It all begins with a survey of the property. The topography of the slopes must be determined, so that the proper setbacks can be adhered to.
This will ensure that the structures do not slide down the slope or cause loads that may entice slope failure.
What kind of soils do you have?
Next, the composition of the existing soils must be determined. The structural engineer will need to know if the soils can support the anticipated loads.
Defining the soils conditions will also assist in determining if the slope is on native soil, poorly or uncompacted fill (common in hillside housing developments), the depth of the topsoil or if the bedrock is just below the surface (making excavation or drilling difficult).
The soils report will also advise if there are unusual conditions (e.g. high water levels, expansive clay soils, vertical sheer planes, fragile bedrock, earthquake fissures) that may require specialized engineering.
"Steeper equals Deeper"
A good rule of thumb for sloping lots is "steeper equals deeper." This means that the steeper the slope is, the deeper the foundations will need to be.
This is because the building codes require that the lowest outside point of the structure maintain a prescribed horizontal setback to the face of the slope (in proportion to the height of the structure).
The setback requirements are greater for occupied dwellings than for swimming pools, decks and retaining walls.
Paolo Benedetti - Aquatic Artist
"Creating water as art."™
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