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Section 1802 Foundation and Soils Investigations
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The owner or applicant shall submit a foundation and soils investigation to the code enforcement official where required in Sections 1802.2.1 through 1802.2.7.
Where the classification, strength or compressibility of the soil are in doubt or where a load-bearing value superior to that specified in this code is claimed, the code enforcement official shall require that the necessary investigation be made. Such investigation shall comply with the provisions of Sections 1802.4 through 1802.6.
In areas likely to have expansive soil, the code enforcement official shall require soil tests to determine where such soils do exist.
A subsurface soil investigation shall be performed to determine whether the existing ground-water table is above or within 5 feet (1524 mm) below the elevation of the lowest floor level where such floor is located below the finished ground level adjacent to the foundation.
Exception: A subsurface soil investigation shall not be required where waterproofing is provided in accordance with Section 1807.
Where subsurface explorations at the project site indicate variations or doubtful characteristics in the structure of the rock upon which foundations are to be constructed, a sufficient number of borings shall be made to a depth of not less than 10 feet (3048 mm) below the level of the foundations to provide assurance of the soundness of the foundation bed and its load-bearing capacity.
Where a structure is determined to be in Seismic Design Category C in accordance with Section 1613, an investigation shall be conducted and shall include an evaluation of the following potential hazards resulting from earthquake motions: slope instability, liquefaction and surface rupture due to faulting or lateral spreading.
Where the structure is determined to be in Seismic Design Category D, E or F, in accordance with Section 1613, the soils investigation requirements for Seismic Design Category C, given in Section 1802.2.6, shall be met, in addition to the following. The investigation shall include:
- A determination of lateral pressures on basement and retaining walls due to earthquake motions.
- An assessment of potential consequences of any liquefaction and soil strength loss, including estimation of differential settlement, lateral movement or reduction in foundation soil-bearing capacity, and shall address mitigation measures. Such measures shall be given consideration in the design of the structure and can include but are not limited to ground stabilization, selection of appropriate foundation type and depths, selection of appropriate structural systems to accommodate anticipated displacements or any combination of these measures. The potential for liquefaction and soil strength loss shall be evaluated for site peak ground acceleration magnitudes and source characteristics consistent with the design earthquake ground motions. Peak ground acceleration shall be determined from a site-specific study taking into account soil amplification effects, as specified in Chapter 21 of ASCE 7.
Exception: A site-specific study need not be performed, provided that peak ground acceleration equal to SDS/2.5 is used, where SDS is determined in accordance with Section 21.2.1 of ASCE 7.
For the purposes of this chapter, the definition and classification of soil materials for use in Table 1804.2 shall be in accordance with ASTM D 2487.
Soils meeting all four of the following provisions shall be considered expansive, except that tests to show compliance with Items 1, 2 and 3 shall not be required if the test prescribed in Item 4 is conducted:
- Plasticity index (PI) of 15 or greater, determined in accordance with ASTM D 4318.
- More than 10 percent of the soil particles pass a No. 200 sieve (75 μm), determined in accordance with ASTM D 422.
- More than 10 percent of the soil particles are less than 5 micrometers in size, determined in accordance with ASTM D 422.
- Expansion index greater than 20, determined in accordance with ASTM D 4829.
Soil classification shall be based on observation and any necessary tests of the materials disclosed by borings, test pits or other subsurface exploration made in appropriate locations. Additional studies shall be made as necessary to evaluate slope stability, soil strength, position and adequacy of load-bearing soils, the effect of moisture variation on soil-bearing capacity, compressibility, liquefaction and expansiveness.
The scope of the soil investigation including the number and types of borings or soundings, the equipment used to drill and sample, the in-situ testing equipment and the laboratory testing program shall be determined by a registered design professional.
The soil boring and sampling procedure and apparatus shall be in accordance with generally accepted engineering practice. The registered design professional shall have a fully qualified representative on the site during all boring and sampling operations.
The soil classification and design load-bearing capacity shall be shown on the construction document. Where required by the code enforcement official, a written report of the investigation shall be submitted that includes, but need not be limited to, the following information:
- A plot showing the location of test borings and/or excavations.
- A complete record of the soil samples.
- A record of the soil profile.
- Elevation of the water table, if encountered.
- Recommendations for foundation type and design criteria, including but not limited to: bearing capacity of natural or compacted soil; provisions to mitigate the effects of expansive soils; mitigation of the effects of liquefaction, differential settlement and varying soil strength; and the effects of adjacent loads.
- Expected total and differential settlement.
- Pile and pier foundation information in accordance with Section 1808.2.2.
- Special design and construction provisions for footings or foundations founded on expansive soils, as necessary.
- Compacted fill material properties and testing in accordance with Section 1803.5.
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