Boreholes are drilled for a number of reasons but primarily they provide information from an exact location on the underlying soil properties. Knowing the properties of the soil is instrumental in foundation design, understanding groundwater flow or searching for specific minerals. They are also drilled for downhole surveys that can involve other NDT and geophysical techniques including downhole seismics and magnetometer surveys; for finding the depth of adjacent piles or ground profiles.

The drilling of boreholes can be both constructive before development or reactive to ground hazards such as solution features, desiccation, ground movement or other forms of destabilisation.

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