What is a Geotechnical Engineer?
Definition of a Geotechnical Engineer in Construction
A geotechnical engineer is the engineering discipline that is responsible for the soils, rock, water, environmental or other conditions regarding the sitework and foundation support for a project. The geotechnical engineer is, in most instances the first engineering discipline to study a prospective project to analyze the soils and the structural ability of the site, to sustain the anticipated project. In many instances, the geotechnical engineer will subcontract a soil boring company to drill borings and take soil samples on the proposed site of the project. These borings and soil samples will be evaluated by the geotechnical engineer to identify the structural capabilities of the site, and recommend the types of foundations to be installed to support the project. Due to the limited amount of suitable lands available for development, the geotechnical engineer will offer suggestions for alternate types of support methods to be incorporated on the project, to allow the construction of the anticipated scope of the work. As the construction industry matures and the development sites become less suitable for construction, the expertise of the geotechnical engineer is, in many instances, what separates a project from being successful or not. Various supportive piles and engineering accommodations are being developed by geotechnical engineers to allow construction on development sites that normally would not be capable of supporting the construction of the project.