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Construction Engineering BFC 21002

Chapter 1.0:
Site investigation and


1.1 Site investigation (S.I)

1.2 Site clearing
1.3 Cut and fill
1.4 Machineries
1.5 Planning

1.1 Site investigation (S.I)

 The process of
 collecting information, assessment of the data
and reporting potential hazards beneath a site
which are unknown.

 Carried out to
 enable a geotechnical and geo-environmental
assessment of the ground conditions and analysis of
the engineering and environmental considerations
related to the proposed development.

Purposes of S.I:
• To understand the distribution of the materials in
the ground, and their properties and behavior under
various influences and constraints during the
construction and lifetime of the structure.

• To determine the site’s suitability for building and

the nature and the extent of preliminary work that will
be needed.

Required information:
 Information that affecting the design of the structure
o shear strength and compressibility of the soil

 Information that affecting the construction of the

o the extent and properties of material to be excavated,
or to be used for fill or for road bases or concrete

 Information on ground water conditions

o the level and seasonal variation of the water table,
the pressures in the soil water, and the permeability
of the soil.

Stage of site investigation
 Generally consist of two stages:
1. Preliminary investigation
2. Detailed investigation

1.0 Preliminary investigation

• Mostly consist of desk study
 Geological maps
and memoirs

 Site history  Topography maps

Desk study

 Results of adjacent &  Details adjacent

 Aerial
nearby ground structures and
investigation foundation

Example: Geological maps


To determine:
• Geological structure of the area, lithology of the area, ground water condition and
the seismicity of the region. 7
Example: Topography maps

• To gather information on elevations and surface features of the surrounding

terrain, both inherent and built.

Example: Aerial photography

• To see elements of the landscape and other features which is difficult to

see from the ground.

1.0 Preliminary investigation (cont,)

• Site reconnaissance
 Confirm and obtain additional information.
 Examine adjacent and nearby development.
 Compare the surface features and topography with data
obtainable in the desk study.
 Locate and study the outcrops, previous slips.

2.0 Detailed investigation

• This phase consists of ground investigation at the site

• collecting disturbed and undisturbed soil samples from
various depths for visual observation and for laboratory

Method of ground investigation:

1. Trial pits (excavation)
2. Mackintosh/JKR Probe (light dynamic penetrometer)
3. Boreholes

1. Trial pits (excavation)

• Trial pits are shallow excavations going down to a

depth not greater 6m.
• Generally carried out to a maximum depth of 4.5m
• Area of the trial pits: usually about 1.2 m2

• to study or sample the composition and structure of
the subsurface

1. Trial pits (excavation)

1. Trial pits (excavation). Cont.
Trial pits yield such information as :

 soil classification
- type, strata/layer
 the position of the water-table
-whether seepage of groundwater will be a problem
 possible deterioration of the soil on exposure to the
 the presence and depth of fills
 detection of services
 the ease or difficulty of excavation

1. Trial pits (excavation). Cont.

1. Trial pits (excavation). Cont.
 Usually carried out when the ground is able to stand
temporarily unsupported.
 Manned entry must be avoided because the unsupported
sides of a trial pit can collapse.
 If manned entry is unavoidable, then temporary shoring
must be used or the sides of the trial pit stepped or
battered back to a safe angle.

1. Trial pits (excavation). Cont.
Depth Excavation
• 0-2m By Hand
• 2-4m Wheeled Back Hoe
• 4-6m Hydraulic Excavator

By Hand By Backhoe By hydraulic

2. Mackintosh/JKR Probe
• This is a dynamic penetrometer test used to check the
preliminary information and consistency of the subsoil.
• Mackintosh Probe which has 30° cone (⌀=27.9mm)
penetrometer while JKR Probes has 60° cone (⌀=25.0
mm) penetrometer.
• The cone is driven directly into the soil by driving a
hammer 5 kg.
• Weight dropping through a free height of 280mm.
• Limited to about 15m depth.

JKR Probe Mackintosh Probe

2. Mackintosh/JKR Probe

Source Linkedln Hazman A karim

Rod Drop

Cone 19
2. Mackintosh/JKR Probe
Procedure (JKR probe)
1. Equipment for the test is assembled.
2. Distance of 0.3 m is measured and marked on the rod
start from the tip of the cone.
3. The equipment is set up on the ground.
4. The hammer is pulled until it reached the maximum. The
hammer is dropped freely to driven the cone into the
5. The sum of the number of blow for penetration of 0.3 m
is recorded in the data sheet.
6. The hammer is taken off on the last 0.3 m of each rod
and joined and existing rod with another rod and lastly
the hammer.
7. The blow is continued and stopped when :The blow is
more than 400 for 0.3 m penetration. The depth reached
15 m. 20
2. Mackintosh/JKR Probe
Example of data

Source from:

3. Boreholes
• A borehole is used to determine the nature of the ground
(usually below 6m depth) in a qualitative manner.
• Boreholes are drilled by hand auger or by machine to withdraw
samples of soil for examination.
• Basic equipment: A winch, shear legs and a split spoon sampler.

• A column of earth is removed and a record of depth and
type of soil is entered into a bore hole log.
• Collecting a disturbed and undisturbed sample.
• The sample will be analyzed in lab (only representative
Disturbed sample= exposed sample (to air)/moisture content different as
the ground
Undisturbed sample=has the same moisture content as in the ground22
Boring method
1) Wash boring (water injection)


Boring method
2) Rotary drilling

Boring method
3) Hand auger


Source: http://www.clean-water-for- 25
3. Boreholes, Cont.
Lab work:
1. classification of soil
2. Assess the bearing pressure (undisturbed)
3. Assess the moisture content (undisturbed

• Obviously the information gained from a borehole is an
extremely limited picture of the subsurface structure.
• It is therefore essential to compare the results obtained with
those that could have been expected from the desk study.
• The greater the number of boreholes the more certain it is
possible to be of the correlation and thus to trust in the
1.2 Site clearing
• The first task of site preparation
• Consist of clearing, grubbing and stripping topsoil in the
areas within the limits of works designated under or shown on
the drawings and/or directed by the Superintendent Officer
(S.O). -Standard specification of building works 2014 , JKR.

1.2 Site clearing. Cont.

a) Clearing
Consist of:
• Cutting and/or taking down, removal and disposal of
everything above ground level,
• including objects such as walls, fences, drains and
other obstructions,
• except such trees, vegetation, structures or parts of
structures and other things which are designated in the
Contract to remain.

1.2 Site clearing. Cont.
b) Grubbing
Consist of removal and disposal of surface vegetation,
bases of stumps, roots, underground parts of structures,
and other obstructions to a depth of at least 0.50 m below
ground level, with the agreement of the S.O.

1.2 Site clearing. Cont.
c) Stripping topsoil
Stripping topsoil shall consist of the removal of topsoil to
an average depth of at least 100 mm below ground level,
and its stockpiling for use in the Works, and/or its
disposal, as directed by the S.O.

1.2 Site clearing. Cont.
d) Disposal
All materials resulting from site clearing, grubbing and
stripping topsoil shall be removed and disposed of as
approved by the S.O. in accordance with Environmental
Quality Act 1974(Act 127) and Solid Waste and Public
Cleansing Management Act 2007 (Act 672).

e) Demolition
Site clearing also consist of the demolition of existing
structures, if necessary.
All fences, buildings, structures, and encumbrances of any
character within the limits of the limits of the works, except
those to be removed by others or designated to remain,
shall be demolished and removed.
1.3 Cut and fill (earthwork)
• Cut and fill refers to the operation of which the material
(earth) excavated and removed from one location is
used as fill material at another location.
• Amount of material from cuts roughly equalizes with the
amount of fill required to produce adjacent
embankments, consequently that reduces the amount of
construction labor.

Cut= earth that is removed

Fill= earth that is brought in

Cut and fill works

Sourche: Source:

1.3 Cut and fill, cont.
Find the cut and fill volume based on information summarized as follows:

Distance between section = 50m


1.3 Cut and fill, cont.
a) Grid method
• Most common method
• The area on the site is divided into grid lines

b) Average end area method (cross section

• Calculate the total volume (V) of a material
given, the area of two ends (A) and the
perpendicular distance between the two area- L
faces (L).
Example V= (L/2)(A1+A2
c) Prismoidal method
• More accurate formula, which takes out most of
the error accrued by the average end area method.
• Using prismoidal formula.

Am= middle area
l= distance 35
1.3 Cut and fill, cont.
Common method: Grid method
• The cut or fill depth for each cell is found by subtracting the average existing
level of the cell from the average proposed level.
• If the resultant depth is positive = fill cell,
• If the resultant depth is negative = cut cell
• In either case, the volume is calculated by multiplying the cut of fill depth by the
area of the grid cell.

Example: single grid Solution:

Volume: Average depth x area

Average depth= (l1+l2+l3+l4)/4
where l=level 36
1.3 Cut and fill, cont.
Example: multiple grid
the station

Area: divided
into 4 Frequency= number of small box
(area) with the same/that shares the
station point.
1.3 Cut and fill, cont.
Example: multiple grid, cont.
Proposed level
level A B C
10m x 10m
1 4.2 6.5 4.4 5.0 4.6 3.0

4.4 5.1 4.6 3.2 4.8 2.8


New Existing
Station Depth cut Depth fill Frequency Area Volume cut Volume fill
elevation elevation
1A 4.2 6.5 2.3 1 25 57.5
1B 4.4 5 0.6 2 25 30
1C 4.6 3 1.3 1 25 32.5
2A 4.4 5.1 0.7 1 25 17.5
2B 4.6 3.2 1.4 2 25 70
2c 4.8 2.8 2 1 25 50
105 152.5 m3

Volume cut-fill = 105-152.5 = -47.5 m3 (additional earth/soil is required for fill) 38

1.4 Machineries
• Common machineries used for earthwork

• backhoe • excavator

• Soil scrapper • Soil grader 39

1.4 Machineries, cont.

• Dump truck • Bulldozer

• Rock breaker • Tracked loader

1.5 Planning


1. Nunnally, S.W. (2004). Construction Methods and Management Sixth Edition, Columbus,
Ohio: Prentice Hall.
2. Roberts, K. (1981). Construction Technology, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong: Thomas Nelson
3. Barry, R. (1999). The Construction of Buildings Seventh Edition, Bodmin, Cornwall: MPG
Books LTD.