Why do I need a site investigation?

No one wants to pay for a site investigation - but as this article will explain, you pay for a ground investigation whether you have one or not. In fact, you risk paying far more if you don't prioritise a proper schedule of works.

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In construction, the importance of conducting thorough site investigations cannot be overstated.  Nick Vater, one of Igne’s Site Investigation Directors and a subject matter expert in the field, encapsulates this necessity with a poignant adage: 

"You pay for a ground investigation whether you have one or not."

The idiom serves as a stark reminder of the repercussions that can ensue when site investigations are overlooked or inadequately conducted. 

The cost of complacency – when ground investigations are overlooked or poorly designed 

Analysis of 100 geotechnical construction-related legal cases in the UK shed light on the staggering financial implications of neglecting proper site investigations.

Shockingly, approximately 50% of these cases resulted in damages or claims exceeding £1 million, with 20% escalating to major claims surpassing £10 million.  These figures, juxtaposed with statistics from the Institute of Civil Engineers revealing that less than 20% of site investigations are managed by geotechnical specialists, paint a concerning picture of the industry's current practices. 

Further exacerbating the issue are the alarming rates of project delays attributed to unforeseen ground conditions.  Reports indicate that 50% of commercial and 37% of industrial building projects suffer setbacks because of such issues.  

With all this in mind, it becomes evident that without a meticulously planned and executed site investigation led by geotechnical experts, the likelihood of project delays and subsequent financial losses significantly increases.

The simple and cost-effective solution to the complex and costly problem

The solution to this problem lies in a simple yet crucial solution: prioritising quality site investigations conducted by experienced and accredited personnel, underpinned by a robust quality culture.

In other words, by embracing higher standards of site investigation, construction clients can reclaim control over their projects and mitigate the risks associated with over-design or unforeseen ground-related challenges.

However, the challenge persists in shifting the prevailing mindset within the industry. 

Architects and designers often bask in the limelight of project success, while main contractors relish in the satisfaction of delivering landmark structures.  Yet, the vital groundwork laid by geotechnical experts remains largely unseen and therefore underappreciated! 

The message is slowly seeping in however, in a survey focussed on delays in the construction industry and what can be done to prevent them, 29% of respondents stated that improved information, such as site investigations, would prevent costly downtime.

This is where services like those offered by Igne come into play, offering the capability to optimise and de-risk complex systems, particularly ground conditions, in a manner that is both safe and cost-effective.  By integrating such expertise into a construction project’s plan at the very outset, stakeholders can proactively address potential challenges at the foundation, minimising costly disruptions and ensuring smoother project delivery.

Why should you invest in a site investigation?

The case for conducting thorough, expert-led site investigations in construction projects is undeniable.  The financial repercussions of neglecting this critical step are substantial, with potential damages reaching millions.  It is imperative for stakeholders to recognise the critical role of geotechnical experts and prioritise their involvement to safeguard against delays, mitigate risks, and ultimately enhance project outcomes.

It's not rocket science!

Contact the team to talk about your project plans, and how we can support your success with effective solutions to derisk and enable your ambitions.