Soils Engineer

What is Soils Engineer ?

Definition of Soils Engineer in Construction

An engineer that is trained in the classification and engineering of soils. Soil engineers devote their occupation to understanding the ability of earth products to support various loads as well as understanding the characteristics of earth materials, in regard to drainage, compaction, deterioration, etc. In many instances, borings are taken to remove a core of material, down to a certain designed depth. These cores are then evaluated by the soils engineer to identify the characteristics of each layer of material. The soils engineer will determine the allowed loading of the soil, by the soil characteristics, and the ability of the soil to support the structure. A soils engineer will evaluate any problematic issues, such as a high water table, clay lenses, peat layers, or any other materials that could affect the bearing and drainage ability of the soil. The soils engineer will provide valuable data to the structural engineer, allowing the proper design of foundations and footings, based upon the evaluations and recommendations of the soils engineer.

A soils engineer, in conjunction with a structural engineer can design foundations to distribute loads over large areas to support the loading forces of a structure. They can design a footing based a pile design, which is engineered to transfer the load of the structure down into an individual pile or pile cluster. There are several different types of piles such as end bearing, friction piles or even thermal piles that are specifically designed, based upon the soil conditions. Structural components such as grade beams and pile caps are then designed to work as a system to distribute the buildings load, down into the pile system. The work of a soils engineer is important to the success of projects developed on difficult pieces of property, and a successful and creative soils engineer, together with the structural engineer, can engineer different supporting schemes to solve difficult site conditions.