Excavation and compaction generally occur in the beginning phase of construction. Both tasks play a vital role in establishing the perfect land shape for structures to be built effectively. Excavation and compaction on-site are done by professionals using heavy equipment. Careful planning is taken to ensure that site excavation and compaction are done to exact specifications to avoid any setbacks. Before we can go through the roles of excavation and compaction, we first need to understand what it is.
The Role of Excavation and Compaction at Construction Sites
What is Excavation?
Professionals complete excavation by using large machinery before building the structure. Excavation is the broad term used to describe mainly two parts:
• Cut (excavation): An individual will use large machinery to remove material from a site to make the elevation lower in necessary areas.
• Fills (embankment): Fill refers to using large machinery to add material to a certain area in order to increase the elevation level.
What is Compaction?
Compaction is when professionals use heavy machinery to compact or compress a fill operation. Properly compacting the soil will remove air from it and increase the density of the soil.
The Role of Excavation
When planning a construction site, getting the leveling of the land correct is highly important. This helps to ensure stability and safety for the structure that is to be built. Before excavating, the layout of the underground systems needs to be identified. The construction equipment used for excavation is extremely powerful and can destroy underground systems. If underground systems are broken it will cost time and money to fix or replace them.
Workers must calculate and map the size and depths before excavating. Excavation includes many processes such as setting the benchmarks for the corner, surveying the top and the ground levels as well as the construction of protection drains. The foundation depth and whether or not there will be a basement or crawl space will determine the depth to be dug down.
When filling an area, many different types of heavy equipment can be used to carry large amounts of material that will be used to fill the required space. Proper equipment selection for each project is critical for the safe and efficient execution of the work.
The Role of Compacting
The compaction process occurs alongside the grading fill process. This is because compaction will happen as the heavy equipment is filling an area. This allows for the soil density to be a lot higher and makes more space for further material to fill in. Compaction in the construction process is aided by heavy machinery which applies pressure to the filled area. In turn, this forces air out of the unsaturated soil mass. Compaction is finished once enough material has been added and compacted. A Geotechnical engineer will provide parameters for the site’s compaction requirements.
Compactors help battle swell and shrink the material used to fill the construction site. Swell is the process by which soil will increase in volume from its original state into a loose state. Shrinkage is when the soil that was removed from an area is put back and compacted. During this process, there may be a loss in the volume of the load. With that being said, the type of soil will impact how much volume will be lost. Compacting is also used when there may be too little or leftover soil when digging and refilling an excavation from utility installation.
They Work Hand in Hand
Working in tandem, excavation, grading, and compaction on construction sites are important for the delivery of a strong and strategically determined leveling of the land. This will help to ensure that structures can be built properly on the plot of land.
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