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Choosing the Right Material For a Construction Project

Essential Pre-Construction Soil Tests

by Frank Lynch

A building's structural integrity is partly determined by the properties and condition of the ground on which it sits. For this reason, soil tests are a mandatory requirement before any construction begins. Not only do soil tests help to determine the suitability of a site for a specific construction project, but they also provide a guide to the most appropriate stabilisation techniques to use. That said, there is a myriad of pre-construction soil tests that a construction company should undertake. This article highlights the most important ones.

Moisture Content Test 

Soil contains moisture, but the amount varies from one site to another. Knowing the amount of moisture present in the soil is critical because it determines vital procedures, such as waterproofing. For instance, structures built on the ground with high moisture content are more likely to suffer from mould growth. As such, adequate waterproofing measures must be implemented to prevent mildew. While various methods are used to test soil moisture levels, the most common technique remains oven-drying. It involves taking a sample of soil from a site, recording its weight and drying it in an oven. The sample is taken out after 24 hours and weighed again. The difference in value is noted and used to compute the moisture content.

Gravity Test 

It is another equally important soil test for construction engineers as it helps them understand the porosity of the soil, which is the size of particles and air cavities. Additionally, a gravity test provides insight into water saturation levels of a project site; however, this should not be confused with the soil moisture test. Gravity soil test matters to engineers because it helps to establish if the soil is stable enough to support a proposed structure and drainage requirements. The most common gravity testing methods are the density bottle method and Pycnometer method.

Dry Density Test 

Soil can be classified as loose, medium-dense and dense, and the construction strategy on each type varies significantly. The classification is established using values obtained from a dry density test. Notably, the dry density value of the soil is achieved by collecting a sample and calculating the weight of particles in a given volume. If the test reveals that the soil particles are heavy, the soil in a particular site is classified as dense, and vice-versa. Three methods are currently used to conduct dry density tests on soil, including sand replacement, core cutter and water displacement.

Contact a provider of soil testing services to learn more.


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Choosing the Right Material For a Construction Project

If you are planning to start a new construction project, you may be wondering about the best type of materials to use. About 6 months ago, I decided to carry out an extensive renovation of my home. This would involve demolishing one wall, extending the kitchen and the construction of a new patio area. I really wasn't sure which materials would be best. I consulted with a contractor and he explained the pros and cons of each material. In the end, I opted for wood and steel. I am really pleased with the end results. I hope this blog helps you to plan your construction project.

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