Expansive Soil Issues, Denver, CO

Case Study Overview


In Colorado and near our Denver office, expansive soils can wreak havoc on buildings. Expansive soils are found in every state in the country. They refer to clay-like soil with minerals that expand and shrink with moisture and GHP Environmental + Architecture saw firsthand what a structure built without the proper precautions for expansive soils can experience.

At GHP Environmental + Architecture we work to solve our clients problems in addition to designing and building beautiful buildings. This means that when our clients have an issue that could be structural or environmental, we’re the first to be called. Our client in Colorado did just that in 2012 when sewer gas smells and possible sewer flies were detected in an inhabited building.


After arriving on the scene, we determined the current contractor was not taking proper precautions to fix broken sewer lines. There was a much larger issue at hand than just broken sewer lines, though, underneath the structure. The building, which should have been constructed according to design and precautions laid out for expansive soils, was not built accordingly.

GHP Environmental + Architecture worked with the client to investigate the situation and develop a solution to solve the problem. An excavation taking just over two years in addition to rebuilding, planning for expansive soils and re-plumbing underneath the building was the solution. We worked with our client to ensure the project was done correctly this time around to avoid future problems.


While the process took a few years to complete, GHP Environmental + Architecture worked with the client to ensure they remained operable and inhabitable during the work. This involved planning so that business was not disturbed during construction while still ensuring that the building would be as problem free as possible in the future.

Although the process would not have been necessary had the original contractor followed design specifications, the client now has a fully functional and up-to-code building as well as all the documentation needed for litigation. In short, GHP Environmental + Architecture made sure the mess was cleaned up.