Whether you’re building from scratch or simply improving the lay of the land, leveling your property, whether it be commercial or residential, is an essential part of the construction process. Like all projects, research and preparation is key. Thus, it is important to find out the various steps involved in leveling your property so that you can make sure it is done correctly the first time around.
Why It’s Important to Level Your Property
Residential and commercial sites both require level ground for the building of structures. The term is a bit deceptive, because when there are buildings that are going to be constructed on top of the level land, there actually needs to be a slight gradient to allow for efficient drainage. If your land was completely level, and you built a commercial or residential building on top of it, your property would be vulnerable to water damage. When it rains, water slides off the roof into the gutters, making its way down to the soil and away from the building. If the land is too level, the rain will not travel further away, and will simply begin to hover around the area close to your interior walls and foundations.
Because of this, it’s incredibly important to level your property in such a manner that the slope is calculated and executed accurately. This is why it is recommended to hire professionals for site preparation projects.
The Leveling Process
Leveling your property involves a number of interrelated steps that all work together to ensure the best possible end result when the time comes to build. Here is a step by step guide to leveling your property:
Having a property survey carried out before leveling will help things go more smoothly. For one, a property surveyor will be able to establish the official lines of your property. This is essential is you have just bought some commercial or residential land and only have a vague idea of where the perimeter is. When you have neighbors close to your property line, you don’t want to risk disagreements or even litigation by failing to have a property survey carried out.
With regards to leveling the land, hiring a professional surveyor ensures that your construction plans correspond with the topography and stability of the environment. They will be able to find the best spots for building structures, and will also have the knowledge to be able to steer you away from certain parts of the property.
Because leveling a property and preparing a site are done with the intention of building, having your property surveyed by a professional will allow you to build on the best spot. Relying on anecdotal knowledge or your own experience sometimes isn’t enough, because the last thing you want to do is build on a spot with poor drainage or potential soil erosion.
Leveling cannot begin until you invest in the correct materials. Because site leveling requires stable soil, fill dirt is the type of soil you need for such a project. The composition of fill dirt allows it to be an effective foundation for buildings. Fill dirt can also be used for grading, a process that increases the natural elevation of a site in order to improve drainage. Never use topsoil for projects that require a high degree of soil stability, as it is used for aesthetic purposes and contains too much organic matter to be deemed stable.
When having dirt delivered, you will be surprised at how much fill dirt you need. Factoring in the cost of dirt by measuring how much you need will help you to establish a reasonable budget for the site leveling project.
Once you’ve had the appropriate type of dirt delivered, it’s time to improve your building site. The site grading process can be further divided into a number of smaller processes including rough staking, clearing, excavation, rough grading, and runoff control. Each of these steps are important, and should not be skipped in favor of a shorter project timeline. Cutting corners with regards to site preparation can create a host of problems in the long term.
Rough staking is when you set up a perimeter in order to determine the boundaries of any buildings or structures. This is a step that will be a lot easier if you have a property survey done. Clearing the land means you get rid of any obstacles (natural and manmade) that are in the path of the building project. Excavation is mostly used for residential basements, so it doesn’t generally apply to commercial buildings.
Rough grading is like the first draft of the actual leveling, so that problem-solving can be taken into account before delving into the project. Finally, runoff control is a way of ensuring that all of the work being done does not create too much mud or water that can interfere with nearby properties or compromise the structural integrity of your own.