What is Excavation?
Excavation is simply defined as the process of digging. In construction, excavation is used for several jobs that require digging including landscaping, road building, and much more. There are several different types of excavation methods and each is used for certain project needs. The equipment that is used during excavation is dependent on the goals of the project.
Types of Excavation
Also referred to as cut and fill excavation, this method is used to clear large areas where layers of topsoil and rock are removed from the ground and taken away from the site. Instead of a deep hole, stripping involves clearing a large area’s topsoil with a shallow dig. The method of excavation is most commonly used for road and railroad construction.
Trench excavation is the process of excavating holes where the length of the area exceeds the depth. This process is often used to install pipelines, sewer systems, and service lines.
When a home is already built and people want to install a basement or fix their foundation, basement excavation is utilized. The basement and foundation of a home are typically underground and that is when this form of excavation is called upon.
Dredging is the process of removing sediments and other materials from underwater to allow clear paths for ships and other construction purposes. A real life example of dredging took place to unblock the Suez Canal when the Evergreen ship was lodged in its path. Sand was dredged below the front and rear of the ship while tugboats pulled the ship to freedom which ended the international crisis.
As the name suggests, excavators are frequently used for several types of excavation projects. Excavators are typically the go-to machine for bigger projects that involve digging large trenches, moving heavy objects, as well as snow and forestry removal. Because they are used for so many projects, there are several types of excavators. The spider excavator is a variation that is designed to work on all terrains. Instead of tracks, the spider excavator runs on legs. The swamp excavator is another variation that is used for jobs near water as it has special tracks designed for those ecosystems. Finally, the zero swing excavator provides an arm that only swings as wide as the machine so that it can work effectively in confined spaces.
Commonly referred to as the powerhouse machine in construction, Bulldozers are useful for excavation projects as they are used to break up heavy rock and move large piles of dirt and debris.
For small and medium sized jobs, backhoe loaders are optimal. They run on wheels which allows them to be used in urban areas and operate in trenches of various sizes. They typically take care of duties such as moving dirt and placing pipes.
The crawler loader looks like a combination of an excavator and a backhoe loader and is used for moving materials or taking soil off-site.
Trenchers are most often used for drainage purposes as well as laying pipes and cables. They come in different sizes and variations giving them the ability to be used for many construction projects.
The Importance of Excavation
In construction, almost every project will start with an excavation process. Excavation is also key when following safety standards and building codes which means contractors must be attentive when planning for the process. There is a variety of equipment that can be used for the different types of excavation so it is best to research what the job will require and pick accordingly. The speed of a construction project can really be amplified with an efficient excavation job so it is important to pick the right equipment.