What is a "geotech"? Why do I need one?
A "geotech" is an Engineer
Licensed by the State.
Like Structural, Hydraulic, or Transportaion Engineering, Geotechnical is a branch of Civil Engineering, with the root word "Civil"--as in--anything to do with the design and construction of mankind's Civilization and Infrastructure.
It is the specialized focus involving the interaction of soils with the construction of ... virtually anything on earth. As a matter of fact, every building built on earth is either "in", "on", or "of" soil!
There are many pathways to expertise in the profession, including many tiers, graduate levels, and types of examinations.
At a minimum, in order to become a Licensed Engineer, one must make the decision to study this specialized field during time spent pursuing a four to five year Baccalaureate Degree from an Accredited school. Once the engineer graduates, they must then pass a Nationally-managed exam called the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam (FE), now called the "EIT" (Engineer In Training) exam. They must then practice under a Licensed Engineer for a minimum of four years, be certified through a State application process, and then pass another Nationally-managed exam, the Principles of Engineering Exam (PE), in order to be licensed by the State in which the engineer practices.
Owner and Principal, Stephen Eagar, PE explains in his own words what a "geotech" is, and what they do.
How does a Geotechnical Engineer fit in with the construction process?
The governing principles of the interaction of soils with construction is site specific, and rooted in the fundamentals of Soil Mechanics--a study of physics that describes the behavior of soils.
In construction, the Geotechnical Engineer is typically involved with the exploration of the soil on a future site, analyzing those soils, and reporting the results and design characteristics to other engineers who then design the project, keeping geotechnical parameters under close consideration.
Check out the videos on this page and http://www.whatisgeotech.org for additional information.