How To Excavate Near A Structure

When excavating near a foundation, you may be removing a lot of the support for the foundation. As a result, you will need to find a way to underpin or protect the foundation to protect it against settlement.

Disconnect the Utilities

When excavating anywhere, you need to contact local utility companies to make sure that your excavation will not disrupt utilities. By getting in contact with your local utility company, you will be able to have the utilities marked so you will know where not to dig. You can also have the utilities disconnected so it is less likely that they will be disrupted.

Remove Trees, Lighting, Fencing and Shrubs

The excavation process will often require that parts of the property owner's landscape be removed, including fencing, lighting and shrubs. These parts of the landscape would interfere with the excavation process and would also become damaged by the excavation process. Electrical wires, sprinkling systems and gas lines might need to be removed and replaced before the excavation process can move forward. It is best to leave as many trees as possible because removing too many trees can cause soil erosion problems.

With the trees that are left behind, the excavators need to be careful to make sure that they do not disrupt the roots unless they are 30 centimeters below the foundation. Then, they must be removed. Removing these roots will create pits that must be filled with soil and compacted.

Remove Sod from a Small Area

Begin with a small area. Cut and remove sod in small sections. This can be accomplished using sod cutters. The soil that you excavate should be placed on a tarp so you can keep the rest of the landscape clean. After the excavation, the rest of the soil can simply be lifted away.

Construct a Trench

Excavating next to the foundation is particularly challenging. Be sure to construct a trench about four feet away from the foundation that is parallel to the wall. Then, the rest of the dirt can be pulled away from the foundation wall, which can take pressure away from the foundation wall.

Carefully Compact the Soil

Compacting the soil after excavating near the foundation can be difficult and can often lead to soil that is uneven, which leads to incorrect final elevations and poor drainage. You will want to use a compactor to make sure the soil is even and you will also need to either add water to the soil if it is too dry or add dry material to the soil if it is too wet.  

For more tips on excavating near a foundation, contact a construction worker from a company like Haas Construction.


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