The value of the specialty geotechnical contractor

Specialty geotechnical contractors bring significant value to construction projects. By recommending the best foundation solutions based on soil types and managing design and construction of the solutions in-house, these professionals maximize value on every job and ensure a lifetime of safety for any structure.

Full-service geotechnical contractors offering both ground improvement and deep foundation services are among the most important specialty contractors working on a construction project.

Their critical role includes interpreting geotechnical engineering reports, evaluating the structural foundation requirements, recommending the most feasible and cost-effective solutions for the project and then designing and building the solutions.

The work these individuals do carries a great deal of risk and therefore has a high cost impact on a construction project. That’s why it’s crucial to partner with an experienced geotechnical contractor with an in-house engineering staff that keeps all foundation solutions on the table.

Value during construction planning

Geotechnical contractors play a vital role in a project’s success long before groundbreaking.

It starts with an exhaustive geotechnical investigation. A report generated from that investigation describes the existing site conditions, including a description of the soil and rock characteristics at the site. Recommendations are then made regarding construction guidance and what type of foundations should be used for the structure.

Geotechnical and structural consultants know what type of foundations will work on a project, but they don’t always know the associated costs with certain foundation types.

For example, they may recommend deep foundations to support a three- or four-story structure. It’s certainly a viable option, but if you can do aggregate pier ground improvement to support the structure on spread footings, you’ll likely save the project a significant amount of money.

There may be more than one way to support a structure, especially in soft soils, but an experienced geotechnical contractor will recommend a solution that strikes the best balance between meeting a structure’s needs and keeping costs in check. It could result in significant cost savings on the project.

Another part of project value is how a project is specified. Are you working with a specialty geotechnical contractor that helps you specify only services they offer, or are you getting true guidance that puts the project first?

Many owners don’t realize just how big an impact sole-sourcing the geotechnical contracting can have on project cost. You need specifications that generate bidding activity by experienced geotechnical contractors. The right geotechnical contractor can help you craft those specifications.

An owner or developer should trust that the geotechnical contactor is helping them make the best decision for the project, not one that just requires the type of work that specialty contractor prefers to do.

Value on the job site

There are many ways that a trusted geotechnical contractor can provide true value to a project.

For one thing, geotechnical contractors with in-house engineering staff have a great advantage over competitors. These firms maintain continuity through all stages of a project, from interpreting reports to making recommendations to designing and building solutions on tight deadlines.

For another, full-service geotechnical contractors are well-positioned to adapt to sudden changes in conditions or design. With many geotechnical disciplines under one roof, decisions are made more quickly. Costly delays are avoided.

Finally, a trusted geotechnical contractor won’t run from jobsite difficulties. They meet challenges head-on, staying focused on what matters most: Doing their part to ensure projects are completed.

Subsurface Constructors has built a reputation as a top-tier specialty contractor because we’re not alarmed by on-the-fly design changes or unforeseen challenges—whether these pop up below ground or on the surface. Simply put, it happens, and we know we have a part to play in ensuring the success of a project no matter what. 

Developing mutual trust

Good specialty contractors are accessible. They answer the phone. They understand that all jobs face their share of challenges, and if there’s a change they need to make or additional work needs done, they do it.

That attitude builds the mutual trust that drives good working relationships between general contractors and specialty contractors or subcontractors. The value of a good geotechnical contractor lies in its understanding that when everyone works toward a common goal, two things happen: Jobs get done on time and everyone profits. But it starts with trust.

Subsurface Constructors wouldn’t have more than 110 years of experience in the industry if it didn’t follow through on this commitment every single day. Deep, trusting relationships work both ways: General contractors know who they can count on for any job, and specialty contractors can count on repeat business.

 Good habits of specialty contractors

You can’t substitute years of experience and a proven history of good work when developing a reputation as one of the best. But you can take up these good habits right away:

  • Answer the phone. Accessibility is one of the fastest ways to build trust. Be available to your clients and be ready to talk solutions.
  • Be flexible. The ability to adapt to challenges or changes doesn’t come easy, especially when you work from the ground down. But it’s worth the effort, and the industry will take notice.
  • Be timely. Doing whatever it takes to get your work done on time helps keep jobs running smoothly as a whole. It also builds trust and respect among other disciplines on a job.
  • Work safely. It’s simple: Safe work is efficient, and it gets everyone back home to their families at the end of the day.
  • Think long-term. Building a good reputation in your industry sometimes means profits take a back seat to doing the right thing. You may take it on the chin on an occasional job, but the respect it earns is worth it over time. It’s about doing the right thing by your clients.

By combining technical expertise with accessibility and a can-do approach to the job, Subsurface Constructors has built industry relationships that span decades and add value on every project we’re on. To learn more about how we’ll approach your next job, contact us.