The Life of an Excavation Contractor

  • Published: Thursday, 6 October 2016
  • Times read: 2097
Life of an Excavation Contractor

It wouldn’t be too far from the truth to think that many excavation contractors do what they do as they couldn’t bear to give up their childhood dump trucks. Memories of messing around in the dirt, digging up and moving earth, and just generally pretending that they were operating big heavy machinery. One could then say that in adult life, they simply exchanged those small plastic dump trucks for the real thing!

The expertise of an excavating contractor however goes way beyond simply digging up and removing dirt. They operate in the construction industry where they provide site development services for commercial, industrial and residential projects. Rarely getting their fair share of glory when a new project has been completed, an excavating contractor’s role is an extremely essential service.

Read on to gain a small insight into the world of excavation contracting…

What does excavation contracting actually mean?

Excavation contractors are business owners and are generally considered sub-contractors because their job is often just one part of a larger project. Excavation contractors often work under the direction of principal contractors, who solicit bids, coordinate subcontractor timelines and pay the excavation contractor when he completes his part of the project.

Responsibilities of an Excavation Contractor

An excavating contractor surveys the project site to study a variety of conditions, including the slope of the land, types of soils, distance to human or wildlife populations and underlying facilities or structures. He then uses this information to develop an appropriate plan for staging the work, to determine the machinery best suited for the job and to estimate the number of workers required to complete the job with a specified time line.

Securing of Permits

An excavating contractor must obtain an excavation permit from the relevant state or local agency before commencing operations on a construction site. Although excavation regulations vary by state, these contractors typically submit applications describing the scope of the project to a regulatory agency for approval. When an agency needs to inspect the excavation site, the excavating contractor usually is present to answer any questions the inspector might have.

Developing the Site

After securing the necessary excavation permits, excavation contractors begin to develop the site. They use their experience and professional training to determine the best way to excavate. At a new construction project, for instance, the contractor begins by clearing the land of any plants before using heavy machines such as backhoes, cranes and dump trucks and excavators to dig up soil or rocks and create new site levels, trenches or holes to required depths. Depending on the design of the project, the contractor grades the site to achieve a level base for laying the foundation

Ensuring Safety

The excavation contractor is responsible for the safety of the project, workers and the environment. To achieve this, he would ensure his workers have the relevant construction experience, qualifications and licences to carry out the work. He would also ensure that those exposed to dangerous conditions wear personal protective equipment such as boots with puncture resistant soles, hard hats, earplugs and face protectors at all times. Excavation contractors also develop strategies to prevent soil erosion, such as building silt fence barriers to trap eroded soils.

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