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Soils Report & Tests: How to Get a Pad Certification 

In our last blog post we discussed the importance of geotechnical engineering and soil testing. We also discussed the different kinds of tests and reports that can be done during a geotechnical or soils investigation. Today we are going to explore the next step in the process which is obtaining your pad certification. Obtaining your pad cert requires you to have your soils report and tests so let's dive in.


According to UpCodes, a pad certification is an interim grading report that is stamped and signed by a registered design professional (i.e an engineer) certifying that the building pad currently is in conformance with the recommendations made in the geotechnical report.

While each municipality may have their own quirks and requirements, at Specialty Engineering we will not issue you a pad certification without the following items.


Items Needed to Obtain Your Pad Certification


1. Geotechnical Investigation Report (AKA Soils Report)

If you read our last blog, you are aware of the importance of starting your project on the right foot by getting a geotechnical investigation report. This report can also be referred to as a soils report. A geotechnical investigative report is written once the necessary soil tests are completed. These tests are mostly likely Standard Penetration Tests or borings. Other common tests may include hand-hammers or penetrometers.

Once the tests are completed in the field, the results are analyzed. Then the engineer responsible for the geotechnical portion of your project can write the report. The soils report will summarize the soil conditions found on site as well as set forth the recommendations for the kind of foundation that should be used on the site. This is inclusive of how the pad for the foundation should be prepared.

2. Soil Testing: Proctor & Densities

We previously discussed, what proctor and density tests were in our last blog. However, you need to obtain the reports from these tests for your pad certification as well.

Your proctor test is necessary every time you are prepping a pad because it acts as a control group for all other tests to be compared to. Your density tests then gauge the compaction level of the soil as the building pad is being prepped. Please note that density tests may also be called Soil Compaction Tests.

Without your pad certification you may not receive approval of your project form your local municipality. Your municipality may also require you to produce copies of your soils report when you are applying for approval of your project.

It is not necessary for the geotechnical report and the soil testing to be done by the same engineer. However, there are benefits to having one firm handle the entire process. If you use two different engineers make sure they have access to all of the necessary reports. Your engineer that is issuing the pad certification letter will need your soils report.


At Specialty Engineering, we like to make the process as easy as possible on our clients by offering an all in one solution. We have been leaders in the inspection and construction materials testing industry for over 20 years. We are also leaders in the field of geotechnical engineering under the expertise of Mark LeBlanc, PE. Additionally, we can also aid our clients in creating the plans necessary to submit your project to your local municipality. A talented staff of engineers are prepared to help with mechanical, electrical, plumbing and structural plans. Contact Specialty Engineering to help with all of your construction needs today.


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