Foundations right first time: we talk to local firm Fraser Thomas about finding the right geotechnical engineer
Geotechnical engineering is a highly specialised form of engineering that deals with foundation design for buildings. If the engineer gets it wrong, remediation can be very expensive.
In California, insurance companies sick of paying out on claims covering negligence of incompetent engineers started a special licensing regime to ensure only qualified geotechnical engineers undertake geotechnical work.
In New Zealand there is currently no robust system in place to ensure only qualified chartered professional (geotechnical) engineers are providing geotechnical advice for building developments.
“When seeking geotechnical consultancy services, you should satisfy yourself that the engineer is appropriately qualified and experienced,” says Mason Reed of Fraser Thomas Limited.
“The Chartered Engineer register on the Engineering NZ website can confirm whether an engineer is Chartered and in which field (ie. structural, fire, civil). If you take advice on geotechnical matters from an engineer who is not a chartered professional (geotechnical) engineer, you do so at your own risk.”
Fraser Thomas has been providing expert geotechnical consultancy services for 50 years. “We have a sound understanding of geomechanics and provide foundation solutions which are best suited for the site conditions, which can sometimes result in significant cost savings for our clients in foundation construction costs.”
Fraser Thomas has a long history in identifying and mitigating the effects of a variety of geotechnical hazards ranging from residential and commercial to large infrastructure projects, such as landfills. “We have particular experience in slope stability assessments, including cliff lines/coastal erosion affects, foundation design on soft highly compressible soils, piled foundation design and the provision of foundation solutions for sites on liquefiable soils.”
In a shaky land, it is vital work.