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Soil boring recommendation

Soil boring recommendation

Soil boring recommendation

An architect asked me a question the other day about how deep of a boring he should recommend for a pool that is 15' deep. I just pulled a number of 25' from no where and I don't know if I am right. Any thoughts? Also what is the typical minimum boring depth that as a structural engineer you should ask for a building on grade (no basement).

RE: Soil boring recommendation

Your recommendation is probably OK, but you need to consider a few things in the minimum boring depth....

Consider the loading (obviously) and how deep the effect of that loading will be.  For a swimming pool, depending on the depth to the water table, the load might be significant or insignificant.  In general, the pool, full of water, will weigh less than the soil that was excavated to put the pool in place.

Consider the probable water table depth and its affect on the foundation/structure.

Consider the width of the building and how that compares to the loading.

For buildings use ASCE guidelines for depths.

RE: Soil boring recommendation

A structural engineer should not prescribe boring depths unless they also want the liability of issuing the prescription.  The geotechnical engineer should be provided structural engineering loads and then design the subsurface exploration program.


¡papá gordo ain't no madre flaca!

RE: Soil boring recommendation

Yes, the geotechnical engineer should have a say in the program by which he will be making professional recommendations.  If a client won't pay for a proper investigation, he won't get reasonable recommendations.  However, the structural or civil engineer should be capable of giving initial direction to the geotech in many situations.

I've been out of geotech for a while working in civil.  In every case where I have subbed out a geotech, I have given the geotech the depth and number of soil borings.  If there are unforeseen soil conditions, I would expect a call during the exploration explaining the condition and providing recommendations for further exploration.  If my program is way off, I would expect the geotech to laugh at me and tell me what we need to do.  The geotech as a professional has the obligation to inform me if my program is inadequate, just as I have the obligation to inform a client if his design requirements are inadequate.

If the project is a dam or a high rise building, then yes, the geotech should be involved in the project from the beginning.  If you have a low rise building and a parking lot, there is no reason to involve a geotech in the conceptual phase of the project.  I would expect any structural or civil engineer to have a basic understanding of a typical project and to have knowledge of a reasonable exploration program.

You have a good point with the liability issue, fattdad.

Without other information, I would also use 25 feet deep.  The borings should generally be taken to a depth of 5 to 10 feet below the depth of interest.  For one boring, the cost difference is minimal between 20 and 25 feet.  For a hundred borings, I would do most of them at 20 feet and just a couple at 25 or 30 feet if I expected the strata to be similar.

RE: Soil boring recommendation

hire the geotech to figure these things out...there's a lot of funny things that can happen on sites with soil/foundations. and keep in mind that "cheap is cheap". don't get in to bidding wars with geotech because they'll cut price which means they're cutting scope and recommendations which will end up costing the project more in the end. go with a reputable firm.

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