Geotechnical engineering is a discipline of civil engineering relating to natural materials from the earth. Geotechnical Engineers work in matters relating to constructing, in or on land, investigating surface conditions and the natural materials on which construction will begin to determine the physical and chemical properties and their ability to sustain a structure.
Geotechnical engineering is an essential component of civil construction and is widely practiced in the mining, military and petroleum industries. Geotechnical Engineers consult on a number of structural projects, working closely with a structural engineer to determine the engineering properties of earth materials such as the earth’s natural chemicals including gases, minerals and water, and how those materials will react together when they are unsettled by the construction process.
Geotechnical Engineers also provide assessments on residential projects and well as commercial and industrial projects. Analysis includes environmental impacts and their risk assessment and potential impact or cause on environmental hazards. Such hazards include earthquakes, landslides, sink holes, soil liquefaction, falling debris and rocks. While many fields of engineering have overlapping specialties, and many engineers of different disciplines collaborate on projects, a geotechnical engineer offers a unique skill set to the project, and is a highly specialised field.