Industrial Equipment for Your Hospital

Don't Underestimate Soil Compression

Soil compression on construction sites can be an unwelcome discovery, but it's not just that the soil now needs extra work that makes it frustrating. It's the fact that the compression's effects extend into other areas like drainage and ground stability. Until the causes of the compression are identified, the compression can spell the end of a construction project. It helps to get a quick sense of what the soil is like using a pocket penetrometer, but you'll need a full environmental evaluation in the end.

Bad Drainage Ruins Projects

Compressed soil, be it from consolidation or compaction, leads to poor drainage. It's harder for water to enter the soil because there's little space in between the soil's components. Excess water stays on the surface and flows somewhere else, which could be toward office doors, for example, or to a low point in an open field next to the development that then leads to a stagnant pool of water and mosquito larvae. You can't assume that compressed soil can just be taken care of at the snap of your fingers, either. Depending on the situation, it might not be something that can be fixed.

Consolidated and Compacted Soils and Your Timetable

Compression can be from compaction or consolidation. Compaction is your garden-variety compression; heavy equipment or heavy humans tamp the soil down as they travel across it. If you've ever stomped on a section of soil to compress it, you've compacted it. Compacted soil can be amended to allow better drainage, and compaction usually requires a tool or an actor to get going, like your foot or a tractor wheel.

Consolidation is different. Consolidation is the compression of soil as moisture runs out, often through excessive drainage that leaves the soil compressed and unable to absorb more moisture, or that leaves the soil open to more excessive drainage so that it can't hold onto moisture. It's not good for landscaping, which even the barest office parks and factories have in at least small quantities. Consolidated soil might not be fixable if the drainage areas are too large to effectively plug up.

Both types affect your development's timetable because you have to have the soil evaluated and then attempt to amend the soil. Checking the soil quickly with a penetrometer can give you a preliminary idea of what you may be up against.

Destabilization Can Continue

The problem with these soils is that they can become unstable quickly, which is not good for your construction. Compacted soils aren't so bad because of how easy they are to amend, but consolidation due to excessive drainage under the soil that you can't stop would lead to more instability.

Once you test the soil with a penetrometer, you can get a proper evaluation and recommendations for amendments or relocation. Don't make too many development plans until you get a thorough idea of what the soil is like.

For more information on this topic and how to use a penetrometer, visit websites like