What is Site Investigation?
Under our feet is an entire world of human, environmental, hydrological and geological history. In the UK we have processes involved that have formed a highly complex and variable record, the purpose of a site investigation is to explore and interpret this record. Depending on the individual requirements of a client, the site investigation may be very short or part of an evolving continuous process of exploration, interpretation, revision and resolution. Using various intrusive methods we produce high quality interpretative reports for our clients comprising both geotechnical and environmental assessments. At Solmek we are here to help you from start to finish throughout your site investigation.
Site investigations can help to ensure no problems occur during the construction process and research has shown that some of the most common problems on land developments could have been avoided if a suitable site investigation has been carried out. Our site investigations are designed to help you understand the condition of the land underneath the surface, ensuring your redevelopment project can progress smoothly and without interruption. Should you be searching for "Site Investigations", "Phase 2 Site Investigation", or something similar, then be sure to contact us today.
Greenfield & brownfield sites
5 Importances of site investigation
Analysing Risk From Site Investigations
Chemical analysis of soil and water samples for common contaminants is performed to establish the concentration and extent of any contamination present. All samples are sent for analysis to an accredited MCerts laboratory. From the results, a risk assessment using the “source-pathway-receptor” model in conjunction with the current widely accepted CLEA model would then be carried out and the Preliminary Conceptual Model created during the desk study updated to determine the risks to various receptors. The risk assessment may be Qualitative or Quantitative dependent upon the site. Consideration is given to the risks posed to the receptors below:
Users of the proposed site after development, infants are most at risk if a residential development is proposed and these are targeted in our assessments. Remedial measures are given to make the site safe for future development.
2. Construction Workers & Area Impact
The health of the workforce during the construction phase of the development is considered in terms of the PPE that they wear and the facilities to be provided on site. Users in the surrounding area are assessed in terms of contamination prior to, during and after the development has taken place.
Plants and trees can be affected by contaminated sites. The risks to these receptors are considered and recommendations are given for topsoil and subsoil placement in soft landscaped and garden areas.
4. Controlled Waters
These include risks to water courses, bodies of water (e.g. Lakes or ponds) and aquifers. Water samples are tested along with leachate of the soil to determine the risks posed to these receptors.
Concrete can be attacked by moisture and sulphates creating weakness and instability in foundations. We recommend the optimal concrete mix required to mitigate these circumstances. Some contaminants also attack plastic water pipe and we make an assessment of the ground in relation to service fabric upgrades.
Working across the UK
Intrusive Site Investigation Techniques
Cable percussion drilling, or shell and auger drilling, is the most popular method of retrieving soil samples from the ground whilst also undertaking insitu testing. The drilling technique allows the installation of casing inside the borehole to prevent loose soils collapsing into the hole, allowing the borehole to be advanced to depths of up to 100m. The rigs can be adapted to suit access and headroom requirements. Insitu testing is undertaken in the borehole and includes Standard Penetration Testing (SPT), borehole shear vane testing & permeability testing. The cable percussion drilling technique also allows for the retrieval of undisturbed samples used for laboratory geotechnical testing. Following completion of a borehole, ground gas and water monitoring standpipes can be installed. These allow future measurements of ground gases such as carbon dioxide and methane to be taken as well as long term monitoring of fluctuations in groundwater levels.
The small percussive rig is a compact versatile rig which is tracked under its own power into locations with difficult access, some people refer to small percussive drilling as Window Sampling. It is an ideal method of drilling on smaller sites, e.g. gardens, offering minimal disruption. Sampling, insitu testing and installations similar to the cable percussive rig are adopted. Solmek also have dynamic probing equipment which can be fitted in place of the sampling tools. This allows dynamic probing to be alternated with fully sampled boreholes for a comprehensive investigation.
Solmek are required to check for shallow mine workings and can offer a range of rotary drilling techniques to assess the potential hazards to a development from subsidence due to shallow coal mine workings. The main technique to check for the presence of voids due to shallow mine workings is rotary drilling. Solmek can undertake rotary coring to recover rock core samples of various diameters. These can be used to determine rock quality with information often required by piling contractors for deep foundation and tunnelling design. The cores are then logged by experienced engineering geologists in accordance with the relevant British and European standards.
In order to study the structure of shallow strata, machine excavated trial pits can also be carried out under the control and supervision of an experienced engineer. Our engineers have a thorough understanding and knowledge of geology and soil mechanics. Efficient excavation, spoil and reinstatement management ensures that the sites we work on remain hazard free. Hand excavated trial pits can also be carried out where exposures are required to log and detail existing foundations at suspected subsidence problems. Services can also be exposed by this technique.
Within excavated trial pits Solmek can undertake soakaway testing in accordance with BRE 365 Soakaway design. The results can assess a site to determine whether sustainable drainage (SUDS) can be adopted. Solmek can also carry out insitu plate load and CBR (California Bearing Ratio) testing using a wheeled excavator; these tests are normally carried out during the trial pitting investigation.
Solmek undertake coring of floor slabs in order to assess their construction and substrata. This is useful for the purpose of utilising existing rafts for internal construction e.g. mezzanine floors.
Methods of Site Investigation
The most appropriate methods of intrusive investigation are determined following completion of a desk study. Understanding the behaviour of the underlying ground is an integral part of any site investigation. It is important that the right combination of drilling, insitu testing, sampling, logging, laboratory testing and analysis are applied within the Phase 2 Intrusive Site Investigation. Solmek uses a number of high quality drilling rigs and plant equipment to produce site investigation data which is tailored to our client’s needs. Following the soil retrieval, our experienced engineers can manage the samples from site and ensure they are transported safely and accurately for extensive ranges of geotechnical and contamination laboratory testing. This ensures we deliver the appropriate data for effective, factual and interpretative reporting.
|Depth Range (>5m)
|Depth Range (>10m)
|Number per day
|Cable Percussive Rig
|Undisturbed, disturbed, SPTs
|Small Percussive Rig
|Undisturbed, disturbed, SPTs, rock core
|Trial Pits (Mechanical)
|Hand Held Machinery
Why Choose Us For Site Investigations?
Years of Experience
If you're in need of effective site investigation in the UK, then be sure to contact Solmek to see how we can help you with a detailed site investigation and report.
When it comes to site investigations in the UK, you can count on Solmek to provide a comprehensive service from start to finish. We cover a wide range of site investigations such as marine site investigation, borehole site investigation, brownfield site investigation, environmental site investigation, offshore site investigation and much more. We have a team of dedicated and fully trained site investigation contractors who will ensure all testing and reporting is carried out to the highest standards. For more information, be sure to contact Solmek today.
What Our Clients Say...
"We have used Solmek for a number of years to carry out site investigations on a great number of sites and would have no hesitation recommending them to any Clients for this type of work. Solmek have always been reliable, trust worthy and pro-active dealing with issues as they arise on site in a truly professional manner."
Partner, Billinghurst George And Partners
"Solmek have undertaken Phase 1 Desk Studies and Phase 2 Site Investigations across a large number of County Durham Housing Group’s (CDHG) sites. Solmek provided a quick and efficient service, they have been proactive in dealing with an queries arising and we look forward to working with them again in the future."
Development Officer, County Durham Housing Group