Yes. Homebuilders can detect problem soils prior to construction. If you buy a house from a builder in a tract development, the builder has hired a geotechnical engineer who has tested the soil at various locations before beginning construction. The engineer recommends how to repair the soil and design a foundation system to accommodate it.
Residential tract home builders take a lot of precautions in dealing with the soil. Individual cities require it and parts of the building code require it. It’s a standard-of-care issue because if they build on a site and don’t know what they’re building on, they can have a lot of problems.
Builders have been careful about this for the past 30 years. In fact, in studies of Arizona subdivisions, it’s likely that only five or six out of 500 or 600 will have any soil-related problems with their foundations, according to Peterson Geotechnical Group in Chandler.