In every project, there are numerous factors that should be considered e.g. site conditions, type of structure (and any special requirements), the conditions of the surroundings, ground conditions, ground water conditions, environmental conditions, etc.
With so many factors in place, there is a need for a guideline on the extent of geotechnical investigations, calculations and construction control checks based on the complexities and associated risks in a project.
For example, it makes no sense to conduct excessive geotechnical investigations for a simple low-rise house on a flat, stable ground whereas it would be dangerous and irresponsible to conduct simple geotechnical investigations for a complicated high rise development on a challenging site.
To establish minimum geotechnical design requirements, three geotechnical categories (GC1, GC2 and GC3) have been introduced in Eurocode 7 (EN1997-1). In a nutshell, these categories mainly address the nature, the complexities and the risks involved in a project.
A summary of the geotechnical categories and the recommended extent of investigation and expertise to be engaged is presented as follows:-
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