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RE: Requiring soils reports

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Albert,
One comment I would like to make is that the availability or demand for
a soils report can vary a great deal by your location. Southern
California (especially the Los Angeles area) is known for extreme
expansive clays. While the building department will allow you to design
a low rise residential building without a soils report, they have
increased the minimum depth and width of foundations in their
modifications to the California Building Code (derived from the 97 UBC).

In my area of the desert, I assume the worst condition which is sand or
sandy silt and use the table in the code for a 1,500 psf bearing
pressure and the same lateral pressures indicated. 
I also use my judgment and if I hear any rumors that there are problems
in any area I am hired to design for, I will require a soils report
before I begin my work.
I'm not sure how others do this, but the local Geotechnical in my area
provides basic soils and near-source information for a nominal fee of
about $150.00 and given the legal information or site address will also
provide his comments to me as to whether or not there are any known
problems I should consider. 
We are a small town compared to Riverside, Los Angeles, San Bernardino
and possibly this helps in our work relationship with other local
professionals. I would assume the same services are available in larger
cities by local geotechnical firms.
Last step (or maybe the first for some) is to contact the local building
official (or his plan check technicians) who provide counter service and
advice and to ask what is appropriate for the area we are designing.
They may have a few projects in the area and can advise accordingly. I
do understand that soils conditions can over a few feet, but we need use
our judgment to identify areas that are not potential problems such as
my neighborhood that is mostly decomposed granite with underlying
bedrock. 

Dennis S. Wish, PE
California Professional Engineer
The Structuralist.Net Information Infrastructure
 
Website: 
http://www.structuralist.net
 

-----Original Message-----
From: Albert Meyer [mailto:Ameyer(--nospam--at)martinaia.com] 
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2001 12:42 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: RE: Requiring soils reports

Stan, knowing that allowable bearing pressure is only one parameter
required
for design, do you typically assume worst case conditions for other
parameters you need for seismic design in high risk areas?  I know that
most
of my jobs are in areas of low seismic risk, so attempting to make
reasonable assumptions about lateral pressures, phi angles and stability
is
probably not as critical for my designs as it would be in a high seismic
risk area.

Albert J. Meyer, Jr., P.E.
Martin-Espenlaub Engineering
(215) 665-8570 Tel
(215) 561-5064 Fax
ameyer(--nospam--at)martinaia.com


-----Original Message-----
From: George Richards P.E. [mailto:george(--nospam--at)borm.com]
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2001 3:18 PM
To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org'
Subject: RE: Requiring soils reports


Stan, Our office policy not the "standard of care in Calif."  Sorry for
not
being clear.  GR.

-----Original Message-----
From: sscholl2(--nospam--at)juno.com [mailto:sscholl2(--nospam--at)juno.com]
Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2001 4:26 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Cc: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: Re: Requiring soils reports


Not so! We use 1000psf and only do soil report for larger projects-
about
half of all projects.

Stan Scholl, P.E.
Laguna Beach, CA

On Wed, 12 Dec 2001 13:14:02 -0800 "George Richards P.E."
<george(--nospam--at)borm.com> writes:
> In Calif.  Always a soil report before design.  
> 
> George Richards, ARCE CalPoly SLO
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Albert Meyer [mailto:Ameyer(--nospam--at)martinaia.com]
> Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2001 12:14 PM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> Subject: Requiring soils reports
> 
> 
> I'm interested in knowing how many of you require that soils reports 
> be
> provided prior to the start of a building design, and how many 
> assume soil
> properties to do foundation design with the caveat that a soils
> investigation be done prior to the start of construction, and any 
> changes
> required to the structural plans due to the differences between 
> assumed and
> actual soil conditions are an additional service.  Thanks in advance 
> for
> your response.
> 
> Albert J. Meyer, Jr., P.E.
> Martin-Espenlaub Engineering
> Philadelphia PA
> (215) 665-8570 Tel
> (215) 561-5064 Fax
> ameyer(--nospam--at)martinaia.com
> 
> 
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