Soil Testing Services

Universal has a long history of providing quality service in all phases of geotechnical engineering. We are FDOT pre-qualified to conduct geotechnical and materials testing work related to highway design and construction. Our engineers have served private developers, industrial complexes, government agencies, and other professionals. We have worked on projects ranging from high-rise buildings, industrial developments, and commercial facilities, to solid and hazardous waste landfills and stormwater management systems.

Universal’s professional engineers and geologists are registered throughout the Gulf Coast and southeastern United States. Most of our engineers hold advanced degrees. We encourage our engineering technicians to develop professional accreditation such as NICET, ACI certification, CTQP, and DOT. Universal’s offices maintain in-house drilling departments and full-service, certified geotechnical laboratories. With this type of in-house support, Universal provides its clients with a multitude of capabilities ranging from preliminary investigations through final design.

Soil Testing

Using the results of field and laboratory testing of soils and groundwater, Universal’s geotechnical engineers analyze existing site conditions to provide our clients with safe, cost-effective construction solutions. Our knowledge of value engineering techniques, state-of-the-art site exploration, and our 53-year old exploration database is valuable in pre-design and pre-construction planning.

We design each subsurface exploration project to determine the information needed by the project designers based on the project type, size, structural load-bearing capacity, and planned construction methods. Our final report provides the designer with soil stratigraphy, depth to groundwater, location of rock, difficult subsurface conditions requiring remediation, and appropriate design considerations, such as bearing capacity, settlement, and permeability.

We provide post-construction settlement investigations, which involve determination of the cause(s) of settlement and remedial recommendations. Examples include sinkhole evaluation of commercial and residential structures, and consolidation of organic or soft clay deposits. Monitoring of remedial repairs is also an important part of our services to complete these remedial investigations. The monitoring of the remedial repairs helps to ensure the proper implementation of our recommendations and allows for approval of field adjustments that may occur due to unforeseen conditions, such as, working around or below grade structures or limited access areas.

Civil Design Support Services

Quite often, civil engineering design requires special considerations for proper performance and economical construction. A few of the services that Universal provides in this area are presented below:

  • Exfiltration Analysis
  • Permeability Evaluations
  • Underdrain Evaluation and Design
  • Pavement Design
  • Groundwater Modeling
  • Estimated Seasonal High Groundwater Levels
  • Borrow Pit Studies

Development Activities

The development of new sites in the southeast region requires several studies to ensure that the site is compatible with its intended use. These studies include characterizing soil and groundwater conditions, evaluating the potential for sinkhole activity on the site, and location of muck on the site that could adversely affect performance and construction costs of structure and pavement areas. A partial listing of our pre-development services is presented below:

  • Site Feasibility Studies
  • Soil Mapping and Classification
  • Sinkhole Evaluation
  • Landfill Site Selection Pre-Qualification Assessment
  • Muck Probes and Mapping

Universal routinely provides soil investigations and geotechnical design services for construction projects where cost-effective design is essential to the successful performance of foundations, walls, dams, and other structures that rely upon proper characterization of subsurface soil and groundwater conditions. A list of our capabilities in this area is provided below:

  • Subsurface Investigations
  • Foundation Recommendations
  • Specialized Foundation Design
  • Subsurface Geophysical Surveys
  • Settlement Analysis
  • Stability Analysis
  • Retaining Wall Design
  • Cone Penetrometer Soundings
  • Seepage Analysis
  • Sinkhole Remediation Design
  • Structural Recommendations
  • Value Engineering Analysis
  • Earth Instrumentation
  • Earth Dam Design
  • Shallow and Deep Foundation Design
  • Foundation Settlement Magnitude and Time-Rate Predictions
  • Landfill Siting Studies
  • Groundwater Studies

Geophysical Surveys

As part of the broad range of engineering services provided to clients, Universal uses geophysical sciences as a cost-effective, non-intrusive means to rapidly characterize subsurface conditions and man-made structures. Our experience spans from engineering investigations involving pre-design and pre-build geologic characterizations to forensic assessments of distressed property, and cause of subsidence evaluations. Geophysical surveys are used to optimize drilling and sampling programs and to measure bulk physical properties that are complementary to conventional engineering sampling methods.

Underground utilities can pose a variety of difficulties for construction and facilities management if their locations and depths are not accurately known. Drawings and utility maps are often inaccurate, or in many cases, utilities are not documented at all. In addition to geotechnical applications, geophysical surveys are cost-effective means to map underground utilities in the design phase or prior to start of new and remedial construction activities. Universal’s geophysicists, geologists and engineers provide clients with optimal solutions to the most challenging of engineering problems. Universal continuously researches new techniques and methods which further increase our ability to provide our clients with the most prompt and up-to-date services.