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Geo-environmental, Geotechnical, Ground Investigations & Soil Tests

We are regularly asked for a “soil test”, but are all soil tests created equal? In short, no.

There are two main reasons that a developer would require a “soil test”:

  • For a geo-environmental report, typically as part of a planning application / discharge of planning conditions, or
  • For a geotechnical report, typically to inform foundation design.

Geo-environmental (Contaminated Land)
Contaminated Land is a material consideration in planning and in most cases, an assessment is required in order to validate a planning application. In many cases, the initial or subsequent assessment phases are listed as planning conditions for an approval.

The assessment of potential contaminated land takes a phased approach. The Phase 1 Desk Study considers if potential contamination from current or historical sources could pose a risk to the development. The Phase 2 Site Investigation will then undertake tests to determine if contamination is present, or if the risk of contamination is justified. Subsequent stages, if required, include remediation planning and implementation, and validation / verification of the remediation.


The purpose of a geotechnical investigation is typically to provide information to enable a Structural Engineer to design the foundations for the development. The geotechnical investigation is a combination of both desk and site based investigations. Geotechnical investigations may also include providing information on pavement design and advice on permeability for drainage design.

Other Ground Investigations

Other common types of ground investigations include:

  • Permeability of infiltration tests, often called soakaway tests. These are normally carried out to Building Regs part H (small sites) or BRE Digest 365. These are used for the design of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems.
  • Waste soil assessment. Testing and classification of soils that are planned to be disposed of offsite, or re-used on site as part of a Materials Management Plan. This assessment can significantly reduce the costs and risks associated with waste soils.

Get in touch

The Geo-environmental and Geotechnical team at agb Environmental has extensive experience of planning, delivering and assessing various ground investigations. Contact Simon Pike, Principal Consultant by email or call 01638 663226 for more information.

Geotechnical, News