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A geotechnical engineer conducts a site investigation in order to ascertain the stability of a site. With an understanding of geotechnics, geology and construction, this engineer is able to provide guidance for a solid foundation design.

Your self build may not require the attention of a geotechnical engineer if preliminary investigations by your professional advisers indicate that the ground conditions are suitable for the intended foundation design. However, where there is any doubt about the underlying ground structure, they are likely to recommend the appointment of a geotechnical engineer.

The geotechnical engineer will analyse the site and supply a geotechnical assessment report. The typical content of a report will be how much weight the soil can carry, what kind of foundation is appropriate and what measures should be taken to avoid problems. Their services typically extend to retaining wall design, slope stability assessment, soil erosion assessment and contamination assessment.

You may need to enclose such a report with your planning application. If you are applying for a self build mortgage, the funder may also require a copy of the report.

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