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What to expect from your soil test and contour survey

Date Monday, 22 June 2015 4:07 PM

Soil tests and contour surveys are an important part of the building process.

We've all heard horror stories of the hidden costs associated with building a new home.

Thankfully, G.J. Gardner is able to take most of the guesswork out of construction by completing projects within a strict timeframe and budget. 

Before your home builder even thinks of picking up a hammer, they'll need to conduct two important land checks: a soil test and contour survey. These examinations will typically cost around $1,000-$2,000, but the information they reveal about your section will ultimately save you a lot of money further down the line. 

What is a soil test?

A soil test allows geotechnical engineers to determine the reactivity of your section and consequently the measures your builder will need to take to ensure that your home is stable and safe.

Even the most beautifully designed home will quickly fall into disrepair if the soil is unable to bear its weight.

Class A soil, typically comprised of sand and rock, is stable and non-reactive. Changes in moisture levels are unlikely to cause ground movement.

At the other end of the spectrum lies Class P soil, which will struggle to support your home. Landslips and erosion is often to blame, combined with a high risk of ground movement should the soil's moisture content change.

A soil test reveals important information that your builder will need to take into account before construction can begin.A soil test reveals important information that your builder will need to take into account before construction can begin.

Of course, Class A soil will always be the easiest to build on, but a good builder will be able to adapt the project to suit any classification.

What is a contour survey?

Similar in principle to a soil test, a contour survey indicates the limitations of the land and determines whether your builder will need to make any changes to your home's design. Basically, a counter survey will show the different levels of elevation within your section. 

Equipped with this information, your builder will discuss your best options to get the most out of your land. To level the section, it may be necessary to erect retaining walls and remove or add soil. 

Whether you're a first home buyer or a seasoned investor, understanding the geological tests and checks that must be carried out before you with develop your house and land package is essential.

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