If you are considering pouring a columbarium foundation without getting a proper soil test done first….. take a second look at “The Leaning Tower of Pisa” before you even consider skipping this phase.

Shored up under a bed of shifting sand, silty clay and soft topsoil, “The Leaning Tower of Pisa” has been on a trajectory of collapse from the moment the foundation was set. Little did the 12th century builders know (at that time) that their beloved tower was doomed to fall. Throughout the course of building this structure, the Pisans sadly realized the weak soil properties and subsoil layers that lay beneath the foundation a little too late.

There is no doubt that prayers from the adjacent Cathedral were finally heard as solutions were eventually devised that would save the Tower from collapse. The tremendous cost and engineering talent required to correct this tower from certain calamity, highlights, that a little testing in advance could have saved a fortune in repairs later.

This is an unfortunate problem to have, and it is avoidable, if you plan in advance.

When planning a columbarium project it is important to keep in mind that not all sites are strong enough to support such a massive weight. The site needs to be prepared with a proper support systems and a solid foundation.

Soil testing is a crucial first step in the columbarium foundation preparation for a number of reasons. The soil needs to be tested to determine: the type of soil, the quality of the subsoil layers, the type of reinforcements required and the appropriate concrete mix to apply (based on the testing results).

The soil testing company should test for strength, density, compaction, organics, sand content and assess their impact of the placement of the columbarium’s weight at that specified location. They can provide you with the technical and safety data reports that will support planning permits, should they be required. The data will also provide concrete companies with vital information, as it helps them to determine the best type of concrete mix the soil can support without affecting the concrete’s durability and strength over time. These tests will provide construction contractors with expert advice for the correct concrete thickness.

Based on the soil testing report your contractor will also find out if screw-piles, pilings are necessary in order to support the columbarium’s concrete foundation.  In some cases these extra support systems may not be necessary at all.

We also advise your contractor to discuss with the columbarium manufacturer the foundation’s height requirements for the finished grade level. This will allow for adequate height levels for landscaping pavers or concrete sidewalks.

So if you are planning a columbarium garden project. Choose a columbarium manufacturer that encourages you to get the soil tested to ensure that the columbarium is placed on a solid foundation.

A little soil testing in advance ensures that your cemetery columbarium will be “an attraction” for all the right reasons.