Engineers Australia

Problem soils — a West Australian perspective

Fred Davenport


Problems soils, defined in this paper as those soils reactive to moisture, are widespread across Western Australia. These soils have caused structural distress to numerous buildings and other structures and distortion and deterioration of many pavements.

This paper provides information on the distribution of these soils across Western Australia and the order of costs associated with remediation works required to correct distress and distortion caused by movements of the problem soils. Some methods used and local relationships developed to predict the movement of the soil associated with changes in moisture content are also discussed. Field indications of the presence of moisture sensitive soils are also mentioned.

The paper also includes some background on studies undertaken on sites containing problem soils in the south-eastern Wheatbelt and Pilbara regions of Western Australia.