Bulk excavation techniques explained

If you are planning a large scale construction project, the chances are you will require a bulk excavation to take place before any building work can begin. But what is bulk excavation? What is it used for? What are the techniques and equipment used to perform a bulk excavation?

Here we answer all your questions and explain what you need to know about this vital service.

What is bulk excavation?

Bulk excavation is basically the process of moving large amounts of soil or rock from one area to another. Before a large scale construction project can take place, the site needs to be made the right level and height, so soil or rock usually have to be added to or taken away from the area to make the ground conditions right for the building work to begin.

Bulk excavation is regularly used in the construction of major infrastructure projects such as roads and railways, and to prepare the ground for the construction of large buildings such as office blocks, hospitals and housing developments. Increasingly, it is also being used to clear underground spaces, particularly in urban areas where space above ground is at a premium. Spaces underground are now widely being used to build car parks, storage facilities and other commercial ventures.

As it can be put to such a wide variety of uses, bulk excavation is invaluable within both the public and private sectors, as it enables new infrastructure and facilities to be built, as well as industrial, commercial and residential solutions.

How is bulk excavation carried out?

Bulk excavation is generally carried out in one of two ways:

  • Excavating an area of land so soil and rock are taken away from it
  • Constructing an area of land at a new height or shape by adding soil or rock to it.

Because of the links between these two methods, bulk excavation can be quite a sustainable way of working. As much soil and rock as possible are reused during the process, to keep waste to a minimum and cut down on costs for clients.

This means a successful bulk excavation requires considerable knowledge, precision and skill. Experienced engineers calculate the exact volumes of earth which will be needed to complete the project, using the latest specialist software. This enables them to work out exactly where and how the excavated earth can be reused, with the aim of having to take away as little material as possible once the job is complete.

Other important calculations also have to be performed before the bulk excavation process can begin. To ensure the process will run smoothly and not run into any technical difficulties, the specialist team have to identify the type of ground, to determine how easy or difficult it will be to dig. The type of ground is generally classified using four different categories:

  • Easy – loose soil
  • Medium – gravel, clay
  • Medium/ hard – boulders, broken rock, wet clay
  • Hard – blasting required

The hardness of the material being excavated dictates the equipment which will be needed, so exactly the right machinery can be brought to the site to complete the job successfully.

Types of equipment used in bulk excavation

A bulk excavation is a major project which requires a significant amount of industrial machinery. Even the easiest type of ground needs heavy-duty diggers and bulldozers to excavate efficiently, as tonnes of soil and rock can be moved each day. In the case of the hardest types of ground, specialist blasting equipment can be required.

A fleet of trucks is also needed to transport materials between different sites, so it is vastly helpful and much more cost-effective if you choose a firm which can provide their own trucks for this purpose.

In addition, reputable bulk excavation firms should be using the latest software solutions, to ensure the precision of the job and make the right calculations so that as little material as possible is wasted.

However, the most important element of any bulk excavation project is a team of highly experienced workers. This is a specialist job which requires particular knowledge and skills that can only be gained through experience. The right people are essential to get the job done to the exacting standards needed.

If you would like to know more about bulk excavation or need a highly experienced, professional firm to carry out your job, please contact us. We will be happy to discuss your requirements with you.

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