Issue #69  Soils August 8, 2007

Contents: Issue #69 Soils

  1. Basics: Glossary, Description, Classification, Plant Growth
  2. Plan: Bearing, Weight, BC Code, Temperature, Landscape
  3. Test: Quality, Site Info, Engineer Tests, Radon, Brownfields
  4. Settlement: Failure, Build On Fill, Foundations, Compacting
  5. Clay: Swell & Shrink, Foundations, Trees, Slope Stability
  6. Erosion & Sediment: Prevention & Control, Info Sources
  7. More: Articles, Links, Experts, BC Soil Site, Green Products
  8. Kenís Top Pick: If you have time to surf only one site

1. Basics: Glossary, Description, Classification, Plants

Glossary Of Terms
The University of British Columbia resource site, Soil Web, provides an alphabetical glossary with descriptions of terms used in the soil science and soil management industry.

Basics & Functions Of Urban Soil 
US Natural Resources Conservation primer for owners and managers covers; soil properties; benefits to air, water, and plants; and building material & structural support use. (PDF)

Field Description Of Soils For Engineering Purposes 
Online Canadian Institute for Research in Construction guide describes major soil divisions, types, field identification, names & conditions, and factors in soil description. (PDF)

Canadian System Of Soil Classification
National Research Council online manual on Canadian System of Soil Classification gives detailed information for soil order, great group, and subgroup within the whole system.

2. Plan: Bearing, Weight, BC Code, Temperature, Plants

Properties & Bearing Capacity Of Soils
This section of the Journal of Light Construction field guide describes soil group properties of drainage, frost heave and volume change, plus bearing capacity of different soil types.

Weight Of Backfill Soil Types
National Clay Pipe Institute chart on backfill soils classification shows group symbol, name, and approximate weight of course grained, fine grained, and highly organic soils. (PDF)

2006 BC Building Code For Slope Stability & Seismic 
BC Building Policy Branch has new 2006 BC Building Code slope stability (seismic) regulation, and commentary with peak ground acceleration data for various BC communities.

Ground Temperature Factors & Measurement 
Canadian IIRC digest gives detailed information on ground temperature measurements in Canada, factors affecting them, and limitations to estimating them at a site for geoexchange. 

Soil For Plant Growth 
The eight properties of soil, their significance, how to alter their characteristics, a troubleshooting chart, and list of plants suitable for clay soils are covered in this CMHC fact sheet.

Soils For Landscaping 
Utah State University online videos show soil components, soil formation, importance of soils for landscaping, what plants need from soil, and common problems caused by poor soil.                   

3. Test: Quality, Site Info, Eng. Tests, Radon, Brownfields

Checking Quality Of Soil 
HGTV Pro article and video give tips for builders to assess soil type and substance, and how to establish its quality so as to ensure its ability to bear the weight of a building.

Site Investigations For Unfavourable Conditions 
Canadian Institute for Research in Construction suggests type of information that should be obtained by a proper engineering site investigation into unfavourable soil conditions. 

Common Engineering Soil Tests 
An overview of engineering soil tests commonly used in site investigations to indicate potential use and limitations are outlined in this Canadian Building Digest from IRC.

Radon Issues & Testing 
BC Health Guide site describes radon, health effects, what increases risk, testing, prevention & removal, resources and places to get help, and links to more information & resources.

Brownfields & Contaminated Sites 
About Remediation is a Canadian resource for contaminated lands, offering a brownfield toolbox, redevelopment basics, remediation solutions, news & events, publications, and more.       

4. Settlement: Failures, Fill, Foundations, Compacting

Soil Settlement Causes Structural Failure 
US National Association of Home Builders article suggests most common residential structural failures are caused by differential soil settlement, and improper compacting of soil.

Building On Fill 
Characteristics of fill, recommended practices for sub-surface investigation of existing fill, and controlling selection and placement of fill are detailed in this Canadian Building Digest 

Proper Soil For Foundations 
Fine Homebuilding magazine article covers differential soil settlement, possible sources of local data, fill problems & solutions, compacting, and troubleshooting soil problems. 

Soil Types & Compacting For Buildings 
This 1960 Canadian Building Digest from the Institute for Research in Construction describes the nature of soils, geology, types, problems, and fundamentals of compaction.

5. Clay: Expansion, Foundations, Trees, Slope Stability

Swelling & Shrinking Subsoils 
IRC gives some common causes of clay volume change, and outlines precautions that must be taken to prevent damage to buildings founded on subsoils susceptible to volume change. 

Foundations On Clay Subsoils 
An overview of volume-changing clay subsoils, how to identify potential hazards, and selection & design of foundations are provided in this 1977 Canadian Building Digest from IRC.

Impact Of Trees On Foundations In Clay Soils 
CMHC details the impact of trees and clay soils on shifting or cracking of foundations, how to assess problems and risk, and tips for managing trees to reduce the possibility of damage.

Landslides & Slope Stability Of Clays 
This IRC digest describes the clay slope stability problem, factors that affect the stability of slopes, stability analysis, and precautions that should be taken to prevent tragedies.                    

6. Erosion & Sediment: Prevention & Control, More Info 

Preventing & Controlling Erosion 
Builder News gives best management practices for preventing and controlling erosion, impacts, sediment & runoff control, erosion prevention, and types of water & wind erosion.

Drainage & Erosion At Construction Sites 
Canadian Building Digest from 1976 outlines the problem, and offers principles and general guidelines to follow so as to control drainage and prevent erosion at construction sites.

Construction Site Erosion & Sediment Control Guide 
Greater Vancouver Regional District lists the contents of their Construction Site Erosion & Sediment Control Guide that is part of the Best Management Practices for Stormwater. (PDF)

Retention Ponds For Stormwater & Erosion Control 
CMHC describes how retention ponds help reduce frequent peak stormwater discharges, which then controls downstream flooding and reduces scouring and erosion of stream banks.

Erosion Control Mats & Blankets 
Erosion Control Technology Council provides info on erosion mat and blanket products, techniques, designing effective control strategies for slopes and channels, and a list of links.

Fact Sheets On Erosion & Sediment Control 
Online fact sheets and technical resources on stormwater, erosion, and sediment control practices are offered here on the site of the US Stormwater Managers Resource Center.

Industry Magazine & Articles 
Erosion Control industry magazine allows free access to their archive of past articles, listings of industry events, a glossary of terms, and images on erosion and sediment control.

7. More: Articles, Links, Experts, BC Site, Green Products

Free & Paid Articles On Soil & Sitework
Journal of Light Construction offers both free and paid articles, written specifically for the building industry, that cover a wide range of issues and topics on soil, foundations, and sitework.

Links To World Wide Soil Information
Links to soil education, information, learning aids, Web sites & directories, and international news & events are listed on this International Soil Reference and Information Centre site.

Canadian Researchers With Expertise In Soils 
Canadian National Research Council shows their researchers with expertise in soils, identifying areas of specialty, location, experience, publications, and direct e-mail contact forms. 

BC Resource Site On Soil 
University of BC soil site has information on soil components, interactions, organisms, classifications, management, nutrient cycles, plus glossary, animations, and links to more info.

Green Products For Earthwork & Soil
You can find lists suppliers of green products for backfilling, base courses, erosion control, geotextiles, retaining walls, and soil stabilization on this Oikos Green Building Source site.                      

8. Kenís Top Pick: The Canadian Building Digest Site

Canadian Building Digests
Many of these Canadian Building Digests, published by NRC's Institute for Research in Construction, cover a wide rage of topics on soil types, issues, applications, and procedures.

Dittie For Today: On Motivation

The elevator to success is out of order. You'll have to use the step at a time.
Joe Girard

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