As the saying goes, building a solid addition or new home starts with a strong foundation. And that, in turn, often requires a soils report.
Typically your architect will bring in a structural engineer to design the foundation and wood framing for your project. If your home is on a hillside or questionable soil the structural engineer usually will call for a soils report by a civil engineer specializing in geotechnical (soils) engineering.
The point of all this is to make sure your home is strong, safe, and up to current codes.
The civil engineer drills in several key locations, takes the “core samples” to analyze the soils, and writes up a recommendation for what kind of foundation should be used. This is the soils report.
Then the structural engineer adds the specifics to the recommended foundation design and draws it up.
The California Residential Code, which went into effect January 1, 2011, continues a requirement from the last code for soils reports for new homes and additions. This requirement actually leaves the decision up to the local building department.
So either your structural engineer or the building department can call for a soils report.
As part of planning your project’s schedule, costs, and cast of characters remember to ask if you will need a soils report.