Building a new building is an expensive undertaking. It pays to plan carefully and to prepare before you start construction to ensure your new building will last for decades. While most people spend a lot of time designing the floor plan and décor, there are at least four things to consider before you build.
Hire a Geotechnical Engineer
If you’re looking at buying land to build new construction, hiring a geotechnical engineer is the first step. Geotechnical engineering analyzes the behavior of soil and rock from an engineering perspective.
A geotechnical engineer will analyze the subsurface conditions, assessing things like slope stability and the possible risk of things like mudslides. A geotechnical engineer can advise you on whether the lot you’re looking at is a good choice or what you’ll need to do to build a solid foundation for your building.
Ensure Your Building Has a Solid Foundation
Your building’s foundation must be built on solid, undisturbed ground. This is where a geotechnical engineer can help you. If you do not build on solid, stable ground, you run the risk of having the ground shift or settle after you build. If that happens, it can cause huge cracks within the walls and the foundation, and it could even cause structural failure. Foundation problems may not become apparent for years and are very difficult to fix. Cracked walls are also difficult and expensive to fix. If the ground is shifting under the foundation, cracks will be a recurring problem.
Avoid Building on Bedrock
While you may think bedrock will create a solid foundation, in some places, the bedrock isn’t stable. If the bedrock is prone to shifting, it could create problems similar to building on unstable ground. Also, if your building includes plans for a basement, bedrock could make that very hard to execute. Finally, if your plans include a septic tank, building on solid bedrock could make that impossible. Check with reputable septic tank installers if your plans do include a tank.
Avoid Building on Clay
Clay will expand when it’s wet and shrink when it’s dry. This expanding and contracting soil can cause problems by shifting the foundation, causing cracks. Heavy clay can also impact your building’s basement, keeping it damp. Finally, if you have plans for a garden, a hobby farm, or elaborate landscaping, clay soil can be very hard to grow in without a lot of soil amendments.
It’s fun to design floor plans and décor, but it pays to thoroughly inspect your building lot before you start construction. To make sure that your new construction can stand the test of time, do some planning and research before you begin.
Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing.