California Department of Transportation



Foundation Testing and Instrumentation Branch

The Foundation Testing and Instrumentation Branch provides statewide foundation testing and geotechnical instrumentation services.

Thomas Song
Phone : (916) 227-1001
Mobile: (916) 799-2094

  • Pile Load Testing (PLT): PLT statically loads full-size test piles to accurately evaluate the actual constructed capacity and load-deflection behavior.  FTI has test capacities up to 8,000,000 pounds and can test in compression, tension, and lateral configurations.
  • Pile Driving Analysis (PDA): PDA monitors the strains and accelerations within a pile during driving.  The strain and acceleration data are used to evaluate the pile driving stresses, to describe the hammer performance to examine the driving system efficiency, and to estimate pile capacity.
  • Gamma-Gamma Logging (GGL): GGL utilizes nuclear density logging methods to nondestructively evaluate the condition of Cast-in-Drilled Hole (CIDH) piles.  GGL is a specified Quality Assurance acceptance test for all CIDH piles that are constructed under wet condition and have a diameter of 2 feet or greater.  GGL is regulated for Radiation Safety.
  • Crosshole Sonic Logging (CSL): CSL utilizes sound wave imaging to nondestructively evaluate the condition of CIDH piles.  CSL is used to complement GGL to further define the nature and extent of the detected anomalies.
  • Sonic Caliper Logging (SCL): SCL uses directional sonar technique to provide pile designers and field personnel with the profile of a shaft after drilling but prior to concrete placement.  This information allows for identification of cave-ins, cross-sectional area, plumbness, and shaft roughness.
  • Downhole Camera Monitoring: Downhole camera is used to monitor CIDH Pile repair operation. The camera is capable of fitting into a 2-inch diameter PVC Inspection Tube and providing real time true color pictures.  The camera allows for visual confirmation of mitigation efforts, assessment of the nature and extent of anomalous materials within a pile, and photo documentation of the concrete and anomaly.
  • Wave Equation Analysis (WEA): WEA performs Wave Equation studies to examine pile drivability prior to field construction and to generate field acceptance criteria to evaluate the relationship between the pile capacity and the pile driving blow counts observed in the field.
  • Cone Penetration Testing (CPT): CPT is an in-situ sounding that hydraulically pushes an electronic steel probe (penetrometer) into subsurface to continuously profile subsurface strata.  FTI is capable of perform standard cone (CPT), Piezocone (CPTu) and Seismic Cone (SCPT) using a 20-ton CPT rig. 
  • Slope Inclinometer Monitoring (SI): SI is an in-situ monitoring of lateral ground movements over depths and time.  SI uses an inclinometer probe passing through a casing (PVC pipe/piezometer) installed in the ground and surveying the casing’s inclinations along its profile.  Plots of the initial and subsequent readings indicate the lateral ground movements, if any, over time.
  • Time Doman Reflectometry Testing (TDR): TDR is an in-situ monitoring of lateral ground movement, especially for deep seated movements.  TDR testing measures voltage reflections of an electrical pulse traveling through a coaxial cable installed into a borehole and grouted to the ground mass.
  • Automated Monitoring Station: Automated continuous monitoring combined with remote data retrieval is used for large-scale, long-term, in-situ monitoring of ground movement.  FTI uses automated data-loggers, and cellular modems or Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) Ethernet connections to provide real-time monitoring and date collection.
  • Soil Percolation Test: Soil percolation test is an in-situ test to determine the water infiltration rate of a soil stratum.  FTI performs the test in general accordance with the Los Angeles County Administrative Manual titled “Low Impact Development Best Management Practice Guideline for Design, Investigation, and Reporting” and/or other procedures regulated by the Local Enforcement Agency (LEA) of the project site.
  • Hammer Efficiency Testing (HET): HET is used to standardize the Standard Penetration Test (SPT) hammers by measuring the energy transferred from the hammer impact to the SPT rods. The hammer efficiency is determined by the ratio of the measured energy to the 60% theoretical potential energy.


Test request forms are available here and may be either emailed or faxed to the Branch Chief.