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Soil Inspections


Where shallow foundationswill bear on compacted fill material, inspections must be carried out in order to verify the material and procedures set forth by the design professional. These verificationstypically include but are not limited to: site preparation, material properties, fill thickness, and degree of soil compaction.

Typically, the sequence of operation is as follows:

  • Site preparation must be inspected for completion (e.g. existing trees removed, organic materials removed from on-site material scheduled to be used for controlled fill, clay deposits excavated and moved off-site).
  • A sample of the material intendedfor use as controlled fill is tested by a laboratory to confirm that the material properties meet specifications (sieve gradation – particle size, moisture content, maximum dry density;hydrometer testing and/or Atterburg tests prior to placement). It is recommended to have a sample tested one week prior to the start of the compaction process. When samples do not meet specifications, alternate blends or stockpiles need to be located and tested to obtain a sample that represents an acceptable source of fill material for your project.
  • During placement, an acceptable fill thickness must be verified. If the lifts are placed too thick, the contractor will not be able to properly compact the lower elevations. Testing in-situ material lifts greater than 12 inches is not cost effective and it is counterproductive to the project schedule to have fill material removed only to re-compact an area.Once proper lift thickness is achieved, testswill be performed and results documentedas per code and specifications.
  • Testing to the number and frequency of each lift per your specifications will be performed by a qualified technician using either nuclear densitometer or other methods, if specified (e.g sand-cone, rubber balloon method etc.).AEIS technicians will verify if the percent compaction of the material in place meets or exceeds the requirements of the project documents.


Some of the inspection services and field tests that can be performed are:

  • Visual inspection of controlled fill material placement and compaction methods.
  • Laboratory gradation and proctor testing (gradation – sieve analysis, optimum moisture content and maximum dry density tests) of fill material.AEIS facilitiescan perform either the standard proctor (ASTM D698) or a modified proctor laboratory test (ASTM D1557) and will test as required by project specifications.
  • One point field proctor testing performed by AEIS field techniciansto validate results.
  • Field testing of compacted material with the use of Nuclear Density Gauge, Sand-Cone, Rubber Balloon or other specified methods. Test for in-place moisture content and in-place dry density to obtain the percent compaction of in-place material.

Other services can be performed to meet the needs of your project. Engage with an AEIS expert to discuss your project requirements and ensure a smooth inspection process.

Codes, Standards & Specifications

Typical Soil, Excavation, and Backfill references in project specifications:

  • New York State DOT Geotechnical Test Procedures.
  • New York City Building Code.
  • ASTM D6938 / AASHTO T310: Standard Test Method for Density and Water Content of Soil and Soil Aggregate by Nuclear Method (Shallow Depth).
  • ASTM D1556 / AASHTO T191: Standard Test Method for Density and Unit Weight of Soil in Place by Sand-Cone Method.
  • ASTM D2167 / AASHTO 205 (deleted): Standard Test Method for Density and Unit Weight of Soil in Place by Rubber Balloon Method.
  • AASHTO T272: Standard Test Method for Family of Curves – One Point Test Method.
  • ASTM D698 / AASHTO T99:Standard Test Method for Laboratory Compaction Characteristics of Soil using Standard Effort (12 400 ft-lbf/cubic ft (600 KN-m/cubic meter)).
  • ASTM D1557 / AASHTO T180: Standard Test Method for Laboratory Compaction Characteristics of Soil using Modified Effort (56,000 ft-lbf/cubic ft (2,700 KN-m/cubic meter)).

New York City Building Code section references (Partial listing):

  • NYC BC 1803.3 Site Grading.
  • NYC BC 1803.5 Compacted fill material.
  • NYC BC1803.6 Controlled low-strength material (CLSM).
  • NYC BC1804.2.2 Controlled Fills.

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