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Soils Ain't Soils

What do different soil types mean for you, as a home builder?

Cost! They can make a significant difference in the cost of your footings and consequently, the cost of your new home.

As part of an application for a Building Permit for a new home, a Soil Test report (Geotechnical report) is required to verify that the foundation design on the building plan is suitable for the conditions relating to your site.

Geotechnical engineers (Geotechs) use a special piece of equipment to drill down into the ground and extract soil. 

The type of soil identified, directly impacts on the footing requirements for your new home.

The site classification is presented by Engineers Queensland in a formal report which forms part of the building application. 

Make sure you have the results of your soil test prior to signing any building contract, as the outcome can significantly affect your build costs.


There are 6 soil classifications your soil can come under in Qld.

If you are looking to purchase land, I recommend requesting a soil report and using the findings as part of your decision making process.

To give you an idea of the diversity of soils, in a soil survey of approx. 87,000 hectares around the Clifton Shire, conducted by the Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation, 39 soil types were identified.

The Queensland Building and Construction Commission (qbcc) recognise that the majority of Queensland homes are situated on what are termed reactive clay soils.

These soils are subject to expansion and contraction depending on seasonal weather and site conditions.

 Footings designed correctly to meet the standard, accommodate the expected movements caused by seasonal volume changes in the soil (swelling when wet and shrinking when dry) - under normal conditions.

Footings play a vital role throughout the lifetime of your home. They are literally the foundation it is built on.

Understanding the impact different soils have on your new home, helps you to plan and budget, so you aren’t hit with any financial surprises.

So in some instances – soils ain’t soils!


For some more ideas on how to prevent structural damage once your home is built, you can read the qbcc’s - A Simple how to Guide to Preventing Structural Damage to your Home.

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