What exactly does a geotechnical engineer do?
Every structure, be it a bridge, building or retaining wall is tide to the earth. By nature the earth is variable, the question the Geotechnical engineer is answering is what is the ground like here and how are we going to build on it.
Proper geotechnical scoping of a job with an adequate density and type of testing can generally provide for a more efficient design by characterising the subsoil conditions, identify any unforeseen ground conditions, which leads to cost and/or time savings to the project while maintaining quality.
Geotechnical engineers are involved with all phases of development in regards to geotechnical matters, from the initial site investigation testing the characteristics of the soils to provide information so that building foundations are suitably designed, slope stability, to designing retaining wall systems.
Following site investigation and design our input continues through to construction stage, providing field testing services to make sure things get built correctly.
There is no typical day, with a good balance between field and office work. My work varies between scoping jobs, writing proposals, field work, design and reporting.
Most geotechnical engineers will tell you that no two days are the same, and that is why you are always learning.