How To Scope Your Site Investigation Work

12th May 2022

Geoenvironmental • Geotechnical

It’s a competitive and often confusing industry – there’s a great deal of information flying around and it’s great that clients have plenty of options, but how do you know what’s the best option for this particular project? Here, director Fran sheds some light on how to scope your SI work.

Your site needs a Site investigation to de-risk the ground. You have gone to three reputable companies and they range in price from £2k – £5k, £1k – £4k, and £8k – £14k. How do you know which one to choose?

Well, read on and hopefully, I will be able to help.

The first question you need to answer is “What, in the ground, do I need to de-risk. What are my AFTERs from the SI?”

What position are you in at the moment? Buying, pre-planning, need some more info for detailed design, or do you just need the whole SI sorted now, with no add-ons, all in, please?

What is it, in the ground, do you need de-risking? Foundations? A pile design? Firming up the Civils, whether road or drainage design? Is contamination your main concern? Is muck away?

The answers to the above will define what type, depth, and frequency of SI is undertaken.


What if I don’t know what the risks are?

This is the easy bit. ASK US. We are the Site Investigation, Geological, Geotechnical, and Geoenvironmental Specialists.

We are best placed to provide you with our best views on what ground conditions might be there and what your in-ground risks are. We know the ins and outs of investigation techniques (there are positives and negatives, which are conservative in what conditions). We know what test will get the best bearing capacity or pile design in what ground conditions? We also know the tricks of the trade, we know where U100s have been specified instead of UT100s, and we know where a 15m borehole has been specified instead of a 20m (with pile depths to 18m).

Ah, but what if I don’t have time or budget to get you involved?

This is the easy bit.

  1. It doesn’t cost you or us much to have a chat about a site.
  2. If you want a bit more reassurance then we can start with an Anticipated Ground Conditions Sheet, an inexpensive early look into the risks for the development.

All of the above within the 2 quick weeks between identifying the site and signing on the dotted line.

As part of the early design stage, this pre-purchase info can then start the ball rolling with technical discussions with your Structural and Civil teams, they can add to the site model and refine the scope. You can add your concerns.

Following these discussions, you can sit back and let your trusted teams complete the work. All expectations have been set, the agreement of price satisfies these expectations, and all people have to do is follow through on what they say they will do (which we do).

The biggest difficulty faced by design teams is when expectations are not met. So let’s be honest, let’s discuss expectations and afters upfront, let’s discuss the uncertainties of different methods, and let’s choose the best SI path for you and your development.


See our Solutions Centre to find out how we can get your project up and running.

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