What is Excavation?

What is Excavation?

Excavation is the process of digging out dirt, rock, sand, stumps and other materials in the ground using tools, heavy machinery or explosives. According to OSHA, excavation is any man-made cut, cavity, trench, or depression in the earth’s surface formed by earth removal.

Excavation projects range from big to small and everything in between. For most homeowners, excavation will be needed to create space for other types of construction to happen. Whether you’re digging up the ground for a construction project such as a retaining wall, an in-ground pool or front landing, or merely clearing stumps and rocks, excavation services are needed.

Excavation Examples

1. Digging a foundation

Anytime you need to dig a foundation, you’ll need a qualified excavation expert to prepare the site. The contractor should be experienced in landscape construction, as foundation excavation requires proper site preparation and grading so your new home or addition project is built right.

It’s not just about digging a hole with heavy duty equipment and pouring concrete. First, you need to prepare the site by removing trees, shrubs, and stumps. This task also includes clearing all of the roots. Overlooking root removal is dangerous, as roots could cause cracks in the structure built on them. Additionally, soil with high concentrations of roots and other decaying materials is unstable and should not be built upon!

2. Providing yard drainage

Rainwater will cause damage to your property if it doesn’t drain properly. If you need help with your yard’s drainage, you’ll likely need an excavation contractor. A contractor will help you identify the best solution to your drainage problem. Maybe it’s a simple solution like adding specific types of plants that absorb excess water in the soil. If the problem is more complex, the contractor can install drainage systems (using pipes and/or trenches) to carry water away from your property.

3. Clearing stumps and rocks

Does your front and/or back yard look the way you want it to? Maybe there are stumps or rocks present that are creating clutter in the yard. If you decide you want to clear out this type of clutter, you’ll need excavation services. A contractor will come in with different pieces of equipment to remove stumps, rocks, and roots in order to level the ground.

You’ll also want to think about things such as whether or not you want to preserve and relocate any plants or shrubs that would otherwise be destroyed during excavation.

4. Building a retaining wall

A retaining wall is a structure that holds or retains soil behind it. Are you thinking about building a retaining wall in your yard for support and safety or do you want to use it to level a sloped yard? Before building the wall, you’ll need to excavate the area.

Using stakes you’ll create a layout for the front of the wall. Then, at this point, you’ll need to call an expert to provide excavation services. The contractor will remove all of the surface vegetation and organic materials from the area prior to the construction of all the wall.

Excavation is more than just moving dirt around. It requires skill and training to ensure when the earth is removed, the rest of the area remains stable. According to OSHA, excavation is one of the most hazardous construction operations. If you are starting a major project that requires excavation, make sure you that you engage the services of a well-trained excavation professional.