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Geotechnical Engineering Center

  • Q: What is a geological report?

    A: A report that determines whether a property is located in an earthquake fault zone, prone to flooding, or likely to suffer from slope stability problems.

  • Q: When do I need a geological report?

    A: Real estate agents often provide general information on whether a property is at risk due to fault zones or flooding. Many states also require sellers to disclose geological risks if they are common in the area.

    If the property you are considering has known risks, or you want to better understand the geological characteristics of your property, you may want to order a geological report. Buyers considering hillside property, for example, appreciate the peace of mind a geological report provides.

    Geological reports are optional, but the information they provide can be an important asset to understanding your property investment.

  • Q: How much does a geological report cost?

    A: A basic report typically costs between $75 and $100.

  • Q: Who pays for the report?

    A: The seller pays for the report.

  • Q: How do I choose a geotechnical consultant?

    A: Your real estate agent should be able to recommend a geologist or geotechnical engineering firm that can complete a report for you.

    Be sure to choose an environmental geologist or geotechnical engineer that specializes in natural hazards such as landslides and earthquakes.

    Plan to hire a geologist that is registered or certified, depending on state requirements. For more information, contact the American Institute of Professional Geologists.

    Not all environmental geologists have experience in preparing reports for real estate transactions. So, be sure to ask before you hire.

  • Q: What do geotechnical engineers do?

    A: An engineering sub-specialty that studies and analyzes earth conditions and materials. Geotechnical and geological engineers have the professional expertise to determine risks posed by building on certain sites, whether or not a property is located in an earthquake fault zone, prone to flooding, or likely to suffer from slope stability problems.

  • Q: Are there different kinds of geotechnical inspections?

    A: Yes and this affects the cost. You may need a foundation analysis, slope stability analysis, erosion and sediment control plans, soil stabilization and improvements recommendations among other types of services.

  • Q: What is ground engineering?

    A: Obtaining information on the physical properties of soil and rock underlying (and sometimes adjacent to) a site to design earthworks and foundations for proposed structures and for repair of distress to earthworks and structures caused by subsurface conditions.