Subsurface Characterization for Deep Foundations

This technical committee is intended to focus on considerations for site investigation for the design and construction of deep foundations. The formation of the committee is rooted in a need to increase awareness of the importance of complete and competent site investigation in deep foundation practices.

Committee Chair

Mary Nodine, P.E.
Federal Highway Administration
[email protected]

Mary Nodine is a Geotechnical Engineer with the Federal Highway Administration Resource Center, specializing in ground improvement, earth retaining structures, deep foundations and subsurface characterization. Mary serves on the editorial board of the ASCE Geo-Institute’s publication GeoStrata and has contributed to the magazine as the “Geo-Poet” since 2008.

Purpose Statement

  • Increase stakeholder awareness of the necessity to effectively manage ground risks.
  • Promote the value of proper and adequate subsurface exploration and characterization for informed design, improved constructability and bid economy.
  • Promote effective procurement practices for subsurface characterization services.
  • Promote proper and appropriate methods, including innovative technologies when suitable, and recognize appropriate standards for performing subsurface exploration and characterization.
  • Promote adequate construction observation monitoring to determine whether field modifications are necessary during construction.
  • Collaborate with similar organizations to improve the professionalism of subsurface characterization.


Foundation Reuse Task Force

DFI’s Foundation Reuse Task Force is working to promote reuse by leveraging experience among DFI members and collaborating with related organizations. The task force is active in preparing workshops and panel sessions for industry conferences, developing concise case histories of foundation reuse success stories, supporting research, and participating in development of guidance documents and specifications.

GBR initiative

Geotechnical baseline reports could be beneficial on a wide range of deep foundation projects, but these documents are widely misunderstood. The goal of this initiative is to raise the awareness and encourage the adoption of required geotechnical baseline reports to help promote timely, safer and more fiscally responsible projects by providing a clearer understanding of the soil conditions.

Topic 4 coming soon.

Geo-Industry Technology Users Groups

These joint industry groups were created in cooperation with FHWA, Geo-Institute, DOTs, DFI and TRB Committee AKG20 to address users’ needs.

Advanced Geotechnical Methods in Exploration (A-GaME)

DFI is excited to partner with FHWA’s A-GaME program.

To learn more about A-GaME and access educational videos, news bulletins and more, visit the A-GaME website.

Or you can delve directly into the webinars, featuring proven exploration methods and practices for enhanced, effective site characterization that reduce project risks, improve quality and accelerate project delivery


This task force highlights how geophysical techniques can add value to investigation programs.


FHWA Geotechnical Engineering Circular No. 5 Geotechnical Site Characterization (technical resource for planning and scoping site investigations, exploratory means and methods, interpretation of properties from laboratory and field measurements, documentation and reporting)

FHWA Geotechnical Engineering Circular No. 14 Assuring Quality in Geotechnical Reporting Documents (guidance for effectively incorporating quality assurance in preparing geotechnical reporting  documents)

GeoConstructability – An Owner’s Guide to Obtaining Essential Geotechnical Information for Construction (documents the type of geotechnical information  that contractors need to estimate, plan and execute foundation projects)