At a glance

  • Cost – The cost for a standard soil test (for a single-family dwelling) is approx. $390.00 – $490.00 (+ GST) in the Melbourne area. What’s included? 2-3 boreholes to a depth of 1.5-1.8m from the surface and soil report.
  • Special requirements – If planned construction falls outside the scope covered by AS2870-2011, a Geotechnical Site Investigation must be performed – not a standard soil test. Cost based on project requirements – get a quote.
  • Erosion Management Overlay (EMO) – Sites subject to EMO require a more in-depth investigation examining slope stability, risk of landslip, and other local council-specific requirements. The cost for this type of investigation and report is approx $2700 – $6000.

Why Is Soil Testing Important When Building A New House?

Determining soil-bearing capacity is vital when constructing any new house. The soil must be able to support the weight of the house (soil reactivity) and any other structures on the property.

Also, the soil must drain correctly to avoid flooding and water damage. As a result, soil tests are an essential step in securing a planning permit for constructing a new house.
A structural engineer can order a soil test performed to determine its load-bearing capacity and drainage capacity. Soil tests can also reveal the presence of harmful chemical or physical conditions such as toxins or contaminants.

So, soil testing is a critical step in ensuring the safety and stability of any new home.

How Does Soil Testing Affect The Foundations of My New Home?

By testing the soil/ground before foundation work begins, the owner/builder can plan the best way to support the weight of the home. A detailed soil profile can also help identify potential problems with the soil that could cause issues later on.

How Does Soil Testing Work?

It involves taking samples from the proposed construction site and analysing them for a variety of factors, including reactivity, pH levels and soil type. Based on the soil report results, geotechnical engineers can determine the best type of foundation for your new home.

What Is Site Classification?

In Victoria, the soil can vary significantly from one region to another. Site/soil classifications are a way to assess site conditions and determine the best way to build on a site.

There are several soil classifications in Victoria. Each soil type has different characteristics that may impact the design and construction of a home.

For example, sandy soil is more free-draining than clay soil, which means that it is less likely to cause problems with waterlogging or foundation settlement.

Field Soil Analysis

A field soil test is conducted on-site rather than in a laboratory and is often used to assess the feasibility of constructing a new home or other structure on a piece of property/land.

Laboratory Soil Testing

There are many different laboratory soil tests, but the most common is the pH test. This test measures the acidity or alkalinity of the soil/ground. Other tests include compaction tests, permeability tests, and soil classification tests.

What Insight Does A Soil Report Provide?

Soil reports tell you the classification, texture, and pH of the soil samples. For example, sandy soil drains well but is not very stable, while clay soil is very stable but can hold water. Loamy soil is a balance between the two extremes.

The texture may affect the foundation; soil with high clay content is very dense, and soil with high sand content is very loose. Soil with high pH is very alkaline, but soil with a low pH is very acidic. The ideal pH for construction purposes is neutral with balance chemistry. Why is pH critical for building infrastructure? Because a low pH level in soil can degrade concrete quicker. A soil test will tell you all of this information.

When Are Soil Testing And Site Classification Needed?

Before any new construction or building contract can begin, it is best to test the soil and perform a site classification. The Land Capability Assessment Council may request an LCA. An LCA helps to ensure that the soil is suitable for the planned construction and that the foundation of the new home will be stable.

A registered geotechnical engineer must perform soil tests and site classification. The engineer will take soil samples from various depths and test them for properties such as compaction, drainage, and bearing capacity.

Once tested and classified, the engineer will provide a soil report outlining any potential risks or problems with the proposed construction site.

 

FAQs

 

Is soil testing necessary for house construction?

It is an essential part of building a new home in Victoria. You must know what type of soil you are dealing with before construction begins. Soil testing identifies any potential problems that could affect construction. For example, a soil test can identify if there is a high water table in the area, which could cause flooding during construction. Testing should always be carried out before construction begins.

How do you do a soil test to build a house?

The most common method is to use a soil auger to take samples from different depths. These samples can then be analysed for various physical properties. In most cases, a soil test is required to obtain a permit to build a home. It is best to consult a local expert to ensure that all necessary tests are conducted.

Can I do the soil testing myself, or do I need to hire a professional to do it for me?

Hiring a professional geotechnical engineer or company like Smolders Geotechnical is always the best option. Experts have the experience and equipment to get accurate readings, which is essential for ensuring the home’s foundation is strong enough and stable. Not to mention professionals also have the appropriate professional indemnity insurance.

What if there’s a problem with the soil test results – can I still get my building permit?

If your soil test results come back with some problems, don’t worry. A geotechnical engineer will be able to provide advice on how to proceed. Additional work may be required, such as soil stabilisation. Follow the expert’s advice and you should be able to get your permit to start building your dream home.