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Geotechnical Assessments

Contractors and homeowners planning to rebuild on a property located on or near a slope in a wildfire-affected area may need to obtain a geotechnical assessment before development and building permits can be issued. Homeowners rebuilding in these areas may have already received information indicating that a geotechnical assessment may be required. If you live on or near a slope in a wildfire-affected area, and are unsure whether such an assessment is needed, contact the Planning and Development department by email at planningdevelopment@rmwb.ca or by phone at 780-799-8695.

If a geotechnical assessment is required for your property, homeowners should review the information below and discuss it with their contractor and their geotechnical engineer prior to the assessment to ensure all requirements are met.

Development Permit Stage

If your property requires a geotechnical assessment, the assessment must include the following:

  • A site-specific visual inspection of the lot by a professional geotechnical engineer
  • A test hole (or holes) that extends at least 3 metres into underlying competent bedrock and is deep enough to delineate the depth of fill and colluvium
  • A piezometer with groundwater level readings
  • A site plan showing test hole locations
  • A stratigraphic cross-section through the property over the entirety of the slope
  • A slope stability analysis that determines:
    • The current factor of safety (FOS) of the slope (global stability) along the cross-section
    • The current FOS of the lot itself (local stability)
    • The calculated FOS for the lot to assess the effect of any proposed grading and lot improvements, including the effect on the FOS of the slopes above and below the lot
    • The effect of seasonal fluctuations in the groundwater table
    • Any proposed measures to increase the stability of the lot, if required, to achieve a minimum FOS of 1.5.
      • When a FOS of 1.5 cannot be reasonably achieved, homeowners are asked to contact the Planning & Development department to discuss alternative options
  • Stamped structural drawings that address the design requirements for the type of foundation recommended by the geotechnical engineer
  • A drawing of the site grading indicating the drainage pattern with surface drainage runoff directed to the street, back alley or nearby catch basin
  • Compliance with the Alberta Building Code (2 per cent minimum grade) to prevent drainage issues
  • A summary report stamped by a professional geotechnical engineer that presents the above information, assessments and recommendations

Building Permit Stage

Before Building:

To apply a building permit for properties located on or near a slope, you must provide the following:

  • A copy of the geotechnical assessment and an approved development permit
  • Stamped structural drawings that address the design requirements for the type of foundation recommended by the geotechnical engineer
  • Letters of commitment in the form of schedules A-2, B-1 and B-2 signed by the owner, the geotechnical engineer and the structural engineer for design and field review of the project

During Building:

During the building and construction stage, stamped field reports from consultants will be required by the Municipality to confirm that soil conditions and construction are consistent with the design requirements of the items outlined in the geotechnical assessment. These field reports must be submitted at each of the following times:

  • At excavation
  • Prior to the pouring of the foundation
  • During the pouring of the foundation
  • During backfill

Alternatively, one field report may be submitted prior to the foundation inspection with all of the above stages listed with inspection results.

After Building:

A letter from the geotechnical engineer and the foundation designer is required to confirm work has been completed in accordance with deign recommendations. Additionally, if landscaping requirements are needed, a Letter of Credit (LOC) may also be required for the cost of landscaping and any retaining structures that are a requirement of the design or of the consultants.

More Information

For more information on site-specific geotechnical assessments and/or obtaining a development or building permit, contact the Planning & Development department at planningdevelopment@rmwb.ca or call 780-799-8695.

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