SME’s construction monitoring and testing services include overseeing the construction of shallow and deep foundations, as well as underpinning. A thorough understanding of geotechnical engineering and knowledge of ground conditions is a pre-requisite for construction of a successful foundation. To confirm foundation load bearing, SME's Construction Materials services range from sampling and basic soil classification tests to advanced geotechnical engineering and specifications to earthwork monitoring and testing. For foundations, structural integrity is only as dependable as the soils supporting them and the materials used in the construction process. SME’s team of professionals observe and test the foundation bearing soil for shallow foundations, along with monitoring of structural fill placement and compaction procedures for foundations supported on engineered fill.

Shallow Foundations

  • Spread footing
  • Neat trench foundations
  • Raft or mat Foundations
  • Stepped foundations

Services for monitoring deep foundations include overseeing installation: drilling and pile driving procedures, recording blow counts, documenting depths/lengths, verifying proper support, and vibration monitoring.

Deep Foundations

  • Caissons (straight shaft or belled)
  • Piles
  • Driven Pile Types
    • Timber
    • Steel
    • Prestressed concrete
    • Composite
  • Drilled deep foundations
    • Auger cast-in-place piles
    • Rammed aggregate piers
  • Specialty Piles
    • Micropiles
    • Helical piers

Pile Driving Analyzer (PDA)

SME’s foundation experience also includes using our own Pile Driving Analyzer (PDA). The PDA is the most widely employed system for dynamic load testing, pile driving monitoring, and assessing the capacity of driven piles. PDA systems also evaluate shaft integrity, driving stresses and hammer energy when monitoring pile installation. Additionally, PDA tests can be used to evaluate the load capacity of existing piles.

Pile Load Tests

SME draws upon its team of experts to provide independent, third-party load testing and installation monitoring services for piles to verify adequate support. SME’s services include:

  • O-cell load testing
  • Lateral load testing
  • Pile drivability testing
  • Instrumentation and monitoring
  • Wave equation analysis
  • Material and weld testing


In construction or renovation projects, underpinning may be required for temporary or permanent support to an existing foundation by providing additional foundation depth and grouting. Underpinning services include:

  • Mass concrete underpinning
  • Screw piles and brackets
  • Micro-piles
  • Grout (compaction or intrusion)

Related Services

Service Experts

Dave J. Hurlburt, PE

Vice President
Construction Materials Services

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Louis J. Northouse, PE

Vice President/Regional Office Manager

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