The first thing that needs to be done on any home construction site is site preparation. Most if not all of this will be done by an excavation company. After your home builder, a good excavator is your next best friend.
Excavators perform a number of important functions for you:
- Digging trenches, holes, foundations for the house and to run utilities
- Brush cutting with hydraulic attachments
- General grading/landscaping
- Heavy lift, e.g. lifting and placing of pipes
- Installing septic systems and often other utilities
On the other hand, a bad excavator can cost you literally thousands of dollars. For example, the framers will lay forms for footings in the ‘digout’ area that the excavators dig for the house foundation to go into. These ‘forms’ are simply boards (often 2” x 8”) that are nailed together to create molds that will hold the liquid concrete as it’s poured and keep it in that form until it has solidified (a few hours to a day). This creates your foundation.
The boards for these forms are flat. They lay on the surface of the ground. Here’s where the excavators work is critical: if the ground was not completely flat as well so that the entire length of the board is flush with the ground, then gaps under the boards will result, and concrete will seep from under the boards and spill out. This is wasteful. The deeper these gaps are the more concrete is lost. This can result in literally hundreds of dollars of wasted concrete, which you the home owner will end up having to pay for.
This is why it is essential to hire a good, experienced excavator and not “cousin joe with the back hoe” to do your digout.