Any time you are carrying out work on a property, excavation is needed to guarantee the foundation will be suitable for the project at hand. A residential excavator contractor carries out the complex tasks involved in preparing land for residential construction and landscaping projects.
Excavation involves removing soil and moving it, typically to grade land and create a strong foundation for the project. In short, they lay the groundwork for projects in what is often one of the first physical steps of a construction project.
How Do Residential Excavator Contractors Estimate Costs?
Excavation is largely priced based on the volume and cubic yards of dirt that need to be removed, but there are other considerations as well, such as the accessibility of the area to be excavated, the time of year, and soil type involved. Here is a look at some of the factors that are used to determine land excavation costs.
In homes where significant grading needs to be carried out, the cost of land excavation can be higher. Grading is used to adjust the slope and soil elevation on a residential site before construction gets underway. It helps to remove earthen materials to form a more even surface for a solid foundation.
For small yards, the grading cost averages between $500 and $1000, but this can vary significantly depending on the conditions of this site. To grade a home lot or the average backyard, expect to pay between $1000 and $5000.
Grading requires the use of heavy equipment, much like excavation, while certified civil engineers will be needed to draft a grading plan. In many municipalities, homeowners are required to obtain licenses and supply a detailed grading plan prior to commencing the work.
The cost of grading will be higher in areas that have unique environmental considerations, such as wetlands or seismic activity. Other factors that may increase the cost include drainage requirements, the presence of underground utilities, and the proximity of neighboring properties.
Land leveling entails flattening and smoothing the surface of a site before beginning construction. It may also be used to fix drainage issues and stop soil erosion. Perhaps not surprisingly, the size of the land that needs to be leveled is the biggest determinant of the overall cost of the project, which entails the use of specialized equipment.
To level land for a driveway or concrete patio, it will typically cost between $1000 and $2500. To level for a foundation for new construction, expect to pay between $1500 and $6000.
The labor costs for this type of project will be higher if the site contains many rocks, trees or other hazards because additional equipment may be needed, and the project will take longer to carry out. If grading and topsoil landscaping are also involved, there could be additional fees.
In cases where the land is being re-sloped for erosion control or better drainage, the work can take longer, which often means higher costs. Some projects may also require special permits that can add on to the project’s price.
Site Cut and Fill
Site cut and fill aims to reduce waste to the highest degree possible. Projects that have more cut than fill mean that project managers will need to locate a place where excess waste can be dumped, while projects that have more fill than cut require bringing in dirt from a different location.
Cases requiring additional cut and fill can expect higher equipment, labor and material costs, which also impacts the overall cost of the excavation project. Those carrying out the work will need to strategize on how they can ensure cut and fill volumes are roughly equal to minimize the need for any filling or cutting of excess mass.
Despite its ability to conserve land mass, it is important to keep in mind that cut and fill tends to be an expensive process overall, particularly when a significant amount of land is involved. Many site planners use a cut and fill map to ensure maximum efficiency. This entails detailed planning based on survey information and software to process the data and create maps containing precise measurements of topography and elevation. Once the amount of cut and fill that is needed for the process is determined, residential excavator contractors will be able to estimate labor and construction costs.
Excavation involves several different processes, including trenching, dredging, digging and general site development. In residential properties that have steep terrain that limits accessibility and, by extension, the type or weight of equipment that can be used on the site, the job can be more challenging.
In addition, working on terrain that contains hard rocks and carrying out work when the ground is very cold or frozen can be hard on machinery and slow construction activity down. This requires more labor, while the increased wear and tear placed on machinery pushes construction costs upward.
Another consideration is areas where the soil is very loose, which makes it challenging to protect the strength of the slopes after they have been excavated. Specialized techniques and equipment will be needed to protect these slopes, which also adds on to the overall cost of the project.
Other Cost Considerations
Some of the other factors that can affect the overall cost of a residential excavation project include the skill level of the workers who carry out the project, planning for unfavorable weather conditions, potential hazards that could impact soil stability, and emergency and rescue procedures.
In some areas, there are rules related to power, overhead lines, and the protective measures that need to be used. All these can affect the project’s cost. In cases where temporary protective structures need to be used, such as trench boxes, costs will also increase. Some areas have monolithic ground that needs to be blasted, which can also drive up costs.
Reach Out to the Northern Virginia Professional Residential Excavator Contractors
There are many different factors that can affect the cost of an excavation project. Carrying out this type of work requires significant experience and skill to ensure a safe and effective outcome. Therefore, it is essential to work with licensed contractors and engineers who can carry out the work to the highest standard.
At Dirt Connections, our professional team has the experience needed to carry out high-quality and safe work on projects of all sizes. Contact us today to discuss your project.
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!