Soil Investigation Services

Commonly referred to as Geotechnical Investigation or Ground investigation, is a technique in Geotechnical Engineering employed to assess the surface and subsurface condition to determine engineering properties of soil or rock core both in-situ and in the Laboratory. This testing is carried out for soil or rock formations by conducting on-site explorations, boring, sampling, logging, and laboratory testing. Geotechnical studies help to get detailed data on the geological conditions of the site which gives a Geotechnical Engineer/Engineering Geologist, the sufficient data to recommend foundation design or other related recommendations. The collected data is analyzed and geotechnical criteria for foundations, retaining walls, site drainage, etc. are developed. In geotechnical engineering the typical areas of recommendation include but are not limited to the following:

  • Foundation recommendations (deep and shallow)
  • Piled foundations
  • Slope stability
  • Retaining walls
  • Pavements
  • Evaluation of existing foundations
  • Ground improvement
    Standard Penetration testing on soil

    Standard Penetration testing on soil

The geotechnical or soil investigations are used in every civil engineering projects which are related and not limited to the designing of shallow/deep foundations for buildings or other related structures such as slope stability etc., for roads and bridges, dams, hydropower, wind, solar power plants, transmission lines and grid stations, telecommunication towers, oil, and gas. It also plays a vital part in establishing retaining structures, constructing underground structures such as tunnels and quarries which are subjected to soil pressure from all sides, constructing earth dams that require proper knowledge of engineering properties of soils and rocks. All in all, these investigations play a crucial role in researching the impact of development on various construction projects.

Why AKM Geotechnical?

AKM Geotechnical provides a comprehensive range of geotechnical investigation services and believes that an efficient and effective geotechnical study is an integral component of any proposed civil engineering project. We ensure that the soil investigation and soil testing are designed and implemented correctly to meet the project requirements. Where necessary, our multi-disciplined teams are able to integrate the scope of work to cover both geotechnical and environmental concerns in order to provide a technically robust and cost-effective site investigation solution.

Importance of Geotechnical/Soil Investigation Services

The primary reason for geotechnical investigations is to find possible anomalous subsurface conditions before beginning a project. The costs of not performing a geotechnical investigation can be astronomical and in rare cases cause irrecoverable costs. AKMG provides geotechnical investigation services and construction material monitoring services throughout all phases of feasibility/planning, design development, construction, and post-construction.

Soil Investigation services we offer

Our team of professionals has the expertise to perform the following field related tasks

Drilling/Boring works

Geotechnical drilling is a method by which core samples of rocks and soil samples are recovered and then tested both in-situ and ex-situ to determine the engineering properties of these samples and cores.  This is a very integral part of soil investigation for any project as unstable and unsafe rocks and soil could undermine the integrity of the site.  Accurate drilling establishes a safe foundation for whatever project the contractors are going to work on. Drilling in soil or rock formations is performed in a wide range of ground conditions both in-shore and off-shore employing hand auger drilling rigs, straight rotary rigs, reverse rotary rigs, light, and heavy percussion rigs. Different diameters of drilling can also be achieved by increasing the bit size.

Collection of disturbed and undisturbed samples (DS & UDS)

During drilling when we acquire the samples from the ground, we usually have two types of samples; disturbed and undisturbed samples.

    When the structure, texture, density, natural water contents, or the stress conditions of the samples cannot be taken as in ”in-situ conditions”, we refer to it as disturbed samples. However, these samples can be recovered.
    Without disturbing the structure, texture, density, natural water contents, or the stress conditions of the sample is called an undisturbed sample. These are normally taken in sample barrels such as Shelby, Denison, and Pitcher samplers which retain the original in-situ condition of soil samples when taken for tests in the laboratory.

Performing standard penetration test (SPT)

The Standard Penetration test (SPT) is a common in situ testing method used to determine the blow count commonly referred to as “N Values” of subsurface soils. The standard penetration tests are carried out in borehole according to the ASTM standard (ASTM D1586).

Borehole logging/Field logging

Borehole logging is a time and money-saving approach to gaining detailed information that is otherwise only obtainable from performing and analyzing numerous cores. Borehole logging data is typically used to characterize geology, fracture patterns, fluid flow, and geologic structural properties. Standard guide ASTM D5434 for field logging of sub-surface exploration of rock and soil are followed.

Test pit excavation and logging

Test pits are used for sampling and closely examining the engineering properties of soils. The plan view of the pit is usually circular or rectangular. Test pits can be excavated through machinery or hand tools. Test pits also give a close to the in-situ condition of the soil that can be tested in the laboratory to more accuracy to determine the engineering properties. This sampling technique is usually called Block Samples that are carefully extracted from the pit, waxed, and stored in a wooden box to retain the original moisture.

Packer test

The Lugeon test, sometimes call also Packer test, is an in-situ testing method widely used to estimate the average hydraulic conductivity of rock mass. It is indeed In situ test of formation permeability performed by measuring the volume of water taken in a section of test hole when the interval is pressurized at a given pressure (10 bars -150 psi). It is used primarily in variably permeable formations under the evaluation of fracturing.
The test is named after Maurice Lugeon (1933), a Swiss geologist who first formulated the test. Basically, the Lugeon test is a constant head permeability type test carried out in an isolated part of a borehole. The results provide information about the hydraulic conductivity of the rock mass including the rock matrix and the discontinuities. The test is carried out as specified in ASTM D6028 / D6028M – 20.

Field Permeability test

This test measures the seepage of water through the soil. There are several methods to perform permeability tests such as falling head, constant head, and laboratory methods that are carried out in soils. The falling head method of determining permeability is used for soil with low discharge, whereas the constant head permeability test is used for coarse-grained soils with a reasonable discharge in a given time. For very fine-grained soil, the capillarity permeability test is recommended. The knowledge of this property is much useful in solving problems involving yield of water-bearing strata, seepage through earthen dams, the stability of earthen dams, and embankments of canal banks affected by seepage, settlement, etc.

Field Density Test (FDT)

The field density test is conducted to find out if the specified compaction has been achieved in the soil layers in the field. Sand replacement method or sand cone method is commonly used to determine the field density. The procedure of the test is performed accurately as specified in   ASTM D446-82 standards.


Grout is a mixture of cement, sand, and water which is used to fill the gaps in any structure such as concrete, tiles, waterproofing, etc.

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