If you’re a first-time homebuyer or looking to knock down and rebuild your dream home, you’ve most likely come across phrases such as “soil test” and “site survey”. Conducting both of these tests before picking out paint colours will help save you money, time, and stress later on.
It’s absolutely critical that you understand exactly what you’re building on, how it affects building and costs and the details of other characteristics of your block of land.
Here at Icon Homes, we ensure that your new custom designed home sits perfectly on your chosen block of land by assessing information on the site conditions. We organise and manage the completion of a Contour Survey and a Bore Hole Report (soil testing) as part of our 5-step Building Process. If you would like to discuss how we can help make your dream home a reality, please do not hesitate to contact us.
What is a soil test?
Soil tests are used to analyse soil samples of a block of land and help to determine the land’s characteristics. This includes textures, stability of the soil, whether or not the soil has plant nutrients, acidity or alkalinity, and the presence of any contaminants or toxicities.
If you are a new homeowner, you will need to provide a soil test to your builder, structural engineer, and council to ensure that the foundations of your home will be adequately supported.
A geotechnical engineer conducts a soil test. The engineer will drill into the group in warrior locations across the block and collect samples at different depths. The samples are analysed on-site or sent away for testing. You’ll receive a thorough analysis of the suitability of the soil for building.
Along with the soil’s characteristics, a soil test will inform you of:
This data refers to the bearing capacity of the ground. This data helps determine the weight that the soil can support per unit area. There are guidelines and requirements for certain foundations, and more unstable land can often require a deeper footing.
Reactiveness: testing the soil’s reactivity (the possibility of the earth moving, contracting or expanding) will protect against future issues. Additionally, soil testing can also allow professionals to check for any physical or chemical abnormalities.
Any fill or scrape recommendations:
Depending on the lay of the land, the block may need to be scraped or filled to ensure that the home is level. Previous fill or scrape should also be assessed for suitability.
Ensure that you’re getting a soil test for the entire block, not just one small section. Soil differs in different locations around the block, and one corner of your property could be entirely different to another corner.
Soil tests don’t guarantee certainty with a building. They do, however, allow foundations and structures to be designed and quoted with greater accuracy.
Getting a soil test before investing in a block of land can eliminate nasty surprises later. You’ll be able to receive accurate quotes from contractors and builders and be pre-warned if there are any potential problems with the land itself.
What is a site survey?
In addition to a soil test, a site survey can also give you valuable information about your block.
The slope of the block
Building onto a sloping block of land comes with additional costs, especially if the slope isn’t currently assessed before building begins. A site survey will help identify the accurate level of the block and whether the building quote needs to be reassessed.
This assessment will help determine if any adjustments are needed for wind gusts or specific wind speeds.
Existing retaining walls on a block, or even in neighbouring blocks, can affect the cost and design of your home. This is because they create different loads of stressors within the ground that need to be accounted for. A site survey will help to identify any retaining walls.
A site survey will also provide valuable information such as gas connections, power, sewerage, water drainage, any barriers for the site, and any features of note that may affect a build.
Have you found the perfect block of land for your dream home? Let us help you organise a soil test and survey of the site. Find out more about our building process today by reaching out to one of our expert team members via our contact page.