One of the most important ways to ensure your Virginia construction project is a success is proper site preparation. Preparing your construction site requires specific steps to follow, however the complexity of the site preparation mostly depends on the condition of the site when construction begins. The most common similarity across all site preparations is the required safety inspection and the incorporation of fill dirt in the process.
Fill dirt, or “fill”, is indispensable to proper construction site prep. Fill can help ensure you have a construction project that will withstand almost anything mother nature throws at it, and pass muster under the eye of the local government inspectors. In case you are not very familiar with the importance of Virginia fill dirt in site prep, here is a brief description of the kind of site prep work you can expect and the role of fill dirt that each involves:
1. Site assessment
Before the heavy equipment moves on site, engineers must evaluate the condition of the surface and the subsurface of the project site. The site assessment will identify the presence of existing underground structures like pipelines and cables.
The engineers will conduct a series of soil tests. They will prepare a report that describes in detail the soil properties and provide recommendations on the type of fill dirt needed to stabilize the planned structures’ foundations. It will consider the likelihood of soil settlement, liquefaction possibilities, slope stability, groundwater level, soil bearing capacity, excavation related hazards, soil strength, soil classification, and similar information about the site. The report will have recommendations about necessary grading for proper drainage away from the planned structures and the composition and amount of Virginia fill dirt necessary for correcting steep slopes, bringing low areas up to level, and so forth.
Demolition of existing structures and site clearing is usually the next step in site prep. Unwanted vegetation on the site is removed. It is important to remove all organic material and debris. The organic material will decay over time and causing low spots and destabilization at the surface. Some inorganic material such as old concrete may be left on site and incorporated into low areas and buried with fill used to level the area.
Once the site is cleared, the planned structures will be staked out and marked. Then the excavation work begins. Excavation involves removing existing soil to a required depth where the structures’ foundations will be placed.
Heavy machinery used to excavate and transport soil at the project site will be brought in. The type of machinery needed will be based on a number of factors, such as the site’s accessibility, the distance the existing soil and fill dirt must be moved, the site’s ability to carry all of that load, and similar logistical considerations. If the site is extremely rocky or filled with boulders, additional equipment may be needed for blasting and drilling. Special backhoes, shovels, and scoopers will be needed to remove blasted and drilled rocks.
If large amounts of subsoil need to be removed, it can be hauled to a dirt supplier and used for fill dirt in another project. Depending on the properties and composition of the subsoil, it may be suitable for certain uses as fill. Dirt containing more than 50 percent clay can be used as a base for pathways and garden structures. Sandy fill dirt is useful for filling low-lying areas and brings them more level and improves drainage.
Some of the surface soil may be used as topsoil when the project is completed. Usually, the topsoil is piled up to be used later to backfill the foundation and for landscaping elsewhere on the property.
4. Site Grading
Grading is important for proper drainage. Grading will help surface water flow away from structures. In some cases, certain features may need to be created to provide good drainage. For example, drainage ditches or swales may need to be dug. Fill dirt can also be used to create mounds or hills, eliminate dips, or fill in the areas around underground pipes and utilities.
Virginia fill dirt is used wherever a stable material is needed under buildings, roads, parking lots, among other structures. Special fill dirt may need to be used to help correct drainage and to provide erosion control. If the construction site is not flat enough for the planned project, perhaps a commercial strip mall, expert cutting and filling may be necessary. For erosion control, the fill often consists of rocks or gravel, depending on the recommendations of the engineers’ report.
The fill and any soil that supports the structure’s foundation must be compacted. Compaction of the soil improves shear strength, decreases settlement events under and around the foundation, and reduces the possibility that moisture will penetrate the area. Special processes are used to compact the site. Tamping, rolling, and vibration are all common compaction techniques. The heavy equipment used for compaction includes heavy wheel rollers, crawlers, and tamping plate compactor.
6. Finish Grading
When the project construction is completed, it will likely need finish grading. Finish grading will finish off the levelling and prepare the site for landscaping. If needed, fill dirt will be brought in to do final leveling, grading, and smoothing. Then several inches of topsoil can be added to support plant materials.
Contact a Virginia Fill Dirt Contractor For More Information
If you are planning a construction project large or small, commercial or residential, you should take time to speak to a Virginia fill dirt contractor about your project. You should understand the importance of using the right kind of fill dirt for your site and becoming knowledgeable about the differences in it.
A Virginia fill dirt contractor can visit your site and advise you on the types and amounts of fill you may need. The contractor can also talk to you about material availability, pricing, and any delivery issues you could face in light of the site’s characteristics.