Part One: The Importance of the Ground we Build On
The Emergence of a Community
RainDance is a Master Plan Developed Community in Northern Colorado with a vision to reflect the agricultural heritage of the region with a “farm-to-table” concept. The development has dedicated 500 of its 1,500 acres to a golf course, open space and agriculture, and more than 100 acres throughout the community devoted to orchards and farms with sweet corn, pumpkins and other produce for those who live there. The development will eventually build approximately 2,800 homes for all stages of life.
As with any development or construction project along the Front Range of Colorado, an initial critical process is to understand the types of soils present below the planned site. The most costly geologic hazard to any Colorado construction project is the expansive/collapsing soils that could potentially negatively impact the foundation and integrity of a building or home. Therefore, it is critical for proper development to gain a clear understanding of the soil conditions in terms of their construction properties, and isolate any problematic areas, if any.
RMG Scratching Beneath the Surface
With great pride, RMG – Rocky Mountain Group, under the leadership of Tom Cope, P.E. Principal, and Lauren Caruso, P.E. Project Engineer, conducted a preliminary subsurface soil investigation for the 1,500-acres. This included completing approximately 200 boreholes (drilling with an auger below the surface and extracting soil samples at pre-determined depth intervals for laboratory analysis to determine soil properties) in a grid pattern in order to best cover the site and provide a snapshot of the soil conditions to the RainDance development. The results provide the developer a general understanding of the site in terms of the soil beneath the surface and their general construction properties. This allows them to estimate construction costs and generate early development plans.
Home Builders Need a Borehole Too!
RainDance developed the infrastructure at the site, installing roads, gutters, utilities and creating home lots and neighborhoods. Additionally, the homes were all built by local, state and national home builders. Each builder either designs homes for a property owner or builds neighborhoods of homes of varying price points and sells them to the general public.
In either case, it is standard care in Colorado to drill a borehole and get soil samples for homes built, otherwise known as a single lot geotechnical investigation. In this way, each home is assured to be built with corresponding recommendations based on the soil type. RMG has had the opportunity to have executed single lot geotechnical investigations for over 700 home lots, and will continue to do so, for builders such as Journey, Bridgewater, and D.R. Horton.
In the first installment of our the RainDance Blog Series, we discuss some of the home building processes in Colorado, and some of the critical points that RMG is involved in. Additionally, we briefly described the preliminary geotechnical site investigation and the single lot geotechnical investigation, and how important it is in Colorado for a great foundation and home from the ground up.
Stay tuned for our next blog in this series, assisting home builders is the structural design of homes and how RMG Engineers make sure the architect’s vision is structurally sound!