Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Building Houses With Geological Concerns in Mind

Image Source: Pexels

When people start looking for land to build a house, the first things that often come to mind are property value and beauty. Unfortunately, it can feel like geologists often get overlooked in this part of the process. While a realtor’s job is to sell a piece of property by making it as appealing as possible, it’s irresponsible for anyone in the housing market to ignore geological warnings when it comes to building something new.

Because geologists often get ignored when it comes to home-building, far too many people make the mistake of building on land that is susceptible to earthquakes, flooding, or landslides.

So, what can geologists do to have a greater presence in the real estate industry? How can you make a difference and work with home-builders to ensure the safety and security of newly-constructed homes on the right kind of property?

Understanding the Ideal Home Location

The ideal home location in the eyes of a geologist may not be the same as the ideal location for a realtor or buyer. One of the first things you can do to get a better understanding of the risks in certain locations is to educate yourself on geologic hazards in that location. Some of the most common concerns for specific locations include:








Obviously, different concerns affect different parts of the country. So, it’s not enough to only understand some of the risks of your own area. That’s especially true if you want to branch out and work with contractors across the country.

The more you know about different geological hazards in different locations, the easier it will be to keep builders informed. Realtors constantly use the “location, location, location” motto when it comes to selling a piece of land or a home, but as a geologist, you can help them to find the ideal location that is as safe from disaster as it is beautiful.

Image credit Tony-Lam-Hoang on Wunderstock

Working With Contractors

If you contract your services out, you can work with building contractors or directly with those interested in building or rennovating a home to make sure they aren’t building on land with geological concerns. On top of that, any good contractor is sure to ask their clients questions about what they’re looking for in a project, including how long they plan to stay in their home and other expectations they might have — which means you as a geological contractor should be doing the same.

You should also ask specific questions and make sure they understand your concerns about the location they’re choosing. You can ask them how they plan to utilize the property while guiding them on some of the best practices to keep their new construction safe. That could include foundational changes, like using shock absorbers or making the foundation more flexible, depending on the risk of geological activity in a particular area. It’s important to emphasize that on top of everything else homebuyers should keep an eye out for when buying a new house, they should also be aware of where that house is located.

If you spend enough time working with contractors, you might even think about designing your own buildings and homes that are structurally sound and meant to withstand some geological problems, like earthquakes. The more you learn about the construction industry, the more you can do to keep people safe. The more the home-building industry knows about geology, the more they will take natural disasters seriously when it comes to laying the foundation for a new house.

It’s a win-win situation for everyone, but it’s especially important for any family that wants to build a new house. Without the knowledge of a geologist in a geologically-active area, that family could be placing themselves in great danger in a very short amount of time.

Image credit Alex-Siale on Wunderstock

Working With Realtors

Another route you could take when it comes to utilizing your geological skills is to work with a local real estate office. Again, realtors want to list land that is appealing in every way possible. You can work with them by surveying their land options for things like:

     Seismic activity

     Likelihood of a landslide

     Wildfire threats

     Flooding concerns

These aren’t necessarily geological hazards that would completely prevent anyone from building on a lot. But, a home-builder needs to be made aware of these issues. It might force the realtor to lower the price of the land, but transparency can get it sold faster.

There are plenty of geology jobs to consider when you’re an expert in your field. But, working with people who are about to build a house can be an incredibly fulfilling reward, simply because you could be saving lives. The more geologists that get involved with building houses, the more people will take notice of geological concerns and potential hazards.

Find ways to work with builders, contractors, and realtors in your own neighborhood to make sure you’re all on the same page when it comes to keeping homeowners safe in their new construction for years to come. Even if you start small, you can use your skills to eventually branch out across the country and help connect geology and real estate once and for all. The more geologists who take an active interest in such things, the more lives can be saved from natural disasters.

Indiana Lee is a  journalist from the Pacific Northwest with a passion for covering workplace issues, environmental protection, social justice, and more. When she is not writing you can find her deep in the mountains with her two dogs. Follow her work on Contently, or reach her at indianaleewrites@gmail.com