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A Quick Guide to Commercial Site Preparation: 5 Essential Components of a Construction Site

Before the heavy-lifting and work of moving dirt and digging trenches begins, there is an entire cohort of people behind the scenes working out the fine details for proper site preparation. Every construction project begins with preliminary site preparation. This process is multifaceted, involving a series of necessary steps, planning, excavation, cleaning, and earthwork. Every step in commercial land development is essential to ensuring a solid foundation and proper construction in one and all surrounding structures.

Let’s take a closer look at the necessary elements of a commercial site development project and how these different fields and areas of expertise converge into a tight-knit construction manager’s site plan. 

The Behind-The-Scenes-Work That Sets the Stage

It all begins on the drawing table, behind the scenes. Before the public gets to see those awe-inspiring excavators moving dirt around or picking up large rocks and mounds of earth, important work has already been completed. When people think about a ‘construction site’ they envision these metal workhorses digging into the earth’s surface, but the process really begins long before that. 

The process of preliminary planning is the conception and early development of a structure. During this phase, a project manager will take the reins and preside over the planning and organization. Throughout the process, the project will interact with specialists of varying fields, from soil experts to environmental agencies, government entities, architects, and more. 

The Law of the Land: Construction Regulations 

Before anything gets off the ground, proper governmental agencies must be notified and permits must be acquired. A good commercial site development company will have a profound understanding of the site’s jurisdiction and the government regulations that it must follow. For example, the EPA will usually have regulations surrounding the specific ecosystems of a surrounding area, wildlife, and will therefore dictate how the construction company must proceed in order to cause the least amount of disruption. 

Proper permits must then be acquired, as well as necessary insurance or other paperwork. 

The Investigation: Land, Soil, and Surrounding Landscape 

The preservation of soil quality is a big component of commercial site preparation. A construction crew should understand the type of soil they are working with as a means to ensure that the soil is strong enough to withstand a structure and whether adjustments need to be made. Soil testing is conducted to gather this information and requires sending soil samples to a laboratory. For any construction project, it is helpful to know if the soil is composed of 

  • Sand
  • Gravel
  • Rock
  • Loam
  • Peat

The properties of the soil will vary and these properties must be taken into account for proper site preparation. Soil testing also involves assessing how certain soil behaves under certain conditions. These geotechnical tests will reveal important characteristics of the soil and provide necessary information for the construction crew. 

The Drawing Table: Site Plan, Utilities, & More

As the soil question is sorted out, a site plan is developed to create an anticipated structure and plan of action for the project. Elements of the natural topography, project boundaries, and lines, as well as utility excavation and placement, come into play before the site is initiated. Utility planning and excavation is a central part of any site plan, as one mistake with utility placement can be costly and even deadly. Excavation and trenching are dangerous operations, but they must be undertaken for complete residential and commercial site preparation. 

As people in the industry are well aware, one cubic yard of soil can weigh as much as a Volkswagen. Poor planning can result in catastrophic consequences for the crew and the project. This means that a badly dug trench can quickly bury crew members beneath the rubble.  Utility digging also means checking for existing lines and carefully recording new lines. 

The Opening Scene: Land Clearing and Earthwork

Once the behind-the-scenes work, preparation, and research is being conducted, the work can begin on site. Some of the early processes of this site preparation involve preparing and clearing land. The process of land clearing involves removing: 

  • Removing brush and trees
  • Clearing debris 
  • Clearing other vegetation 
  • Might involve some land grubbing (clearing roots) 
  • Removing rocks or large obstructions 

The Workhorses: Dump Trucks, Skid Steers, Excavators  

There are many players on a construction site, each with an indispensable role. The construction manager is like the director, organizing, managing, and overseeing all of the different working parts. The construction crew is invaluable, as they do the actual work on the ground, but they could not do what they do without the amazing workhorses of heavy-duty equipment. Common workhorses in a construction site include: 

  • Excavators 
  • Skid steers 
  • Tractors 
  • Dump trucks

Ensure Proper Commercial Site Preparation with a Company You Trust

Constructors, Inc has provided professional site preparation services for several decades. Not only do we provide effective and efficient construction management but employ safe and proven techniques for site preparation and road construction. 

If you’re looking for construction services in the New Mexico area, call Constructors, Inc and learn more. 

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