

Empowering Construction Success Through Soil Testing

At Wood Inspection Services, Inc, we’ve been around since 2003, and we’re a family-owned and operated business based out of Dallas Fort-Forth. With the advancement of ground-penetrating radar (GPR), soil testing has become more efficient, cost-effective, and noninvasive compared to traditional methods.

If you’re looking to get a soil inspection from our reliable and dedicated team at Wood Inspection Services, Inc, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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