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Re: Foundation Design Without Site-Specific Geotechnical Reports

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What Does Site Specific Mean?

In Bakersfield California, it is the local practice to perform geotechnical
investigations for each new subdivision and often for each new Parcel Map
recorded.  The geotechnical reports usually include drilling several test
borings, obtaining soil samples, performing laboratory tests on those
samples, performing engineering calculations for foundation design, and
providing foundation design recommendations in the form of a written report
called a "Preliminary Geotechnical Report," "Preliminary Soils Report," etc.
The Final report is issued after recommendations have been effected on the
grading plan for a development and the grading has been substantially
completed through finished pad rough grade.  Borings are not drilled on each
and every lot.  Lot without borings are included in the report as well as
lots with borings.

Question?  Would this practice consitute a violation of Texas Law, since a
specific investigation was not performed, i.e. borings drilled, on each and
every lot?

If not, could the results of investigations performed on properties adjacent
(contiguous to)  to the subject property be used to design foundations
without violating the law?

Would the answer to this question be the same if the adjacent propert were
not part and parcel of the subject development?

Tom Bayne

----- Original Message -----
From: "Dennis S. Wish" <dennis.wish(--nospam--at)>
To: <seaint(--nospam--at)>
Sent: Friday, May 12, 2000 10:22 PM
Subject: RE: Foundation Design Without Site-Specific Geotechnical Reports

> Stan,
> As a follow-up to my last post, I inadverntly forgot to mention that I was
> quoting from the UBC Handbook and this is why there is an opinion in the
> last section. Still, the code stands correct - the building official has
> final authority.
> Dennis S. Wish, PE
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Caldwell, Stan [mailto:scaldwell(--nospam--at)]
> Sent: Friday, May 12, 2000 1:43 PM
> To: 'SEAINT Listserv'
> Subject: Foundation Design Without Site-Specific Geotechnical Reports
> I submitted a post on this subject earlier today, but it appears to have
> been lost in cyberspace.  Here is another attempt, since this information
> might be of interest to many of you.
> The Texas PT Board has begun to vigorously enforce their policy that
> foundations cannot be designed without site-specific geotechnical reports.
> Here are two examples of recent disciplinary actions, excerpted from the
> Spring 2000 Texas PE Board Newsletter (
> <> ):
> Mr. Widjaya Surya Atmadja, P.E., Austin, TX - File D-978 - Mr. Atmadja
> allegedly failed to use site specific geotechnical soil studies to prepare
> residential foundation design. Further, statements on the plan sheet that
> the design was based upon unconfirmed assumptions about the soil's
> were misleading and not in keeping with generally accepted engineering
> practices. The Board accepted a Consent Order signed by Mr. Atmadja for a
> Formal Reprimand and assessed him a $500 administrative penalty.
> Mr. Martin Prager, P.E., Dallas, TX - File D-960 - It was alleged that Mr.
> Prager issued foundation design plans for a residence that indicated they
> were in conformance with Post Tension Institute standards; however, the
> design was not based upon a site-specific geotechnical soils report.
> Therefore, his designs were misleading and not in keeping with generally
> accepted engineering standards or procedures. The design plans bore the
> title block of a firm which Board records did not show Mr. Prager was
> associated with, suggesting that he may have entered into a business
> relationship contrary to Board rules. The Board accepted an Agreed Board
> Order signed by Mr. Prager and his attorney for a two-year probated
> suspension of his Texas engineer license contingent upon his agreement to
> pay a $5,000 administrative penalty. Mr. Prager also agreed to inform the
> Board of each engineering activity he performs during the probation
> How many of you design building foundations and/or civil structures
> site-specific geotechnical reports?  How many of you do this in Texas?
> Regards,
> Stan R. Caldwell, P.E.
> Dallas (Hockey Heaven), Texas