Private clients typically use us to carry out investigation and testing work on their sections, as part of new housing development. We also carry out pre-purchase inspections of both bare and developed land.

Advantages of Early Engagement

If you are contemplating a building project, we advise that early on in the process, an assessment is made of the ground.

Early involvement of a professional engineer in your project is the key to getting maximum benefit from the services that you have paid for.

There are several common pitfalls in the development process which may be avoided if professional engineering advice is sought early on.

In general, early geotechnical involvement can provide an assessment of foundation requirements and costs. Sometimes additional detailing or deepening of foundations is required if the ground conditions differ from those expected, even on new sites that may have geotechnical certification under the Resource Management Act. The foundations for your new house may not be glamorous, but they are fundamental to the success of the project and the viability of your long-term investment.

In the worst cases, a planned development may have proceeded to detailed design phase and involved many thousands of dollars invested in architects and draughting plans, only to discover that the site is not suitable for the type of building proposed, without fundamental alterations.

The Process

The typical engagement process for a bare lot development is as follows:

  • Client contacts us by telephone;
  • We discuss the scope of the project, and normally request sketches, plans or drawings to aid our assessment;
  • We make a brief review of any available documentation. Sometimes (depending on the location), we carry out a preliminary site inspection;
  • We put together a scope of works. This, together with a programme and fee estimate forms the basis of our Letter of Engagement contract;
  • Client signs and returns the contract;
  • We arrange a site inspection and carry out investigations. This would normally involve digging test pits on the property with a small-medium size excavator, depending on access;
  • We assess the data and write a short letter report outlining our findings and providing our recommendations for the development of the site.

Our data is often used by a structural engineer to carry out design work on foundations, floor slabs and retaining walls.

We pride ourselves on working within agreed budgets. In the event that further work becomes necessary once the engagement is underway, we will agree Variation amounts with the client before committing further funds.

Our work for private clients extends well beyond development of bare land. Previous engagements have involved:

  • Retaining wall design and construction
  • Earthworks design
  • Accessway design and construction
  • Assessment of impacts of development on slope stability
  • Pre-purchase inspections;
  • On-site wastewater assessment and system specification;
  • Irrigation dam design and construction monitoring;
  • Soil testing for potential contaminants.