It’s always exciting during construction to see the new structure actually go up. But before you reach that stage, a great deal of planning and preparation has to go into the site. Your soil, for instance, needs specific preparation steps in order to be ready for a new home or commercial building to go up.
What are some of the key ways that your ground must be made ready? Here are five things that might be needed behind the scenes.
1. Soil Testing
Any gardener knows that all soils are not the same. And just as your flowers and shrubs won’t thrive in the wrong soil, your building may not thrive with the wrong soil base. Heavy construction requires that the soil be tested to determine if its components will be able to support what you’re building. Common soil issues include insufficient compacting, undercutting in the ground, and high moisture content.
Both lab tests and field testing are often necessary to ensure that everything within your ground is going to provide a solid foundation — both for the construction and the resulting long-term structures.
Nearly all construction sites have to be cleared in one way or another. While most homeowners understand that you must clear an unimproved lot filled with trees and bushes, they may not immediately realize that even a lot with minimal visible obstacles needs to be cleared as well.
With few exceptions — old trees or selected outbuildings, for instance — everything in the way of the entire construction site must usually go. This includes such things as garbage, old concrete work, junk on the property, unused buildings, trees and shrubs, or buried tanks.
3. Utility Location
Before digging begins, you will need to find all underground utilities. Everyone is, of course, encouraged to have utilities marked before any kind of digging, but with the level of groundwork involved in the placement of a new structure, it’s essential. A utility locator will look for traditional elements (buried power or gas lines and plumbing pipes) as well as new technology like fiber optic cables and geothermal grids.
4. Erosion Control
Once a plot is cleared, new challenges may be exposed. Bare land is more at risk of losing soil to erosion than land with structures or woodlands on it. Temporary measures may need to be taken to shore up exposed soil, especially in the rainy season or at the coast, during construction only. You may also need to protect soil from loss by compacting, pre-watering, and changing the elevations to discourage runoff.
Finally, the ground will likely need some amount of leveling and grading. Grading removes the highs and lows that naturally occur in the ground, preventing erosion and drainage issues that can cause even more erosion.
One of the final elements of ground preparation is to move soil around as needed for the building itself. This stage, excavation, is completed after the soil is tested, cleared, marked, and protected.
While most homes or businesses appear to be sitting flat on the flat ground, a lot of work has gone on to create the right elevations and holes underneath those structures. Excavation works with the building designs to get down to place the foundation or basement, to raise low spots, to dig into the ground where connections will be installed, and to add roads or walkways for access.
Clearly, ground preparation is key to a successful construction project. The exciting part of raising your new roof can’t happen without a solid base of good groundwork. At Abbotts’ Construction Services Inc. we have 35 years of specialized experience in preparing sites for whatever construction you have planned. Call today for an appointment to learn more.