Those Who Build the Buildings

Those Who Build the Buildings

Considerations Before You Regrade Land

Ashley Hart

Literally moving the earth is often a key part of construction or renovation. Without the ability to cut into and move large chunks of soil and rock, a lot of construction projects would not (and no pun intended here) get off the ground. The terrain of cities would look very different; imagine having Denny Hill towering over the area where the much flatter Denny Triangle neighborhood is in Seattle. Civil earthmoving, however, must involve more than just carting away a bunch of dirt. The earth you move and the earth you leave behind affect more than just views, and you need to take a few issues into consideration when planning your earthmoving project.

How Will This Change Runoff Patterns?

When it rains, the rain is going to go somewhere. Most of it may soak into the ground where the rain falls, but if runoff occurs, the new grading will change established patterns. Sometimes this is deliberate, such as when you regrade a front yard to direct runoff away from a building's foundation. Other times you find the runoff now heads toward other buildings and streets that could suffer as a result. Good regrading plans need to include drainage components so that there are no surprises.

Rocky vs. Sandy Soil

Moving sandy, silty soil is a lot easier than moving soil that's so rocky you wonder if you'll need to call in a blasting crew. While rocks themselves do not mean you can't regrade, the overall costs and timing, not to mention the disposal or relocation of the rocks, will be vastly different from earthmoving that doesn't encounter boulders. You also don't want to damage equipment, so your equipment costs (to rent or buy specialized equipment) will likely increase.

Removing Habitats

A common issue that developers face is habitat loss or transfer. It's very common to find that the area you want to regrade hosts an endangered species or specific ecosystem. Sometimes these can be relocated successfully, and other times the regrading and development plans can be modified to preserve the species or ecosystem. Yet other times, the whole thing turns out to be more complicated. Do not despair if you find you have to halt regrading because of this; work on modifying the plans, and when you have new approvals, continue with the now-modified regrading.

Civil earthmoving companies expect that you'll need to look into these, and if you haven't said anything about them, the supervisors at the earthmoving company will. Successful regrading produces land that's much more usable for development, and you want to be sure that you've taken everything into account.

Contact a company like CK May Excavating Inc. to learn more.


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