Geotechnical engineering is a discipline under civil engineering and concerned with building on, in, or with soil and rock. It includes the analysis, design and construction of foundations, slopes, retaining structures, embankments, roadways, tunnels, landfills and other systems that are made of or are supported by soil or rock. Risk assessment associated to geological hazards such as landslides or earthquakes is also a responsibility of geotechnical engineers. Geotechnical Investigations are based on soil and rock mechanics and laboratory testing.

Our engineering geologists believe in collaboration and support between clients and their technical, commercial and development managers to develop cost effective and relevant geotechnical investigations and solutions for our clients.

The engineering geologists at Zone have completed many assessments throughout South Africa and other regions of Africa. We have serviced the Mining Industries; National Roads Infrastructure; Renewable Energy Industry and Commercial Site Investigations.


A Geotechnical Investigation is undertaken in accordance with distinct steps which informs the subsequent step(s)

 A desktop study is typically undertaken at concept stage to establish the geological and hydrogeological parameters of a project and to identify potential hazards.

As designs progress beyond initial concept phase and more information becomes available, assumptions are reconsidered and design alterations are implemented. Once a preliminary geotechnical background model is created from geological information and excavation data, further geotechnical investigations are designed for relevance and cost effectiveness.

Unforeseen ground conditions are often a major project challenge. Due diligence must be given to how this risk is minimised and allocated in construction methodologies.

Geotechnical engineers and engineering geologists must be methodical in Geotechnical Investigations of a project site. Every geotechnical model is developed where assumptions are clearly documented throughout every step.

It is unlikely that every geotechnical condition that may affect construction and performance of a surface or underground structure can be foreseen. It is prudent to provide for revision of geotechnical models and the adopted design to suit actual conditions, as new information is collated from construction excavation stages and construction monitoring.