What is Level Ground Excavation?
Whether landscaping your property or building an addition to your home, leveling the ground is essential. You must ensure the soil slopes away from your home instead of toward it to prevent water or gas from backing up into your foundation and causing structural damage.
Level Ground Excavation is necessary for several projects, including construction and landscaping. The process can be complicated and requires a high level of skill to get it right. If you’re going to be digging, it’s important to take the time to consult with an expert about what is needed and any possible dangers that might arise. It’s also important to check with your local government and utilities to ensure you don’t disturb any buried lines.
Land grading and excavation are similar, but they occur at different times in construction and require different machinery. Before excavation, contractors should call 811 centers to mark where underground utility lines are located.
Soil is a complex mixture of inorganic and organic materials. The inorganic components determine soil physical properties, such as texture and density. The organic material contributes to soil chemistry and nutrient content. The type of soil also determines the structure and drainage of an excavation. The inorganic components, such as sand, gravel, silt and clay particles, are mixed to create aggregates that give soil its characteristic texture. The shape of the aggregates and their size and consistency influence soil erosion, compaction and water retention. The aggregates are held together by clay particles, which have a high affinity for moisture. The amount of organic matter is important, as it increases soil water holding capacity and provides nutrients to plants.
The most stable soils are considered Type A, while the least stable are classified as Type C. Type A soils are granular and cohesive and have an unconfined compressive strength of 1.5 tons per square foot or greater. Type B soils are slightly less stable than Type A, but still very cohesive and have a unconfined compression strength of 1 ton per square foot or less.
A competent person must test the soil type at the beginning of an excavation to identify potential hazards and develop a plan to control them. This includes determining the type of soil, the stability of the walls and whether or not there are any utilities under the ground. If a utility is located in the excavation, a competent person must design and install a support system to protect workers.
In addition to a visual examination of the soil, the competent person should perform a plasticity test to determine whether the soil is cohesive. A simple plasticity test involves rolling a moist soil sample into a piece one-eighth of an inch thick and two inches long. If the sample does not break, it is cohesive and a Type A soil. If it breaks, it is a Type B soil.
The slope angle of an excavation is determined by using the depth x 2 formula and the soil type. The higher the slope angle, the more stable the excavation will be. For example, a 6 feet by 2 feet excavation with a slope angle of 1:1 is ideal for most projects.
Whether it’s building a patio, installing a driveway, or simply re-landscaping your yard, a proper foundation is necessary. This is where grading and excavation come into play. While grading is more aesthetic than excavation, both are necessary to complete any outdoor project. A professional grading and excavation company can help make sure your project is on solid ground.
In addition to the structural needs of a level ground excavation, it is important to note any surface encumbrances that are in place before beginning work on an excavation. All encumbrances, including underground water, gas, electric, sewer, and telephone lines, shall be located prior to excavation operations. These encumbrances will need to be located with either detection equipment or by calling the utility company within established or customary local response times before excavation begins on the site.
The grading and excavation process should include inspections of the structure’s excavation to ensure that the construction methods and benching are consistent with the plans. It is also important to cross-section the excavation to check actual conditions as they are made, and compare these results with load counts, when possible.
If the excavation is in a hillside, it is important to check that the benching of cut into existing material is consistent with the plans and to verify that adequate keying is provided to the original ground. It is also important to observe end dumping of excavated material, and prohibit it until the benching of cut can be completed.
Depending on the scope of your project, it may be necessary to obtain permits from the city or county for the grading and excavation work. A professional excavation company will be familiar with these requirements, and can help you navigate the necessary paperwork to avoid any delays or fines.
Once the excavation has been completed, the soil must be backfilled and compacted. This will make the foundation stable and less likely to shift, sink, or crack later on in the construction process. It will also protect the foundation from flood damage by ensuring that water drains away from the house.
Before the site excavation process can begin, your contractor should clear away all vegetation and structures both above and below ground. They must also remove rocks, trees, and other sizable debris from the excavation area to ensure a clean and stable surface for the construction process.
Once the site is prepped, contractors can begin their site soil backfilling. This involves adding, removing, and reshaping dirt according to the excavation plan. The backfill is then compacted using a heavy roller or vibration compactor. This process eliminates any air pockets or holes in the soil and strengthens the overall structure of the site.
While excavation takes place, your contractor should regularly test the soil consistency. This helps to avoid failures such as sloughing, which occurs when a ridge of weak soil sits between two strong layers, leading to trench collapse. Likewise, your contractor should regularly check for sloping. When slopes are too steep, they can cause structural damage and pose safety hazards for employees.
In addition, your contractor should protect the stability of existing buildings and walls during excavation work. In this case, the shoring or bracing system should be designed by a qualified professional engineer to meet specific project requirements. Additionally, they should install protective barricades or other means of protection at intervals along the face of an excavation to prevent collapse and injury to employees.
The final step is grading the site. During this process, your contractor will fill in low locations with dirt and ensure that all areas are at the correct slope. This step also helps to avoid weed growth and allows for easy drainage of the soil. This makes grading a crucial part of excavation, and it should be taken seriously to ensure that the results are stable and long-lasting.
Having the proper equipment is essential to ensure that your leveling excavation project goes as smoothly as possible. One of the most popular pieces of equipment is a Bobcat. It is a versatile machine that can scoop up dirt and then use a different attachment to flatten and smooth the new surface.
It is also possible to use excavators that are more specialized for tasks such as trenching and backfilling. These machines typically have a more limited movement range than other models, but they are often preferred for specific projects. Back hoe excavators, for example, have a digging bucket arranged on the back of the vehicle and are used for construction work. They can move more quickly than tracked excavators, but they are not as stable.
When examining an excavation, it’s important to note any signs of cave-ins or failure of the supports that are in place. This can be a dangerous situation and should be addressed immediately. It’s also important to observe any areas where there is water accumulation. This can cause instability and can be extremely hazardous for workers.
Another thing to keep in mind is that it’s necessary to have proper lighting and ventilation in any area where excavation is occurring. This is especially true in bell-bottom pier holes and other similar deep and confined footing excavations. It’s also important to have emergency rescue equipment available in cases where hazardous atmospheric conditions are present or might reasonably be expected to occur during excavation work.
Finally, it’s a good idea to have a plan in place for how you’re going to handle the debris. If you’re removing soil from the site, it’s important to have it prepared for transport and storage. This might require that you create a separate pile for the topsoil and another for the more dense subsoil.