Last Updated:

Hire a Soil Engineer to Test the Ground Before You Buy

A soil engineer gives you a look beneath the surface of your lot, providing valuable guidance before you build.

Here in Northern Virginia, builders occasionally have to deal with dangerous soil known as marine clay. East of I-95, this soil can wreak havoc on basements and foundation footers.  Bentonite, as marine clay is formally called, expands when wet and shrinks when dry. This causes cracks to form in the foundation of your home, which could lead to catastrophic results if left unaddressed. Fortunately, you don’t have to be left in the dark on what lies beneath a lot’s surface. A soil engineer will test the ground and ensure that you don’t build on marine clay or any other unstable surface.

Make sure you’re not building outside your property boundaries – Read this blog on hiring a property surveyor!

Digging Soil

What Does a Soil Engineer Do?

A soil engineer, also called a geotechnical engineer, evaluates the ground that people are looking to build on. They perform several key tasks, the most important of which include the following:

  • Testing the soil to ensure it’s safe to build on
  • Determining where your septic system should be
  • Confirming the structure was built in accordance to their recommendation

The most important thing a soil engineer does is test the ground to make sure the soil won’t cause damage to your building. Here in NoVa, Marine Clay is the most common obstacle. We’ve already discussed the dangers of building on Marine Clay, but it cannot be stressed enough: make sure you have a soil engineer test the ground before you sign on the dotted line!

No Public Water System? You Need a Septic System!

Nearly 550,000 households in Virginia depend on onsite systems to remove waste. If your lot doesn’t have a public water system, you’ll need to install a septic system to deal with waste. Just like the structure of your home, installing your septic system in bad soil could have devastating consequences. A soil engineer will test the soil percolation of different areas on your property to find the perfect location for a septic system. They will also make sure that your system is compliant with government regulations.

Septic Tank

Give Us a Call if You Need More Information on How to Hire a Soil Engineer!

We are always more than happy to answer any questions you may have!