When do we need soil report?

Hi ARE community,

One quick question, do we need soil report before programming phase? or after that? Also what’s the difference between soil report/soil survey/ soil map?



@coachdarionziegler do you mind helping @whuang with this soil question.

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Hi @whuang ,

I’ll see if I can help!

First thing’s first, let’s remember that the ‘geotechnical report’ should be furnished by the owner per B101.
Per B101 any existing soil reports are also considered part of the initial information to be provided by the owner:

If you are assisting the owner in siting a building as a part of programing (or other pre-design work prior to signing the B101 or as work ancillary to the prime contract) you definitely want to advise the owner to procure one if they have not yet! The report will aid you in selecting a spot on the site which is appropriate for building.

NOTE: In real life practice, you might be further along with design before the geotechnical report materializes. As far as NCARB and the ARE is concerned the geotechnical report should be provided by the owner early in the design process as a part of siting the building.

‘Soils report’ and ‘geotechnical report’ are often used interchangeably, but I would stick to the more technical ‘geotechnical report’ term when you can. The ‘soil map’ is a map within the report that shows where samples were taken from and indicates major features of the site. I would typically consider the term ‘soil survey’ to refer literal activity the geotechnical engineer performs while they are on site to investigate the soils present prior to compiling the report.

However, in years prior, the term ‘soil survey’ was also used to refer to what I would call a ‘geotechnical report’ today. For example, here’s one online I found from 1969 that is called ‘soil survey’ but contains all of the information I would expect to find in what we call a ‘geotechnical report’ today https://www.blogs.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_MANUSCRIPTS/ohio/prebleOH1969/prebleOH1969.pdf.
If you encounter these terms in questions I would definitely play close attention to the context in which they are used.

There’s been a few questions centered around geotechnical reports and soils lately! Perhaps these other Community posts might also be of use to you.

Hope this helps!