Why Digging a Test Pit is an Important Step When Building a New Home

There are many important details that need to be addressed to prepare for the construction of your new home. If you are getting ready to build your dream home, then it’s critical to ensure that you are working with experienced and skilled contractors who can assist every step of the way.

Most of the time, there are checklists you can follow to make sure everything is ready to go. But there is one important step that is sometimes overlooked in the planning process: digging a test pit.

The truth is that the condition of the soil plays an important role in the construction process. Not only can soil issues result in problems in the initial stages of construction, but unaddressed soil issues can also impact the durability of the building in the future.

A Test Pit Explained

Test pits are a way for geotechnical engineers to evaluate your ground conditions. The goal is to understand everything about the soil composition to make sure that the ground will be able to support your home’s foundation. Often, soil testing or digging a test pit is even a requirement to get the necessary building permits.

Most of the time, the pit’s measurements are between 3 and 15 feet in depth. It’s important to look at the soil composition and layers to understand what is happening in the ground where the construction will be occurring.

What is the Purpose of a Test Pit

Just because there are problems found with the soil doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t move forward with construction. Instead, we can identify these issues and put mitigating steps in place to avoid issues in the future. 

For example, if digging a test pit uncovers a high water table or loose soil that is easily compressed, then it’s likely that you will need extra foundation support. The construction plans might be changed to make the foundation wider or deeper to ensure the strength of the building. 

Without these foundational adjustments, then the soil could expand or contract, causing the foundation to crumble or crack – which can result in expensive repairs for you in the future.

Why a Test Pit is Necessary When Building a New Home

Digging a test pit can identify some of the most common issues that could affect your construction project:

  • Buried structures
  • Groundwater seepage
  • Soil contamination
  • Water table location
  • Stability of the side walls
  • Unsuitable soil conditions
  • Other possible challenges

While digging a test pit might seem like an unnecessary step when you are anxious to begin construction, the truth is that this step could save you a lot of money in the future. Identifying these issues in the earliest stages allows you to adapt the construction plan as needed, helping you avoid project delays and extra expenses down the road.

Who Can Help with Digging a Test Pit

Make sure to hire a contractor who has experience with soil testing and excavation specifically. If you are working with a general contractor, then they will already have a soil engineer to recommend for this soil testing. You also have the option to hire a soil engineer privately if you want to research the property before hiring other contractors.

Soil engineers (also known as geotechnical engineers) graduated as civil engineers. Make sure they have all the necessary licensing to ensure you are working with a credentialed engineer.

Our team at Mikula is here to help with digging a test pit. We offer full-service solutions for both residential and commercial projects. We understand the most important factors that ensure the success of soil testing.

For example, choosing the ideal location is important. It might be necessary to dig several pits across the property so that we can look at a full cross-section of the conditions. We’ll make sure that the test pit is at least a few feet deeper than the foundation will be. Before digging, we will identify the location of utility lines to avoid the risk of damaging these services.

Samples of the soil will be taken and sent to a laboratory for testing. It’s important to look for contamination and other elements that could impact the success of your project.

Finally, after the samples have been gathered and the testing is complete, we will backfill the test pit and provide full documentation of the discoveries. 

Hire an Experienced Team to Dig Your Test Pit

What questions do you have about excavation and digging a test pit? When you are preparing to start your project, we invite you to reach out to our expert team for more information. At Mikula, we bring years of experience to ensure the highest quality results for every client. 

Not only do we offer services for test pit digging, but we also provide new home excavation and more. Call today to see how we can help.

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