Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Engineering Geology

Part of the series Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series pp 1-8

Date: Latest Version

Designing Site Investigations


Geotechnical investigation; Site assessment; Site characterization​; Subsurface investigation


A site investigation is a planned field and office exercise used to obtain new information or verify existing data to support the design of a built structure, excavation, or site improvement. It may include collecting surface and/or subsurface information and be located on land, underwater, or a combination of both.


The design of a site investigation generally follows an iterative process whereby basic or broad-based data are successively modified or supplemented by newer or more focused studies. The complexity of the site investigation is directly related to both the variability of the site conditions and the natural compatibility of the site to the planned improvement. Some complex sites occur in remote and often harsh environments and require specialized equi ...

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