How to Prepare a Construction Site
Updated: Dec 6, 2019
Preparing a construction site requires a series of steps to take place. This ensures the building stands on solid ground and keeps those working on the project safe during the construction phase. In 2017, 5,147 worker deaths occurred. That’s why preparing for a construction site is important, so nobody is in danger and can complete their work safely. Concrete companies like Diamond Concrete Sawing perform just one part of the construction process by offering ground penetrating radar, wire sawing, robotic demolition, and other services. However, so much more goes into the overall process. Here’s a brief rundown on how to prepare a construction site to help you get an idea on how it works.
Perform a Geotechnical Report
The first order of business to perform prior to clearing a construction site is a geotechnical report. The report will provide important information and recommendations on how the site should be prepared. This required report will also give engineers a good idea about how suitable a property is for the desired construction. A geotechnical report is performed by a geotechnical engineer and will feature the following points:
Scope of Work
Each of these points will establish how to proceed with preparing the construction site for the project.
Preparing a construction site requires more than just preparing the site itself. You’ll also want to keep the following things in mind:
Before work gets started, it’s important to know about any restrictions there may be within the local area. Some restrictions you might have to deal with or work around include:
The time of day work can be done
The amount of noise produced over a period of time
Environmental standards to prevent pollution
By knowing if there are any restrictions, you can include them in the planning process, and you’ll have time to alter plans if necessary. You don’t want to go into a project blind and not knowing if there may be restrictions on the property, as they’re probably in place for a good reason.
While preparing the construction site, safety should be a top priority. This includes being aware of your surroundings and wearing the necessary protective equipment. The most frequently cited violations include fall protection, hazard communication, scaffolding, and respiratory protection.
Protective equipment includes a helmet and glasses. This also means having the knowledge to perform tasks safely and properly handling tools and machines. You also want to put up the necessary safety signs to help communicate to those working on the site.
It’s important to know what you will head into prior to the start of your project. Part of that is understanding the type of soil you will build on. The soils are categorized by the OSHA as the following:
Type A is the most stable of the three. Clays are usually good examples of this type.
Cracks can be found in Type B, but it remains intact. Common examples are silt, angular gravel, and silt loam.
Type C is not as stable at the others. Examples include sand and gravel.
Soil testing will give you a good idea on whether it can handle the work you’ll perform. There are some cases where the soil doesn’t provide stable conditions, and you may need to choose a new construction site.
Potential Water Damage
Water can cause a lot of damage to a construction site if you don’t have the proper drainage. To handle this, ensure the site has a place where water can go to because it can affect the building’s foundation. Make sure your construction site also rests on land with the right slope or grade. This will allow water to flow elsewhere, such as a retention pond or the sewers. When you know where water will go, you can decrease the risk water will cause damage during the construction process and in the future.
Use Ground Penetrating Radar
Ground penetrating radar (GPR) can help you determine where current utility lines are located on the subject property buried beneath the soil. The use of GPR can help engineers identify the presence of previous utilities and foundations, underground storage tanks (UST), and voids under existing concrete. Any of these can have an effect on planning, engineering, and safety during construction. Establishing where these items may exist will help you avoid any costly mid-project design changes and mitigate risk. In some cases, concrete slabs may block your ability to reach these lines in the event you need to move any utilities. You may need to utilize wire sawing to reach these areas. It’s crucial that you are aware of these features before preparation on the site begins, as not doing so could end in a catastrophic event.
Clear the Site
Once the geotechnical report is completed and you know what else can influence your project, the process to clear the construction site begins. To start, there are a few things that will need to be cleared from the space.
The first thing to clear out is the existing vegetation that may be on the site. Vegetation is everything from trees to shrubs. The vegetation must be removed in an appropriate and safe manner. Vegetation removal also includes anything close to the site.
Another thing that will need to be removed is any surface soil. This consists of decaying materials and roots. Not doing so can create an unbalanced foundation for the building.
In some instances, you may need to remove old buildings or structures. You can have a team use traditional demolition methods to clear the site, or you can use robotic demolition for this step. If you have a site in a limited-access area, robotic demolition may provide more safety and access than typical demolition methods.
The next step is to evacuate the materials you just removed. This means transporting the materials to a different place so that there is room for the actual construction. This will also require you to clear concrete so new structures can be successfully placed.