Frequently Asked Questions


Are you NATA accredited?

Yes we are NATA accredited for a wide variety of aggregate testing.

What testing do I have do for my rock source?

It is dependent on what your rock will be used for (asphalt mixes, concrete mixes or pavement material) we can help guide you in right direction just give us a call.

Do I have to drop the samples off at Lara?

No samples can be delievered/dropped of at the closest Ground Science facility (Thomastown, Pakenham and Lara) We can also pick them up from site if convienient.

How much sample is required to perform a LA test?

One sized Aggregate 10kg - 15kg, Crushed Rock 20kg, Spalls 5 - 6 good sized spalls


How much notice do you require prior to testing?

48 hours is ideal, but we undertsand the demands and hectic nature of the constuction industy. We could have a tech on site in Melbourne within 5 hours of notification in most cases.

How far are you willing to travel?

Essentially, as far as required. If one of our three offices are not located in a convenient location for your project we are able to offer a solution that best suits your needs.

How long does it take to receive results?

Obviously different tests require different time frames, but generally most test results can be issued within 5 working days.

How do I book in testing?

Easy, contact Chris Senserrick of our Thomaston laboratory and he will assist or direct you to the best point of call. Office - 9464 4617 / Mobile - 0401 960 707.

Is your laboratory NATA accredited?

Yes, our three offices are NATA accredited.


Can you explain the results?

If you need clarification, Ground Science are always happy to explain what the results mean and offer assistance where possible.

What are your testing capabilities?

The testing capabilities of Ground Science can be found on the NATA website search function. Use the following link and search accreditation number 15055 to view our testing capabilities for any of  our lab locations. Please note specialist engineering testing is only performed at the Thomastown Laboratory and aggregate testing is completed at our Lara Laboratory. If you find that your requirements are not listed, please contact us and we may be able to provide a solution for your needs

What are your costs to perform certain tests?

On request a pricelist can be provided that will cover your query

Turnaround time?

Due to the complexity and variation of testing, the time taken is limited to the test method and the work load at the time of inquiry. If you would like to obtain a more accurate response please ring the office and request to speak to Nick Lobb the engineering Lab team leader. We are always happy to try to work within your project commitments should conditions allow.


What is the standard turnaround time for chemical results?

The chemical laboratory standard turnaround time is 5-6 business days. If you require quicker results, the lab offers a 4 day turnaround which incurs a 25% surcharge.

I would like to dispose of some soil off-site? How many samples do you need to collect?

In accordance with EPA Guidelines, the number of samples depends on the volume of the soil source. For soil domains less than 200 cubic meters, 1 sample / 25 cubic meters is required, with a minimum of three samples. For soil domains larger than 200 cubic meters, a minimum of 10 samples if required or 1 sample for 250 cubic meters, which generates the most samples.

Are all Land Capability Assessment Reports the same?

The Land Capability Assessment (LCA) Report prepared by Ground Science includes a site & soil check as well as detailed wastewater management design. Other companies only do the site & soil check which is not not a full LCA and you will require the management design in order to receive your permit from Council.

How long does it take for me to receive my LCA report?

Generally 3-4 business days.

What is a Land Capability Assessment?

A Land Capability Assessment (LCA) is an investigation of site and soil characteristics to establish constraints and opportunities for on-site wastewater management. The LCA will establish which systems can work and how much area the effluent discharge field requires.


What guidelines or standards will you use to design a pavement profile?

As the first point of call, Ground Science will adopt the pavement design guidelines as detailed in the local council publications. Some Councils have adopted the use of the Growth Areas Authority (GAA) Engineering Design and Construciton Manual or more recently, the Metropolitan Planning Authority Guideline. Ground Science also refers to the guidelines presented by Austroads and VicRoads where applicable.

Can Ground Science provide a Sewer Backfill Specification for the sewer reticulation on my site in accordance with the MRWA Guideline?

Yes we can. Ground Science have assisted various Client's with the preparation of a sewer backfill procedure in accordance with the MRWA guideline. Speak to a geotechincal engineer at Ground Science who will be able to assist with the process and required information.

How does the placement of controlled (engineered) fill affect the site classification of a property?

Where controlled clay fill in excess of 0.4m (0.8m for sands) has been placed on a site, the site classification must be re-assessed due to the potential movement of the fill and underlying natural soil from the time of placement to the equilibrium moisture condition. Where controlled fill has been in place for less than 5 years, Section C2.3.2 of AS2870 (2011) details that seasonal shrinkage and swelling cracks that naturally develop are not present.  Given the absence of these cracks, the characteristic surface movement (ys) of the site increases and in most cases, a higher site classification may apply.  

My site classification report states that any structural damage (such as cracks) that occur in my house are my responsibility but I have no background knowledge in this area. Where do I find this information?

The CSIRO publication, "Foundation Maintenance and Footing Performance: A Homeowners Guide" (2011) will provide the necessary information. A copy can be obtained from the following link:

Is a shrink/swell index test necessary for a site classification (soil test)?

As per the new AS2870 (2011) Residential Slabs and Footings code, a shrink/swell index must be performed with each site classification to enable a better understanding of the soil reactivity, especially in areas of Victoria with known highly reactive soils such as the north & west. This test has proved its importance with some sites in the east recording high shrink/swell index values, where low reactive soils are typically expected - these sites, which would typically be a Class M using the older method of classifying a site were now classified as Class H1 or Class H2. The test enables the calculation of a ys value (characteristic surface movement) to assign a site classifcation to the site. For example, a ys value of between 20mm and 40mm is a Class M and a ys value of between 40mm and 60mm is a Class H1.

What is a soil test and what does it entail?

A 'Soil Test' is also known as a 'Site Classification' and involves an assessment of the soils on your site in relation to the proposed development. In general, the footing design of your property will depend on the reactivity and condition of the soils which will form the foundations for your house. A site classification is performed by the drilling of boreholes and onsite logging of the soils to understand the various soil types. This information is then extrapolated with site characteristics such as geology, climatic zones and associated soil categories to assign a site classification (Class M, Class H1, Class P for example) to assist the structural design. The works are conducted in general accordance with AS2870 (2011) 'Residential Slabs and Footings'. This standard has been recently updated and has made the performance of shrink/swell index tests relatively important as an added assessment factor of the soils on the site.

Sports field

What do my results mean? Do they meet my spec?

If you require help in interpreting, or have any regarding queries your test results you are welcome to call and discuss them. If a more in depth analysis of results and material suitability are required Ground Science is happy to provide this service as an extra to the testing.

What tests do I need?

If you are unsure as to what tests you will need to provide the information needed to select a suitable soil, feel free to contact our Sports Field manager to discuss a suitable test package for your needs. If you are able to provide specification for the project, our staff are able to produce a test suite to meet the requirments.

Am I able to pay a fee to expediate my results?

Ground Science treat all our clients with equal importance, for this reason we do not offer an express service at a premium charge. If you have an urgent job, feel free to call and discuss your needs. A faster turnaround may be possible on a case to case basis. For Environmental chemical testing a faster turnaround is possible at a premium rates as our sub-contracting chemical laboratory offers this function. POA

What if I need further testing down the track?

Ground Science stores client samples for a period of 3 Months. If there is sufficient sample remaining from previous tests, we can conduct further testing in this time frame.

How much sample do I need to send?

2kg is sufficent for most test packages, however soil cannot be re used after most tests so if further tests may be required a larger sample would ensure faster more representative results on any further testing. Also a larger sample will be more representative of the overall supply of material.

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