Trades In Construction – Earthworks

This is not a commonly categorized trade as far as building construction is concerned. It is however very common in projects like road construction. Earthworks is usually among the very first tasks in construction. It is usually undertaken in the following:
A� Soil stripping: this refers to the removal of top vegetative soil from the construction site. This soil is unsuitable for construction, especially because it contains a rich constituent of vegetative matter, which would destroy the building’s foundation. This soil is also unstable for construction purposes.
A� Excavation for foundations: This is usually done to reach a more stable ground. Excavation here can either be in form of mass, trench or pad.
A� Levelling uneven ground: this is usually a process of cutting and filling or either.
A� Landforming and scaping: This is a process of creating various forms and shapes with the use of soil alone or in combination with other structures like revetment walls.
Depending on the volume and nature of ground to be excavated, filled or formed, the work can either be done by hand or by machine.
When done by hand, earthworks is usually done by a bulk of casual unskilled labour with the guidance of a skilled labourer, especially a land surveyor and construction engineer or foreman. There are various tests carried out to assure the quality of the finished formation in the case of foundations. The most common tools in manual earthworks include; picks, spades and shovels. Movement of earth is usually by the use of barrows. The most common equipment here is the dumpy level for light works or total machines for large projects.
When the work is to be done by machine, the plant involved ranges from compressors, mechanical hoes, bulldozers and the like. Movement of material is usually by use tipper trucks. In the case of hard rock ground, blasting is usually undertaken. Contractor Selection In the case of mechanical earthworks, the bulk of human tasks is in machine operation. There is also a need for more inspection, especially where different locations are involved, for example excavating from point A and dumping in point B.
One of the main considerations in this case is the safety of workers and neighbours. This is usually more crucial in the following instances:
A� Deep excavations, where walls could cave in.
A� Blasting in heavy traffic area, where shrapnel could injure them.
A� Excavation in areas prone to landmines.
A� Destabilizing sloppy ground Renovation Mistakes with heavy vibrations.
A� Disruption of buried infrastructure.

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