If you are having a swimming pool installed at your home, you may have decided to take on the excavation yourself in hopes of saving money. This is a very ambitious undertaking that should only be attempted by individuals who have previous experience with excavation and access to the right equipment. However, even experienced excavators can run into problems once the task gets underway. Here is a look at seven pool excavation problems you might encounter.
Hitting a Utility Line
One of the most serious problems you can encounter when excavating for a new pool is hitting a utility line. Before digging, Virginia residents can submit a ticket to va811.com or by calling 811 to request markings at the site of the project. These color-coded lines will be drawn across the property to show where underground utilities are situated.
Residents are advised to contact 811 at least three business days prior to starting their digging project to give their team time to come out and make the markings. They can mark out a range of lines, from electric power lines and lighting cables to gas lines, sewer and drain lines, and water lines. They warn that some utilities, like cable TV lines, tend to be buried very close to the surface.
If any utility lines are accidentally hit or damaged during work, it is important to call the utility operator right away and stop working immediately. You should avoid backfilling or trying to repair the damage; covering a damaged utility line could cause a serious accident in the future. If there is an emergency situation, please call 911 right away.
Failing to Ensure Proper Access for the Equipment
If you are planning to rent equipment and dig your pool yourself, you need to understand how to use the equipment safely and effectively. Another consideration, however, is ensuring proper access for the machinery. You will need a wide open space of at least 12 feet to get an excavator into your back yard; more space is better. You will also need the same amount of clear vertical space free of wires and overhanging branches.
Keep in mind that the excavator will also need to maneuver around the pool area, so allow for at least 12 feet of room on every side of the pool for moving dirt around.
Failing to Plan for the Amount of Fill Dirt That is Removed
When excavating for a standard pool, you can expect to end up with around six truckloads of soil. You will need a truck to haul this soil away, along with a suitable place to dump it.
Unfortunately, getting rid of this amount of dirt often proves to be more challenging than people expect. In some cases, you may find that someone else in the neighborhood is looking for dirt and will be happy to take it off your hands. You might also consider posting it online to see if someone who needs it is willing to haul it away. If not, however, you will likely need to enlist the services of dirt removal contractors if your pool installation contractors are not handling this step.
However, you should keep some soil on hand to backfill the pool area after the concrete has been set. Experts recommend keeping around 20 percent of the soil you excavate for this purpose.
Not Checking the Weather in Advance
The pool excavation and construction processes require a dry construction site. If it has rained recently, you will need to wait until the soil has dried out as much as possible. The ground also needs to be hard enough to support the weight of the excavator and other heavy machinery driving across it without getting stuck in mud.
You can also run into problems if it starts raining after excavation has gotten underway as rainwater could get trapped inside. This can take a long time to evaporate and may even need to be drained by a professional, which can add a lot of time onto the overall timeline of the project.
Another problem is that heavy rains can cause an excavated pool hole to collapse, sending the walls crumbling and falling into the bottom.
You should also choose a day when the temperature is at least 45 degrees as digging through frozen or very cold ground can be difficult.
Another issue you may encounter is the discovery of an unexpected obstacle. For example, you could hit hard rock, which will require different equipment to break up and add onto the project’s overall timeline.
You might also encounter unexpected groundwater, which could require the use of pumps to keep the hole dry enough for you to continue working. Some professional pool excavators have reported finding everything from buried concrete slabs belonging to the patio of a previous homeowner to decades-old septic tanks while excavating for a pool.
Calculating the Pool’s Dimensions Incorrectly
Before you begin digging, it is important to carry out meticulous calculations to ensure you dig the right size opening to an appropriate depth while you have the equipment on hand. You do not want to find that the space is inadequate during the pool installation phase, when the excavator may no longer be available.
It is also important to ensure there is a reasonable distance between your home and the perimeter of the pool. If the pool is too close to the home, digging could put it at risk, particularly if you use a machine.
Higher Costs Than Expected
Many people think they can save a significant amount of money by carrying out their own pool excavation and leaving the rest of the work to their pool contractor. However, the truth is that it does not save as much money as you might expect because pool contractors need to bring their equipment to the site anyway for lifting and setting the pool; digging the hole tends to only take a couple of hours. By the time you factor in the expenses of renting equipment, you may find that the project does not save you any money – and it may even cost more if you cause a problem that needs to be corrected.
Reach Out to the Pool Excavation Specialists at Dirt Connections
There are numerous ways that pool excavations can go wrong. Ensure a successful outcome by enlisting the services of the professional pool excavation team at Dirt Connections. Our experts know what equipment is right for your project and can carry out the work safely, on time and in a cost-effective manner. Contact us today to discuss your project and find out more about our services.
Dirt Connections was started with one goal in mind: providing quality residential and commercial construction services to clients on time and on budget. Reach out for more information on how we can support your next project.
For your convenience our estimates are free and by appointment. Call 703-940-9949 for a free estimate today!