Owning a dream home is something most of us aspire to do, but it’s not always possible to find one on the market. Many people choose to construct their own instead.

Construction began on over 1.5 million privately owned housing units in 2022, and many of these were single-family homes. Before you can begin building, you’ll need to test the ground’s geological conditions with a geotechnical report.

This provides insight into details like soil mechanics and groundwater conditions. So, what is a geotechnical report?

We’ve created a guide that outlines the key details you should know. Let’s explore what to keep in mind.

What Is a Geotechnical Report?

This report is a document that contains information about a particular site used for a development project.

It’s written by an engineering geologist or geotechnical engineer. Its purpose is to provide a summary of key data about ground conditions for construction purposes.

It also provides design advice and recommendations based on the conditions. The professional who drafts the report will interpret the data they find and use it as a basis for structural development.

This report primarily focuses on potential issues. For instance, problematic conditions can cause complications later on. These should be addressed sooner rather than later during the process.

Types of Reports

It’s important to note that these reports are specific to each site. Different projects will require different geotechnical reports. Let’s explore them in detail below.

General Reports

As the name implies, these provide general information about the building site. This info includes observations, interpretations, and opinions based on the conditions.

General reports are great for people who need surface-level information about the development site. In some cases, though, they might not be detailed enough.

Data Reports

These are more expansive than general reports. They typically contain a description of the local and regional geology.

They also include laboratory testing and summaries of the results. Most data reports will document and describe the site and its history.

Data reports are most appropriate when developers need an abundance of information. They’re also great for large sites with multiple types of soil and ground conditions.

Interpretive Reports

Interpretive reports are the most involved of the three on this list. They interpret site geology data and use it to develop a geotechnical model.

These reports also provide detailed assessments of project risks. The professional who writes the report can make recommendations for further work if necessary.


There are numerous benefits of geotechnical reports you can’t overlook. Understanding these will help you make better decisions in the future. Listed below are some of the most notable.

Obtaining Permits

Permit acquisition is one of the most important benefits these reports provide. Without a proper permit, you won’t be able to begin development.

This can substantially delay your project and make it impossible to reach your goals. The report will provide valuable information about the quality of the soil.

If the ground isn’t suitable for building, a permit won’t be issued. This is in the best interest of all parties involved, as it will help prevent problems you would’ve encountered.

It’s important to know that permits can sometimes take months to acquire. The sooner you conduct soil testing and groundwater assessment, the sooner you can get started.

Identifying Risks

Risk identification goes a long way when ensuring your project runs smoothly. It takes a professional to discern certain factors, such as weak or compressible soil.

These carry the risk of structural failures, environmental damage, and building degradation. Catastrophic scenarios can arise without the right testing. For example, assume that a geotechnical report isn’t required before development begins.

Developers could unknowingly build an apartment complex on land with poor integrity. The ground’s instability could cause residential buildings to collapse. Fortunately, geotechnical reports are comprehensive and strive to eliminate the chance of issues like these occurring.

Obtaining Insurance Coverage

Insurance providers often won’t offer coverage for high-risk projects. A project with unassessed risk is also treated like one with a high level of risk.

Geotechnical reports can illustrate the development site’s various nuances. If there aren’t major concerns, you likely won’t have an issue getting the proper coverage. Keep this information in mind when moving forward so you can make the appropriate decision.

Getting Started

The best way to get started is by working with the right professional. They have the tools, knowledge, and resources to ensure you hit the ground running.

When looking for someone to hire, explore their past reputation. See what other people have to say about the experiences they had.

Were they satisfied with the results they got? What do they have to say about the inspector’s professionalism?

The answers to questions like these will guide you toward the best option. To streamline your search, prioritize inspection services that have a large amount of stellar feedback.

Ensure you keep an eye out for fake reviews, though. The good news is these are easy to recognize.

They often contain similar keywords and have similar formatting. They’re also typically posted in batches. Ask for a detailed breakdown of the types of reports they provide.

They should have no trouble giving you insight into what you can expect. How comfortable do you feel communicating with them? It’s always best to work with someone who’s easy to get in touch with and interested in your project.

If they don’t seem enthusiastic about working with you, continue your search elsewhere. With enough due diligence, you’ll find the ideal professional for your needs.

Never Overlook Geotechnical Reports

The answer to “What is a geotechnical report” is crucial to keep in mind. The information in this guide will ensure you understand this process before moving forward. From here, you can make better decisions about new construction.

HRK Engineering & Field Services has a diverse team of engineers, project managers, surveyors, and designers. This allows us to ensure that each client’s project receives the management, innovation, and delivery it deserves. Contact us today to learn more about how we can bring your vision to life.