What Geology Has to Do With Your Construction Project

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The geology of a location is, at times, its most important factor to consider during construction. The geologic features of a parcel of land – its physical structure, its soil makeup – ultimately dictate its best-use.

Shield Engineering is proud to offer Geotechnical Engineering services to developers, builders, and architects alike. Evaluating and stabilizing surface conditions at a site are two of the most important activities we perform on a regular basis.

Geology and Land Limitation

Before anything can be safely anddurably constructed on a parcel of land, that land should undergo a comprehensive “construction materials” survey. Prior to placement of a single brick, engineers and scientists confer on the soil’s important characteristics such as its density, the depth of its bedrock its chemistry, etc. Once a survey has been established, plans can be put in place for remediating geologic complications before construction begins. This can include multiple follow-up steps such as lab-based soil testing, exploratory subsurface drilling, and a hydrogeologic evaluation, among many others.

Subsurface Investigations

When surveys reveal potential complications within the soil, expert geologic and geotechnical engineers must consider a variety of subsurface stabilization techniques. Corrective action in regards to poor soil quality is the only way to ensure a stable, long-lasting foundation. Proper engineering from the start is always the most cost-effective solution; it’s not uncommon to see buildings constructed on unstable land crack, lean, or even collapse over time.

Seismic considerations are important when building on unstable soil. When land is subject to movement (such as in highly sandy soil or when very soft clays are present) it’s possible to circumvent structural challenges by compacting the soil itself. This is not always feasible, however. Other considerations that must be considered include clay-content, frost lines, and even acid-rich soils that can potentially eat away at foundational elements.

Designing Around Geology

Foundatio design is the keystone of subsurface stabilization. There are dozens of different methods for stabilizing soil, each useful for a distinct but explicit purpose. Shield Engineering regularly provides foundation design services to clients that include shallow and spread foundations, mat foundations, helical piers, caissons, micropiles, driven piles, and more.


Geology doesn’t necessarily determine what we can build, but how. Shield Engineering takes pride in understanding the geologic implications unique to hundreds of types of soil. From surveys to remediation, our technicians and engineers ensure no stone goes unturned throughout the construction process.

Are you interested in learning more about the geologic and geotechnical specialties offered by Shield Engineering? Contact us today for information on our civil, geologic, and  environmental engineering services.

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