There are many sizes and types of excavating equipment. From the powerful machines that will dig through almost anything, to little more than an arm on tracks which can fit down walking paths to dig in your cramped side yard. It’s almost always best to have the biggest machine that will fit on the job with room to work.
No matter what size machine does the excavating, it will make some mess. The material that is dug out needs to be piled up for re-use, or carried out for removal. The trucks and excavators need to drive back and forth in their working areas.
Talk with your contractor about moving plants or landscape features if there are things you’d like to save that are in the way of the machinery. Sometimes areas can be partially protected by plates or temporary materials. This is not always cost effective or possible, so it is often required to replace lawns or garden areas after the work is complete. Check with your contractor as that replacement may not be included in the excavation costs and may need to be considered in future landscaping plans.
It’s nice to let your neighbours know what your plans are. Excavation will be dusty and noisy (just like demolition), so it’s nice to give everyone some advanced warning.
There can easily be extra work if solid rock or soil with poor bearing capacity is found unexpectedly. Solid rock often requires blasting, and soft soils may require digging deeper until soils meeting bearing capacity are reached. In rarer cases, underground tributaries, services in unexpected locations, old buried rubble or foundations, old oil tanks, or contaminated soils could be uncovered causing a range of complications.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Expect to replace or have some abrasion on unprotected surfaces in the work path such as the street, driveway, walkways, lawn, or patios. Even protected surfaces may see some disturbance depending on the level of protection and the amount and weight of traffic. Remember, these are heavy, very hard working quasi-tanks built to get a lot of tough work done quickly – they’re not built to be polite about it.
Excavation work is often in tandem with filling and soil compaction, all of which can occasionally make for a dust filled environment that doesn’t respect your property lines.
On the up side, the neighbourhood children will love it. Every young kid loves watching big machines dig big holes. Every dust cloud has a silver lining, right?