Grading a construction site is an important task carried out before workers begin building the structure. Construction site grading involves strategic engineering that will adjust the soil, slopes, and elevation around the site. Engineers determine the strategy for how the grading should be done through the removal of any land and adding reinforcements where necessary. In many cases, the success of a building project starts with the effectiveness of the site grading. Not only is it important for the solid foundation of a building project, but it is also a key element in shaping the land for any improvement or enhancement of landscaping features.

What is Construction Site Grading?

Why Is It Important?

The grading of a commercial construction site can determine the success of a building project as well as the design of the landscape features that are to be included in the overall finish. Site grading includes a combination of art and science for the best possible outcome for both the structure of the building and the surrounding landscape. The goal of site grading projects is to create a cost-effective, functional, and beautiful plan. There are three essential purposes for grading a site:

  • Optimization of the intended use of the land by reconfiguring the land surface.
  • Creating and improving water drainage patterns.
  • Creating a site that builds character and defines the visual appeal of the site.

There are various benefits when it comes to the grading of a site. It is not just important for the structure that is going to be built on it. In fact, grading is also important for the surrounding homes and/or other buildings. Site grading ensures that water runoff is directed safely away from the building. This helps to avoid any damage to the building as well as its foundation or nearby structures.

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Types of Grading On A Site

There are a few types of grading that can occur on a construction site, each with a different purpose.

Landscape Grading

This type of grading is used when there is a change that needs to be made on the site for landscaping designs. Landscape grading is also necessary for the installation of irrigation systems. It is also an important type of grading for reshaping land areas to modify and also control the water runoff patterns. Lastly, landscape grading enables altering elevations of the area where the structure is to be built.

Architectural Grading

This includes changing the contours of the site to accommodate a proper drainage design. Architectural grading also allows you to change any unwanted elevations in preparation for the foundation of the structure.


Regrading is simply executed in large or small areas where the levels of the land are lowered or raised.

Finished Grade

Finished grading is done towards the end of a construction project. This process involves implementing the final touches. This can be adjusting the contours of a site for planting as well as for more specific requirements such as a gravel road and other earthwork projects.

Rough Grading

Rough grading includes the addition, the removal, or the relocation of topsoil to set the slope and/or level of an area for landscaping projects. This type of grading is important for the soil composition necessary to create the elevation as well as the basic shape engineers desire.

Final Grade

As the name suggests, final grade is the last grading that takes place on a site, After construction, the area is coated with screened topsoil or other material that will promote growth.

What Is Used for Grading?

Due to the large amounts of land workers must alter, heavy machinery is best for getting the job done. A four-wheel machine called a grader is the most common piece of equipment for the various types of grading.

Understanding the Site Grading Plan

A site’s terrain is understood through its spot elevations and contours. The shape can be identified through the land’s topographical survey. A topographical survey is important in identifying how to grade a site and highlights the existing features such as the spot elevations and contour lines. Topographical surveys usually highlight the necessary outfall elevation of the site for any drainage systems the site will need.

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