Geophysical Surveys

SUMO applies a variety of geophysical techniques to investigate the types of materials and structures below the ground that could be relevant to engineering design and problem resolution.

These are essential in identifying the following:

Air Voids and Cavities

Buried vaults, crypts, culverts, sewers and heating ducts are just some examples of why voiding can occur and create problems beneath existing buildings. Similarly, swallow holes and subsidence are typical indicators of the existence of voids in greenfield sites, roads and brownfield sites, all of which need to be found, before they can be resolved.

Buried Mineshafts

Whilst the approximate location of most mine shafts are recorded on historic maps and records, having been capped, many remain difficult to find and a geophysical survey is generally the most cost effective method of finding them before development work commences.

Buried Fuel Tanks, Air Raid Shelters and Unexploded Ordinance (UXO)

The discovery of these hidden items at the construction stage can create health, safety and environmental concerns, with significant cost implications. Accordingly, their identification and location is essential at the design stage and may be of particular relevance to the redevelopment of brownfield sites.

Characterisation of Land Forms / Geomorphology

Prior to construction and infrastructure projects it often proves necessary to characterise landscape features to assess their suitability for design purposes. This may for example, include attributes such as depth of drift cover to bedrock, body of water profiling and sediment thickness, or the extent of sink hole formation.


Significant areas of voiding can be created where water under pressure has forced its way through masonry and brick linings.

Badger Setts

As a protected species, it is important to identify the existence and extent of any badger setts before commencing work.

In addition, a number of the geophysical techniques applied in identifying the above features can also be used for the following: -

Re-inforced Concrete Mapping and Characterisation

Including the location of rebars, thereby enabling the planned location of exploratory boreholes, piling for new foundations and strength assessment, where no records are available.

High Frequency Structural Radar

Identifying such building features as hidden flues and chimneys, embedded historic features and voiding caused by crumbling masonry and water ingress.


View the case studies using Geophysical...


Southampton Station

Buried Mineshaft